Friday, May 19, 2017

The Fantasy Vs. Reality of Book Release Day

karfelt, love in the time of dementia, fantasy
I've Finished the Book!
Make sure the minions don't disturb me for a bit!
Who am I talking to?
And I have no minions!
*looks for some on Amazon*
*too expensive*

The book is finished. It's been rewritten EIGHTEEN times. It's gone through TEN edits after that. It's been formatted by the interior people, and endured another SEVEN tweaks.

The process took NINE MONTHS. It feels like giving birth for real. Now the book is ready to make its debut in the world. There it goes! My baby is heading out into the wide world at long last. Now it is time for glorious celebration. This day has been a dream for months. Some books take years. It takes a long time to birth a book!

Now is the time to relax. Plan a special lunch. Maybe have a party?

Only there can be no party. This book took nine months. Nobody even remembers me. Plus this house hasn't been cleaned in that time either. Also, that glance in the mirror that made me gasp out loud? That's not going to be fixed with expired mascara. If I believed in reincarnation, it might be faster to fix that way.

This writer is not fit for public consumption I'm afraid. After all the night writes, rewrites, edits, half-assed marketing attempts, and trying to fake having a real life (pretty sure nobody bought it), all I've got is a hot mess.

karfelt, dementia, book
My Editor and Me
Reality Bites
That's why I usually write Fiction

No. There's more than a hot mess here. There is a BOOK! It felt like shoving boulders up a mountain with my head, but look at how beautifully it turned out!

book release, amazon, barnes and noble

We don't judge a book by its cover though, even if it fits the book perfectly. So here's a glimpse inside.

It was so worth it! Let's have another one! Hey, Editor! Come here a minute. I have an idea!

Monday, May 15, 2017

Another Little Piece of My Heart—Sharing Stories with the World

The Glitter Globe/S.R. Karfelt

NOBODY TOLD ME love in the time of dementia has been magicked into a book. 

That was easy enough. I'm laughing as I say that, and lying too. After the interior people and I went through seven versions of it, I looked back into my files to see how many versions I'd worked on. There were eighteen before I sent it to the story editor. That feels a bit shameful. It's because the idea for this book came from a series of social media posts that were eventually edited out of the book.

After those versions, the book went for story edits. That meant another ten versions of the story. My editor for this book is my daughter. Yes, she edits professionally. The two of us working on a book together, a book near and dear to both of our hearts, was quite an adventure. There were flaming emails, texts, and editorial comments in all versions. There were also tears. 

In the middle of writing this book about dementia, we were living it heart to heart. Me with my mother-in-law, and my editor-daughter with her grandmother. It wasn't the easiest project to tackle, but after nine months I think we've created something special.

S.R. Karfelt, non-fiction, books
The Glitter Globe/S.R. Karfelt

You'll see the blurb for NOBODY TOLD ME telling you what the book is about. What my editor and I both know is this: NOBODY TOLD ME is about is love, life, laughter, and loss. It's indicative that it took nine months to create. In the end it came into fruition from sheer determination and plenty of grace. 

I can't think when I've worked harder on a book. When I at last approved the final interior, I hopped into my Jeep and went for a freedom ride. It involved a new outfit for Gummy, one of those Starbuck's dessert-in-a-cup drinks, and a giant new pocketbook. After spending the past nine months cramming my things in and out of a small purse, I decided to take up the necessary space in the world. Maybe that's indicative too.

On release day for NOBODY TOLD ME, I'm planning a quiet little luncheon for the main characters. That would be Gummy and me, and possibly some side characters if I can manage to have actual food at this luncheon. Too much activity overwhelms Gummy now. We'll celebrate the birth of my first Non-Fiction book with no fanfare. I'll put a copy of it in Gummy's hands and tell her, "This is the book about us that I've been telling you so much about!" She will smile and say, "WHAT? NOBODY TOLD ME!"

