Thursday, January 19, 2017

Motorhome Catastrophe

It was 15 years ago this past Fall that my 82 year old Papa wrecked his motorhome while driving through Northern Illinois to visit friends in Wisconsin.

My Mom got a call that he was in the ICU at the hospital in Rockford IL and his beloved dog, Pepper, was in the local shelter.  We were so grateful to know they were both alive after the early morning accident.  

We quickly packed necessities and were headed East on I-44 within a couple of hours. We imagined the motorhome had enough damage that he couldn't drive it home but we knew he would want to fix it up.  He'd always been very handy with cars and body work.  Kevin was driving a truck at the time so we decided we'd get a flatbed coming out of Chicago and bring his motorhome back to Ozark.  We'd drop it in the local park and get a tow truck to take it the rest of the way home if we couldn't just tow it home from there.

We arrived in the Rockford area in the late afternoon, just a little too late to pick up Pepper, so he spent the night at their wonderful shelter.  We quickly found the hospital and headed up to see Papa.  He was doing well!  He'd spent the day making a list of the important items he wanted me to get out of the motorhome.   We visited with him, assured him we'd get everything and then left to get some dinner and check into a motel.  

Early the next day, we went to the junkyard.  We were not at all prepared for what we would find!

Sweet Pepper was sitting in the passenger seat!   He was lucky to escape with no injuries!

The entire passenger side had been opened like a can opener, spilling motorhome contents all over the side of the road.

We were so thankful both Papa and Pepper survived this accident!  Reports showed that he sideswiped the bridge and then pinballed between the concrete walls!  Once I realized the condition of the motorhome, I had no doubt there would likely be many items I'd never find. Topping his list was a pistol and cash.  Thankfully, they were easily found.  The interior of the motorhome looked as if someone had violently shaken it.  Nothing was in it's proper place except the fixed items and the mattress hiding the cash and gun.  The refrigerator had fallen over into the path.  I quickly realized the best way to get through would be to disconnect the "freon line" that was holding it.  I found a tool and started pounding on that line.  It wouldn't budge.  I now know that God was watching over us all that week as the line is actually propane in a motorhome refrigerator.   I finally gave up and just crawled over it all. I tried to find everything on his list, which included good comb, silverware and his home phone book with all the important phone numbers you recorded in the back of a phonebook back then.

We traveled to the scene of the accident.  We knew we'd arrived at the right location when we saw apples and tools scattered along the roadway.  He'd carefully filled 5 gallon buckets with locally picked apples to share with his Wisconsin friends.  It was a little comical yet also heartbreaking to see those apples laying all over the roadway, knowing all the work he'd put into getting them gathered up.

Papa was disappointed I wasn't able to get all his belongings out of the motorhome.  Upon dismissal from the hospital, we went to the junkyard and he wasn't expecting the site we'd found.  Again, I pulled out what I could and packed my suburban so tight I'm not sure another piece of paper would have fit into it.  

With nothing left to do in Northern Illinois, we traveled back to Springfield, thankful for the God's blessing of protection over us all that week.

Monday, October 03, 2016

Meet Lilly

Our sweet little Hurricane Lilly Brown (Lilly) came to live with us in August of 2011.  We did NOT need another dog.  But oh my...that sweet little brown dog featured on my screen...she was so precious.  Standing on a deck, licking her sweet little lips!  We did NOT need another dog.  So, I contacted my friend who posted her and asked about her story!  She was headed to a rescue in Minnesota.  (Rescues are THE BOMB).  We did NOT need another dog.  So we asked to foster her.  We didn't hear from Sherry so we agreed that was probably the best.  But we both wanted her!  So we messaged Sherry again.  She hadn't seen our first one! Imagine what would have happened if we hadn't had that discussion at Fazoli's and decided we DID need another dog!  

So we agree to meet her on Sunday and see how things go!  We arrived at Sherry's to see that little brown dog running all over the yard like a little hurricane, so she immediately fit into our family name!  We picked her up...and within moments, we knew she was HOME!  

She and Lucy didn't meet each other with the loving anticipation we hoped for.  Lucy couldn't believe we'd brought a dog into her peaceful world.  Lilly was very excited to have an older sister to teach her all the ways of our home. 

After hours separated by a pet crate, we slowly introduced them to life together.  Lucy tired quickly of the little furball that continually squeaked her stuffed animals, even going so far as to dismantle the stuffed creatures.  

