I just got back up each time I fell

All I can think about this week is Of Mice and Men.  It alternated between “the best laid plans of mice and men” and “Tell me about the rabbits, George”.

From day one of last year I was planning on having a vacation this week.  When we get to the year end wrap up, we’ll talk about how good the year actually was, but for now, this week I was always supposed to be on vacation.  Not once was there a plan for me to do anything more than day trips, and that was only if I didn’t have it together enough to fly someplace warm.  The original plan was Maui.  The year wasn’t quite good enough for that, so it got scaled back to maybe renting a cabin up in Mendocino County, taking Rita, Bubba and Norman and leaving Bill and Miss Cleo here.  It went from there to a couple of day trips and laying on the couch watching movies to running back and forth from my house to Kaiser to see my Mom.  And yesterday, any hope of sneaking out of town was squashed by the inductor motor in my furnace.  I’m a little bitter.

But the best laid plans of mice and men…

Because on Christmas night my mother got a hip replacement.  The surgery went perfectly.  They got her up the next day and as of yesterday her pain subsides exponentially every single day.  That’s a win.  They took her off the opiates and codeine and her head is coming around better too.  Yesterday they moved her to a skilled nursing facility for rehabilitation.  I know from her time in that business that there are good ones and bad ones.  The difference is stark and I did not want her in a bad one.  I have a friend who owns a Senior Helpers franchise.  I called her and she gave me two names.  One was about a long mile from my house, the other was clear over at Rossmoor.  The number one place was the one close to me.  Yesterday, they placed her in the first choice.  Yeah, I’m not sipping wine in a cabin overlooking the Pacific, but at least I’m not worried about the care my mother is receiving.  That’s a win.  As a matter of fact, last night was the first restful night I’ve had since a week ago Saturday.  I’ll take it.

As a bonus, this place allows family pets to come in and visit the patients.  Mom will get to see Duke today.  And vice versa.

So as far as getting handed a shit sandwich for the holidays, at least we got some roasted peppers and a nice aioli on it.

Please, sister morphine, turn my nightmares into dreams

I know I’m a tough customer.  I try to dial it back normally.  PBE is the one place where I can rage on.  And rage I do.

I got it from my mother.  She is a tough customer, and unyielding.  In her working life she was an RN having graduated from Columbia University.  That Columbia University.  Eisenhower himself signed her diploma.  There used to be a standard of care that they taught and she took that very seriously.  It was 1950.

She quit working when I came along and did not go back to work until my brother was 7 years old.  On one hand I’d like to think that’s why we both never got into any real trouble.  On the other I know that’s why we are both so unyielding.  And do not suffer fools lightly.  There were standards and they had to be met.  Period.  It had nothing to do with keeping up with the Joneses.  She hated the Joneses.  It had to do with the fact that we were better than that.  And the Joneses were idiots anyway.

Sunday she fell and broke her hip.  It is a bad break.  They can’t fix it so they are going to replace it.  I have no recollection of her ever being in the hospital.  I am relatively certain that is because she has not been in a hospital since she brought my brother into the world in 1961.  She broke a toe, stumping it on the coffee table in the 60’s and she had an ear infection.  Other than that, disease fears her.  And at times, so do I.

I got the call from her neighbor that the ambulance was at her house and they were taking her.  She’d fallen.  I thought she had gotten one of those “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up things”, apparently not.   Thankfully her neighbor was home, had a key and was able to let the firemen in, after locking up her Doberman.  I turned on her street in time to see the ambulance leaving.  I flipped a U and followed them to the hospital.  The paramedics were sweet and kind to her.  The woman took a special interest in my mother.

I spent the next five hours in the ER watching people come in and out of her room and not really solving a single problem.  She was in tremendous pain.  It took nearly four hours to get her the second dosage of pain medication.  It was ordered within 30 minutes of her arrival and took another three and a half hours to deliver.  I am thankful for Luke and the “hardest working guy in the building”.  Those guys stepped up and took the reins after hours of others coming in and out of the room and not ever doing anything.  And the dude who was working outside her door, saw there was an issue, gathered up enough staff to fix it and fixed the problem.  I hadn’t seen him earlier, but finally five hours later, he did what needed to be done.  He was efficient, helpful and had great bedside manner.  It’s good to know that people like these three guys exist in this world.  It’s what she would have done when she was a nurse.  Of course she would have never let it get to five hours in the first place.