Thursday, May 4, 2017

NOBODY TOLD ME—love in the time of dementia by S.R. Karfelt

Karfelt, memory care, Nobody Told Me
The Glitter Globe/S.R. Karfelt

So, I love telling Gummy, my mother-in-law, about my trigger finger.

I hold my right hand up, and my middle finger just curls into position because of a tendon problem.

     Hey, Gummy. Look at the problem I'm having with my hand.
     Shame on you! (But she laughs.)
     No, seriously. The doctor says it does this from over-use! (I flip it up and down.)
     I'll bet it does! You're awful! (She holds her middle finger up.)

We sit side by side in the memory care unit of assisted living showing each other our middle fingers and laughing.

Since Gummy has such advanced dementia, with almost no short-term memory recall anymore, this joke never gets old for her. Sadly, I've not gotten tired of it either.

Fact is my trigger finger is from writing this book about us. Not from typing, but from scrolling the button on top of the mouse miles a day during all the back and forth edits with my editor.


Writing about your mother-in-law is worse than dangerous.

It's terrifying.

Gummy and Me B.D. (Before Dementia)

NOBODY TOLD ME love in the time of dementia

by. S.R. Karfelt

Saffi falls in love with and marries her mad scientist, never expecting to find the most profound friendship of her life with his mother, Gummy. She doesn’t particularly care for the woman, and the feeling seems to be mutual.

Thrown together by circumstance, they forge a bond based on necessity, animosity, and begrudging respect. Neither knows it will last long after they no longer recognize each other. Memory loss changes more than the person who can’t remember. It changes those who can’t forget.

Nobody Told Me is the story of a complicated and powerful relationship—the love between two women who love the same man and the struggle to hold on as dementia erases past, present, and future.

This is the easiest book I've ever written. All I had to do was tell the truth. 
This is the hardest book I've ever written. All I had to do was tell the truth.
NOBODY TOLD ME love in the time of dementia is my first Non-Fiction book. It's not something I planned to write. It happened because writing is how I cope. When I became the caregiver for my mother-in-law, writing became a way to vent my frustrations. It also allowed me to reminisce about our shared past and explain to myself how the two of us ended up where we are now. That's with one of us drifting into the void, and the other pacing, trying to make sense of something so senseless. 

Dealing with change has never been my strong suit. It's not that I don't like change. There are times I can grab my purse and head off into a whole new life and not look back. This is different. It's the kind of change I can't delude myself about. It's not going to have a happy ending. It's not okay. It's not something I can run away from. Dementia has to be stood and faced, and most days it's like looking into the abyss.

Gummy and I face it the same way we entertain each other in memory care, with our middle fingers up. That's all we've got, I'm sorry to say.

The book releases May 19th. It's available in all those bookish places that deal with hardcover escapism and caffeinated bliss. It's in all those virtual stores too. Get your middle finger primed, and let me know what you think. Don't overuse it though. It can freeze like that. Ask Gummy.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Why Hello You Tall Cool Drink of Water—A Nomination You Want to Kiss on the Mouth

An Actual Photo of Me Kissing My RONE Award Nomination CATEGORY: FICTION/PARANORMAL

One of my books has been nominated for a 2017 RONE award.

I just can't even. It's such a thrill when someone notices all the work you put into a book. Night writes. Six months of hard time. EDITS. SO MANY EDITS.

After all the work that goes into a book, in the end you dress it up with a pretty cover, pack it a lunch, kiss it goodbye, and send it out into the void.

     "I love you!" you say as it hurries away.

     It doesn't even wave farewell.

You wait. But it doesn't write. It doesn't call. It's gone. Forever.

For a while life feels so empty.

Eventually you head back to the writing world, chop another bit of your heart out, and do it all over again. But you never forget the bits of yourself you've sent into the world. You always wonder about them.

     How's it doing?
     I hope it's okay.
     I've heard nothing bad, so probably it's okay.

Then one day your publisher sends you an email with news!

WHAT?! *you hyperventilate into a paperbag* BITCH WITCH! It's so good to see you again!

