Wednesday, August 14, 2013

THE ONGOING SAGA OF THE HAPPILY CONFUSED

I can't believe it has been four months since I posted.  I decided yesterday when we went to the family reunion and several people asked me why I wasn't posting anymore it was time to get with it.  Actually one of my problems was a sticky virus.  Whenever I have problems what does Richard say??? "I told you to buy a MAC!"  Smart aleck.

I spent two hours a couple of days ago on a blog.  I was so excited to just post it today and I deleted the wrong draft.  I have to start all over.  Dang I hate it when that happens!

My children have heard my funny stories I will put on this post so sorry kids--I will go to dinner tonight and there will be some new ones I am sure!

So a couple of months ago I noticed this 91 year old spry young lady and a very spry 86 year old man were taking walks together every day.  One day I said to her, "Doris are you and Joe an item?"  She looked at me and said, "Oh I wish!!!"  A week later she came in the office, sat down and said, "You know Sharon the other day you asked me if Joe and I were an item.  Well guess what.  I think we are.  He invited me to go to his daughter's place for the weekend!"  Monday morning comes and here comes Doris to the office again.  She sits down in the chair by my desk and says, "Guess what!  Joe and I ARE an item!"  I am a 91-year-old who feels like a 19-year-old school girl in love again!"

Two days later here comes Doris again.  She comes in the office once more, sits in the chair by my desk, clears her throat and says, "Uhmm I need to know how we work this.  Joe moved in with me last night;  Would it be best to just keep all the rent under my name or can we split half?"  We talked about that and then she said, "Now Sharon don't forget to get Joe's name plate off his door and figure out a way to post it right above my name plate on the apartment door."  I was cracking up.  She reminded me at least twice more to move his name plate above her name on her door.

Last month we had our 17-year-old granddaughter, Chelsi, come stay with us for two weeks.  She has a personality so much like her Aunt Nalani and gets along with everyone.  When the normal person was ill and couldn't call BINGO (a MORE than sacred game around here) the residents thought she was absolutely more than cool.  She also served meals and was excellent.  Ever since she went home they have asked when she is coming back.  I really give her credit.  She said she probably could stay but since her parents were getting a divorce she felt the need to go home and take care of her 9-yeaar-old brother.  I  was sad to lose her but proud that a 17-year-old would make that decision.  We hope she comes and spends all summer with us next summer.

This month Chelsi's 16-year-old brother, Austing came to hep the maintenance man catch up.  After all his Grandpa has only been teaching him that stuff since he was about 8 years old!  He has not only done that but we tease him about being our "gopher."  Like today, Richard and I always do coffee pours together but we had a woman here doing an annual inspection and you know they always choose to come at the most convenient times--right during meal time.  Somebody was supposed to help me but they didn't show up so as I was beginning to panic who do I see Austin at the end of the hall?  There was suddenly a cry heard round the land--"A-U-S-T-I-N--HELP!!"  He wasn't even changed out of his maintenance clothese and he didn't even hesitate.  He had never poured coffee or did the whole tea thing and he jumped right in and learned.  I still remember how nervous I was the first time I did it.  I was sure I would dump coffee in somebody's lap.  My arms were weak and shaky.  I can happily report today I have developed muscles in my arms and when I do the old lady wave there is much less that moves after I stop waving.  See there are blessings in all things.

I have to tell one more thing on my grandkids.  I remember my Mom would say when the girls got older and we did everything together with out husbands, "There is no greater joy than for a Mother that sees her grown children not only liking each other but preferring to do things together.   Now I get it.  Somebody asked Austin the other day if he was Chelsi's little brother.  He said yes he was.  They commented on what a good girl she was and he said, "Yep!  She's a cutie for sure!"  My heart almost melted in to a pool at my feet at that moment.  Now I get you Mom.

So some of the funnnies since the last time I wrote.  My kids have heard these so you can skip them kids if you want.  We have a resident that sits at the table next to ours.  She is let's say a little unpredictable.  One minute she is sweet and happy and the next minute she's mad because she didn't get her way.  We had Sticky Buns as the second dessert of the day.  The residents love Sticky Buns but there isn't always enought to go around if it is the second day we have served them and they are thus the "second" dessert of the day.  So little teenage server pushes her cart to Ann's table and asked her if she wanted a Sticky Bun.  She reported she not only wanted one but she wanted two Sticky Buns.  Little timid teenage server says to her, "You can't have two until we make sure everybody has had a chance for Ann says in a louder voice she wants two Sticky Buns.  Timis little teenage server again tells her she can only have one.  Now Ann is majorly ticked.  She yells in her loudest voice, "I NEED TWO STICKY BUNS!  I AM A HEART PATIENT.!  Timid little teenage server rolls her cart past me and says in quiet voice, "I am pretty sure she shouldn't even have one should she?"  I  had to go in the back of the kitchen so I could laugh without the residents hearing me.  REALLY????  You are a heart patient so you have to have two.  Not only that she was so mad she couldn't have two she whips her mobey around and starts crying and goes back to her apartment.

Then we have Freda who is stone deaf but has a keen sense of humor.  The servers have to get down in her right ear and yell what her choices are for the meal.  Of course she doesn't get it the first time and this process repeats about 3 times.  Then she says, "Well wait a minute.  My table mates just told me I already ate.  They try to convince her they didn't say that but she is convinced they did and then we have to coax her into eating.  Every day--same ting, same ting--over and over.