After I left at 1am they apparently gave her another load of morphine.  For future reference, not a good idea.  At 5:47 my phone rang.  It was her.  I had to come down there, “these people are crazy”.  Can you just tell me what’s going on?  “No, you have to come down here.”  After I left at 1am, I went to my house, let my dogs out, put up the BMW, got the keys to her house and went over there with my truck and collected Duke and her purse, glasses and wedding ring.  I was exhausted and forgot his food, his medication and my father’s wedding ring.  I knew everyone in the complex had seen the old girl leave in the meat wagon and I knew the house was now vulnerable.  They can take the tv, but if we lose another load of family heirlooms and sentimental shit, I’m going to just start icing known thieves.  At random, because I hate thieves anyway.  And after all, this town is small enough that we do know who they are.

Any who, I had an appointment yesterday so I had to get dressed.  “Mom, I need an hour and a half to get out of the house this morning”.  OK, but hurry up.  OK Mom, I didn’t need more than three hours and 17 minutes of sleep anyway.  I got there and she was confused on the morphine.  Really confused.  She couldn’t put together why it was so important to call me and have me come down there.  As the day progressed it got worse.  My brother took second shift and it got even more adventuresome.  Finally when he got back from grabbing a sandwich she said “They called the cops on me, you have to get out of here before the cops get here.  It will hurt your reputation as a lawyer”.   He talked to her nurse who hadn’t called the cops.  The morphine called the cops.  It’s got to be scary to be that confused.  Especially when on a very base level you know what’s supposed to be happening but your brain is scrambling up the timelines, the people’s names and roles.  She did seem consistent in her knowledge that our father was gone.  When asked about advance directives she didn’t care, her husband was waiting for her on the other side and she was fine with that.

When I took over yesterday afternoon she was finally sleeping soundly.  She’s been up for nearly 30 hours, high as a kite on morphine and other drugs.  Hallucinating, having OCD moments, running us all in circles.  She told my brother she wanted the gauze protecting her IV gone.  What he didn’t know was she beat the previous night’s staff to put that on there in the first place.  She had me take her socks home only to complain that her feet were cold and she needed socks.  And she was nearly completely immobile.  The break is severe.  I want to go home.  You can’t your hip is broke.  I know.  Where are we?  The hospital.  Why are we here?  Your hip is broke. I know.

Hopefully today Santa stopped by Kaiser and my mother will be getting a new hip.  It’s hard to watch a woman as powerful as she was to be this derailed.  NORAD said he came by earlier this morning.  Hopefully he had a new titanium hip in his sack of toys.

You could be headed for the serious strife

Well, sheeeet!  Those Mayans are good for nothing!  A bunch of wingnuts took their calendar out of context and a bunch of talking heads went on ad nauseum about it and it’s December 22, 2012 and we’re still here.  That or the afterlife was really over hyped.

One of the things I wonder about is if the apocalypse as described in the Bible is actually a personal rather than a global event that we all go through.   That is, when we die, the four horsemen come to visit us, and we battle through fire and every thing else and if we’ve lived the right life, whatever that is, we are lifted up to salvation.  Or 72 virgins depending on which version you believe.  Because you know I think that most religions are just different versions of the same truth.

Speaking of relevance and truth, the NRA shut down their Facebook page right after the Sandy Hook shootings (mostly to stop the free for all that would have ensued, I’m sure) then came back earlier this week saying they would have a “meaningful statement” on Friday, which was yesterday.  Meaningful my ass.  It was so ludicrous that I became so enraged that I figured out the math before NPR did.  There are 98,817 public schools in the United States.  That doesn’t include colleges.  It has been estimated that a cop stationed at a school will cost $80k per year.  Keeping in mind that a school year isn’t a full year, and it’s not a full day, I suspect including benefits this is probably pretty accurate, assuming the cop can go on to other duty once school is dismissed.  98,817X80,000=7,905,360,000.  The NRA seems to think Congress should just wave the magic wand and make that money appear in the midst of a battle over the fiscal cliff.  How does that eight billion dollars materialize?  Quite honestly, I would want that eight billion dollars (saying it exists in any plane or universe) used to offset the previous educational cuts, not to turn our schools into the wild wild west.