You beautiful cranky witch you! I've missed you! I think about you all the time! Look at you!

Here she is, my Bitch Witch, nominated for a RONE AWARD. She's in the Paranormal (Long) Category. This part of the contest needs votes from you.

If you enjoyed Sarah Archer. If you like to read stories about darkness and light, head over HERE and GIVE HER A VOTE!

You'll need to register at the site. That's how they make sure everyone only votes once.

Give her a hug, maybe a smooch if you're so inclined, or a VOTE!

There's no better way to reassure a writerly heart.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Fly the Unfriendly Skies—Atonement for United Airlines

The Glitter Globe, Man dragged off plane, United Airlines forces man off plane
The Glitter Globe/S.R. Karfelt

You have been weighed.
You have been measured.
And you have absolutely, been found wanting.

That Knight’s Tale quote pretty much sums up the public’s consensus toward United Airlines, after they had a customer forcibly removed from one of their airplanes today. The crime? They wanted his seat. The one he paid for and was sitting in. They wanted to give it to someone else.

The fact that he’s a doctor who had patients to see, and didn’t want to give up his seat, is irrelevant to me. It shouldn’t matter if he was a rich guy heading off on vacation for the thirteenth time this year, or if he was a poor man going to his father’s funeral. He bought and paid for a ticket, and he was sitting in his seat.

It seems a good deal of the internet is playing judge, jury, and executioner on this topic. Maybe because we’ve all had our share of flying problems.

Traveling takes a lot of juggling, and effort. By the time a passenger gets to their seat and they’re ready to go, it’s not a good time to expect them to change their schedule and rework their plans. 

When something goes wrong in my life I tend to hurry up to see the bottom line. How soon can this be fixed, and what will it take? That’s where my mind usually goes. That’s what I’m going to do for United Airlines. Free of charge. In my opinion, if nobody dies, it is recoverable.

The man dragged off the flight, his family, and any close friends who travel with him the rest of his life, should get free First Class. Forever. Likely he’ll tell United to suck it, and sue them anyway. Few would blame him. Still, at least it would show the desire to make amends on the part of the airline.

It seems like whoever dragged the man from the plane might have been local police. I imagine they were doing their job. Some guy won’t get off the flight, they’ll make him. Unless they’re some type of mercenary or airline police, United can and probably will go all Medea and blame the Po-Po.

I call bullshit on United blaming the police.

If I promise one of my kids that they can ride shotgun, and another kid hops in the seat. It’s my job to fix that. I don’t call the police on that kid. Bad call on the part of United if they did.

If the airline had offered enough incentive, someone would have gotten up voluntarily. If they promise me a free round trip ticket anywhere United flies, and they’re going to get me on another flight that day, I’d give up my seat in a heartbeat!

From stats I’ve seen flying around today, United appears to not force people off airplanes very often. I don’t care. Unless the person is a nuisance, it needs to not be happening at all. Not after the passengers are seated. That’s bullshit.

Why is overbooking a thing anyway? You sell the seats you have. If someone doesn’t show up you keep their money. If they bought a ticket that allows them not to show up at the last minute, I’m going to bet that ticket costs so much that the airline still comes out better financially.

What I’d like to see is an airline with the gonads to STOP OVERBOOKING. That’s my writerly advice to United. Shite-can the lip service and actually make this right. What people want from an airline is safe and good service. The real kind. Not the cleverly packaged bullshit kind. Genuine. Service. 

Be real, United. Make it right. 

Friday, April 7, 2017

Acting Like a Witch—Actresses and Audiobooks

One of the projects I've been working on this year is having my book, Bitch Witch, made into an Audiobook

What an absolute blast it's been!

Over thirty actresses auditioned for the part. I spent weeks listening to every audition. Since I got to have first and also final say, I narrowed the field down. It was tough because the talent out there is overwhelming. I wanted ALL of them, but there could be only one! I had to satisfy myself with stalking most of the actresses on Vimeo or other places. My editor and publisher gave advice and listened to selections, helping me finally choose one.