One day Freda went to the bathroom--maybe 15 steps away.  She came out and couldn't remember where to go to get back to her table.  Now keep in mind she eats at the same table every single day.  Nevertheless, poor Freda can't find the 15 steps back to her chair.  Not to fear though!  Annie will take care of her.  She whips her mobey around goes over and flips it around so the back is towards Freda then yells, "Hang on Freda!"  Freda grabs hold of the back of Annie's mobey then yells, "Okay, let's roll!!!"

We also have very sweet Louise.  Louise has three cats even though she lives on the third floor and she cannot bend over to change the litter box.  I feel really sorry for the housekeeper who has to clean her apartment.  She also has decided that bathing even once a week is not necessary and she only needs to use one Depends a day.  It's not bad in the morning but boy by night even though she is as sweet as can be nobody wants to sit by her at BINGO."  Guess who gets to talk to her about it?  You guessed it, "Your truly!"  And what to say.  Do I say, "Louise have you seen that baby commercial where the baby is crawling around on the floor and his diaper is leaking?  Yea well so is yours!"  And by the way you need to have a total stranger come in to your apartment and let them bathe you at least twice a week.  This is so very hard for this generation of women who have been so private their whole lives and now you are telling them they have to take all their clothes off in front of a stranger and let them was all body parts.  You know I still remember going through this with my Mom and she was the most modest person who ever lived but as time went on she became very comfortable with it and it was a comfort to our family to now she was clean.  Nobody ever really told us our parents would live long enough to give us a hard time before they passed away even if that was not their intention.

The other day one of the sweetest guys in our community came in to get his mail.  He had on a nice plaid shirt, shorts, then black dress socks and black dress shoes.  He and his wife kind of give me a fun hard time so I went up to him and said, "Oh no, no, no Bud!  Do you want to be an old man or a hip senior citizen.  Hip senior citizens wear sandles with shorts like those--and maybe, just maybe you might be able to get buy with whit athletic socks with sandles."  Now keep in mind our kids always gave their Dad a bad time about that.  But this guy looked at me like I was from Mars.  "He said, "Really????  I never knew that."   Oh WOW--major case of foot in mouth disease!

I talked to Kami the beginning of this week and all their stuff arrived at their home that had been in crates in storagee for two hot steamy months this summer before it was delivered to their new home.  And once again we had a Hawaii experience.  It was all full of mold and mildew and Kami is 6 months pregnant with her 3rd boy.  Those are the times you realize it is hard to be a working Mom.  Can't help because I am too hard away and I am saving my vacation for the birth of the baby.  Her Dad told her not to touch it but make the moving company come back and clean everything.  That's a little scary with a pregnant Mom, two little boys and Dad who is gone quite abit.  I'm sure she will be fine.  I justtold her to remember to be firm and ornery if necessary.

One of the things that every Holiday Retirement Center has is a"Wall of Honor" for their veterans or veterans of widows who live here.  When I first got here I looked at the one they had and it was pathetic.  They had cheap frames that were falling off the wall and it looked like they had put it up with as little effort as necessary.  So one night I got on a kick and pulled all the photos off the wall, took all the photos out of the frames, threw the frames away, and then I was committed.  I thought it would ohnly take me two weeks to finish but instead it took  2 1/2 months.  It was truly a labor of love.  The night before the big unveiling we were up until 1 a.m. finishing it.  The mayor of Billings came to dedicate it and I have to admit we were pretty proud.  When people saw it many of them cried.  If you would like to see our dedication it is on YOU TUBE just put in

"HONOR WALL AT ASPEN VIEW"

I hope you like it because it truly was a labor of love of one of the accomplishments I will always be most proud of when I think of my day as Aspen View.  I also want to dedicate it in part to our son-in-law Ben, who is a military man.  I thought of you the whole time I was doing this Ben.  I hope you are proud.

Love you all,
Sharon









Thursday, March 21, 2013


Where should I even begin?  I think I could write a book after we are through with this adventure but that could be quite a while from now.

Well let me start with the big one.  Yes folks this is one I hope to never repeat but one never knows around here.

Okay let's start at the beginning.  I was really busy in the office and several people were in there.  It is not a big office and when you get four managers and two or three residents it is crowded and noisy.  It had been a really busy day and it is time for me to go help with supper.  Yes it is breakfast, dinner, and supper around here.  There is no such thing as "lunch".  That's okay though because being a farm girl that is what the meals were called in my home growing up.  The phone rings and I am the lucky one to pick it up.  This woman on the other end tells me she has been calling a male friend of hers and his message box is full.  I am thinking to myself that I don't understand how this is my problem.  I told her perhaps she should try later.  She seems frantic to get hold of this guy and she tells me she wants me to take a message to his apartment.  I ask her what the problem is.  She tells me every Friday they go out to lunch and she wants to know if they are going tomorrow.  Sounds like a likely story to me but she is insistent I take a message to him and ask him to call her.  I am wondering why in the world she thinks I am in charge of a dating service.  However, I decided it was easier to take the message to him than argue.

Now comes the good part.   I trek on up to the third floor and walk down to his apartment.  I hear the television just blasting.  I knock on the door rather loudly--you have to understand that at least 99% of these people have to wear hearing aids.  I wait for a minute and he doesn't come to the door.  In this community hardly anybody locks their door.  So if you are delivering something you knock on the door and if they don't answer you walk in and leave whatever you need to deliver.  When my friend didn't come to the door and I knew he was there because of the television I opened the door and walked in.  Big, big mistake.  There sits the guy in his comfy chair with big earphones on watching television, buck naked!!  Yes folks he didn't even have socks on! 

