Sunday, September 30, 2012

Long Day

Today has been a long day.  When I finally got home 10 hours after leaving, I was exhausted.  It is a good exhausted, though.  This morning I had 5 people come to the class on contemplative prayer.  I started with none, and last week had 1, so this was wonderful.  They liked what we did a lot.  I told them to go out and recruit more people.  It was one of those days when everyone wanted a minute after the worship service.  It was an hour before I was able to leave.  I took Daughter to lunch, and then I dropped her off with one of the saints, who had offered to take her shopping and then home.  Daughter was excited, to say the least. 

Then it was back to the church to gather the information for the nominating committee. I trained them, and then headed out to visit with the family of the woman who died this week.  The meeting started with some tension.  They had planned out "the program," including 8 speakers, and it took a bit to convince them this was a worship service and we needed Scripture and prayer.  By the time I left, they had relaxed and decided to trust me to pull things together.  Trust within reason, of course, we're getting together again next Sunday afternoon.  Hopefully it won't be for an other 2 hours.  This memorial service is going to be quite an undertaking, and I'm grateful for 2 weeks to pull it together.  They have a trio that is going to provide live music, so we'll have to arrange things to provide space for keyboard, drums, and saxophone....  They are expecting a huge crowd.  The woman was well over 80, so normally I would be skeptical, but given what I know of this woman and her family, it's a definite possibility.  Last year I had 4 funerals all year. This will be the 6th one this year.  Given the age of this congregation, I'm sure that I will continue to do a number of funerals each year.  One of the women commented on how hard this must be, doing all these funerals.  I told her I consider it an honor.  I truly do.  It is truly a blessing to be able to walk with families through this difficult time.  It also has the potential to be exhausting, and it looks like this one will be one of those. 

This is a four night at the church week.  I told Administrative Assistant today that I have to get Friday off this week.  It's going to be important to get my time off.  Tomorrow morning is the meeting to evaluate how Daughter is doing at the workshop.  I anticipate developing a plan to increase her time at the workshop.  We'll see. 

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Three Months

It took me three months, but I got it done.  Back in June, I called about getting my computer repaired.  The plan to take it in and get it done in one day fell apart.  I struggled with the most efficient way to get it repaired, and finally decided to send it in.  I'd be without it longer, but it wouldn't take me as long to do it.  So, I transferred files to Daughter's computer and sent it in.  It took two weeks, but 3 months after I made the first phone call, it was returned to me.

The repair shop had said I'd probably have to pay for the mouse because I wouldn't be able to prove it wasn't damaged some other way.  On the packing slip, I described the problem as a "worn out mouse."  They apparently agreed, because they repaired it for free, and I was pleasantly surprised to discover that not only did they replace the mouse, they replaced the keyboard and basically the entire top of my laptop.  It may be that they had to do it that way, but I've replaced keyboards before on laptops, and both times I just had to replace the keyboard itself.  They also updated the bios while they had it.  It is back and it is wonderful.  While Daughter's computer is newer than mine, it is cheap.  I couldn't have as many windows open on it, and it couldn't keep up with my typing.  I'm glad I went for a more expensive model when I bought this one 2 1/2 years ago. 

Today I transferred all the files I had written on Daughter's computer over to mine.  I had worked on over 60 files.  I knew I did a lot of writing, but that seemed excessive.  It's good to be back on my computer, and nice that it is new and improved.  All the keys have letters or abbreviations on the them now.  I'd worn the paint off some of the old ones.  I told Administrative Assistant that I think my service contract paid for itself with that repair.  Laptops are the only thing I buy service contracts on, and I've had to make use of them several times.  I'll keep this one running as long as the service contract will cover necessary repairs.  Beyond that, I'll see. 

I worked in the concession stand at the football game today.  It was a busy day in the stand.  I was cooking hot dogs.  We sold lots of hot dogs.  It was a beautiful day for football.  Tomorrow I'll teach a class, lead worship, take Daughter out to lunch, and then train the nominating committee and meet with the family of the woman who died last week to plan her memorial service.  It sounds like it's going to be another big one. 

Daughter is here for the night.  She wasn't too happy that I was going to be working the game today, but she managed without me.  I picked her up after the game (though I made her wait until I'd gone to the bank and eaten supper.)  I hope everyone has a wonderful Sunday.  I'm looking forward to mine.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Interesting Conversation

Yesterday evening Daughter was talking about Tiny Village, and the house we lived in there.  She was speculating on what the church had done to get the house ready for the new pastor and his family.  She remembered the night she almost set the house on fire.  She wondered if they had painted over the scorch mark it left on her bedroom wall.  I said I was sure they had repainted the room.