Slowly, as the days wore on, Lucy came to tolerate Lilly, while Lilly continues to love and adore Lucy, until she's mad!  Then, you'd better watch out!  That little brown hurricane can puff up like a 80 pound dog!

We've told her often she wouldn't have made it in Minnesota.  And we are so thankful we gave her a chance to remain a Missouri girl!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Five Years

It's been five short long years today since I lost my Nana.   I know, short long contradicts itself.  It seems like it was just yesterday we were making our weekly trips to the wound care clinic at St John's.....but it also seems a lifetime ago that I was able to hold her hand, touch her skin and hear her voice.

She had battled Alzheimer's for 11 years, diabetes almost as long, and had a known heart defect for over 3 1/2 years.  When she was first diagnosed with the heart defect (by a kind, loving and caring doctor who was her kindergarten student at church many moons ago), it was believed she'd make it only a year and half to two years with such a valve leakage.  She lived almost 3 1/2 years.  My mom is fully credited with the wonderful care she gave her, night and day, weekly, monthly and yearly. 

Diabetes was a manageable disease.  Not a disease a sweets loving, Dr Pepper-aholic wants to have, but at least manageable.

Alzheimer's.  A total other story.  It is a cruel disease that doesn't care who it affects.  It doesn't matter if you are rich or poor,  well cared for and well loved, or abandoned by your family.  It doesn't matter if you are the strong leader in your family who is dearly loved, or if you are being cared for by a single daughter and her daughter who watch you wither away in front of their eyes. 

Alzheimer's robs.  It steals.  It devastates.  It takes away the one thing that those you love you value the most.....Your life.  It robs your memory, it robs your personality, it robs you of all you have that cannot be purchased back anywhere.  I heard it said a while back that money can buy most anything....but it cannot buy life.  It's true.  You simply cannot buy your way out of Alzheimer's. 

I'm saddened that 16 years after my Nana was loosely diagnosed with this dreadful disease that we are no closer to a cure.  No breakthroughs in treatment, no real way to stop or even slow this thief. 

Although this day is one we mark with a special tribute of new flowers at the gravesite or a special time of remembrance as we turn the calendar to this page...there is never a day I don't think of my Nana.  I'm blessed to be carrying on many roles my Nana had through the years. 

One is landlord.  When I work at a house, I have special memories of working alongside her.  I remember peeling all the loose wallpaper off a wall at a house, and then having to repaint it because I'd done so.  I learned to paint with her.  I learned to hang light fixtures and change doorknobs.  Because of her I can put in a pane of glass and lay linoleum.  I can change a faucet and hang a storm window.  I learned alot from her.  When mom thought I should get a 'real' job out of college....I resisted.  I liked working with my Nana and I learned valuable skills that I use most every day.  Mom is now glad I took the path I did.

Entertaining was another role my Nana loved.  She held many, many parties in her home through the years.  Her friends spoke about the fun times they had with her and my Papa.  She knew how to throw a party and was a fabulous hostess.  She wanted everything to be just right.  Down to the color of the rum balls at my cousin's wedding shower she hosted. 

Church hospitality and involvement was another love of hers.  I remember many times taking food to those who'd lost a loved one, attending a visitation or funeral of a special friend or even someone she just felt needed a special show of respect, serving at a wedding or baby shower or a special anniversary celebration.  She gave her all to those she cared for.

I have so many special memories, this blog could go on for pages and pages. I'll close it with a special gift she gave me overnight. 

Pennies and money on the ground were something we talked about often.  Her mother had a knack for finding money on the ground.  So do I.  I've always believed in Pennies from Heaven.  It's a sign from a loved one and from God that it will all be okay.  In God We Trust it says.  Many say you shouldn't pick up a penny if it's tails up....that's bad luck.  But how can anything that says "In GOD We Trust" be bad luck?

Before she died, I was walking out of Walmart thinking that I have so many great memories of my Nana, but I won't have any memories of her in this store with me.  And I found a penny......

Shortly after she died, I was having a hard day....and looked down and found a penny under our truck.

Last night...I dreamed all night long of picking up pennies.  I know she was telling me "It will all be okay."

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

I'm Baaaaaaaack!

Why did I always think a blog had to be perfect writing with a positive spin?   Can't a blog be my thoughts, parts and pieces?  Can't a blog be heavy on dark days and light and fun on other days?  I've read tons of blogs, I guess I thought maybe I didn't have anything to say that anyone would be interested in reading about.  Maybe I still don't....but after reading an entire blog this week, from start to finish, I've decided I've got a lot to say and I guess I don't care if anyone reads it.  