Then the thought crossed my mind--I would be even more embarrassed if he saw me!  A little voice said, "Do not make any sudden movements or buck naked guy will see you!"  So very, very slowly I backed out of his apartment and prayed he woiuldn't see me out of the corner of his eye.  Then I shut the door ever so slowly and carefully.  At that point I was glad I had put tape on the note.  I taped it to the front of his door and ran down the hall as fast as I could.  I am sure it will take thousands of dollars for counseling to get me past the memories of that one.  I told Richard I was just so glad he had his legs crossed--okay that is rude but I just had to say it!  Richard told me one of the housekeepers has to come to him quite often and say, "Richard will you go tell John Doe that it is time to clean his apartment so could he please put some clothes on?"

Second big story of the week happened this morning.  "Jane" (names have been changed to protect the innocent) calls the office and says, "Sharon go quick and stop the grounds cleaning people from leaving.  They took my pooper scooper!  I am sure they thought it was theirs but it is mine and I have to have it back."  I told her I didn't even know if they were still there but I would see.  A few minutes later I saw them outside my window so I went out to retrieve the stupid pooper scooper.  Now I have to admit I was really glad she did have a pooper scooper because any resident that has a dog has to clean up after it when they take them outside.  There are one or two that just happen to have conveniently left their pooper scooper inside when they walk their dogs.  Anyway I go outside feeling like a fool to ask for the pooper scooper.  The scary looking guy doing the grounds maintenance looked at me like I was from Mars when I ask for the pooper scooper they had accidentally picked up thinking it was theirs.  He said, "We don't even use pooper scoopers so I am sure we didn't pick it up".

I then walked back in the building and saw "Jane" coming down the hall.  I tell her they didn't steal her pooper scooper and for a good 15 minutes I had to hear how important that pooper scooper was.  Everytime she saw me today she would come to me and talk about the pooper scooper.  I am ready to go to the store and buy her a new one so I don't have to hear about it.  I am sure about the time I bought her a new one she would find her old one in some place like the refrigerator.  That's why we call this the land of the happily confused.

And then we have another little sweetie that we have to work to get rent from her.  The first time I approached her she ignored me.  A few days later when we still didn't have her rent I went to her apartment and she whipped her mobie around and went in the bedroom and slammed the door.  Today I sent Richard because all the old ladies like him.  This time she said it was supposed to be auto draft but she would call her bank in San Francisco of all places.  Then as Richard left she said, "You are the big boss of this place.  You are supposed to be able to take care of these problems!"  Sometimes you want to remind them this is "independent" living.

Last Sunday when we were at church just as Sacrament meeting finished this little boy ran in to the chapel to the lady sitting behind us and said, "Hi Grandma!!"  It reminded me of Cash and Sloan running in to church in Lindon and saying the same thing.  I will admit I almost had a meltdown.  After being here close to two months I am so lonesome for our grandchildren.  But then I tell myself I am in Billings for a reason and I do love the people.

There are moments you question yourself about your abilities to handle everything.  It is very long hours and being on call four nights a week for E-calls.   But I really feel the need to love these people and bring some smiles and sunshine in to their lives.  I was told by somebody higher up that I shouldn't get too close to these people.  After all you get close to them and then they die or they just get too personal with you.  I told Richard if the company policy was not to get close to these people I was in the wrong job.  He reminded me in training we were told over and over to love these people.  Sometimes we might be one of the few smiles they see.  I am afraid in spite of what one person's opinion is I will always love this precious older generation that we work with.  Most of them are so lovable with a grouchy one thrown in here and there.

There is one resident I call "Weird Al Crankavich"  He is the kind of person who brightens up the room by leaving. Nothing is ever good enough for him.  My goal was to see him be pleasant for just a minute and maybe smile.  Yesterday I did it.  We have a "Wall of Honor" where we have everybody's military photo, both men and women who served in the military.  It is so cool.  I stood there looking at the photos yesterday and saw Al's military photo.  It shocked me how good looking he was and how there was no trace of bitterness in that photo as there is in his personality now.  When he came to dinner I told him I was looking at the Wall of Honor and when I saw his photo I thought, "What a good looking man." He smiled ever so slightly and quietly said, "Thank you very much."  Richard broke though the wall of Cranky Al the other day also.  He told him some corny joke and Al burst out laughing.  Then he went and told some of his guy friends that Richard Oram had told him the funniest joke.  They wanted to hear it.  Al had forgotten it.  So goes life here.  That's why I fit right in.

I have rambled enough.  We truly miss all of our friends and family.  I know Billings is not exactly on most people's travel route but if you ever get near us please come see us.  We love you all.  And as Grandpa Oram used to say, "Be good and sing loud in church!"

Monday, March 04, 2013

The Fun Continues!


Well it is after 1 a.m. and I can't sleep so I may as well blog for the week.  I'll start with two funny stories for the week.

So a few days ago I hadn't been able to sleep for some odd reason.  At 6:30 a.m. when I should have been up getting ready for the day I hear this weird sound that I faintly recognize..  I managed to wake up enough to ask Richard if it was the phone or an E-Call.  He informed me it was an E-Call which meant I had to get out of bed, put my slippers on, and go stumbling across the dining room to get to the office, fiddle with my keys until I got the door unlocked, and managed to get in and get the alarm turned off.  Mind you I am still in my flannel jammies with my hair sticking up every which way.  Any of my family who have seen me first thing in the morning will verify it is not a pretty sight!

