Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A Storm's a Brewin'

Last week, Gladys was sitting in the lobby with Pearl. Gladys was carrying on about how Naomi had stolen her coat. (Refresher: Naomi was Gladys' roommate. She died last winter. Gladys does not remember that Naomi is dead.) Pearl, who is usually in her own little world where people steal all of her stuff, was having an unusually coherent day. "Naomi didn't steal your coat, she's dead!" Pearl exclaimed to Gladys.

"She is not!" Gladys argued. "She was here last night and she took my coat!"

Pearl replied: "She is too dead. You went to her funeral! You saw her laying dead in the casket!"

I'm sitting in my office stricken with indecision: Should I intercede and redirect this conversation that is quickly turning sour....or....(insert evil laugh)should I wait and hear how this all goes down?

As I'm trying to talk myself into the most grown-up choice, I hear Gladys take a deep breath. She lowered her voice so I could barely hear her and says in an over-dramatic stage whisper, "Yeah, well she just wanted everyone to think she was dead. She wasn't really dead."

I get to my office door just in time to see Pearl stand up and grasp the handles of her walker. "I'm not talking to you anymore!" Pearl yelled, as she wheeled her ever-growing purse away. "You're just crazy! Naomi is dead. DEAD I TELL YOU! As in DEAD!"

Fast forward to a few minutes ago: Gladys and Pearl are sitting in the lobby. "Why is your hair black?" Pearl asks. "It isn't black. It's red, " Gladys replies.

"Looks black to me," Pearl retorts in what reminds me of the nanny-nanny-boo-boo lilt. "And I'm sick of you insulting me all the time!" Gladys says evenly as she picks up her 8-pound purse and strolls down the hall.

I've never seen two 90-ish "girls" engage in fisticuffs, nor do I really want to.....but I have to say.... Pearl has one coming.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Lazy Sunday

It was a very busy week. Between giving lots of extra Christmas love to the residents (very sad time of the year for so many) and all the blessed family and friend gatherings, I'm just tired. Today, we have no where to be but home. Today, it is 3:49 p.m. and I am still wearing my pajamas. Today, I am not cooking. Today is wonderful.

Today, I am also thinking about next year. So cliche, but how can one help it? I need a new calendar. It's time to start a new running log. What better time to meditate on self improvements than when you're flipping through the pages of how you spent the last year of your life? I have so many personal growth opportunities. I'm tempted to make a list. Write out goals. Put my intentions on paper. But how exactly can you mark something like "stay in the moment" off of a list? So, no list....just hopes.

I hope that every day I remember how important it is to learn something new. I hope that I will remember to keep that elusive attitude of gratitude. I hope I remember not to complain. I hope that I will always remember to laugh (mostly at myself). I hope I remember how unproductive it is to feel sorry for myself. And mostly, I hope that if I don't remember these things one day...that I will simply forgive myself instead of wasting energy being mad or sad. Breathe in, breathe out, and move on. And remember to remember the next day.

Oh yeah, and I also plan to run a lot of miles and hug a lot of old people.


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A Christmas Poem

'Twas the night before Christmas at Rock Ridge Rest,
And all of us seniors were looking our best.
Our glasses, how sparkly! Our wrinkles, how merry!
The punch bowl held prune juice plus three drops of sherry.

A stocking was taped to each door in anticipation,
That Santa would bring us stool softener and Preparation.
We surely are lucky to be here with friends,
Secure in this assisted living and in our Depends.

Some kids came to sing songs of Christmas lore,
We tried to listen and sing along, but only could snore.
Carrie's Assistant had then borrowed our teeth,
And from them she'd crafted a holiday wreath.

The walkers, so shiny, all stood in a row,
Reflecting a candle's magnificent glow.
Supper was so festive -- the joy wouldn't stop --
It was creamy warm oatmeal with sprinkles on top.

Our salad was Jell-O, so jiggly and great,
Then puree of fruitcake was spooned on each plate.
The activity director then had us play games,
Like "Where Do You Live?" and "What Are Your Names?"

Dirty old George was feeling his oats,
Proclaiming that reindeer were nothing but goats.
The resident wand'rer was tied to her chair,
In hopes that at bedtime she still would be there.

Christmas lights on the new fallen snow
Made outdoors seem noon to the old folks below.
Then out on the porch there arose quite a clatter
(But we are so deaf that it just didn't matter).

A funny looking girl flew in through the door,
Then tripped on the sill and fell flat on the floor.
'Twas just our director, all togged out in red,
And she giggled and hugged and patted each head.

We knew from the way that she smiled and high-fived,
Our social security checks must have arrived.
We sang -- how we sang -- in our monotone croak,
Till the clock tinkled out its soft eight-p.m. stroke.

And soon we were snuggling deep in our beds,
Forgetting to take our night-time meds.
And so ends Christmas Eve at Rock Ridge Rest,
Tomorrow we'll forget it's Christmas, but we wish you the best.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Behold...the Running Tree!

