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Sunday, September 25, 2005

A musical household

We had a visit this weekend from Linda's brother and his wife. They brought us the piano that Linda grew up with, since no on at their house plays any more. Linda will probably use it mostly for speech therapy, to work on her range. But she used to play, and she might work on that some again (it would be good for her hands). She might not, I'm not sure which she would consider the bigger nightmare, piano lessons or stroke recovery. The combination might be too much to bear.

At the moment, just playing it is too much to bear (although I've actually heard a church piano or two sound much worse). According to numerous places on the internet, we should wait a week before having it tuned. It takes that long for the piano to adjust to the temperature and humidity of its new surroundings.

I did a bit of research on the piano. It was apparently made in 1957. It is a spinet piano, which basically means really small. From the serial number, I was able to narrow down the production year to somewhere between 1956 and 1960, but the piano tuner wrote A-440 1957, apparently when he first tuned it. In case you don't know, 440 refers to 440hz which is the frequency of A on the modern musical scale.

Tim and Vic also brought a very nifty little writing desk. Linda has sort of claimed it for years, being a person small enough to fit in it, although it was really Tim's. It is now Linda's, just in time for Ellie to claim it from her. So I guess, it's really Ellie's.

Driving into the sunset

I'm working on getting Linda's car sold. I took it for one last oil change and had the fluids checked. My ad went in the newspaper on Friday. Two people have called, and one of them came out to drive it. Lately I've been remembering back to when Linda bought that car. She was so excited. It's been a good car for her, but she's ready to get rid of it rather than let it sit around undriven.

Ellie is not quite ready to get rid of it. She likes Mom's car, because it is red. Nothing I can do about that. I'm selling it anyway, but we've been driving it around a bit more lately so Ellie can enjoy it before it is gone.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Come over and practice walking

Linda wants to start practicing walking (at home) in front of friends. She hopes to become less nervous walking in front of people by practicing in a safe environment. You're welcome to visit and help out.

She notes that picking up pencils with her foot (something the therapists suggested) has helped to make her ankle stronger. It still gives her trouble, most notably at the therapy center. She's been crocheting again, a blanket for Ellie, and that seems to be really helping with the tone in her left index finger.

I took Linda to the grocery store again today. She used her wheelchair (I pumped up the tires before we went). This was after doing therapy, so pretty ambitious. By the end, she was pretty darn tired. She skipped an aisle or two and I pushed her back to the car.

It's pretty hard buying lots of groceries when your trunk is mostly full of wheelchair and your back seat has to have a place to put Ellie.

I read a fun story to Ellie tonight, The True Story of the Three Little Pigs.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Things that get you down

Evil people live in Fairfax, VA. I'm not sure why, but I'm sure there's a good reason for it. So I was less than delighted to receive a very generic-looking letter today (yes, technically not today, but I've been busy and I finally got to the mail today) with a return address in Fairfax. Yes, it was a collection agency. Yes, the same one I had a run-in with last year, and yes it all goes back to the same medical equipment people as before.

Only this time, I have a little more practice. The letter I got today wasn't one of the mean ones. It was a feeling things out letter. It said they were auditing their delinquent accounts, listed the balance of Linda's, and asked us to let them know if the balance of the account was in dispute. You'll not be surprised to know that it is.

They believe that Linda owes $375 over what is really a totally messed up account. I corrected their misconception. I told them that the account number they list matches none of the bills I have received and let them know what the correct number should be. I gave them the telephone number and extension of the billing person I have been working with so that she can help them get their facts straight. And I let them know that there is only $130 outstanding on Linda's chair, less than her still-pending insurance claims. In short her account is 1) not delinquent, 2) worth less than they think, and 3) almost certainly to be paid in full by another party.

We'll see how things go. Assume nothing when working with evil people.

More things that get you down

I was pretty hot by the time I had run my spreadsheets, written my letter, and walked it out to the mailbox. Linda turned on the air conditioner, which we had turned off for a while. It's not such a good time to open the windows since ragweed is pollenating. I can tell when I've been outside.

Unfortunately the house didn't cool down. Yesterday, when I was mowing, I clipped the control wire that tells the compressor to run. Didn't even see it there. So we've just been blowing warm air around the house. Needless to say, I was a bit annoyed with myself. Next year, I'm going to spend the money to get some kind of plant-less landscaping done around there. I was too cheap to do it this year.

Luckily the cut was clean and there was extra wire. Splicing it together was annoying but not difficult. The house is starting to cool down now. I'll still have to look at that splice again and make it good against the weather, but I'm good for today.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

A favorite

All the Places to Love


School House Rock Song ... I'm just a victim of gravity...

Linda So am I!

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Just seen on Slashdot

Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a few hours.

Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life.

School Fever

Ellie wants to go to school. She's only 4, which means she couldn't go to school yet anyway. She knows this, so if you ask her how old she is there is a good chance she'll hold up 5 fingers now. She's been berating me about it all week, so I told her that I would check about school.

The August 1st deadline is firm at both the public school and the Catholic school. So she can't go to either, even next fall. The Lutheran school can be a little more flexible. They have a pre-school, too, which means that Ellie can try out school for half days and we can find out if it is compatible with her.

I asked Ellie if she wanted to go to half-day school and see if she liked it. She looked skeptically at me, and said, I want to go to school. Not pre-school. I'm big.

