Can Openers for Old People

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Arriving home from school is an adventure. When I press the garage door button, the dogs perk up, rush the laundry room door and bark “hello.”

I back into the garage, shut off the Element and put the garage door down. After collecting my computer bag, lunch tote, and water bottles, I work my way to the door into the house.

The barking quiets, but Houston and Hef scratch on the door telling me to HURRY UP.

I brace myself, bend my knees to make sure the 300 pounds of dog coming at me do not tear my ACL.

After hanging my bags in the laundry room, I wedge myself through the dog gate along with the three big dogs. Then, holding my breath, I creep around the corner wondering what I will find.

Today, I found the gratitude journal I kept in 2014 scattered in the living room and across the snow in the backyard.

Upstairs, I found the rest of the gratitude journal; a book about “transforming my life” that never worked; and, a chewed up can opener.

Looking on Amazon, I found a can opener for “seniors with arthritis.” I’m 47. Do I qualify?

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MOM-versation about G-Ma-ing the Dogs

Booker T. Washington is having a stay-cation at his G-ma’s house.

Growing up, my brother, Jeff, always (and I mean that literally) stayed at my Nana’s house. One night, I planned to sleepover. But, when mom came to tuck me in and leave, I confessed that I was scared. Mom packed me up and let Jeff stay instead.

Booker T. Washington is much braver than me.

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After driving G-ma to her fluff-n-fold (hair appointment), Deseret Book and the grocery store, Booker stayed.

Mom called to fill me in on the details.

MOM:  When I give him his M-E-D-S, I put them in his T-R-E-A-T-S. But, I don’t tell him they have his M-E-D-S. I just spell those words.

ME: (Writing it all down so I can blog about it.) Well, that’s probably for the best.

MOM:  Today, he played with his downstairs piggy and learned how to squeak it. He jumps up on the sofa, but won’t jump up on the chair. I’m going to measure to see if they are the same height.

ME: (Thinking, seriously?) I’ve never thought about the height of the furniture.

MOM:  Well, and, he won’t jump up on my bed. He’ll jump down, but he waits for me to pick him up and put him on the bed.

ME:  He won’t want to come home.

MOM: He knows I’ll be careful and put my hand under his backend so his back doesn’t hurt.

The Next Day

MOM: I measured the sofa and the chair. They are both 18″. But, the bed is 21″. Booker did jump up in the chair today, but I’ll still pick him up when we go to bed.

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And in the End

2017

And in the end

the love you take

is equal to the love you make

January

The Hooker Horde celebrated snow and Princess’ tenth birthday. Our Berner Bunch of Buddies cheered for us.

Somehow, Princess overcame the odds. Even our pet communicator said, “I don’t know how you did it, but she loves them and they love her. She loves you, too. She’s not going anyplace.”

February

Our home was covered with yoga mats. Both Faith and Princess needed the extra grip to get up and down.

On February 8th, just as I left for school, Faith’s legs gave out. I helped her settle.

When I came home, she could not walk.

We loaded up in the Element and went straight to Dr. Prior.

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Princess and I puttered around the waiting area. When we walked into the big room, Dr. Prior had tears in his eyes when he explained, “She ruptured her ACL.”

Sitting on the floor, Faith rested her head in my lap, looked at me with her pretty brown eyes, and told me, “Momma, I’m done. I can’t do it anymore.”

Knowing the history with Faith’s breathing and elongated soft palate, she was not a candidate for surgery at 8-1/2 years-old.

Dr. Prior, knowing the history with my “Berner Peeps,” offered to let me take her home.

Faith said, “no.”

The next day, after I lost my Kaibab family for the choice I made, I was given flowers and a note that “Faith lives.”

And, she does.

Faith lives.

Then, on February 24th, the cancer came back.

I poured myself a glass of liquid courage and Princess helped herself.

Big tears were cried with Dr. Prior when we said “goodbye.”

March

Our friends sent this beautiful portrait of our girl.

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The Little Prince came home on St. Patrick’s Day.

Ten days later, he did not feel very well.

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Turns out, the baby had a liver shunt.

April

He made me brave.