My top pick for this project was Liisa Ivary. It's pronounced like Lisa with one i, even if she's Liisa with a double ii. She's a veteran audiobook actress, and she blew me away with her narration. I've never been a big audiobook listener before. But the night she sent me the completed project, I stayed up all night listening to her bring the book to life. I can't think when I've been so thrilled.

You might think every writer thinks that their books would make a good movie. You'd be wrong about me. I don't think that the Covenant Keeper books would make good movies (although I'd love someone to prove me wrong). The reason being that I can't picture how the heart thing could translate effectively to the screen. I picture it being one of those movies where the actors try to convey something profound with cryptic and meaningful looks. One of those movies where I mutter to the screen, "What? WHAT? What are you trying to tell me?" 

No, I think that the Covenant Keeper books would make an EXCELLENT video game. It's a huge world, and behavior makes the heart stronger or weaker. Plus Kahtar dies and is reborn again and again. It's an excellent video game world! 

do think that Bitch Witch would be a fun romp of a movie. I think that the world is currently suffering from a severe lack of movies that are fun romps. Have we ever needed a laugh and that lit-up happy feeling those movies provide more? Liisa Ivary drives home to me that Bitch Witch can do that. You've got to hear her play Mindy Millerton, she nails it. Every character came to life, and I relived that story in a way I wouldn't have thought possible. Bitch Witch makes a great audiobook, and I dare to think it would make a good movie too.

Several of the trade reviewers of Bitch Witch said the same thing. Check that out.

We can hope.

In the meantime, listening to the story will bring it to life and allow you to cast the characters in your own fertile imagination.

Liisa's narration made me laugh out loud again and again. It was like listening to a new story for me, and I wrote it! It's available at all audiobook retailers. Leave a review, and let me know what you think!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Tucson, Arizona—If You Like Escapism With Your Vacation

Author Karfelt,
The Glitter Globe/S.R. Karfelt

Let’s keep this free and easy., Arizona, Saguaro National Park
Saguaro National Forest East/Arizona

Just like there are different types of people, there are different types of vacations. My favorite kind involves someplace beautiful with absolutely no plans. Throw a convertible into the desert, and we’re good. Know what I did in Tucson? Nothing. I hiked about eight miles a day and drove around in a convertible until it is now impossible to ever comb my hair out again.

Cactus, National park, Karfelt,
Riding the Desert in a Convertible

Since it is no fun at all to take the Interstate from Phoenix to Tucson, I simply drove off the highway and found a side road—with the help of one ancient useless GPS and two phones (Google works better than the map app in my opinion and with my IQ level).

The Glitter Globe, Karfelt
The Glitter Globe/S.R. Karfelt
Since none of my technology could alert me to the fact that there was a big Renaissance Fair going on, and that ALL THE PEOPLE were going, including a guy in a huge boat with fishing poles, I drove most of the way to Tucson slower than I hike. That’s pretty profound. If you’ve ever hiked with me you will understand. I might possibly be the only person to hike DOWN into the Grand Canyon slower than up. It’s a vertigo thang.

S.R. Karfelt, The Glitter Globe
Crested Saguaro/Arizona
This trip to Tucson I stayed at Rincon Creek Ranch. It’s south of the city and a bit out of the way, and absolutely spectacular. This is the second off the beaten path place I’ve found thanks to Trip Advisor. A ranch bordering the Saguaro National Park East is quite different than a Houseboat in Amsterdam, but they’re equally amazing in all the right ways. I found the EXACT kind of vacation I long for—the kind that refreshes the soul and recharges the mind.

The Glitter Globe, Karfelt
Rincon Creek Ranch/Vail, Arizona

Rincon Creek Ranch offers several spectacular casitas to choose from. The décor almost inspires me to update my rickety old spider-filled house in the woods, instead of spending my money escaping it. Since I spend most of my at-home days going through the writing portal into other worlds, what difference does it really make? Plus The Shire has some of the highest taxes in the United States. If they hear me run the vacuum, they raise my taxes.

