Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Waxing Philosophical

This place is insanely busy and I'm frazzled. The phone rang no less than 589 times today. No fewer than 37 people barged into my office needing something right away. I have at least 54 projects all in semi-states of completion. Oh, and I'm leaving for Portland on Thursday.

So, finding myself at the point where tolerating any further human contact might cause someone actual injury, I closed my door for a little while to work on the October newsletter. (What?? Today is the last day of September?? ALREADY?) I sat down to write the normal age-appropriate articles, like how to dispose of old medications and who has Depends on sale. Instead, after about twenty minutes I looked at my computer screen and it said this:

I love autumn in the Midwest. The colors are beautiful, the nights are cool, and everything smells good. Another thing I love about autumn is marathon season! For the past three years, Assistant and I have ran a fall marathon. This year, we ran the Air Force Marathon in Dayton, Ohio. We both heartily agree it was the hardest marathon (actually, the hardest anything!) either of us has ever experienced.
After months of preparation and expending vast amounts of energy—physical, mental, and emotional—I’ve decided there is obviously something about running 26.2 miles that reveals a metaphor for life. It’s long. It’s grueling. It hurts. Sometimes it’s really, really hard. As in life, you’re surrounded by a lot of people focusing on the same goal, and as the miles drag out you realize you have the choice of giving up or pushing on -- usually at a time when neither option sounds all that good. The pay-off for pushing on, though, is unbelievable. It is a huge thrill topped of with a great sense of achievement. Again, as in life.

The last six miles of that marathon were unbelievably hard, but there were hundreds of people around us to help us through, cheering us on with their kind words. We all need encouragement, and by surrounding ourselves with those who support us and push us toward our dreams, we’ll all get the medal at the end of the race.

I love learning opportunities, but today I think I actually got one from myself. Forget frazzled and stressed and not having enough hours in the day. It's ok to slow down a bit. As long as I keep going, I'll still get the medal.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Oh My Maude

Friday morning at breakfast, Lois got to the dining room a little late. WorkerBee showed her to an empty seat at the table where Maude always sits. If you haven't yet read about Maude, be sure to read this post. And just to make it even more clear how much Maude dislikes any change at "her" table, then be sure to read this one, too.

So anyway, Lois (who has dementia and usually doesn't even realize where she is) takes one look at the table and says to WorkerBee very matter-of-factly: "I'm not sitting here if that old bitch is coming." Very hilarious, but Maude did not come to breakfast and all was well.

About an hour ago Rock Ridge called "just to let me know" about what happened during lunch today. Apparently Lois was feeling more comfortable about sitting at Maude's table since she enjoyed breakfast there on Friday. Today, however, when she tried to sit at the table Maude told her she couldn't. When Lois didn't move, Maude picked up her glass of water and slammed it onto the table shattering it into bits and spilling the contents all over the place. The whole episode delayed lunch by about 15 minutes. Which means all the rest of the residents were probably pissed off, too.

Glad I'm at home today.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Hump Day Nuggets

Gladys just told me she thought it would be really depressing to work in a retirement home. "Why do you think that," I asked, "because I think it would fun."

"Are you kidding? All those old sick people would get to me," she replied. (She really touches my heart...I hope if I ever have Alzheimer's that I think I'm on vacation at the Hilton like she does!)


As I came around the corner, I heard Lucy ask WorkerBee "Who's that man? Who let that man in here?" I laughed and said "Lucy, it's Carrie. I work here."

"No men work here!" she replied. (My new haircut is a mite short, I guess.)


Lucy was also seen nekked as a blue jay in the hallway outside her apartment, cupping her breasts in her hands. (I assume to keep them from dragging on the floor?)


A resident filed a missing towel report this morning because it didn't come back with her laundry. The towel was just found...cut up into pieces and being used as rags. (I've said it before and I'll say it again...I wish there was a test I could give potential employees that measured COMMON SENSE. Seriously.)


Sunday, September 21, 2008

Eyelids and Elbows

Those are the only things on my body that do not hurt today. Which kinda bums me out...because I trained well. I trained really well. I wasn't even SORE after my last 21-miler. What I did not do, however, is train on any hills (things here in the Heartland are rather flat, after all). If anyone ever tells you that United States Air Force Marathon isn't hilly, punch them in the neck for me. Thank you.

I guess besides the hills (and what running on those hills did to my poor and unsuspecting body), this was a terrific race. The pasta dinner was fabulous. It was staged in the National Air Force Museum with the tables set up right there among all the aircraft. Bart Yasso spoke and showed slides from all the crazy races he has run. Also sharing his experiences was this most amazing man who I was lucky enough to actually see running tethered to his guide the next day during the race. Talk about inspiration.

The fly-over of the F-22 Raptor fighter planes at the start of the race defies description. It was incredible. Really seriously awesome.

The race itself was very organized, from the parking to the shuttle that took runners (and their fans) to the starting line to the aid stations located at every mile on the course. Service men in their dress blues put the medal around your neck at the finish line. Very cool.

It was a hard course and by far the hardest race (of any distance) in which I have participated. Hubby, who has run Boston six times, said the first eight miles were HARDER than Boston! Given that those first eight miles were also the last eight miles of the course, I am pleased that I ran a PR even if it wasn't under five hours like I had hoped.

10K 1:03:37
half 2:18:59
21-mile 3:55:22

Finish: 5:05:36 (previous PR 5:09 last year at Marine Corps)

It took me 29 minutes and 38 seconds longer to do the second half than it did the first half. Unbelievable. Even more unbelievable is that at mile 20 I was still on pace for a 4:45. Which means I totally blew 20 minutes during the last 10K. How does that even happen? When I write it down it seems disappointing. But I'm not disappointed.