We traveled to Fort Collins. We even took his Princess from Auntie Barbz.

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But, my Little Prince couldn’t make it.

He said “goodbye” and took our hearts.

May

We celebrated Mother’s Day.

My girls and I picked up Honey.

 

June

Graduation.

This ended my first year at Park City High School.

June

Diesel arrived.

He fit right into the Hooker Horde. Diesel was Princess’ boyfriend. He slept on her bed and loved her furry siblings. He even loved the puppy.

We took “The Little Prince” to see “Prince.”

All of our hearts broke again.

September

Betty White was tired. Her knee was displaced. Dementia was difficult; it isolated her from the pack.

With a growl and snap, Betty left.

September 9th

With BW leaving, there was room for Hef (short for Hefner and Hefty).

He flew in from Houston on my birthday.

October

Diesel was so proud of himself. He snuck off and jumped in the pond.

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A few days later, Dr. Keri, Christie, and Dr. Prior and I wept.

My boy, Princess’ buddy, was filled with cancer.

October 28th

Heidey Hooker arrived from Missouri.

 

December 30th, 2017

2017

In the end,

the love you take

is equal to the love you make.

We made a lot of love in 2017.

2017, you kicked my ass.

2017, you broke my heart.

2017, you gave me the Liver Shunt Society; new Berner friends and family; and, you made me brave.

2018, BRING IT.

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My Year of No Shopping Starts Today

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In a piece by Ann Patchett published in the New York Times, Patchett tells the story of her friend who made a conscious decision that she had enough stuff.  For one year, her friend did not buy shoes, clothes, jewelry or purses.

About a month ago, I read Patchett’s piece. The idea of a year with no shopping has been swimming in my head ever since.

I cross-posted it and met Facebook friends that wanted to try it, too.

After weeks of thought, I have considered what a year of no shopping means to me. These are my rules for 2018 (although, I’m starting today, Christmas):

  • I will not purchase clothes, shoes, accessories, purses, or jewelry.
  • I will not purchase anything I do not need. Yes, I realize “need” is subjective.
    • This means, I will use up the shampoo in my shower,  my guest shower, and under the bathroom sinks.
    • I may purchase two Dream Tint foundations at Lunatic Fringe during the course of the year if I run out of what is currently in my makeup drawer.
    • I just bought 2 BLINC mascaras and have an unopened Maybelline Big Lash in my drawer. Therefore, I should be able to manage with what I have.
    • I may purchase hair product, but only from the salon.
  • I may purchase services for myself and friends.
    • Self Care is essential. Therefore, I will keep my Align Spa membership and continue to add upgrades.
  • In regard to gifting, all gifts wil be:
    • events, memories, or experiences
    • consumable (like a dinner or a bottle)
    • or, a book
  • Now, about the dogs — this impacts them, too.
    • They will, with my help, be more conscientious about toys, including tennis balls.
    • We do not need any additional toys. But, I will continue, obviously, to stuff KONGS with treats.
  • I can buy plants and flowers for the yard, but I cannot purchase yard art or pots.

To accomplish my goal, I am doing the following:

Hitting the UNSUBSCRIBE button from every retailer (even the ones I REALLY like).

  • Recycling catalogs instead of bringing them into my home (even J. Peterman).
  • Avoiding the seasonal aisle at the market.
  • Wait one week before purchasing anything that I think I need (ex: vacuum). If I wait a week, I may find that emptying the bag on my old Kirby is just as effective.

I believe these rules will work for me. Choose your own. Then, together, let’s see how much time and money we save.

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Being Heidey Hooker by Booker

Welcome Heidey!

Since I am the oldest Hooker in our home, I thought I’d give you a little advice on being Hooker.

Hooker.  It’s a thing. Not everyone can be one.

We are Hooker’s Horde. Mom is not a hoarder.

We’re Hookers.  Being a Hooker means that, like Grandma says, “where much is given, much is expected.”  We’ve been given a lot. We have a warm home, nutritious and delicious food, soft beds, toys, bones, and love. So, we pay it forward. Whenever someone needs a place to crash  or hospice care, they come to our home.