So I’ve decided to embrace the squalor., hiking, The Glitter Globe
Tucson, Arizona

Someday I probably won’t come back, because I fall in love with new places very easily., The Glitter Globe
Rincon Creek Ranch/Appaloosa
The casitas at Rincon Creek Ranch have different décor to choose from. I stayed in the Appaloosa. It has a western theme, with a copper tub, and stone fireplace, and leather couches, and a bedroom that you just want to use your cowboy in. Mine had been off traveling for business, so we met up in Arizona for equal parts smooching and hiking.  

The Glitter Globe
Tucson, Arizona

That’s my idea of vacation. Yours might be different. If you’re home raising kids, or can’t take off on a vacation this year, maybe everything sounds great. I’ve had plenty of years like that. All vacations require patience, even if it’s just waiting for the opportunity to go on one. 

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Side Effects of Dementia on Caregivers

love and marriage, kissing boys, reality, S.R. Karfelt
The Glitter Globe/S.R. Karfelt

Dementia feels contagious.

You train your brain with input, right? After a long stint wandering the halls of dementia, it takes a concerted effort to escape it. For instance, after spending the day with Gummy, when she’s deep into her “I’m living at Burger King they call it Memory Care now,” I’ve actually referred to the nurses as, “Gummy’s co-workers.” I’d like to pretend I was humoring her, but it’d be a lie.

Sometimes I come home and shut out the lights and sit in the dark. It’s sort of a sensory deprivation thing. (Other than rescue kitty standing outside the window yowling.)

I’m fine, just fine.

Most of the time I handle it pretty well. I love her. I enjoy being with her. If I occasionally cry picking out underwear for her at Target, just keep moving.

It’s not the only thing, but…
When someone complains about how they had to work an extra hour, or how the car they want costs too much, or how hard it is to get costumer service on the phone, I’m making sympathetic sounds but inside my head I’m screaming,  BUT YOU HAVE YOUR FACULTIES INTACT DON’T YOU, STFU! SEIZE THE DAY! CARPE DIEM! ENJOY EVERY SECOND! THEY’RE EVAPORATING!

Not that I don’t agree with you about the little difficulties in life. Why just today I asked Panera for extra olives on my salad and only got four olives. So I feel your pain.

I take Gummy to see her doctor, because she’s lightheaded and half-fainting all the time, plus her back hurts, her legs won’t work, her nose is stuffed up, etc. etc. (Gummy rehashes her woes all the way to the medical offices) but when they ask her how she is, she’s forgotten and says, “Can’t complain, I’m fine! My memory is good. Everyone says I have a good memory.” Sometimes I roll my eyes so HARD that I worry the ligaments could detach.

Existential Crisis. Because you can’t look someone with dementia/Alzheimer’s in the eyes very often without wondering, where do they go? If you contemplate that for long things start to crumble and you start watching a lot of Bill Nye on YouTube, and Jenna Marbles. You’ve always watched a lot of Neil deGrasse Tyson, so that doesn’t count. If you don’t get that, maybe you’re not having an existential crisis.

Economics is the bottom line. The way the world works. Blah, blah, blah. I suppose if we step back and look at how old and infirm people are treated in third world countries (I’m thinking lying in the streets with no legs, begging), then the fact that people with memory loss often aren’t cared for properly in our first world country, isn’t a shock. But, hey economics-is-the-bottom-line-world, I’m disappointed in you.

Capitalism. Ditto. We’re talking about a generation of people who’ve worked hard all of their lives. You need to step up. I’m judging you. I still think you’re the greatest, but know what? You could be freaking better. I’m ashamed of you.

Organized Religion. Gummy has forgotten you. The next one to ask me how Gummy sits with Jesus gets a throat punch.

Plus there’s a pile of little side effects.

Sometimes I don’t go to the grocery store. Can’t squeeze it in. We eat a lot of Panera.