"Yes, they wouldn't want the new pastor to know that they had a pastor who had a child who was so disturbed she burned her hoodie." 

Sometimes her insight amazes me.  I had no response.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Happy Daughter, Unhappy Mom, Busy Pastor

Daughter went to an art festival today with her program.  She tried to call and text me with a question while she was there, but I'd left my cell phone in the car, so didn't get the message until later.  She wasn't frustrated or angry.  When she called this evening, she was in a great mood.  She told me about how awesome her day had been and described some of the art she had seen.  No manipulation, no drama.  It was wonderful.

I got an email, and the group home's pharmacy is having issues with her insurance.  They are also lying to the group home.  Pharmacy said they've been notifying me of her bill for over $1500 and had told me about the problem getting her test strips covered.  I had received a bill from them recently that showed a balance of less than $1,000.  It was only the second bill I received from them.  Each time I called their billing department and the woman looked at Daughter's account and said it had been billed improperly and I didn't need to worry about the bill, she'd take care of it.  I responded to the group home with details of the bills I have received and reported the day I called and who I talked to.  I told them I didn't have time to do more right now, and they could figure it out.  I haven't had a response. 

Ministry continues to be busy.  The wife of a couple that has been married for over 60 years was diagnosed with cancer last week.  She went back into the hospital Monday, and today the family pulled all support.  She is pretty much unresponsive.  I spent some time with them this afternoon. Her husband is grieving.  It all has moved relatively quickly.  It's another loss for the congregation.  I found myself fighting back tears as I prayed with them today.  Three years ago this week my Dad died.  I led a book study tonight.  This was the third week, and the class size has more than doubled.  Administrative Assistant was right on when she said she thought the young person's death on September 8 sent a shock wave through the congregation that slowed down their getting on board with the various educational opportunities. 

It's been another busy day, and a good one. 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

To Laugh or to Cry

Administrative Assistant and I walked out together today.  I wanted to go the grocery store, and I was taking advantage of a day with no evening commitments.  I was quite proud of myself.  I had remembered my cell phone, which I forget at least 3 times a week.  I'd remembered the lunch box I left at the church yesterday.  I was quite proud of myself, until I realized my fanny pack with my wallet in it was still in my study.  So once again, I pulled around and parked by the door and ran in to pick up something I'd forgotten.  If they ever check the alarm records, they will discover several times a week I have to turn around to go back in and get something I forgot. 

So I got to the grocery store, and I actually had a list that I made after reading the weekly ads.  I ran into a couple of people I know, so several conversations and almost $90 later, I came home.  I walked to the curb to pick up the mail, and realized why the lawn mowing went so quickly on Sunday.  I was doing a diagonal pattern Sunday, so I started by going through the middle.  Unfortunately, I forgot to mow the second side once I finished the first side.  I did that Sunday, and didn't even notice until today.  I pondered going out to fix it, and finally decided to close the garage door and come sit in the family room, where I can't see it. 

Sometimes I worry about my brain and how it's working and the lapses I have.  Most of the time I laugh.  I'm always grateful that my brain does work when it comes to writing, preaching, and leading....

I Love My Board

We had a church board meeting last night.  I truly love my board.  They are a wonderful group of people who are willing to share, struggle, and seek out new options as we move forward in ministry.  We have been reading and discussing a book, and last night the chapter we discussed talked about how too often we develop new visions, but then maintain the same activities.  The author suggested our real priority is maintenance.  I shared my frustration in the lack of participation in the classes we're offering.  As we discussed it, we realized that people are very reluctant to commit to one more thing.  As the discussion continued, we decided to try a new model beginning in January.  We will offer one time courses on a variety of spiritual and practical topics.  We will open them up to the community, and offer them at different times as we find what works best.  We're going to do something on funerals, and offer a session on estate planning.  We may explore disaster assistance, and we'll spend some time on grief.  We'll look at a variety of spiritual disciplines.  We were excited about this opportunity to explore a different way to do education.  I love the energy and ideas that come out of our board meetings. 

I've got my energy back, which is wonderful.  Daughter was at the workshop yesterday, and did well.  Have I mentioned lately that I love my life? 