Anyway I get the alarm turned off, the piece of paper torn off the machine that tells me where the call is coming from, taped in the book, and then I wait and I wait.  No call comes from Richard telling me what is going on.  Finally I see him coming down the hall shaking his head.  I say to him, "So what was the big emergency?"  He says to me, "Francis had dropped her hearing aid and couldn't find it.  Since she is almost blind she didn't dare walk around because she was afraid she was going to step on her $900 hearing aid and break it.  So----it becomes Richard's problem!"  The funny thing was a little later that morning I saw Francis and said to her, "So Francis I understand my husband was in your apartment this morning."  She says to me, "I really don't know who that man was but he helped me find my hearing aid.!!"  I said to her, "Francis!  Are you telling me you just let any man in your apartment that you don't know???"  She says, "Well I am almost blind and I had to find my hearing aid!"  Oh my!

Then there is Fred that I told you about last week.  Blind as a bat.  This week he takes a tumble and decides he has broken his neck. Does he pull the cord for E-call?  Nope--he calls a cab to take him to the hospital and after they check him out then he calls our shuttle driver to come get him.  Go figure!  Maybe he thought if the ambulance came it was going to cost him a bunch of money.  As we say, some of our sweet residents are "very happily confused!"

This week the yearly increases in rent came.  You can imagine the uproar that causes.  Now mind you every single year about this time they get an increase.  So besides dealing with that our Enrichment Coordinator was fired last week so we had to hire a new one this week and help to train her.  The very ornery Regional Sales Leader had been here and fired the only Sales Leader we had in the community because they other one was out with back surgery.  Four days later the Regional Sales Leader got fired!!  So they hired a new Community Sales Leader who was really good but she worked for two weeks and got an offer for a very good 6 figure income and promptly quit with no notice.  Our Managers of the community had health problems and they left to go to Seattle for surgery.  They sent in two Floating Managers who had been at the Seville in Orem.  They aren't LDS but they proceeded to tell me if they ever start a business they are going to convert because Mormons support each other so well in business.  They have been here one week and today we found our regular managers will not be coming back.  When they got to University of Washington they discovered his kidney was so diseased it has to be removed, the other one is only working at 18% so he will be on dialysis until they find a kidney donor.  He will not be able to work for a whole year.  They are the nicest people and it always reminds you that your problems are not so bad.  Our Floating Managers are only here for two months and then we don't know what will happen from there.

Tonight we had a husband-wife team called "Cimmaron" come to the community and play and sing for the residents.  They are a country band that play a lot of songs from the era these people love.  It is so cute to see people in their 80's and 90's out dancing.  You just have to shake your head and think why are some people that age so full of life and healthy and others can hardly move.  It has made me determined to do the best I can, eat right, do my exercises, and have only ONE dessert a day instead of the several we are offered.

We have a Catholic Father that lives here.  He is really well known in Billings and has lived here a few months.  We have had some really interesting discussions about religion.  He asked about our family so I brought him in our apartment to look at the big picture on the wall we have of our 16 grandchildren.  He stared at it for a very long time and I had to wonder if he had any regrets in his heart about having no family.  But he is a great guy and has decided he really likes Richard and I.  I have to say it is fun to once again be in more of a "mission field" type atmosphere.  I love explaining my religion to others.  I had somebody tonight ask me why they couldn't go in that big beautiful building on Temple Square.  They were at least happy they got to go in the Tabernacle and hear the "Tabernacle Choir" sing.


March 4th

So funny story from a couple of days ago.  A lady named Vera came to the office and said, "Can I bother you to help me a little.  I have my TV mixed up and I can't fix it."  Now keep in mind Vera has macular degeneration so she can hardly see a thing.  I told her I wasn't the best television repairman in the world but there were a few things I could do.  So she takes my arm to steady herself and I ask her what apartment she lives in.  She tells me "3".  I am thinking to myself that we have no apartment number "3" but maybe she means 103 on the first floor.  So I ask her if it is 103 and she says yes.  We slowly, very slowly, go all the way down the hall turn the corner go to almost the end (this is a big place) where number 103 is.  I said to her, "Is this your apartment Vera?"  She said, "Yes."  So I open the door to find another elderly couple looking at me rather strangely like, "Don't you knock before you walk in?"  I said, "Uh Vera I don't think this is it. Did you mean you lived on the third floor?"  She assures me that is it.  So we get in the elevator and go to the third floor.  I am thinking she probably means 303 so I turn one way and she turns another.  At this point I am really confused.  Just then a friend comes out of the elevator and Vera says, "Mary where do I live?"  Mary says "You live right by me Vera, right down here."  So we follow Mary down the hall and Vera is about to go in Mary's apartment and Mary says, "No Vera you live one more apartment down."  Vera says, "Oh I'm sorry I just get so nervous."  We go to Vera's apartment and it is #332.  I said, "Vera your apartment number is 332."  She says, "Oh I knew there was a 3 in it somewhere!"  Oh yes another "Happily confused resident."  I fix her television by turning the cable on again and then she tells me she leaves it on the country station all the time.  Well I tell her there are two country stations, #44 and #52.  She is sure it is #44 but when I get it set there there is a movie playing instead of country music and that just about sent her over the edge.  I showed her there was also a movie playing on #52  but she was sure her station never played movies, only country music.  Finally she says, "I'll just get my daughter to come over."  Oh well I guess if her daughter can convince her TNT does play a movie now and then she will be okay because her daughter said it.