The newspaper goes from the mailbox straight to the recycling bin because who am I kidding? It’s not going to be read.

Junk mail just pisses me off. TREES PEOPLE. STOP. JUST STOP. Send me an email that I’ll never open like everybody else does.

It’s unlikely that I’ll pick up the phone for any number other than Gummy’s assisted living, but on the off-chance a telemarketer gets me, it’s a sad day for them. No. Time. Unless you’re calling to heal the sick for free, you’d be better off sucking down a glass of glass than trying to scam me after a long day.


There are more side effects, but it’s 10:30 p.m. and I’m just getting to the shower today. Then I’m going to do laundry. Also this blog. 

Please share your own side effects, because I know we could keep this up for a long time. Comment if you can feel me, or if you’re disappointed in economics too.  

And here's a puppy, because dementia/Alzheimer's sucks, but dogs. They help.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

My Love Affair with Technology—I Don't Belong in this Neighborhood

Technology, Photonics, High Tech, Writing, Love, My Love Affair with Technology
The Glitter Globe/S.R. Karfelt

He wooed me. 

Bigger. Better. Faster.

Oh, baby.

All along I've been surrounded by a smattering of what the tech world had to offer. I didn't gravitate toward it naturally. It fell into my lap. That would be my first laptop. It was one of those huge engineering ones. It didn't even fit into a laptop bag.

     "Try it," the engineer said. "I don't need it anymore. It can't handle what I need, but you, it's good enough for what you need."

That wasn't even true. My lowly Word documents crashed the snot out of that machine regularly. Maybe it wasn't satellite technology, but those files were big.

But it was free, and faster than a pencil and paper, so I took it.

Of course there were mobile phones, kindles, iPads, an Echo, a ROKU, GPS's, a ROOMBA, and a variety of laptops and desktops too. Because engineer. Because Christmas.

The computers were a mishmash of partially crippled machines all interconnected together like a Russian Skynet. This one goes to that printer—the one that only prints legal size black and white. That one goes to the color printer that is out of red, but use it anyway because those cartridges have gone extinct. This printer is actually a laminator. Don't send anything there, you have to do that by hand.

Keep that computer in that room on all the time or none of the machines will print.

Do taxes on this laptop. It has Excel.

That fifteen year old machine in the closet needs to stay on too. It's what keeps the entire network connected.

The blue thing up on top of the cabinets is the WiFi thing. The password for that is thirty random characters long. Try to figure out which ones are zeros and which ones are the letter O.

If you want to put a WIP (Work in Progress) on your Kindle Fire, email it to this address.

To put a document on the old Kindle make sure you increase the font to size 72. During transition it will reduce to a 10. No one knows why.

Your gmail, author email, and your email via the publisher is on your iPad. Your regular email is on your laptop. That old business account is on your phone. Your old Yahoo account for the neighbor's dog? That's on one of those old laptops in the corner.

The passwords for everything are written in shorthand, the kind that is extinct now, on little bits of paper and buried in that pile with all the cards and fan mail you've ever received. There are photographs in there too.

Digital photographs are on your phone. And the cloud. They will never get uploaded to the Snapfish APP for prints because you waited to do it until you had 17,000 photos and you seem to think you can get them all on there now. And the cloud laughed. And iTunes froze. No. iTunes shit the bed. And Dear Hubby said I TOLD YOU NOT TO USE APPLE PRODUCTS.

Because he'd rather you brought a Greek boyfriend home on your next vacation than you buy a MAC.

It's an engineer thang.

Sometimes, when you say I AM BUYING MYSELF A MAC AND EFF ALL THIS COMPUTER NETWORKED SHITE TO THE RIVER STYX AND BACK, he says the most heartless, unloving thing he's ever said.

     "Go ahead, but I won't help you troubleshoot it."

The answers to security questions aren't the real answer. The one thing I took away from the defense industry was this—you're only as strong as your weakest link. The fact that I like vanilla isn't exactly a state secret. So I make up different answers to every security question AND I DO NOT WRITE THEM DOWN. I memorize them in haiku fashion.