An interesting observation from a friend of mine:

I saw a Texas politician who said on TV that the tragedy could have been averted if only the principal had had a gun of her own to take Adam Lanza’s head off. (Yeah – great idea, let’s have guns in schools where they can be gotten to quickly.) It occurred to me that his “thinking”, if I can be forgiven for debasing the word, comes from an inner world of adolescent fantasy similar to that which the school and mall shooters inhabit. One casts himself as the victim avenging himself on a cruel world, and one as the vigilant, steely-eyed, well-armed hero.

Brilliant.  Arguably, my friend is calling the NRA’s solution a fantasy.  I agree.  Here is what happened in three mass shootings where “a good guy with a gun” was present from the beginning.  Back to the drawing board NRA.  Not only was your “solution” doo doo, but it wasn’t meaningful, it was at best, half baked.

The solution is simple.  Remove the high capacity magazines from society.  Period.  Possession of a high capacity magazine (that is, over 10) is a felony.  Period.  Want to do something with that $8 billion?  How about a government sponsored exchange program with 180 days of amnesty?  You have 180 days to destroy or turn in your high capacity magazines.  After that it’s a felony with mandatory jail time.  Period.  If these guys are taken down, they are taken down when they are switching guns or reloading.  Make them reload.  The little shit stain in Connecticut shot his way through the locked doors of the school.  He would not have been able to take down the four women who rushed him if he only had 10 shots.  He would have been reloading and they would have taken him down and 20 little school children would be spending this holiday with their families.  The idea that somehow if a man were present it wouldn’t have happened is just plain bullshit.  The two women who died rushing the gunman are heros.  If he had only 10 rounds they would have more likely than not, prevailed.  Remember, the shooting had started when they rushed out.

I have had my gut full of these assholes telling us that God is allowing or doing this that or the other because we 1) don’t burn homos at the stake 2) don’t allow prayer in the schools, 3) allow women to do more than stay home barefoot and pregnant.  James Dobson STFU.  Westboro Baptist Church STFU.  Ted Nugent STFU.  Mike Huckabee, STFU Victoria Jackson, STFU, Ann Coulter, STFU, Michelle Malkin, STFU Orly Taiz, STFU and Charolotte Allen you self loathing idiot, STFU.

There is exactly one reason for Sandy Hook.  A madman with a high capacity semi-automatic weapon.  How he got to where he got and why, it’s going to take months to know, but quit telling me that God is punishing us for this that or the other.  As I’ve said before, if God really is good, I will get to see you asshats trying to explain your way in to St. Peter who won’t have you on his guest list.

The break that will make it all okay

I’d like to say that I’m less pissed this morning, but it’s more of a measured boil.  So, in no particular order….

At this point, I think even they know they are the problem.  Because how do you defend the indefensible?

Now, I’m going to say this one out loud.  The shooter’s mother was a paranoid, pro-gun, anti-government, conspiracy theorist who started this whole shit by legally possessing an arsenal that was supposed to “keep her safe” from her imaginary enemies.  The enemy was her own flesh and blood.  Those weapons did not keep her safe which is the point.  And worse, her wing nut ideals got 26 innocent women and children killed.

Another example of how more often than not, the weapons that are supposed to keep someone safe end up being used against them or as we are now seeing, the gun owner mistakes someone innocent for a criminal and shoots them.

To the complete jackasses who want to arm school teachers, please do us all a favor and quit talking.  The job of our teachers is to educate.  Naturally they facilitate fire drills, now they have to facilitate drills if some crazed madman tries to attack the children.  Don’t make them get out there and participate in a fire fight.  That shit only works in the movies.  You people are delusional.  Not to mention having a gun in every classroom full of children is such a great idea in the first place.  What happens when the first high school gets over run with wanna be gang bangers who want the teachers’ guns for their drug war?  Yeah, well thought out asshats.