I want to show you  a couple of photos from our community.  That is if I can get them on.  I hate trying to download photos on to a blog but we will give it on our best shot.

Can I just say how badly I hate trying to load photos from my phone on to my computer then to my blog.  Most of them came out sideways and I would fix them then they would revert back when I put them on my blog.  Where is Cody when I need him!!!!!!!  The photo I really wanted you to see was all the walkers lined up against the wall at mealtimes.  Especially the one that is pink and has the breast cancer symbol on it.  I promise I will get some good ones and put them on for you.

Until then, happy reading!  Miss you all, love you all. 

Nalani will you give the link to this blog to Sister Garrison, the Reeves, the McGills and Jodi, and Lynnette Jacob,  Or you can send me a ward list.









Sunday, February 17, 2013

LIFE IN BILLINGS

February 17, 2013

I've decided the very best way to keep up with all the family since moving to the norther Tundra and working 55--80 hours a week is to start blogging again.  So here we go.

Richard and I both truly love doing this work.  I kind of feel like I am on a mini mission and that mission is making elderly people's day just a little brighter.

Here is how our week goes.  Sunday and Monday are our days off and I am so glad because it means we get to go to church.  The ward we go to is the "Central" ward.  The Bishop's wife was telling me the wards here start at the temple and kind of spoke out from there like a wagon wheel.  They did that so all kinds of economic classes would be included in the ward.  It is a pretty good idea if you ask me.

Anyway back to our work week.  We start back to work at 11 am on Tuesday.  We work from 11 am until the kitchen is done, cleaned up, and the employees have all left.  That is anywhere from 7:30 until 9:00 depending on how chatty the kitchen crew is (several of them are high schoolers--what can I say!).  Richard says the chattiness is going to come to a halt.  By 7:00 we are tired. 

After we close for the night we are on call for emergency calls.  They have emergency cords in three places in their apartments.  If somebody falls, or thinks they are having a heart attack, or can't get off the toilet (that is the best kind) they pull the emergency cord.  Since we are independent living we cannot help them in any way as far as lifting, etc.  I was just more or less kidding about that toilet thing.  Usually it is a situation that they fall when trying to get off the toilet.  But the truth of it is we get very few calls and most of those are false alarms.  However when that alarm goes off Richard has to throw on some pants and a shirt and I just put my slippers on and go wandering to the office in my jammies.  My job is to clear out the emergency system, tear off the little piece of paper that prints out the apartment number the call came from, and wait for a call from Richard to see if I need to dial 911.  Everything is posted in a log.  Richard knows what apartment to go to because he has a pager.  When all the excitement is over and Bob says he is so sorry, that he was just trying to wipe his hands on the towel but accidentally pulled the cord, Richard and I go back to bed and can't sleep.  It is all kinds of fun!!

Wednesday we start at about 6:45 and are off at 3:00.  Thursday we start at 11:00 and go through the same routine as Tuesday.  The fun begins on Friday when we are on duty from 7 a.m. Friday morning until 7 am Sunday morning.  There has to be two people on duty in the community at all times.  That means I can't bail and go to Nordstrom during that time.  Oh wait--there is no Nordstrom in Billings.  Nor is there a Macy's.  Ah but we do have Wally World and yes we have Dillard's so all is well.

In all thruthfulness Richard and I love our jobs but more than that we love the people.   The average age of the community is 83.  We have one resident who is 104.  She is as stone deaf as Grandpa Clark was and is convinced her home health care person, who by the way has worked for her for 7 years, is stealing her clothes.  I am looking at this arthritic, kind of chubby little old lady and thinking to myself, "Do you realize most of your clothes are at least 50 years old and your home health care person is about 5'9 and maybe 140 pounds.  HMMMMMMMMM.  But as we like to say, some of these people are "happily confused".  This little old lady couldn't figure out why this young woman gets so darn mad when she accuses her of stealing.  In her words, "She hits the ceiling!"  And sweet Richard just sits there with his chair pulled up close to her and looks in her eyes and says, "Sure, sure, I understand, that's too bad."  Actually by morning she will forget she's been in the office anyway.

We have a lot of people here who are just wonderful.  There is a man named "Fred" who is almost blind.  He sits in front of the fireplace all the time.  I went over and sat by him one day and asked him why he always sits by himself.  I heard his life story but also made a friend for life.  When dinner time came, (meals here are breakfast, dinner, and supper) I went and got him and said, "Fred I have a special place for you to sit."  I took him to a table where two other men were sitting and said, "You don't mind if Fred sits with you do you?"  What could they say.  But I notice they chatted all through dinner.  Now everytime Fred sees me he--well let's rephrase that because he doesn't really "see" me--every time he walks towards me I say, "Hi Fred--how you doing today?"  He always says, "Oh hi dear, how are you dear?"

Then there is Louise who is LDS.  Each time I go to her table I pretend to pour coffee in her cup.  She chuckles and says, "Now Sharon you know I like hot chocolate."  Vivienne sits in her chair right outside the office and reads the paper.  She knows everything about everybody and where they live, and anything you would want to know about a person so I often call out the door and say, "Hey Vivienne--what is Freda's last name?"  She tells me and then she tells me a tidbit about them.  I told her the other day she could be my executive assistant.  She said, "Yea and I won't even get paid for it."  I said, "Not only that but you get the pleasure of paying me $3000 a month to be my assistant."  She thought that was pretty funny.

