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Location: Clarksville, TN, United States

At this moment, I am a 60 year old lady living with a 61 year old husband of 41 years. I have a loving son, Scott, who is mentally challenged (aka mentally retarded), and a beautiful daughter, Dawn who lives near Boston with her husband and son. I never understood what all the hoopla was about being a grandparent - now I do! I am the poster child for the obnoxious old lady with photos in hand!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

The older you get the faster time flies ... really ...

It seems odd that we do not always feel as old as we actually are - of course some days we feel much OLDER!

Have you ever looked in a mirror and saw how great you "thought" you looked and then had someone take your picture and you wonder what happened to the person in my bathroom mirror?!

Things have really changed around here.  For starters:  Ed retired at the end of last November.  A change I do not think either of us was ready for.  Initially, it was like I had inherited a conjoined twin! If he saw me putting on shoes (a sure sign I was going out of the house), he jumped up and asked "Where are you going?' Usually followed with "I guess I will ride along!".  That was all fine, it wasn't like I was headed to a clandestine  location - but after about a month- it did get a little constricted. 

Then in December, we traveled to MA to spend Christmas with Dawn's family.  A real treat.  It was the first Christmas that Sawyer and Gwen woke up at home, in their beds, on Christmas morning and it was very exciting for all of us.  Poor Sawyer got sick on Christmas Day and did not feel much like celebrating.  Thankfully it was a short lived bug and he was  up and celebrating in 24  hours! It was a Christmas full of pirates and swords! Ahoy Matey! Even Grampy had to become a pirate! 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


(soft musical interlude..)  you know the tune... some may call it an earworm... 'Like a good neighbor..."  well, like a BAD neighbor, State Farm is not there!  (clashing cymbals, snare drums and slide trombone!)

Back in July - July 6th exactly, we had bad storms.  Bad enough to have the power off for 23 hours, a tree limb to jettison itself into our roof and put us in a hotel overnight! (That was because of the no power thing- not the roof thing.)

We called the local State Farm office and they quickly took my information - said they would schedule an "inspector" to come out and get the claim rolling. Humph!  The "inspector" did come out - climbed up on the roof and determined we did, indeed, have damage.  It was covered under our homeowners policy and here is a check!

Now do not get excited.  The check was for the depreciated amount of our old roof.  Taking into account that the roof was 17 years old... that check could have been cashed at McDonald's.  (Almost, I exaggerate).

How  impressive I thought.  He printed a check from the front seat of his car.  This will be a snap!  Some would call that spitting in the wind!  That was the last speedy results I have seen.

Remember years ago - when you had a local agent - if you had a problem, you went to the LOCAL office and the agent would come out to your house (or an adjuster would come)- and then the AGENT would write you a check.  Ta-da!  Done.

If you haven't dealt with an insurance claim in a while - let me enlighten you.  Local agents no longer do butkiss!  Nope!  Some dude from Illinois handles the account - if you are lucky enough to get past his voicemail.

We faxed in the contract from our fantastic roofer!  (who happens to be a long time friend).  The local agent saw the contract and faxed it from the State Farm office. 

When a check had not arrived in over a week, I called Illinois and got a person who started our conversation with " first let me apologize Mrs Wilson".  Oh no!  Not a good sign for me or our roofer (who, did I mention had already done the roof?) 

It seems when the "big" office got the contracted fax from the local (AKA little) office - they entered the data and closed our claim.  CLOSED IT!! AS IN - WE ARE DONE WITH YOU!!!

The problem was we were not "DONE".  They never sent the check.  I appreciated the apology, I really did - BUT  that does not pay the roofer!  He promised he would mail the check immediately.  That was August 3rd ! 

**Hint to people waiting for insurance claims - DEFINE - "MAILED THE CHECK" !!**

It seems there are many steps to mailing a check in the State Farm office. They appear to be
  1. want to mail the check
  2. send a memo to clerk to write check
  3. someone write check
  4. someone put check in envelope
  5. someone take envelope to mail room
  6. mail room people post and put mail into regular mail system
  7. USPS receives bulk mail
  8. 11 days later you are still wondering where in the hell your check is!!!
I have spoken to the local agent several times and sadly he reassures me "I am not alone" - they see this alot! HELLO!!! Is anyone listening?  Is this working well in your customer satisfaction department?  Are you enjoying all the complaining calls from former clients (aka customers) who have moved their business to USAA, Nationwide or All State?

Oh! Not to be misleading - I have received mail from State Farm - 2 bills on car insurance and my annual homeowners bill...   hmmm! 

Hello? State Farm?  My check is in the mail!!!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Running with Scissors...