Thank goodness it's Friday Photo Day! I'm so darn happy it's Friday that I'm posting more than one. First up is a pic I snapped this morning. Yup, we had ice last night. Very beautiful, but pretty devastating to a lot of trees.

Next up! This is what Hubby and I decided to do with all of our hardware from the past couple of seasons. So fun! And it makes me smile every time I look at it. I think next year I'm going to to fashion some cool garland out of our bib numbers!

That's Marathon Mickey on top. Somewhere else in the tree is Half Marathon Donald, and Goofy-Challenge Goofy. That's a 1980's "Jogger Garfield" underneath, even though Hubby's head spins in circles over the "J" word. The star shaped ornaments are actually little picture frames filled with the thumbnail pictures Marathon Foto sends in the mail.

TGIF! Good weekends, all.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Today's Excitement

There are lots of reasons that I enjoy running. One benefit that I hadn't considered lately, though, is that it makes my heart strong. And who knew this could be important for work? After all, I work with old people who move really slow and nap between meals.

But today, because I have a strong heart, I am sitting here writing this post instead of recovering from the heart attack I should have had after the fire panel alarmed, the fire doors slammed closed, and the fire department showed up a few minutes ago.

Adrenaline is an amazing thing. We had residents moved, the "fire" located and controlled, and the fire panel reset before the trucks even got here. This includes physically moving a resident to safety when she reminded me she had oxygen in her apartment. If the words "fire" and "oxygen" in the same sentence don't cause you to instantly cash in your chips, nothing short of unfortunate genetic composition probably will. (Running has also made my ankles strong enough to have done this in high heels. Gazelle, are ya proud?!)

And so with that preamble and no further ado.... I give you today's lesson brought to you by Rock Ridge: If you're planning to fry okra, don't forget you put the grease on the stove to heat up.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Manic Monday

The ambulance was here when I got to work this morning. The resident, who just KNEW she had a blood clot and insisted the ambulance be called, came back with a brace and the diagnosis of tendonitis.
Garnet accused a WorkerBee of stealing her mirror and "pick comb." She was ugly about it. She yelled at me when I suggested perhaps it wasn't stolen, just misplaced. Then I found the mirror and "pick comb" on the counter of her guest bathroom. Of course she has no idea how it got there...and no apologies were offered.
I mixed up the meaning of the word "lavatory." I've worked here long enough to know that a lavatory is a bathroom sink (and a davenport is a sofa...I've learned lots of interesting vocabulary at this job). Why then, this morning did I think lavatory meant toilet? It turned out to be a very embarrasing conversation.
WorkerBee caught Cheap Resident pocketing a salt shaker. (These people remind me of the Thenardier's from Les Mis, when they attend Marius and Cosette's wedding and sing Beggars at the Feast. You can clean up the people and put them in a nice place, but at heart they are what they are. Which in this case, is CHEAP.)

Friday, December 12, 2008

Today's Funny & Foto

Harriet, a 92-year old regal sweetie just came into the office toting a pair of slippers. "I want you to look at these, " she says as she drops the pair of navy blue LovePats on my desk. "Look at the bottoms! See those holes?"

I look at the slippers. On the bottom of both, near where a big toe would reside should there be feet in them, were a tiny, perfectly round hole. The holes are identical, and in the exact same place on both slippers.

"Well, that's strange," I reply, kind of wondering how looking at the bottom of a pair of worn out slippers would look spelled out in my job description. By then, Assistant has stopped by and joined the slipper fete unfolding in my office. Harriet excitedly shows her the slippers. "What do you think could cause that?" she asked. Assistant launches into an elaborate theory about aliens abducting Harriet's slippers while she sleeps and wearing them as earrings. Assistant demonstrates by holding them up to her ears (I can't imagine what anyone who just happened by and looked in might think.....)

Harriet doesn't think this is the right explanation, so Assistant then offers the suggestion that the holes simply represent that Harriet is Holy. This really makes her laugh, but no...that isn't it either.

Since I'm the dubious big cheese around here I guess I'm supposed to know the answers to everything, including how holes get into slippers, so Harriet says "Carrie, how did these get here?" The best I can come up with is "Harrrrrrriet, have you been playing footsie with someone?" To which she replies, "My God, I wish!"

These people make me laugh so hard.

Moving on! Adventure Seeker (whom I'm found only through another fun running blogger, Sarah) says it is thank goodness it's friday photo day.

Hubby and I took an Alaskan conservation cruise on a small boat last fall. It was awesome, and I hope to do it again some day.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Trivial Tuesday

It's a hectic week as my regional director is here from the Home Office. I haven't had much time to spend with residents, but this morning 98-year-old Maude sought me out to let me know she needed to cancel her doctor's appointment. Why? Because she "can't piss first thing in the morning." Aha. Thanks for sharing.