So here goes....

My heart is heavy tonight for a little boy named Landan who died today.  I'd never heard of him until two weeks.  I was getting ready for L's football game and heard Landan's story on the news.  It. Broke. My. Heart.  I was literally sobbing at this precious little 3 year old boy that I'd never met, never heard of before that moment, that was battling brain cancer.  He'd taken a Make-A-Wish trip to Toys R Us to buy Legos and was telling his mommy in his sweet little boy voice that he loved her.  That is when I lost it......She knows he's dying and soon she won't hear that voice anymore, except in her mind, on recordings, in her dreams.  She won't hear that boy as a teenager, or an adult.   She's watching her baby boy slowly fade.  And I'm worried about insurance.  And paperwork I need to do.    A friend once said if money can fix your problems, you don't have problems. 

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Turning 40

2008 is the year I turned 40. It really didn't bother me. Well...after a few weeks, it didn't.

September 30, I stepped over a dog gate on our stairs, with a loaded basket of laundry....and fell. About 2 feet...on my outstretched an angle. Ouch!!

I had broken my humerus, up in my shoulder ball. Again, OUCH! But about 2 1/2 hours later, I was back on the couch, tucked in for the evening. Urgent care rules!!

Less than a week later, the big 40 came! I couldn't straighten my hair as I couldn't lift or straighten my arm. So my friends Jenny and Stacia took me to get my hair done before my big Fondue Birthday Celebration. As I'm sitting there in the chair, wearing my white restrictive device (I know it has a name...but I can't remember it), my frumpy clothes (as that is about all I can get on by myself), drinking my Dr Pepper... I felt OLD!!! And then ...a new me emerged from the chair!! I needed that!!! Good friends and Fondue!!

Now....weeks later....40 doesn't seem nearly as bad! Since I've turned 40, I'm okay with:

  • Going to town with no make-up on...and it's okay
  • Being thrilled to be at home with a good book
  • Being happy to go to bed by 9 pm
  • Enjoying an SUV much more than a sports car
  • Telling people what you really think
  • Not caring whether people appreciate what you think

Of course....these things can be enjoyed at any age....but once you're's like you've fallen over the people expect much less out of you! :-)

Oh and...."I've got a broken arm" is a good phrase to get you out of LOTS of stuff!!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Scrapbooking is my passion!

Those who know me know I am scrapbooking NUT. Okay..maybe a scrapbooking collecting NUT!! Last week, our LSS (local scrap store) had a garage sale! And I stocked up!! I got a ton of stuff...from idea books to sticker mods, albums to eyelets, ribbons to Prima flowers!!! What a fun day!! Can't wait for the next sale!!

I started collecting, I mean, scrapbooking back in 1999. I was at Hobby Lobby and all these women were standing in the paper aisle, picking out papers like crazy. I saw someone I knew and asked her if this was a huge sale or something. YES...she said, the paper is cheap!! So..I was hooked. Didn't take long before I had to have more paper, and stickers, and templates, and scissors, and glue, and.....well, you get the picture....I had to have it ALL. I was in love with this fabulous new hobby of mine. forward to 2007.....I love to scrapbook.....I imagine layouts in my mind, think about cool pictures to take, set up fun days so I'll have pictures to match the stickers, paper, etc.

A few years ago....I made a hatbox covered in pictures of a friend of mines children. I'd babysat for them since they were all born. One of the twin boys said he knew all about the gift when his mom opened it....he knew that was why I'd been taking pictures of them all these years! :-)

A very fun hobby...let me know if I can get you addicted too!!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Meet Lucy!

Lucy is our wild and rambunctious Heeler mix pup we got in January of 2006. We lost Red (our beloved Heeler) in September of 2005. We fostered a dog for awhile and found we were ready to start looking for our new fur-kid.

Lucy was up for adoption at the Humane Society. She was one sick little girl. She weighed in at 2 lbs 13 ozs at 9 weeks old. Just a tiny little handful of black, white and gray fur.

She settled right into our family....learning early on that Picasso was the boss...but learning later that she had indeed grown to outweigh Picasso 3 to 1 and thought she'd change the odds of who's the boss.

They get along okay as long as Picasso is on the other side of the baby gate or upstairs in the loft staring down at Lucy.