Some days, it feels as though we are running wild - dashing through obstacles while holding onto very sharp scissors - POINTS UP!  As children, we were warned -repeatedly - do not run while holding sharp objects- but unfortunately, no one ever told me how to put them down when you are going at a lightening clip!

I have often heard - while younger and life was slower and more manageable - "The older you get, the faster time goes by".  Now how is that possible?  We do not have individual speed cycles - like a washing machine! We are all twirling on this big blue marble together! Yet, I can attest with great experience as one of the "Older" ones now,  days do seem to zip by faster than they did when I was 10 or 20 even 30 or 40! I get up on Monday morning and suddenly it is Friday and I am at a loss as to how I blasted through 5 days with so little to show for it!  Bummer! (FYI, the weekends go even faster!)

My beloved grandson, Sawyer turned 5 in February! Five years old! About to enter Kindergarten in the fall! How is that possible?  It seems he just got here and yet I cannot fathom life without him.  As previously discussed on this jabberboard - Sawyer brought us into the world of Williams Syndrome.  A genetic disorder that was blissfully hidden in the clouds out of our line of vision until his diagnosis at age one. Now it is all too familiar to us.  He has grown and learned so much in the past 5 years. Mostly because of his dedicated parents who push and pull to get him every possible advantage toward a "normal" life.  Recently he had his annual cardiac evaluation. (Another gift from Williams).  Until now he had been blessed with minimal cardiac involvement - although we knew from brochures and other Williams' families that serious cardiac issues were possible. My mother was right:  IGNORANCE IS BLISS!

My daughter shared with me this week that at his checkup they found that his QTC line was elongated. Now here is a suggestion for everyone - save yourself some sleepless nights and do not look  up every malady on the Internet! There is some scary stuff out there.  The doc was not overtly concerned with this new quirk in Sawyer's cardiac health... no immediate new tests or rapid return trips to prevent any problems. Just the regular -"We'll follow him in a year" and oh yeah "Call us if he faints and we will get him in"... huh? I would  hope so! Sawyer is blissfully ignorant of  his new health development but my daughter has a new bruise on her heart and that kills me.

One of Dawn's friends asked me how did having a grandchild with Williams affect a grandmother. (She had wondered how her mother was affected). It is a double whammy!  Not only is the most precious gift you have ever received put under a cloud of fear - knowing your child is hurt in any way is almost unbearable. You can't hover - that could cause even more discomfort and anxiety - not mention your anxiety and you might come off as callous and cold hearted.  Every time one of the kids (Sawyer or Gwen) have an issue, I know my baby girl hurts in some way and I would rather be run over by a mack truck any day than have this layed at her door! She is hands down the best mother I have every seen! Purely unbiased opinion of course!

And what of Gwendolyn! Well, after Easter (Happy Easter by the way!!),  Gwen will have a birthday in a few weeks.  She is anxious to get this major holiday out of the way so she can take center stage and have "HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO GWEN!!" 

She has decided that "cooking " is her thing now and she delights in preparing pretend or playdough cupcakes and cookies or sandwiches! She goes to preschool now and gymnastics! She is so much like her mom it is scary! However, she could not have a better role model!  I pray she grows up to be just like her mom! (Her Daddy is no slouch either - so she has great genes to draw from!)

Our lives will take a turn later this summer as Ed prepares to retire - yeah I said the "r" word.  The month jumps around: May, no, maybe Oct -ah No, perhaps November... wait- Sept -definitely Sept.  We will see what that obstacle course brings!

So with Spring well upon us (Since February) and summer looming ahead - I look forward to spending time with Scott and his sister and Sawyer and Gwen!  I know too well that the days are coming when spending time with grampy and grammy will not be the thrilling adventure it is now for them. It will be tedious and boring and something they "HAVE" to do. Until then I will grab my scissors and run full tilt into the new days ahead and just pause long enough to say a short prayer of thanksgiving and trust God to hold Sawyer safely in his hand through these new experiences! 

God Bless!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Honey Mustard or Ranch?

My husband has developed a thing  for salad dressings. . . especially Honey Mustard. (If you want to get specific, he loves O'Charley's Honey Mustard!)
I, on the other hand, love ranch. It's good on salads, great for dipping veggies and hey- makes a great mixer for chip dip!

While I do not care what salad dressing you use . . . Ed does. He is specifically concerned what I eat and what I offer Scott.

Scott loves ranch dip with fresh veggies - he would eat boundless amounts of it! Of course, being on Coumadin, he has his restrictions. He likes the ranch on his salad as well and I usually humor  him with it.

Each and every time lately, when Ed sees me grab the Ranch bottle he begins his tyriad on "why not give Scott some honey mustard - he would like it".

It has become a contest of sorts - who gets to the salad first.