I thought when I came here I could somehow hide the fact that I limp a lot on my left side.  WRONG!!  These oldsters notice everything.  A lady named Jan grabbed me one day and handed me two fridge magnets with her son's info on them.  She said, "Now I know you are LDS and so is my son and he is a darned good chiropractor and his office is just a block away.  You go see him.  He actually is the same guy the Manager goes to all the time.  Since I couldn't find a Nucca chiropractor here I decided to go to him and he is awesome.  When Jan handed me the card and told me her son was LDS I said to her, "Well why aren't you--you should be too!"  She told me she just liked her cigarettes too much.  She did almost make me cry the other day.  She asked me how it happened that we came to work in Billings.  I told her the story and that we thought we would end up in Utah for some reason I guess God wanted us here.  She said, "God sent you here because we needed you so much.  This community needs you and I hope management is smart enough to leave you guys here for a long, long time.  We have had way too many bad Managers and Co-Managers and everybody loves you guys.  You had better stay here."  I walked away and truly almost cried.

So many people have said that same thing to us. Every Saturday they do the Pledge of Allegiance before dinner.  After we said the pledge I told them I remembered doing that every day during grade school and it broke my heart that my grandchildren didn't have the same privilege.  We have a lot of vets here, men and women, and I told them how much we appreciated all they had done for our country.  I told them I agreed with Tom Brokaw, they truly were the greatest generation.  I sat down and they all clapped.  I truly don't think these people get a lot of kudos.  They just like to be loved and have their coffee poured the minute they come in the dining room, which Richard does.  No other manager has done that for him.  The little old ladies keep telling me just how lucky I am and what a fine man he is.  One of the ladies said she asked Richard how he got to be such a good man and he said to her, "My Dad."  I told her that was a true statement, that I loved Richard's Dad with all my heart and he was one of the finest men I had known.

I am really happy here as is Richard.  It's amazing to me that we can go from a 3000 sq ft home to a one-bedroom apartment and it really doesn't matter to me.  I feel like my life has purpose again.  Not that it didn't before.  I loved tending my grandchildren and hopefully setting the right kind of example for all my grandchildren.  I miss Hayli, Chelsi and Austin calling and asking if they can come for the weekend and work.  I miss having Cash and Sloan run in the door on a regular basis.  I miss seeing cute little blonde headed Hailey, Maddy and Bronson and wild child curly headed Ellie coming in the door.  I miss seeing all the cousins playing together when Maile and her four boys and Kami and her two boys come.

But I also feel like we are in a place where we have an opportunity to bring a smile to the face of many people on a daily basis.  So what does the future bring?  I don't know.  Hopefully my hips will hold out long enough to do this job until God wants us to quit.  Hopefully I can keep teasing these residents and asking them if they have a "hot" date tonight.

Our apartment opens right out into the big dining room.  So another perk is late at night say 8 pm, remember some of these people go to bed at 6!  But at nightime if I am hungry I can open the door, run across the dining room to the place they put fruit and leftover cookies etc. etc. etc., and grab a snack and run back to my apartment and all this is done in my flannel jammies!  I told Richard I was really mad that I had gained 3 lbs.  I think it must be all that walking we do has turned some fat into muscle and you know muscle weighs more than fat.  Yes that is definitely it!

Another advantage--we have been here over 2 weeks and used not even 1/4 tank of gas.  We have purchased practically zero groceries and I have not cooked a single meal.  It just doesn't get much better than that.

This blog has gone on way too long.  We love you all and remember we have a guest suite we can use for any of you that come up and free meals!! (Plus all the entertainment you will have watching the antics of old people!!)

Monday, January 17, 2011

Family Vacation January 2011












































We were invited to go to California with some of our children; along with Sharon's sister and brother-in-law Carl & Pat Clark and their daughter and son-in-law Sam & Carrie. Here are some of the photos that we took along the way. We drove down I-15 through Utah, Arizona and Nevada, staying the first night in Las Vegas. No gambling involved, except for trying to get service at Claim Jumper in the Towne Square area. Not good and I certainly won't recommend it!

A good night sleep at the Residence Inn, and then off to Los Angeles, California. That little drive is long, but thanks to Jed running nose guard, we were able to make pretty good time. All the way from Las Vegas to Barstow there were signs to eat at Peggy Sue's Diner. We stopped in to eat and what a hoot! This one I will really recommend! A bit of a dive, but great food, service and prices. Too much fun, and lots of entertainment for children.

We pulled into the Residence Inn at Anaheim that afternoon and Sharon begged and pleaded with the desk staff and got rooms there for all 22 of us! They were great and the whole theme of the hotel was centered around the Disney experience.

Three days at Disneyland, then off to San Diego. Sea World and then a day at the beach. We all agreed that Sea World was not our favorite place to stop. Not so clean, two main attractions closed and very short shows. Constant advertising for you to contribute to their cause! I don't like paying $70 to endure their advertisements.

Carl, Pat, Sharon and I went to Old San Diego to see the LDS Mormon Battalion Center. We loved it! It is so unique and provides some great history of what those men and women did for San Diego. The media is incredible and I would recommend this light and entertaining show to anyone, LDS or not.