Sunday, September 23, 2012


I think I've recovered from whatever bug I had.  I did nothing yesterday, but today I led a class, led worship, took Daughter out to lunch, attended a meeting, and then came home and mowed the lawn.  I've got laundry in the washer and dryer.  I've done the PowerPoint for Wednesday evening's adult ed.  Tomorrow morning my walking partner will be here at 6:00 and we'll go for a 3 mile walk. 

It feels like fall has arrived.  We have a frost warning up for tonight, so I need to go out and harvest a bunch of peppers and tomatoes.  I had a fire in my fireplace yesterday, which was wonderful.  I really do love my life.  I signed up to work the concession stand again next Saturday, so hopefully I will be up to it. 

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Wrong Tactic

I slept in this morning, and have done nothing today, unless you count watching college football as something.  Daughter called before 7:00 this morning, waking me up.  I was not very receptive.  It was a short conversation, and I went back to sleep.   This afternoon I acknowledged to her that I did not go to the game because I'm not feeling well.  She cried about missing me so much and wanting to come today.  I assured her she could manage without me.  I'm surprised she didn't try telling me she wanted to come take care of me since I'm not feeling well.  Of course, she still might try that before the evening is over....

Saturday is hard on her.  She doesn't do well with unstructured time.  They didn't have an outing planned for today, apparently.  She said they went to the grocery store, but that was all.  She has a keyboard, TV, DVD/VCR and a variety of art supplies in her room.  She just has a hard time entertaining herself.  It's one of the reasons I refuse to allow her to quit her program.  She has to have structure.

Friday, September 21, 2012

A Bug

I was at the church for a while this morning-- and didn't have much of a voice.  The concession manager was there and decided he doesn't need me to work tomorrow, which is good.  I came home and had some soup, and I've been relaxing since.  I don't know if I'm coming down with something or if I'm simply exhausted. 

I haven't told Daughter I'm not working at the game tomorrow.  I need a day alone.  A quiet day.  I need to be recovered by Sunday.

Thursday, September 20, 2012


This week has flown by.  While it has been less frantic in the office, there has still been a great deal of work, much of it of the catching up variety.  I asked Administrative Assistant where the week had gone.  I've had a number of things that have taken me out of the office, from calling on sick folks to the ministerial association and my peer group retreat. 

Daughter is much better at handling my busy weeks now.  She is much  more accepting when I don't have time to talk to her, and is generally only calling twice a day.  It is wonderful progress for her.  I hope to blog more soon.  

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


The pace in the office this week is much more relaxed.  Administrative Assistant had our "We survived!" lunch today.  It was good to get out of the office.  Sister Best Friend and I have planned sermon themes through Epiphany (January 6) and now I'm at a retreat center with some colleagues.  We enjoyed a wonderful evening of fellowship and conversation.  It was good to catch up with everyone after a long summer. 

Tomorrow we will be reflecting on work and balance and such.  Always important topics for us.  Daughter seems to be doing well.  She is calling less and is happier when she does call.  It's nice. 

I'm back to walking in the mornings.  We walked Monday and Tuesday and will walk again on Thursday.  For now, I think it's time to get some sleep....

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Three for Three

Last week I was joking in the office.  People were telling me how much they liked last Sunday and the memorial service.  I said, "Yes, and you expect me to do it again on Sunday."  Several people  suggested I pull a sermon from the file, but I don't work that way. One of the men said, "Well, hey, two out of three is pretty good, don't worry about it." 

This morning after worship he walked by as I was talking to someone.  He didn't stop, but as he passed me he said, "Three for three."  I called my thanks after him while everyone else looked puzzled. 

I'm still tired, but I'm recovering.  Tomorrow morning I'll start walking at 6:00 again.  I signed up to work at the concession booth for next Saturday's football game.  I  recruited a member to pick up Daughter for worship next Sunday.  I don't want to deal with her after the game. 

She did pretty well while she was here.  Last night, though, she got up and ate a banana.  She felt guilty this morning, and when she feels guilty, she gets ugly.  She spent the morning growling at me.  I asked her if the banana was worth it, because she sure did sound miserable. 

I think this week will be quieter.  I hope it will be.  I told Administrative Assistant that we are going to lunch Tuesday to celebrate surviving the past 3 weeks.  She thought that was a good idea.  She also told me she has been summoned to jury duty in October.  It's still September, so I'm not going to think about it yet....