Guns have one purpose and one purpose only.  To kill things.  That’s it.  There is no other purpose.  Now, is there a robust target shooting community?  Absolutely.  Arguably the point of target shooting is to be better at killing things, but quite honestly I enjoy shooting skeet.  And have no intent of ever killing anything with a gun.  Ever.  I blow those clay pigeons out of the sky with an old Model 12.  I get I think a total of five shots with that thing.  And a very bruised shoulder.  At the end of the day, a looney tune with that thing couldn’t have gotten past the front door of the school.  If you weren’t paying attention, the little shit on Friday shot the locked doors of the school to get through them, and then shot three women to get to the rest of the children.  Because he had that much ammo in the magazines.

First, limit the size of magazines.  No more than 10.  At 10 we are having a very different conversation today about what happened on Friday.  Certainly no more than 10.  I think five is fine.  Everything else is melted down.  No grandfathering in.  Scrap.  That’s it.  The only application for more fire power is military.  Oxicotin is more regulated right now.  If we can regulate Oxicotin, we can regulate fire power.  At five, the little shit doesn’t even get into the building.  And this amazing woman goes on to get her doctorate.

Second, get military weapons out of the general population.  I didn’t even know that Gary Hart was still alive, but he is and he’s making a lot of sense.  Oh yeah, and he understands the Constitution.

Of course guns don’t kill people…oh wait a minute, yes they do.  Naturally they need a user  to do it.  If the human being is a deranged young white man, not that any one like that has ever shot up a school or anything… Now, what do we do about the mental illness?  How do we see it in the first place?  How do we recognize the difference between the next shooter and someone who is just a little eccentric?  How do we keep from institutionalizing the wrong people while protecting society from the right ones?  How do we balance protecting society and individual rights?   Let’s just lock them all up?  Sounds great, unless you are the eccentric who society is trying to shutter away.  It’s all fun and games until someone ends up in a mental hospital by mistake.   And like prison, no one who is there will tell you they are supposed to be there.  Prisons are full of “guys who didn’t do it”.  Mental hospitals are full of people who will tell you “I’m not crazy”.

Where is the line?  And what makes these people break and commit these horrific crimes?  I hear lots of comments about don’t say their name because they just wanted the glory.  Well, none of them ever live so we don’t really know what they wanted.  Unless we can ask the Bozo the Clown look a like in Aurora.  He seems like the kind of guy you could have a reasonable conversation with.  I’m sure he’s explain it all for us.

An old friend of mine lost her mind.  I didn’t see it coming at first.  She was always a lot of fun, but then it wasn’t fun any more.  She had a .357 she asked me to hold for her.  During the period of time that I possessed the firearm it became apparent to me that she should not have access to a weapon like that.  She also had a 5 year old son.  One day she asked for the weapon back.  I put her off.  Then she asked several more times.  I sidestepped.  Finally she said “It seems like you don’t want to give me back my gun.”  I said “No, I don’t.  I am afraid for you and your son.”  I stood firm and never engaged into a conversation as to why I felt that way.  Finally I said “I will give your gun to the local police.  You can get it from them, I don’t want to hand it back to you.”  I already knew she’d been rung up on two 5150’s.  I drove down to the cop house, handed them the weapon and told the officer to please consider the 5 year old before returning the weapon.  The local PeeDee did not give the gun back to her.  That’s what happens when a responsible citizen sees a potential issue and takes responsibility to protect the community.

Liza Long wrote an amazing column about dealing with mental illness.  Naturally the wing nuts are out there saying she’s a bad mother and if she hadn’t divorced her husband her son wouldn’t be having the issues he’s having.  Armchair quarterbacks.  Opinions are like assholes, everyone’s got one.  She knows she’s got a problem on her hands and she is struggling to balance a mother’s love for her son and her duty to protect the rest of her children, herself and her community.  I know this battle is fought out in many families across the country every day.  No one wants to be the family that raised the next serial killer.

I don’t know what the answer is, but as a society, we have to be available to help these families and stem potential tragedy.  Or we end up trying to answer unanswerable questions.

Death and hatred to mankind

Just a little pissed off right now.

For the second time in a week, the sixteenth time this year we’ve had a mass shooting.  Same old bullshit.  Loner.  Mental issues.  Blah blah blah.  Today it was 27 people, 20 of them children.  Three days ago it was a three people shopping at a mall.  Aurora it was 12 dead 58 wounded.  Wisconsin was six dead four wounded by a white supremacist.   All told 88 dead in 2012 from mass shootings.  What is wrong with this country?