I shit you not.

My brain works like a giant disco ball of flashing lights. I can memorize patterns forever, just not consistently. What I mean is that I don't have access to all of the glitter globe information at all times. Sometimes I have to go get a drink of ice water. Walk around. Read something. Let March slide into April. And when the planets align properly, IT WILL ALL COME BACK.

Then and only then will I be able to log onto GoDaddy.

Those cords go to the external hard drive. That entire drawer is full of flash drives.

Back shit up.
Back shit up.
Back shit up.

Control S
Control S
Control S

The black thingy hanging on the edge of that bookshelf is a wireless connect for the cordless keyboard. It's okay if it falls down to be raped by the ROOMBA because that keyboard has needed new batteries for six months.

Just drag the wired one from desk to desk.

The twenty foot cord snaking around the chair is attached to the mouse that goes between the sitting desk and the standing desk.

That glass jar is full of international adapters so you can take all this shtuff wherever the wind blows you.

In the far corner is the ROOMBA, a self-propelled vacuum. It sneaked into my office one night when a power outage caused it to mix up a.m. and p.m., so I didn't shut the door. From my bed I heard it in the middle of the night, knocking up against the wall, humping table legs, and flinging all the receipts I'd sorted and left on the floor.

Dear IRS,My taxes will be late this year because the ROOMBA mixed my tax receipts with sixty years worth of my in-laws photographs I'd sorted. MIL has dementia and somehow this task has fallen to me. When I say mixed, I meant it shredded them and whipped them all over my house. I refuse to make sense of it. Please put me in debtors (AKA didn't file) prison if there is WiFi and a working printer there.Please.PLEEEEEEZE.

By the time I realized what was going on it was too late. Plus I was too tired to do anything about it. I just laid there and fantasized about flinging that ROOMBA like a frisbee in the morning. It wasn't necessary. It choked to death on that twenty foot mouse cord.

Not death death. Just Disney death.

Inside the office closet are manuals that I paid actual money for, for all my versions of MSWord and various archaic Windows manuals. Mostly I just figure if I can't figure it out by staring, it's not meant to be part of my life. That's how I choose which microwave to purchase and washing machine also.

Don't knock it. With all the time I saved not reading manuals I have figured out how miles work on at least two defunct airlines.

Plus YOUTUBE will tell me all the secrets of the universe. And kittens,

Those noise cancelling headphones don't have a cord anymore. That wasn't the ROOMBA. That was me the first time I used them on the airplane and stood up to go to the ladies room. Yeah, I forgot they were on my head and twisted that cord so hard it bent that metal bit that goes into the outlet. Yanked it clean off. Plus it whipped the cord so hard that it trimmed some hair off the guy in the seat across the aisle from me. Fortunately that was my Dear Hubby so he couldn't sue or anything. He just said, "Are those the ones I just gave you for Christmas?"

My Love Affair with Technology, KarfeltDuh, really? Do you think I go around trashing OLD STUFF? That's the ROOMBA's job.

Seriously though, is it me? Confess. It's good for the soul, not to mention a laugh or two.

And sometimes you have to laugh, or organize. Amiright?

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The Effing Teacups

The Glitter Globe/S.R. Karfelt

Assisted living is hosting a picnic and Gummy’s family is coming. It’s a perfect day for it, reminding me of all the huge family reunions and church picnics Gummy has been part of during the years. The staff is taking the memory care patients down to the tents together, but Gummy gets to go down early with her family.

She nearly bounds down the steps, cutting in front of me, her daughter-in-law. She likes taking the stairs instead of the elevator. In the hallways she passes people in wheelchairs or walkers. They’re people who live in regular assisted living, not memory care, senior citizens without memory issues. She’s possibly ten years younger than most of them, and she leaves them in her dust.
          I go to church with all these people.
          You do?
          Yeah, don’t you recognize them?
          They do look familiar.