Friday, September 14, 2012

Catch Up

Daughter and I had eye appointments this morning, and after dropping off the recycling, I headed into the church.  I now have to do all the things I didn't make time to do this week, starting with scanning a form Far Away Sister needs to sign as Daughter's back up guardian.  It arrived Monday with an official notice that I was delinquent in filing my annual report.  I need to get that done and back to the court before I have to appear at a hearing.  I also finally sent off my computer for repairs.  The box arrived Monday, and had been sitting on a chair in my study since then. 

Administrative Assistant was working on bulletins.  Some of the property guys were in the office making buttons for the concession workers.  One had suggested Administrative Assistant could do it.  She said she threatened to throw the phone at him.  They informed me that when they saw me coming they got busy so I wouldn't think they were bugging Administrative Assistant.  Our pianist has tendinitis in her hand, and has informed us it is looking like she will need surgery.  Choir Director informed me last night that we needed to find a long term sub.  He had been calculating recovery time, and is not optimistic.  I'm trying to coordinate a meeting with the appropriate people to set a process in motion for finding someone.  It's a challenge, coordinating calendars, but we'll figure it out.

AA and I are both exhausted after 3 over full weeks.  Both of us ended up asking our daughters to stop talking last night.  Daughter is rather frustrated with me right now because I'm not much fun when I'm this exhausted. 

I need to clean the kitchen and round up all the mail that I've been ignoring all week.  I took Daughter out to lunch, and when we got back to the house, I sat down in a recliner and fell asleep.  Hopefully I'll find some energy by tomorrow. 

Thursday, September 13, 2012


I was very isolated in Tiny Village, here I am surrounded by colleagues, which is wonderful-- for the most part.  I've had emails or facebook messages from several colleagues offering prayers and support as they knew about the death I was dealing with and how hard dealing with the death of a young person is.  I saw a Local Colleague (as in his church is 2 houses and across the street from my house) from a different tradition last night at the visitation.  I beckoned him out of the long line. 

"I'm mad at you!"

He smiled knowingly and asked innocently, "Why?" 

"Well because you go with the families to funeral homes and you host the visitations at the church, now I'm doing that!" 

"It wasn't me, it was my secretary!  She's the one who told Grieving Mom about our traditions!"  Then he added,"When she told me, I said I'd be on your list."  Then he got back in line and introduced me to his daughter and due in October grandson. 

It added to the work of the week, but it really was a good thing to do, and I think it is the new tradition here.  Our people worked hard and were here many hours ministering to the family and their guests.  They all agreed it was a great way to do it.  No one complained.  We have decided we are going to write up what we learned and establish policies and guidelines.  LC is going to bring me the written material he has next week when the local clergy gather for breakfast.  I told him if he provided that, I'd forgive him. 

Oh, and his secretary came up to me this morning, "I hear you're mad at me."  We had a good conversation, and she's going to remind him that he needs to bring me material to our breakfast next week. 

The visitation last night was big, as in line the whole length of the sanctuary out the door down the sidewalk and into the parking big. There were over 260 people at the service today, necessitating extra chairs and overflow parking on the grass.  It went very well.  The pianist said, "I've done a lot of funerals and that was one of the best.  I'd say it was the best, but I don't want you to get a big head."

I am exhausted.  It is a good exhausted.  I know that God was at work here this week, and that good ministry happened.  I know that the service today addressed the pain of the family and also celebrated the life of their loved one. 

Daughter texted me this afternoon, informing me her day had been hell because they messed up her song on karaoke.  I responded that  had just done a funeral, reminded her how young the deceased was, and asked what kind of day she thought his family was having.  She texted an apology. 

She came home, storming in and slamming everything in sight, crying, being dramatic.  Apparently the bus driver asked them to quiet down.  I informed her that was the bus driver's right.  When she saw I wasn't going to offer any sympathy, she dropped the drama and became cooperative, doing some tasks I asked her to do. 

Now I need to go flesh out Sunday's sermon....

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Addressing the Stress

Yesterday both Administrative Assistant and I were stressed.  The work was literally overwhelming.  I stayed last night and worked on the memorial service, heading home about 9:45 when I was confident I'd figured out the flow and how to fit everything in.  This morning I realized that
AA was stressing over payroll and bills.  So when she arrived this morning, I informed her I would handle the phone and deal with visitors so she could have some uninterrupted time to get those done.  I kew there would be a number of people calling this morning wanting information about the visitation today and the memorial servce tomorrow.  For the most part, that worked.  There was once when  she had to pick up a call because I was already busy with a call.  There was one call that only she could take.  But she got payroll and bills done-- though she did suggest my assistance was mercenary-- I wanted to make sure I got my paycheck. 