I told her that it was school for 4-year-olds. I figure if she can lie about her age, I can misrepresent the facts slightly to get her to do what she wants to do anyway. She still doesn't know if she can trust me, but she wants to try it. I'm going to see about setting things up tomorrow. Hopefully she'll be able to start on October 1.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Random update

All week for bedtime Ellie has been asking to read math books. I'm not sure why, but I'm OK with it. We've read Fraction Action several times (seems to be her current favorite), Mission Addition, and I'm saving up 2 x 2 = Boo! since it has a Halloween theme. It's fine with me if she thinks fractions are cool.

Random update, ...., get it? It's a math thing.

Beep beep

Linda tried one of the motorized carts at the grocery store today. The one she was on seemed to have only two speeds, stopped and just-a-little-too-fast. She managed.

It's been a long time since she's been to the grocery store, although we've gone with her wheelchair a few times. She wants to buy everything.

Staying flexible

Now that school has started, we are busier than ever. Linda is back in speech therapy at Truman and she's continuing her therapy in town. We switch up her canes a lot now depending on the situation. She generally takes 2 canes to Truman in case she has to walk in the therapy room (where I'm not there to help) because she's a bit more self-reliant than with the 4-point cane.

We still take her 4-point out a lot, although sometimes she takes her walker instead. She's really independent with that (something nice). But there are some places not to take a walker, like Pagliais. For the Truman football game, she didn't use canes at all; I just walked backwards and held her hands.

Go Free Software

Just in case you forgot, I think free software is really cool. You should use it. FreeCD.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Walking at home, walking out

Linda asked me to spot her so she could walk around the family room some without her cane. It may have been her best yet. She did one turn around the room on her own, then took another turn using only a single-point cane. That's a different sort of challenge.

She had OT and PT only today. PT is always the hardest of the therapies that she goes to, but we both thought it went very well today. Chris seemed pleased too.

Good thing I don't need help

Because Linux people need not apply.


Information Week

Monday, September 05, 2005

Unexpected night out

We got a last-minute invitation to come over for BBQ at a friend's house. That's just the kind of thing that Linda usually hates. First, she needs time to get used to an idea like that. And outside is always hard. It's noisy, so people can't hear her. The ground is uneven, so walking is hard. And it's difficult to get to the bathroom. We went anyway, and had fun. Ellie got filthy in the sandbox with a bunch of other kids, so the grown-ups had a chance to socialize.

The long drive

We made the drive to Iowa to meet Linda's parents and bring Ellie home. She was really glad to see us. We met in Fairfield at a park with the most wonderful playscape. Everything on it was about climbing, which is perfect for Ellie. It was just easy enough that Ellie could do each thing, but hard enough that she could play there for a long time without getting bored.

We played until Ellie was red in the face, then made the trip home. Ellie was good the whole way, and slept for about half the trip. Linda slept for a good bit of the trip too.

I pondered how much gas I was using. I can't believe that gas is $3 a gallon. I can't believe how much it costs to fill my car (and it has a little tank). I was adding up what it must cost my friends with SUVs to fill, and that sum must be truly depressing. I wonder if it isn't time to reconsider driving slow. According to the government, cars' fuel economy top out around 55-60mph. Maybe it's time we declare the decade of fast driving over realize that foreign affairs demand a change.

I suppose I'm deluding myself. Only president Bush would have the authority to convince people that driving slower is a moral necessity, a duty to our country. And people have to be inspired to comply, or a new limit means nothing. Clinton couldn't have done it (although at the time it wasn't so necessary as now) since he couldn't really speak from the moral high ground. Bush senior couldn't have done it either because he didn't inspire the way Bush junior does. This is the first time in a long time that the charisma and the necessity were both present, yet I cannot fathom an oilman asking for people to burden themselves with the inconvenience of slowing down.

I also pondered the feelings of sorrow we have for the people who couldn't get our of New Orleans even though they knew a hurricane was coming. It seems a stark contrast from the way we felt about the innocents who couldn't get out of Fallujah when they new the US was coming. I remember people telling me, They knew we were coming. They shouldn't have been there. It's hard to empty a large city even when overwhelming force looms on the horizon. There are just too many people who are poor or sick or have no place to go.

Mostly I'm glad I don't get to see much TV. I think I'm just as glad not knowing how things are.

About hair

On a lighter note, I've been putting Linda's hair up lately. It's pretty hard for her to do it for herself, but it is getting enough length to do a short pony tail. Today she and Ellie both have pig tails and they are very cute. I'm getting a bit better at this hair thing, although I have to admit sometimes I feel completely clumsy trying to get it going where I want.

I've not yet mastered doing it without yanking and tugging and pulling. That will come with practiece I'm sure.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Small triumph

Ellie's curtains are officially finished. Just in time. I hope she's surprised.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Hard day

It's a hard day when your husband drives to work forgetting that your wheelchair is in the trunk. Linda trudged on anyway. She even made pancakes for herself this morning. Unfortunately it was a bit harder and she burned them. She told me later, I was so tired, I ate them anyway. I just put lots of syrup on them.

We went out for dinner tonight with friends. Linda used her walker so she would feel more independent. That was fine, but we missed somehow sitting down and she slid off the slick chair to the floor (gently). Needless to say, it made a scene, but we laughed. Later when Linda and I were recapping what happened, I told her that I was not thinking quickly enough. Otherwise when everybody turned to look, I could have yelled, Come on everyone! Let's Twister!

That idea still makes me laugh.