It has me thinking today that how we treat our special needs children is the same sort of pidgeon-holing.  They must behave this way - or they would never like to do that!

Why -or - why not? Why do we assume any behavior is a result of their "Syndrome" or medical labels. That person has Downs so they have to be friendly - that person is autistic so they do not want to be touched. Huh? Is that not a little narrow minded? 

It is today's proper protocol to put the "people first". It is not correct to say a mentally retarded person, it is a person with mental retardation - if you HAVE to use the "R" word. 

I think too often we look for reasons when there just aren't any.  You like something or you don't! No real reason why I choose Ranch over Honey Mustard - I just prefer Ranch. 

If Scott or Sawyer were to be so selective in their food choices - professionals might say it is a marker for their specific problems. Odds are - they are like me - they just like the taste of one over the other - no real reason.

I used to love Bing cherries until I was about 8 years old. I spent one whole afternoon sitting in a huge cherry tree in my Uncle Joe's backyard with my cousins - eating Bing cherries - ALL AFTERNOON! When my uncle pulled into the driveway and saw us covered with cherry juice - we scrambled! By the time I got home- I was not feeling well and paid the price for all that Cherry eating for the next day. To this day, I can eat cherries but do not really love them any more. Just a taste and I am done!

I guess where I intended to go with this food parable was to say we should not label or prejudge what ANYONE can do or would be interested in doing because of their dna or medical labels. People without arms can surf, people without feet can run a marathon - the only limits anyone has are those we inflict on them. In being protective, we shelter those we love from the thrill of trying new things.  It is hard to take our hands off and let our loved ones fly - but the look of happiness when they soar is worth the butterflies we have in our tummies when they leap!

It's time for dinner - the salads are ready - and there are several bottles of salad dressing on the table- tonight Scott can pick his own!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Bittersweet day

Tomorrow will be a bittersweet day ... one I have looked forward to, yet now that the time has come, I am not so anxious to see it arrive.

I am leaving the ARC Thrift Store. Counting the several "Super Sales" that preceeded the actual opening of the thrift store in 1996, I have been begging for cast-offs and organizing used socks for 20 years! TWENTY YEARS!!

Several things went into my decision to call it quits - I am old - older some days than others - my "parts" give me pain after a day of hauling bags to the trash or dragging boxes into the closets.

Even in a down economy - our bottom line often turns "pink" - not quite red ink, but darned close some months. The stress of worrying over bills paid or not - gifts given or postponed - has had me up many a sleepless night.

So I decided to turn the day to day operation over to someone else. I must say it is sort of like taking your child to college! How will they be treated? Will they value my baby? Will Mr. Roosevelt and Ms Barbara get their hugs when they come in and will they remember to save flowers for Becky or hat pins for Steve?

Who will listen to Ms Betty's lab results and encourage her to continue chemo? Who will call Ms Pat to check on her shingles? Who will take Barbara out to eat for Christmas?

Who will bouy my spirits when Sawyer has a bad day? Or when I am missing Dawn? Who will I share my pictures of the two cutest grandchildren in the world with after I leave?

When Scott had his heart surgery and when we learned of Sawyer's Williams Syndrome - it was our customers who held my hand and gave me the courage to face the next obstacle. They prayed with me, cried with me and had far more faith in my ability to survive another heartbreak than I did.

I guess I will miss my friends - my safe zone. To any and all who may see this - Thank you ARC Thrift Store - you will be missed by me but not forgotten - and to those who remain - you had best do a good job - be kind to my buddies - and as Ms Katie told me many years ago -NEVER, NEVER GIVE UP! " I love you all!!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Another busy holiday season survived!!

"Over the hills and through the woods to grandmother's house we go...."

It seemed like a simple thing when I read about this in the Laura Ingalls Wilder books like Little House in the Big Woods" or "Little House on the Praire". The family all loaded up in the wagon, with a quilt that Ma had made, maybe a ham and a jar of jelly or two - but no real big plan - other than getting there without being scalped or eaten by the occasional bear.

This year Dawn, Greg and kiddies came early, (Dec 14th) and we planned an early Christmas in TN. The only drawback was to actually be READY by Dec 14th!

While others were gently planning future holiday events - I was breaking into a dead sweat about OMG (!) I am totally out of time to clean, bake, shop, wrap (the worse of these is WRAP! I hate to wrap and would totally go with gift bags 100% - BUT my family is a family of peepers and nothing would be a surprise at Christmas with bags!)

I did manage to get most of my "to do" list accomplished and I do not think anyone missed the forgotten items!

The tree
was assembled the Friday after Thanksgiving! Scott was thrilled! Never before had he won the battle of getting the tree up so early! he thought things were really going his way...little did he know!