Once those were done, the mood lightened in the office.  I'm pretty much done with the memorial service.  The bulletin for Sunday is done.  I even have the first draft of a sermon outline.  It's something I need to keep relearning-- address the major source of stress first and other things will fall into place.  At this point, we're both confident that we will survive the week and accomplish the things that need to be accomplished.  When she went home yesterday, we weren't too sure about that....

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


I didn't get home until almost 10:00 last night, and I knew I would need some time to wind down before I could sleep, not to mention eat supper.  I decided I would not be getting up at 5:00 this morning to go for a walk.  I slept until 7:00.  Walk could go, morning prayer time had to stay.

I met with the family this morning to gather information for the memorial service.  It was a good meeting.  Of course, I decided that I couldn't go with my standard format, which adds to the work involved. 

While I was meeting with the family, Administrative Assistant was comforting the wife of a man who is in the hospital.  She didn't say what hospital, but I need to call and find out how he's doing.  I may need to go visit. 

Tonight I have to figure out the order of the memorial service, because the bulletin needs to go to print tomorrow.  We plan to print 250 of them.  We have been recruiting volunteers for every task we possibly can.  Of course, when they come over to do a task, they have to stop in and chat.  They have things set up for the visitation tomorrow and the meal following the service on Thursday.  We have people working on music and recruiting hosts for the visitation and to clean up following it. 

We're tracking down musicians and a teacher/coach has volunteered to provide students to do childcare.  We're fortunate to have so many eager volunteers, and it's a lot of work to coordinate it all.  I think it will all come together.  In the midst of all of this I still have to lead a book study tomorrow night and prepare a class and worship service for Sunday.  At least I won't be bored this week!

Monday, September 10, 2012


This week is going to be very challenging.  All funerals/memorial services take time, but with someone so young and so well-loved, they take even longer.  I was out of the office much of the day as the family asked me to accompany them to the funeral home.  The time I have been in the office has been drop-in visitors and phone calls, most related to the death.  Fortunately, Administrative Assistant will be in tomorrow and will protect me from some of that, which will make it easier for me to get some work done.

Today was Daughter's second day at the workshop.  She just called, very happy.  Her day went well.  She more than doubled her work output.  I'm grateful.  The phone calls and drop-ins should slow down now, since the office is usually closed by now.  Maybe I can actually get some bigger tasks that require uninterrupted time done now. 

Sunday, September 9, 2012


When I arrived here almost two years ago, the congregation was praying for a young adult who was battling cancer.  We prayed through all sorts of treatments and problems.  Everyone was concerned for this young adult and the family.  A couple of weeks ago the oncologist finally acknowledged what many of us had been whispering for weeks.  He couldn't promise a cure.  Last night the individual died.  It was sudden, if you can say that after a long drawn out battle with cancer. 

A member called me, obviously distressed.  She was on her way to pick up the father to take him to the apartment about an hour away.  Mother and sibling had been on their way when they received news of the death.  They didn't want father to make the trip alone.  Another church friend went over to their home when they got back, staying until 1:00 in the morning.  I spoke to them briefly on the phone.  They didn't want me to come, but they wanted me to know.  We started the prayer chain.  Administrative Assistant and I conferred.  It was decided to pull a humorous video promotion.  I decided that I needed to address this before worship began this morning. 

The members were gathering and hugging one another as they arrived, and as it was almost time to begin, someone told me the father had just entered the church.  By the time I got back to greet him, the mother and the sibling  (with spouse and children) had entered.  They took their normal seats up front and on the side.  After the other announcements, I stood and spoke of what had happened, and how it was hard to understand after all our prayers.  Then I said that while the individual had not been cured, they had been healed, and now we needed to pray for healing for the family as they grieved.  I told people they could sign up to bring food the funeral dinner, though we didn't have a time yet, and that the family would be collecting hugs following the service.  Then we prayed for them and went on with the service. 

The family held hands through the service, and at one point I saw a woman standing behind the mother with her arms on her shoulders, just being present with her as she cried.  In the midst of their grief, though, they talked about the healing that death had brought.  There was no more pain or nausea.  They spoke of family members who been on hand to welcome the individual to heaven.  They smiled and chuckled some, too. 

I had a super busy week ahead.  The whole schedule just got thrown out of the window.  On the day I was supposed to journey to an all day meeting over 2 hours away, I will meet with the family.  On the day I was supposed to attend an afternoon meeting over an hour away, I will be leading a memorial service. 