And moving on to something similar in sound.....thanks for the "psssst," Haley, 'cuz I don't know when I might have had time to notice this week. So the following meme is brought to you because Haley said I would probably fill it out and well, because my genetic composition simply will not allow me to let anyone down! Besides, it is a little fun, right? Right?

1. Five names I go by: Carrie, Care, Carebear (why am I even telling anyone that?), Aunt Cockie
2. Three things I'm wearing right now: rings, slippers, fleece
3. Two things I want very badly at the moment: someone else to make dinner, for Vicky to not be the Biggest Loser
4. Three people who will probably fill this out: Sarah, Che, Amy
5. Two things I did last night: spent way too much time making a photobook on Shutterfly, cleaned the kitchen
6. Two things I ate today: monster cookies (damn damn damn), vegetable soup
7. Two people I last talked to on the phone: Hubby and some random vendor who called as I was leaving the office
8. Two things I'm going to do tomorrow: work my head off at work and then wrap fondant around cherries when I get home so they are ready to be dipped on Thursday
9. Two longest car rides: driving to Disney World with both siblings in the backseat of a 2-door Mercury Lynx and driving to Toronto with Hubby
10. Two favorite beverages: water and wine

Friday, December 5, 2008

Foto Friday

It's Photo Friday, says Sarah. And I'm glad because I don't have much else to say. Luckily this photo says a lot, itself.

That's my sis. Proudly waving in front of the Bunghole Liquors in Peabody, Massachussetts. How funny is the word "bunghole!?"

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Trees & Tummies

Is it really Wednesday!? Good grief. Lots happening here this week...

We've decked the halls. This was supposed to be a joint effort, but all residents decided to sit and VERBALLY help the poor girl putting the Christmas tree up. She only had one mini-meltdown after she was forced to remove every single ornament because the residents insisted the beads had to go on first. It is finally done, and it looks beautiful. And so do all the multi-colored cookie sprinkles ground into the carpet everywhere. This is a lot like kindergarten sometimes.
I decided to maximize my time by running on the treadmill in our Fitness Room. I usually avoid this because if anyone knows I'm here, they will come and "keep me company" while I run. First of all, I absolutely HATE the treadmill. Second, I cannot talk while running on it. Third, one reason I run is to get away from all these people anyway (and I mean this with much love!) SO.... I snuck to the Fitness Room and didn't tell anyone. I closed the door and cranked up the treadmill to a smokin' 10-minute per mile pace. It was wicked hot in there, even with the fan. (This is an assisted living building...it's hot in here even if you're just sitting. In a bathing suit. Eating ice cubes.) I was sweating buckets, so I took off my shirt and just ran in my bra. This was fine because the door was closed and no one knew where I was, right? Yeah. Until the well-dressed son of a resident decided to come find me so he could give me a rent check. Quick quiz:

This experience:
a) Scared the multi-colored sprinkles out of me because I wasn't even remotely expecting to see a nicely dressed younger-than-90 man just walk into the fitness room without even making a sound of warning.

b) Caused a near carrie-treadmill disaster.

c) Made me feel extremely self conscious because he was looking at my belly which was probably looking quite flabby and bouncy as I pounded out those ultra fast ten minute miles.

d) Ticked me off when he thought he was being cute or clever and said something like "is that all the faster you can go?"

e) All of the above

If you answered "E," you get 100 points today. And in case you wondered, most people just put their damn checks on my desk. They don't go down a flight of stairs and open a closed door to see if they can catch the sweating director running in her bra. Oh! And it was AFTER normal office hours, too.
And speaking of bellies.....I had a meeting with the son of a different resident yesterday. We were standing near the door of my office, and as he started to leave he turned back to tell me something. And as he did....he touched me on the tummy! WHAT? IS? THAT?

People are so weird.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Help Me Garmin, Help Help Me Garmin

I've decided to ask Santa to bring me a Garmin for Christmas. This isn't a decision I made lightly, as Santa (at least the Santa at MY house) is a running purist who believes in little more than New Balance shoes and a one-function timing watch. Needless to say, Santa has NO idea which elf should be assigned this task, so he told me to pick it out myself.

I've been looking at them online and I decided I need help. To any of my blogger running buddies who use a Garmin, please share your suggestions/experiences. What do you like/not like? Which model do you have? Does it feel as big when you wear it as it looks in the pictures? Should I consider any other brands? And the biggest question of all: Do I really need it?!? The main reason I want one is to help me pace more consistently. Secondary to that, I think it would be cool to just take off running wherever I feel like it and not have to go back later and drive the route to measure the distance. Any input is appreciated!

Despite that the ground is covered in snow and I won't be running outside anytime soon, that is what's on my mind today. Well....that and the jackass in the lobby who just said "SHE's the one in charge here? She's awful young for that, ain't she?" People. Sheesh.