Mom is a little crazy. But, she owns her crazy and her crazy doesn’t hurt anyone else. So, it’s okay.

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This is a picture of our mom last year with Faith. Faith crossed the Rainbow Bridge in January. Faith and Houston didn’t like Momma Zombie.  Mom loves Halloween, but we don’t invite trick-or-treaters. We (the dogs) put an end to that craziness.

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You should know that mom is a vegetarian. She makes us eat our vegetables. But, she covers them in chicken and chicken broth. Every week she slow cooks A LOT of chicken for us. We have Merrick brand kibble for croutons. Usually, our mornings include yogurt and blueberries.

This is G-ma.

We LOVE the G-ma. On the left, she’s feeding Hef (short for Hefner) from her plate at the rehabilitation center. G-ma is bionic. She has two new knees. G-ma gives us gifts. She REALLY loves Berners because she likes to hug you. The photo on the right is G-ma feeding Diesel some of Jeff’s birthday cake.

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This is Uncle Jeff with mom and our “dear cousin Lynn.” She’s more than a cousin. She loves us.

Mom thinks that people should drive respectfully in our ‘hood. So, she put up this sign.IMG_1458

Now, it looks like you may actually weigh more than mom. When we walk, we need to be careful. If we pull mom over and she breaks a hip, we’ll be stuck inside for the winter.

Having lived with 4 other Berners, I can tell you that you don’t want that.  Winter is your season. Snow is fun.

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When mom comes home after a long day at school (or, even after 15 minutes), we like to welcome her with confetti.  Nothing shows her how much we love her more than toilet paper confetti.

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This, as you now know, is our front door. That’s Honey looking at you. She’s about seven-months-old and we keep asking mom to give her back. But, that’s not what Hookers do. So, Honey is staying. Mom keeps telling us that she will grow up and stop being a “hooligan.” We’re WAITING.

Mom got us a bottle of ZinfanTAIL to celebrate your arrival. The champagne is hers. Apparently, a glass of champagne or red wine (or both) is healthy for our hoo-man.

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This is your brand new bed with some brand new toys. The thing is, ultimately we share everything.  We’re Hookers. Your bed is memory foam (just like the family bed). Yep . . . mom is single. We’re pretty sure that’s because no one else wants to sleep with her and six dogs. That’s their loss.

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Some of the toys in this basket are special and we haven’t been allowed to touch them for months.

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Auntie Barbz sent the Little Prince his own squeaky lamb to herd and the hedgehog princess. Those toys haven’t been off the mantle since Lil P left.

The mittens and the hat (it squeaks) were in the BarkBox that someone sent our Princess for Christmas. Mom put them aside for her to use this year. But, Princess went to join Faith in Feburary. Now, they belong to you because you are a Utah dog.

So, welcome.  You’re a Hooker now.

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MOM-versation about Poop and Driving

ME: Standing in my driveway, holding a roadie that she cannot see since I’m talking to her on the phone.  She wouldn’t even know what a roadie was.

STILL ME:  I can’t chat for long; I have to go to the State Volleyball Championship game in Orem.

MOM:  Well, I hope you’re not driving alone.

ME:  Nope.  I’m getting picked up.

MOM:  Who is driving? I hope they are safe.  Will you all be wearing your seat belts?  Are you coming home before it gets dark?
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ME: Mom, we teach high school. We are not in high school.  Tell me about your day.

MOM (chuckling): I was going to tell you about a little joke that we have in the physical therapy room.

ME:  Tell me.

MOM:  I saw that one of the other patients was wearing a badge. When he saw me looking at it, he asked, “Do you want to see my badge.” I looked and it said, “I POOPED TODAY.”

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ME: What?

MOM: For older people, after surgery, it’s hard to that.

 

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A Manic MOM-versation

downloadMOM:  Slow down.

ME (unloading groceries from the car): What?

MOM: Slow down.

ME:  This is my speed.

MOM: You and Jeff move too fast; it’s not healthy.

ME (pausing): What?

MOM: It’s not good. Moving that quickly is unhealthy.

ME: Where do you think we learned it?

MOM:  Your father.

 

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