Today we’ve planned a big surprise for Gummy. For years she collected teacups, hundreds and hundreds of them. Juan managed to get a bunch of them brought here to the shire, along with some of her special teacup shelving, and he and the kids are going to hang them up in her room.

We’re determined to make her comfortable here. It’s a nice place. If you have to be in assisted living with dementia, it’s perfect. Outside there’s a band playing Woody Guthrie songs. It’s Grandparents’ Day and they’ve gone all out. Next to all the tables and tents there are kids playing soccer. There are mountains of good food, including an ice-cream truck. Gummy’s smile grows wider and wider as grandkids appear one by one. She points out familiar faces from the memory care unit, both nurses and patients, and people she recognizes from day club. She tells us she knows them from her church.

This is her element. She eats corn on the cob, chicken, a hotdog, potato salad, watermelon, ice cream, and peanut butter pie. She washes it all down with soda pop. We’re all sufficiently impressed. Throughout the meal she waves at people and makes small talk. The guys sneak away to set up Gummy’s room.

We go for a walk and watch a soccer game. Gummy makes over every little kid and baby. She finds ancient tricycles in the gazebo outside her room and rides one around the courtyard. You heard that right. She's riding a tricycle. 

The guys text us a couple hours later and we take her back to her room. She’s forgotten it and thinks we’re at Burger King.

Shelves and teacups, knickknacks she painted, and favorite pictures from her house now cover her walls. Even her television, with a remote she understands, sets on a stand across from the couch. She stands in the middle of her room and puts her hands on her hips.
          What’s this?
          We decorated your room! Surprise!
          This is my stuff!
          How’d you get my stuff here?
          We brought it to surprise you.
          I’m going to have to take this all when I leave.
          Yep. Don’t worry. We’ll pack it all up for you when you leave.
          Okay. Do you think it’s too much? Do you think people are going to say I have too much nice stuff? I don’t want them to think I’m showing off.
          Oh, I think people are going to like it.
          It is nice.
For a few moments she surveys the room and turns to me.
          Do you see all this stuff?
          Yes, it’s really nice, Gummy.
          I brought this all here and hung it up. It was a lot of work.
          I can see that it sure was.
          It was, but I don’t think it’s too much.
          Neither do I. It’s perfect.
The sweating guys are lying on the sofa laughing.
Life is good. Not easy. But good. 

For the first time I wanted to spank her.
I even asked the nurse for permission.
Are we allowed to spank them?
She winked.
I could look away for a minute.
I think she felt the same way.

Gummy took everything off her walls. I’m talking pictures, sconces, decorations, dozens of teacups and the big heavy rack screwed into the wall. It took the guys hours to put that stuff up. The nurses can’t even figure out how she reached it.
I know how she reached it. She climbed onto the arm of her couch and swung from it like the nimble monkey she is.

Her drawers are a jumble of dirty clothes mixed with clean, with notes, cards, newspapers, pencils, books, teacups, fresh flowers, etc. etc. The place is a wreck.
And she’s ranting. Someone’s coming in taking her pillows—she counts them—moving her stuff, taking her fifty cent school scissors. I didn’t humor her. I counted the pillows with her and confirmed that was the exact number of Target pillows I’d purchased for her. The other stuff? I told her if she’d stop having tantrums and jamming things into pillowcases and drawers, she’d be able to find stuff.
I picked the dirty clothes out, took them to the laundry, and left everything as is. Her move.

She followed me out.
When I get mad I do that.
Hallelujah. I don't know what if anything will come of it, but honesty to oneself must mean something. And I don't blame her for being angry. I do blame her that I have to be the one to put all those flipping teacups back out though. I swear I will never again take the time to match them with the right saucer.
Tonight she can fix them herself. I know her perfectionism won’t allow mismatched teacups and saucers.
Tough love.
Teacup version.
I'm hoping she'll focus on righting her collection instead of packing to leave.

Hope is the thing with feathers, and mismatched teacups.