All the God whack jobs come out and say it’s because there isn’t enough God in America.  Yet Christians, not Muslims or Jews or Hindus or Sikhs seem to be doing the shooting.  Then all the 2nd Amendment whack jobs come out and blah blah blah and guns don’t kill people, people kills people.  Then all the gun control whack jobs come out and want to ban all guns.  The police want to shoot up shit.  A bunch of ignorant housewives and fat old men walk around with guns strapped to their hips like it’s the wild freaking wild west as if that made them potent.  We are a big fat freak parade.

20 school children lie dead in a pool of their own blood because it’s a crime scene and it’s not time to move the bodies yet.  And I wonder what the hell is wrong with us.  Seriously.   How in the hell to you tell your 7 year old that it’s ok to go to school on Monday?  And why should you have to?

So Huckabee, STFU.  Clint Eastwood and your ilk, same thing.  And I’m sure some right wing talking head probably that fat puke Limbaugh, is going to be popping off because Obama shed tears for these children.  We all should.  Shed tears for those children that is.  And shed tears for America.

We should be ashamed today.  We should hang our heads in shame and cry out loud for what is lost.

Always have clean shirts to play around in

Sunday mornings.  Coffee.  Sleeping dogs.  The only thing better than Meet the Press is PBE on fire!

My new favorite guy is Cory Booker.  He is very publicly doing the SNAP Challenge.  While everyone else is doing Vi, Cory is doing SNAP.  Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program formerly known as food stamps.   Cory is proving that the myth of livin’ off the gubment is just that.  It ain’t no fun living on food stamps.  Yesterday he burned a sweet potato.  He couldn’t throw it out because poor people can’t afford to throw out food.  It was eat it or go without.  From Cory’s blog:

Today I burned a sweet potato. Not headline news and no shock to my friends that I am not a wiz in the kitchen. But I was upset, “blackened sweet potato” was not my idea of a meal but with supplies dwindling it was eat around the severely caramelized root vegetable or go without.

This is hard. But what has me profoundly humbled is that this is a week – just a week – and then I’m done and can (and will) throw out burned food. But millions of Americans are living with food insecurity, with worry and concern about affording food – healthy, decent food for their families and children.

I kind of feel the same way about Cory Booker as I do about Gavin Newsom.  Both are extremely bright young politicians who can hopefully avoid missteps (read keep it in their pants) and go on to do great things in this country.

Looks like we have  secession!  The Republicans are breaking up with the Teabillies.  And Grover oh my Grover!  Apparently your shelf life is slightly longer than that of a Twinkie.  Maybe that poopy head comment wasn’t as well received as you thought.  I imagine a few folks were standing around saying “What is he 12?”  Can anyone answer the question as to why Teabilly signs are consistently misspelled?

Photo by Carlos Osorio/AP via MSNBC

All those Union thugs spelled their signs properly.  What’s up with that?  Could it be….they’re just smarter?

Y’all know that Ayn Rand lived on Social Security…right?  And really, if she was such a great author, why did she need it?  And yes, I have read Atlas Shrugged and Fountainhead.  Inane at best.  But lots of monosyllabic words which I would assume is why a bunch of Teabagger idiots think it has merit.

Here we are on December 9th and our lame Lame Duck Congress has yet to do the one simple little thing they could do to help the housing industry right now.  Extend the 2007 Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act.  I’ve been publicly calling for this for six months now.  Numerous letters to Feinstein, Boxer and John Garamendi.  Garamendi who is magically the Representative for my chunk of the universe even though he really lives on a farm in an itty bitty town called Walnut Grove.  While I don’t believe the problem is those three in particular, the fact that this Congress has done absolutely nothing in two years is a turd I shall lay at the door of Boehner and Cantor, two über douches that consistently shock me with their re-election.  Kind of like Trent Lott used to.  The answer to Trent Lott was that he was very good to Mississippi.  How good?  Port contracts that should have gone to Louisiana end up in Mississippi good.  He was an epic pork barreler with skills we should all respect.