The beach just off the cliffs at Torrey Pines is incredible. The weather was fabulous and the children (and adults) had a great time. That afternoon Carl, Pat, Sharon and I drove back to Las Vegas and stayed with Carl's brother Fred Clark. Fred is the most wonderful, gracious host. We spent the next two days with him as our escort, taking us to brunch at the Green Valley Ranch Casino, then to the Las Vegas LDS Temple grounds, an hour or two to relax at Fred's home and then out to Hoover Dam to see the new bridge that has been built there. That is an incredible point of interest, and should be labeled as one of the wonders of the world.

Then back to Fred's for a wonderful steak dinner, followed by a quick trip to the strip to see the Billagio (Chihuli's glass ceiling) and then to Old Town Las Vegas to see the light show.

We drove home yesterday and have basically died since then! A vacation is a time for the tired to become exhausted.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

How is Living in Orem, Utah Different From Living in Redmond, WA?

It has been three months since we moved to Utah and we have noticed some differences between Orem, Utah and Redmond, Washington. Here are a few.

1. You better be nice to your neighbors because you WILL see them at church.

2. People from Utah do not understand, nor can they appreciate the term "Sunbreaks" when listening to the weather forecast.

3. People in Utah go for Halloween in a big, big way. It is the only time you can visit the dark side and get away with it!

4. We had to learn the name of the bright light coming over the mountains each morning. People here call it the "Sun!"

5. Say only kind things about people. The one you are talking to is probably related to the one you are talking about.

6. You are not with the in crowd unless you have a utility trailer parked on your property.

7. DO NOT--I REPEAT--DO NOT try to go anywhere on the opening day of deer hunt. It is a state holiday and 70,000 people are headed for the mountains.

8. It is mandatory to carry a four--wheeler in the back of your pickup.

9. You can walk to church, to do visiting teaching, to do home teaching, or anything else connected to your ward. It is only 3 square blocks!!

10. Get to church at least 15 minutes early. If you don't you will be in the very back row of the cultural hall trying to hear the speaker over the cries of at least 250 children under two years of age. (Remember the 250 children come from 3 square blocks!)

11. The average size of a family in Washington is 2.5 and shrinking. In Utah the average family size is 7.5 and growing.

12. You must buy at least six Costco sized bags of candy for Halloween.

13. The standard Utah family has two vehicles. The first is either a minivan or a 13 passenger van. The second is a 4-wheel drive, crew cab, diesel truck with a 10-inch lift kit and 22-inch chrome wheels.

14. The friendliest people in the world live in Utah. It is standard to wave at every passing vehicle. You are odd if you don't. You can also expect a fresh loaf of hot homemade bread to appear on your doorstep sometime during the first week. That is followed by homemade chocolate chip cookies and little children that love to visit and call you "Grandpa and Grandma." What's more they are convinced you are! It's great!!

15. It doesn't take long to learn how wonderful it is to live by children, grandchildren, and family, and to enjoy a "Cousin's Dinner" once a month.

The following are some of our favorite photos since moving here.



These two cute girls from our ward rang the doorbell today and asked if they could rake our leaves for free. They were bored and just wanted something to do.

Ou Lov Sac is still a favorite gathering place of all children. This day it happend to be Layla from downstairs, little Hayli who didn't particularly want her face shown that day, (we have a little Hayli and a big Hayli now among our grandchildren) and cute little Maddie. Little Hayli and Maddie belong to Cody and Meridith.

I am so appreciative to my friends in Washington for helping me learn a new hobby--crocheting. My Mom would be so darn proud. Below is my first project.

Little Cash (Nalani and Jed's) thinks the world revolves around Uncle Cody. When he is grumpy and won't go to anybody else he will always, always snuggle with Cody.


It has been fun to see some of the projects Jason has done with his new talent. He makes the most incredible leather projects. Below are some miniature roses he has made from leather. They look so real you want to smell them. He also makes big roses, wallets, purses, pocket knife holders and my favorite--gorgeous scripture covers that he designs specifically for each person he makes them for.








We are looking forward to a white Christmas with family this year. We are so excited for Kami and Ben. It looks like he will actually be back in Hawaii in time for Christmas. We are so grateful he has been protected and watched over while in Iraq. We are grateful to have family close by and for the opportunity to make new friends. We truly miss our good friends in Redmond and would welcome a visit from any of them.
From now on we will make a gallant attempt to be better at updating this blog.





Saturday, May 16, 2009

A Happy Mother's Day



Okay I will admit it. I cried when I got this Mother's Day gift. Jason and a friend made this cover for my scriptures. He sent Dad one a few weeks ago and I was so jealous. And then I got this one the week of Mother's Day. Jason said it was the hardest thing he has ever done. All those little teeny bumps on the cover were put there by a tiny tool about the size of a pin head. The photo doesn't do it justice but it is gorgeous. The Relief Society symbol and the CTR symbol were enlarged freehand from the Ensign Jason gets.

We went to Maile's a couple of weeks ago and took Quinn to his swimming lessons while Maile ran some errands. I don't know who was more entertaining; Quinn jumping off the diving board and yelling "Cow-a-bun-ga" (because Grandpa dared him to) or Cannon measuring the entire swimming pool with a tape measure I gave him to keep busy.
videoo



I love having the twins come to visit. We have discovered one thing for sure. If they are getting crabby just put on "Yo-Gabba-Gabba!" And we thought Mr. Rogers was dumb!