Some people were surprised to see the family in worship this morning.  I was glad they were there.  They are people of faith, and they needed to be with their family of faith this morning.   I am sure they are glad they were there.  They told me they were grateful for my comments prior to the service, as were a number of others.  It was interesting, because this service, which had been in the planning stages for several months, was so appropriate for today.  The choir sang this anthem.  It was the  theme of the service, and seemed especially appropriate today. 


What I will do this week is among the hardest things I do as a pastor.  It is also one of the parts that I most treasure.  I tell families it is an honor to accompany them on this journey.  I was reflecting this morning on the fact that the last two deaths have been of people who are younger than I am.  I guess that is part of growing older.  I'm glad I am a pastor.  I am glad I am in ministry with this congregation at this time.  I did warn Administrative Assistant to rest up on her day off tomorrow, because we are in for another challenging week. 

Saturday, September 8, 2012

The Aftermath

Nurse sent me an email acknowledging she had promised to allow me to look over the plan, and assuring me I still could and I still could and nothing had been finalized.  She was waiting to have it typed.  (I find this amazing-- I very seldom give Administrative Assistant something to type.  I may give her a document with handwritten edits, but I find it much easier to write on the computer.)  She had given the staff (and trained them) on a handwritten plan and told them it wasn't final.  I find that amazing.  You train them on something that may or may not be right?

The individual who typed it emailed me the plan.  I read over it and sent it back with lots of comments.  I found it confusing and very poorly written.  It started by talking about syringes which Daughter won't be using at program, only at bedtime for her long-acting insulin.  The instructions for handling low blood sugars was incorrect.  There was no mention of the afternoon blood sugar check that they had questions about.  I know she received my edits, because she sent out an email to the group stating that she had them and now was waiting to hear from the dietitian.  Interestingly, apparently she didn't tell the dietitian the in service was taking place either, because she sent an email expressing surprise that it had already taken place. 

Nurse claimed she was trying to appease everyone and would never bypass me.  (Interesting, since she just did.)  It will be interesting to see what she does with  my edits.  I was tempted to rewrite the entire document, but refrained.  Nurses tend not to like me very much, probably because I know more about Daughter's diabetes than they do.  I don't think they can be experts on diabetes without additional specialized training, and they know much more than I do in other areas.  My experience has been, though, that the nurses connected with programs Daughter is in are not comfortable with my expertise.  I always tell them I'm not an expert on diabetes in general, just Daughter's particular diabetes.

Daughter goes back to the program on Monday, and at this point she will be going without a finalized plan.  Sigh.  Maybe we can get it finalized by the following Monday....

Friday, September 7, 2012

Did You Hear the Explosion?

My heart is still racing.  I think it will be a while before it slows down.  I mentioned that there were questions at the workshop regarding Daughter's diabetes care.  Today I received an email to follow up on the in service and clarify the plan.  The in service I wasn't notified of and the plan I haven't seen.  Even worst, the clarification needed reflected ignorance of why Daughter's plan requires certain things.  Because she has had lows on the bus/van on her way home, she checks her blood sugar before she heads home, and if it is below a certain number she eats a snack.  So they wanted clarification on what to do about insulin at the afternoon check.  They were asking the house to clarify, not me. 

I admit my email was not the most pleasant.  I pointed out I had been promised the opportunity to review and comment on the plan before it was finalized.  I said as parent and guardian, I thought I had that right and responsibility.  I also reminded them that I am the expert on Daughter, and I am the one who determines her treatment plan.  Her doctor writes the prescriptions based on what I am doing.   I'm sure they think I am terrible now. If they also know they'd best not exclude me, that's fine. 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Better Mood

Therapist emailed to ask if Daughter's mood had improved since she saw her on Tuesday.  She also wondered if I'd received my award for meanest mom of the year for telling Daughter she couldn't spend more time with me until she had a better attitude.  I assured her Daughter's mood had definitely improved.  She was talking about other living options for Daughter, but I told her no more changes for a while.  She needs to settle in at the workshop first.

Today has been a little less frantic in the office.  We have  new website and new email addresses.  Part of the password the webmaster set up for us is "newfun."  I'm sure that eventually it will be fun, but for right now it's more "newpain."  Choir starts tonight, and I hope to have all my work done for the week when I leave here this evening.  I even think it is possible.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


Daughter is becoming increasingly independent.  She is calling me less frequently, and is taking more responsibility for her life.  Last night I was talking to some church members, and they commented on how much they've seen Daughter change and grow in the last two years.  It is very encouraging and a little scary to see her growth.  At the house, some of the staff are telling her she should be living on her own.  I still don't see that happening, but how much of that is simply me being over-protective? 