We had a busy week of preparing for our faux Christmas! More shopping - more cooking -which meant more eating! We made our must-do visit to Raffertys and as usual the kids were thrilled with the potato soup! (Me too!!)

We decided to make Fri Dec 17th our early Christmas so that the kids could enjoy playing with their gifts! Playing with the toys I have here probably was boring and it was much too cold to go outside to play! Gwen's major project was to undecorate grammy's tree!

and I have to say...she did a bang up job of it! The only casualty was "Lucy's" head off one of my Peanuts ornaments - but a little glue fixed that!

We actually had to break down the gift opening in a couple different sessions as it was a little over-whelming. Everytime there was more than 2 people in the living room - Scott ran in and sat down - just in case presents were to be forthcoming!

This was truly a "Toy Story" holiday as the main players were "Buzz", "Woody" and "Jessie". (Characters in the Toy Story movies for those who do not have children under 10). Sawyer preferred that Woody not wear a hat (his preference as well for himself) - but Gwen demanded that Jessie have hers on at all times!
Scott did get his alloted share of the goodies as well - but it was hard to make him understand that this was not the "real" Christmas - and we would do this all again on December 25th ...GOOD GRIEF! WHAT WERE WE THINKING??!! WE COULD HAVE GOTTEN AWAY WITH ONE CELEBRATION - HE REALLY WOULD NOT HAVE KNOWN THE DIFFERENCE!

But we didn't- so he actually got a few things held back and just had to make do with the dozen or so DVDs he received on Christmas #1.

Some of the fun events we did get to do together though was to visit Chucky Cheese.. merciful heavens - did I actually say that? I used "fun" and "Chucky Cheese" in the same sentence? Another brain cell just died.

Anyway.. we did go and it was fun. Little ones make it fun! Gwen and Sawyer got to ride the mechanical horse
which I am sure was probably pretty lame to Sawyer who takes hippo-therapy and rides the real horses at home.

Gwen's big thing was putting the coin in the games (any game will do but she preferred ski-ball) and then ripping off the tickets! She had acquired a fistfull of tickets before we realized she had also been taking the tickets of other game players - who were too kind to chase the little pint size kleptomaniac and recover their game tickets! Dawn wandered down the row of game players handing out tickets and saying "I am so sorry"!

Sawyer found Grampy to be a willing "horsey" at home and loved to get him down on the ground for a friendly romp!
We went down to the river to see the light display and although it was bitter cold, it was fun to see the pretty lights and watch Gwen and Sawyer react to the other people and DOGS that walked by. As we often wonder how much Sawyer is actually understanding about what we say, it was interesting that at one point Ed asked me what our plan was and how far were we going to walk. I casually responded that when we got tired we would be done. I did not think about Sawyer actually listening as we walked along but he threw his hands up in the air and as he turned around he said "I'm tired and I'm done!" I giggled as I walked back to the car as our very astute little grandson -once again - has proven to me that we cannot underestimate what is going on in his smart little mind!

Probably one of the best parts of the holidays was being able to come together as a family in Elkton with Ed's family. Dawn had made her Aunt Lucille a 50th anniversary quilt - which was a great surprise for Lucille. Even better was watching the next generation of cousins meeting and playing together.

Yes, our holidays were a little different - and yet the basics were the same- love of family -joy in the love of children. For what better time to wrap yourself in the joy of a child than at Christmas - a celebration of the Christ child.

May 2011 be a blessed year for all - hopefully a year that mends old wounds, heals broken hearts and brings happiness to those who ache. God Bless

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Open letter to K-Mart and other sales sources!

It is the holiday season - shopping season - stress season!

We make a list, check it several times and head out to the brick and mortar stores or plop down in front of the monitor and order on line....

It has been almost 3 weeks of waiting and wondering if my holiday order would come in from one of the "Marts".... I have come to the conclusion - "No! It won't"!

Let me make a generalization for most shopping arenas - do not play me- (or other shoppers). Be honest! If you do not have it, say so!! Just be up front and honest!

Is it so hard to say,"I'm so sorry, that is a popular item and we have sold out! I would be glad to assist you with similar items if you like..." Please do not string me along with "Your order is being processed - you should have it in 5-7 days" . Maybe in 5-7 Neptune days - but not in Earth days!!

Even to a trusting sole like myself - it will soon become apparent that the items just aren't coming! You don't have them (if you ever did) - and I am not going to have them either. So give me my money back - smile and wish me a Merry Christmas as I trudge off to find my holiday spirit elsewhere!

Here is my gift to you Mr. Businessman: Be honest quickly, tap dancing around the issue will not make you look better!

Oh- and Merry Christmas!