I have to tell Nalani, Maile, Meridith, and Kami 'THANK YOU" from the bottom of my heart for another favorite gift. At Christmas time I went in to Gymboree and they had little cowboy vests and shirts on sale. They had enough to get one for each of our grandsons so I did. When Maile was down they took the boys and had their pictures taken. That photo is just about my all time favorite photo. I can't stop looking at it. They even managed to get one with all the boys smiling--well let's just say Cash wasn't frowning anyway. It doesn't matter what he does--he is still cute. When I get an electronic copy of the photo I will post it.













Friday, February 27, 2009

Grandma & Grandpa Are Kids Again

We went down to Quinn's birthday party in Portland and had a blast. We went down the big blow up slide and all the parents thought we were pretty alright to join in the fun.









Wednesday, January 28, 2009

I Stink at Blogging!

We all know I am not a good blogger. We all know I only update once in a blue moon. We all know that lots of the photos I post my kids have already posted something similar.
But I'm turning over a new blog leaf. I have decided (that phrase strikes fear in the heart of my other half) I am going to be so much better this year. Richard just showed me how to download the photos from our camera to my own personal laptop (which really is Richard's thanks to Grange--it is one thing for which I can thank them!)
You will find my photos are mostly family. Strange isn't that. During Christmas when I was so sick with influenza, like a lot of the family, I looked at all our grandkids playing one day and I couldn't help but think in spite of everything that has happened to us this year we are truly blessed.
Richard and I have wanted so badly to move to Utah by Pat and Carl and all the kids and grandkids. We have tried everything we could think of to make it happen. It just hasn't worked. Jobs that we thought Richard had have fallen through. Our home has not sold as hard as we have tried. Richard has worked on this house until he was exhausted. He is so good at that. He works so hard and never complains. But as "up to date" as we tried to be, as much as we have dropped the price, it just hasn't happened.
On the way home from Oregon this past week I started thinking about it and something told me it just wasn't the right time and we needed to take the house off the market. In talking to Richard he felt the same way. So---we came home and reluctantly took the "For Sale" signs down. We have come to the conclusion we would have to give the house away to sale it. We think it is best to wait two or three years and see if things get a little better. Hopefully it will. We also don't know where we would go if we sold it. We will wait and see where Richard gets a job and then decide what to do.
Sunday Richard had to give a talk in church on trials and tribulations. He did such a good job. He told everybody it wasn't his farewell talk. Maybe we were moving and maybe we werren't. We just didn't know. He said despite all we had been through this year we had had so many blessings. Three of our children became parents this year. We have five new beautiful grandchildren. We had got to spend so much more time together this year and spent three weeks in Hawaii having a ball. I wish you all could have been there to hear him.
I want to thank each of you who have told us you remember us in your prayers every day. It means a lot to us. I know we are going to be all right. My children have lifted my spirits time and time again and there is nothing that makes me thank God more than when I hold one of those sweet grandchildren in my arms and snuggle with them. I look at the new ones and I know they met Dad and Mom before they came down. I just wish they could talk and tell me any advice Dad and Mom would have for me. I wish I knew what to do about a son in prison and if there is any way in the world to change and soften his heart. It really breaks my heart when his children ask me how "Joe" is doing. But on the other hand I am so grateful they have another Dad that loves them and plays with them and tries to guide them.
We will be okay I am sure of it. We have never failed to pay a full tithing and it has been a little hard this year when I draw $10,000 out of our 401K and write a check for tithing for $1,000. But it isn't hard when I realize it is his to begin with and he has given me more blessings than trials this past year.
Sorry for the sermon. I love you all. My heart and my prayers are always with Phil and my heart aches for what he is going through. Phil I love you a lot even if Mom used to tell me I was so mean to you!!! Hopefully I have grown up.

Take care you all and keep the faith. A lot of us are in the same situation and we will make it:)

One of my favorite view from Nalani's deck. Awesome!

Cash will not give up until he has rolled over enough times to eat a pear off the tree. After doing this over a dozen times he still hasn't gotten the idea the thing is carboard! They better put him in pre-school fast!

My favorite gift this year to give the kids. Four bowls that said "You Scream" "I Scream" "We all Scream" "For Ice Cream." Ask any of them about Kessler's grocery store in Blackfoot.

They don't get much cuter than this. I mean Cash! You can see from this photo his favorite his favorite thing is rearranging my hair and stealing my earrings.

I may be the Mom but I think this is one cute family. The best thing is Jed calls me "Mom" so he can't hate me too much. Jed you are the bomb!

You have all heard about the mellow climate in Seattle. Not true! This gear about says it all!

Smiles run in the family. You can't have a bad day with these grins.

Check out these eyelashes. They obviously skipped my generation in this family tree. Not fair!

His beautiful blue eyes match sweet potatoes beautifully!

Chubby cheeks also run in the family.

Somehow this bag of Nalani's brings back bad memories of early morning in the barnyard.

One of the sweetest things is seeing Kai's face when he sees his Dad on the web cam first thing in the morning. Life is surely different than it was for wives and families during the Viet Nam War when they waited weeks for a letter. Kai will know his Dad when he comes home from Iraq. Cool huh.Thanks to Meridith we now have two "Haileys" in the family. There isn't any doubt this one loves Grandpa. In fact what grandkid doesn't! I could get jealous but I am just glad they do love him.

Bath time. He looks petrified but that was only because he knew Cash was already in the tub.

See Kai--he's not so bad after all!