Administrative Assistant and I continue to plug away on all the work involved in preparing for this Sunday's fall program kick-off.  We are making progress, and there are lots of good things happening.  As of this week, I'm back to my 3 evenings a week at the church schedule.  It makes for some long days, but fortunately I love what I do. 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


Tonight we filled a childcare position at the church.  When we advertised for it last spring, we didn't get a single response.  We tried again this fall, and hired a young woman I think will work well for us this evening.  It felt good to get that done. 

When I arrived home I decided to take some things out to the compost pile.  I turned on the switch to my new exterior light that didn't work the other day, and now it works.  When I walked past it, it came on just like it is supposed to.  I guess I did manage to connect the proper wires. 

Daughter went to the doctor without me this morning.  I told her she needed to find out what her A1C (average blood sugar) results were and remind the doctor we wanted to switch her birth control pill.  She took care of both of those items.  Her A1C was excellent.  The only problem is we'll have to reschedule her next appointment.  It's the same time as the annual review of her case plan. 

I did some commentary work for my sermon this Sunday, and am excited about some new insights I received.  It's been a good day. 

Monday, September 3, 2012

A Better Day

AAH and ECG brought my car back last night with a charged battery and a diagnosis:  the alternator needed to be replaced.  It was the source of the noise I'd been ignoring in hopes it would go away.  They had looked up information on line, and decided that they didn't want to do the work for me-- they didn't have the proper equipment to do it easily.  I was just grateful for a car that would hopefully go in for repairs under its own power. 

I went to bed a little after 9:00 last night, and was up before 5:00 this morning.  At 7:00 I called the tire/auto service store less than a mile from here and asked if they could replace an alternator today.  They didn't have any work (how many people are taking their cars in for service at 7:00 on a holiday?)  I could have walked home, but I took my tablet and decided to wait.  The guy told me they'd do a diagnostic first to make sure the problem was the alternator.  I was not surprised when he determined it was, indeed, the alternator.  It took a while to get the part, but they got it and installed it.  I also got an oil change an had tires rotated and balanced and wheels aligned (which were part of the package I got when I purchased tires there tow years ago).  The car is now quiet.  The alternator had been complaining for months, but I'd been ignoring it.  I was afraid to find out what it was (I thought it might be the transmission).  They put the battery on the charger while they were working on the car, so the battery is now fully charged.  I didn't get home until after 10:30. 

I had read some more of a book I'm working on about ministry, and determined that I need to stay home and get some things done around the house today.  There are some things I need to do around the house, and I need to get some things from the warehouse store.  Daughter called to tell me she has an appointment with her primary care physician tomorrow morning.  I'm frustrated that I wasn't notified by the house medical coordinator when she made the appointment.  I have decided I'm not going to go, I don't want to take the time out of my work week.  I want to have all my work done by Thursday evening so I can enjoy Friday and Saturday. 

I'm grateful for the way the car issue worked out.  It could have broken down along the highway on one of my trips.  This breakdown resulted in minimal disruption to my plans, and none to my work.  When I got home there was an email from a church member thanking me for yesterday's sermon.  I love getting notes like that.  Today is definitely a better day, and I'm grateful.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Technology Hates Me

Today has been a frustrating day.  A very frustrating day.  Since my great plan to get my laptop fixed in one day while I was still on vacation failed, I've been lugging not only my laptop but a mouse and keyboard with me.  It kind of defeats the purpose of having a laptop when you have to drag those around with you.  This week I finally decided it was time to take action.  After weighing my options and pondering cost and time, I decided to ship it in to get the mouse replaced.  It's still under the extended warranty, so the repair will be free.  I'll be without the computer for a few days, but I won't have to tie up over 4 hours in traveling to a repair shop to deliver it and back several days later to retrieve it. 