I used every last bit of energy reserve and gave it everything I had. I ran with a hip that felt as though it could have been dislocated (did I mention the hills?) for 16 miles. I pushed through. There was unquestionably nothing left at the finish line. I did the absolute best that I could do on that day and I'm proud of the accomplishment.

Besides, it isn't about the time. It's about the journey in getting there....and the experience you make it once you arrive. I ran this marathon in honor of my Dad, a former member of the United States Air Force and a man who underwent multiple surgeries, chemotherapy, and radiation last year. I am so proud of him for being the toughest person I know. And for a little while yesterday, I felt almost as tough as him.

What's five minutes in the big picture anyway?

Friday, September 19, 2008

It's Show Time

Off to Dayton for the marathon. Good vibes and happy thoughts appreciated!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Loco Lady

I really do love this job. Lots of hugs, laughs, feel-good stuff. But if there was ever a person who could make me reconsider this career path...it is Cheap Resident. She drives me completely crazy! Besides being cheap, she's also rude. She expects me to drop whatever it is Im doing when she wants a phone guide that I've already given her six times since she moved in. She barges right into the office and starts talking, even if am I'm with someone, am on the phone, or otherwise engaged. On Sunday, she made a staff member call Maintenance Man in on his day off because her washer was broken. Maintenance Man drove to Rock Ridge to pull the knob out on the washer!! And just now she barged in to tell me her key is broken off in her lock on the door, and it's my fault because when I gave her the key it was already bent. Just like I'm in the habit of even keeping bent keys, let alone distributing them. What exactly would a person have to be doing to break a key?!?

I could go on and on, but I won't. I'm just going to go pull my hair out. One strand at a time.

Monday, September 15, 2008

It's Monday

A wheelchair, most likely last used by Franklin D. Roosevelt, appeared over the weekend. Of course, no one seems to know from where it came. How does stuff just materialize? Things like this happen all the time here, albeit usually not something as large (or as old) as this wheelchair.

Saturday, Hubby and I spent the afternoon shopping for necessities. You know, like wine. When we got home and opened the back end of the vehicle, said wine fell out. And shattered all over the driveway. Damn. Yesterday, after backing out of the driveway, we ended up with a flat tire. Double damn. The obvious assumption is that we didn't get all of the broken glass from the wine bottles cleaned up (it still makes me sob a little to type that....$50 worth of wine....washed away down the slope of the driveway). However, Hubby just called and the tire-fix-it-place found a piece of a fingernail clipper in the tire. HUH??

Five days until the Air Force Marathon. GULP. My ankles hurt, my knees hurt, my back hurts. Oh, and I think my hips hurt, too.
Last week was National Assisted Living Week, and a local nursing home brought us a humongous basket of snacks/treats/goodies. I'm talking enough snacks to keep this place going for two to three weeks. I put these on the snack bar on Friday (my mistake). This morning? All. Gone.
And then there's the resident who keeps trying to take the salad dressing cups back to her apartment after meals. When WorkerBee tried to stop her from doing this, she made a big deal out of the fact that she wasn't "stealing" them, she just wanted to take them home and crochet doilies to slip around them. You know, to make them look prettier sitting on someone's salad plate. I know crocheted yarn with salad dressing stains really does it for me. It definitely adds to the presentation.
It could be a long week.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A Sound So Sweet

Have you ever heard 45 old voices come together in a spontaneous round of God Bless America? It is beautiful. And incredibly touching.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Underwear Everywhere

I am officially declaring this "underclothes week" at the Ridge.

Our easily embarrassed and unsuspecting maintenance man went to do a job for Cheap Resident. Cheap Resident's hubby answered the door. Wearing just his tidy whities. (at least his weren't on his head, I guess)

Averting his eyes so not to take in THAT view, Maintenance Man's gaze settles on Cheap Resident herself standing in the living room. Wearing what he would later describe as a purple, lacey bra.

And now Maintenance Man wants to know if he can get worker's comp for being struck blind while on duty.

Monday, September 8, 2008

It's Monday...

A resident just answered the door to her apartment wearing a pair of underwear on her head.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

A Rose by Any Other Name

Given the population with which I work it is not a surprise that I've answered to Connie, Cassie, Cathy, Queenie, Lil Miss, BossLady, Hon, Darlin', and Sweetface. But this is a new one.

Today I am the church secretary.

Joseph, the nicest, most kind, forgetful 89-year-old we have is trying to give me his tithe. All day long. He thinks I'm the lady in the church office. "I forgot to give this last week, so I owe you for two," he just told me. I assured him he didn't owe anything and tried to convince him to put his money back into his wallet. He put his church bulletin "The Catholic Call" on my desk and pointed to an article about the building fund. "I want to do my part," he said in his super sweet gravelly voice as I gave him a hug and helped him out of the office.

"You already have," I said.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Long Weekend, Long Run

I have to say I'm delighted to have a little three day break from snack stealers, missing kleenex boxes, and tempermental elders. I'm also delighted to have my last 21-miler in the bag. Things I figured out for the marathon(s):

I will not eat refried beans for protein/carbs the night before the marathon.

I will definitely pack my Burt's Bees Sun & Snow lip balm. It's the bomb.

It's not a good idea to put biofreeze on my knee and then rub sweat out of my eye.

My blue nike shorts cause monkey butt. (or maybe that was the beans?)

It's much easier to keep up with Running Partner than to catch up.

So all in all I think it was a pretty great run, on pace for a 4:48 marathon. But you never know what might happen during that last 10K....so I'm not counting on anything until I hit the finish line.

Happy Labor Day!