I transferred my documents over to Daughter's computer and decided to begin using it now.  Hopefully I'll be able anything I've forgotten from my computer before sending it in.  I'm running Office 2007 on my laptop, and I'd installed Office 2010 on Daughter's.  There are some minor differences, but I'll adjust.  When I got to the church today, I realized I hadn't installed the printer drivers yet to print out my sermon.  No problem.  Windows quickly found the printer on the network, but couldn't find the printer driver (even after searching the web.)  No problem.  I know how to download drivers.  I went to the manufacturer's website and started looking.  It wasn't with the other drivers, but eventually I found the page that would get me to the proper driver.  I got to the page and looked at a list of probably 100 files that had mysterious names.  I had no clue what one I needed.  I took my best guess, and when asked if I wanted to save it or run it, I chose to run it.  It downloaded, and then told me I needed to unzip the file.  Fine.  I know how to do that.  I didn't worry about where it put the files, I've done this before.  So it told me it had successfully unzipped over 100 files.  I quickly discovered it had unzipped them to a hidden system directory that I couldn't find.  I was beginning to get frustrated.  I finally found the directory, but there wasn't a setup file there.  Administrative Assistant arrived.  I told her I needed help.  I emailed her the liturgy and PowerPoint, and she printed them out for me.  Of course, I hadn't transferred my directory, so it wasn't as easy as it normally is to email her the files, but I managed. 

Her son, the Engineer and Computer Geek was in town for the long weekend, so she suggested maybe he could figure out the problem.  I retrieved what I needed from the printer and found ECG.  I told him he'd been volunteered.  He followed my back to my study.  He began working.  He finally told me he'd have to look at it again after worship. 

I had a friend in worship this morning, so I wanted to go to lunch with her.  ECG had installed drivers, but couldn't get a test page to print.  The printer would make noise, but it would go back to sleep without printing.  He was still working on it when I left to go to lunch.  I thanked him for working on it and also for protecting my ego by struggling with it.  AA had suggested we get the technician to come install the drivers, she thought that would be covered by our service contract, but her son wasn't ready to admit defeat.  We had theorized that they intentionally made the drivers hard to install so that we'd have to pay for a service call. 

I left with Daughter and my friend for lunch.  On the way to the church, my car had warned me there were problems with the battery charging system.  I was relieved when it started right up.  We drove to a nearby restaurant and enjoyed a wonderful lunch.  On the way back to the church, more warnings appeared.  The stability control system wasn't working.  There was a problem with the anti-lock brakes.  It was going into battery saving mode.  I pulled into the parking lot and stopped near my friend's car.  I decided to pull into a parking place and grab the computer (and see if he'd succeeded).  When I tried to move the car, I realized the power steering was gone. 

I got inside and found a print test page on my computer.  ECG had beaten one bit of technology into submission.  I called AA and told her I needed to be rescued, I was having car trouble at the church.  She said she'd take care of it.  A few minutes later her Administrative Assistant's Husband and ECG pulled into the parking lot with the electronic gizmo that will read error codes on cars.  I was just expecting them to transport Daughter and me to our respective homes.  The car now wouldn't start.  They checked to see if maybe the problem was the belt, but it looked okay.  There weren't any engine error codes, so they suggested the alternator might need replacing. 

After we dropped Daughter off, AAH said he had a battery charger at home, and if I'd give him my keys, he'd see if he could get the battery charged enough I could take it into a shop on Tuesday.  I gratefully handed him my keys.  Depending on what's wrong with the car, I may need to wait until next year to get my problem tree removed. 

I had planned to go see Sister Best Friend tomorrow.  We were going to paint and then have a barbecue.  Instead, I'm going to be stuck here at home.  I was really looking forward to tomorrow.  I've worked the last two Fridays, and yesterday I recognized the toll it has taken on me....  I really do need Fridays off. 

Maybe tomorrow I can figure out why the new exterior light I installed yesterday doesn't work.  I was going to write a hilarious post about trying to change out the light fixture on my own and how hard it was since I kept dropping screws and such when I was up on the ladder.  I guess you'll just have to use your imagination....

Saturday, September 1, 2012

I Don't Think So

Daughter called this morning.  She had figured out a fun activity for us today.  I could take her to the mall and pay somebody to braid her hair.  She was quite offended when I said no.  Some of the staff members at her house have put beautiful corn rows in her hair.  She won't leave them in because her scalp gets irritated.  Why am I going to pay someone to do what staff will do for free?  Especially since she won't leave them in? 

She informed me she didn't want to just come hang out at the house.  It's boring.  I have a lawn to mow, tomatoes to preserve, and various other activities to keep me busy today.  I intend to stay home and watch football this evening.  Since her mood was rather surly, I think I'll let her stay at her house today.  I may be willing to pick her up for church in the morning.  I might even be willing to do something with her tomorrow afternoon.  I no longer have to deal with attitude, though, and I'm not going to.