Thursday, 13 March 2014

07:44 – Eventful day yesterday. Barbara and Frances fired their mom’s caregiver yesterday morning. What the woman was doing didn’t rise to the level of abuse, exactly, but she certainly wasn’t doing her job properly. The place was a mess, and all of Sankie’s portable oxygen containers were empty, which should never be allowed to happen. The real problem was the caregiver’s behavior. Two of the staff at Creekside reported hearing her yelling at Sankie. Sankie was terrified of her. She was acting more like a drill sergeant than a caregiver.

So Frances told Barbara what was going on and they fired the caregiver. Frances stayed with their mom until mid-afternoon. Barbara left work early and got over there to relieve Frances at 3:00. The replacement was supposed to show up at 4:30, but it turned out she had some kind of schedule conflict, so Barbara called to say she’d have to stay over there until 6:00.

By 6:00 the bad weather had moved in–very heavy rain, thunder, and very high winds. Barbara called shortly after 6:00 to say the replacement hadn’t shown up yet. I told her we were having a bad storm and suggested she just stay there until it passed through. At 6:30 our power failed. I called Barbara on my cell phone to let her know she needed to pick up dinner on her way home. As it turned out, the replacement showed up just after that call. Barbara arrived home round 7:00 to no lights. The lights finally came back on around 9:30. The morning paper reports one death from the storm. A large tree fell on a car on Robinhood Road, not far from here. The guy driving was killed and the woman passenger is in serious condition.


33 thoughts on “Thursday, 13 March 2014”

  1. I got an email from Amazon that Amazon Prime will be $99/year effective 2015. Still a good deal for me.

  2. We had a police involved shooting yesterday in our neighborhood. http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2014/03/portland_police_shooting_man_d.html#incart_m-rpt-2

    It was almost in front of our local library, about a block from the High School our daughter formerly attended. She’s currently an exchange student in Ecuador, so she was out of harms way.

    Violent crime is exceedingly rare in our neighborhood. In the almost 29 years we’ve lived here, there have been two murders anywhere near where we live. According to the article it was the first police involved shooting in over a year. The officer was shot in the arm and the suspect was killed, shot in the head. The officer was not seriously injured.

    Weather here has been glorious. It was sunny and in the 60’s yesterday and supposed to be the same today. Our new solar system generated 46 KWH of electricity yesterday, which means we made money. Rain is forecast for tomorrow and clouds for the weekend, of course. There should be enough wind for sailing.

    Rick in Portland

  3. Yep. I’d read an article a month or so ago about Prime increasing to either $99/year or $129/year. I’m glad they made it $99.

  4. Yep. I’d read an article a month or so ago about Prime increasing to either $99/year or $129/year. I’m glad they made it $99.

    I read a similar article back then too and one of the comments to it was something like, “Amazon is only saying $129 so when they actually make it $99 everyone is relieved. That way they can raise prices without making everyone mad.” 🙂

  5. What the woman was doing didn’t rise to the level of abuse, exactly, but she certainly wasn’t doing her job properly.

    We had similar issues with some daycares. I’ve always had very flexible employers, so it was quite normal for me to be dropping my child off at daycare at 9AM as opposed to 7:30AM like most parents. The amount of screaming taking place was disturbing. They put on a show for the parents during prime drop off and pick up times, but their true colors show when the parents disappear. I had some very strong words with a daycare director about that. I strongly encourage any parent I talk to about daycare to make it a point to pop in for surprise mid-morning and mid-afternoon visits and to quietly stand outside their child’s classroom and eavesdrop for a few minutes. I get just plain homicidal when it comes to people mistreating my child.

  6. Our new solar system generated 46 KWH of electricity yesterday, which means we made money.

    Total or excess? What rate are you getting for the excess? Probably only 5 cents/kwh if you were here in The Great State of Texas. In my thoughts, solar power should be paid about 3X the average rate since it is generated during times of the peak power usage curve. But, somebody has to carry reserve power for you on cloudy days when your system generates very little and you become a consumer instead of a generator.

    Plus if everybody generates electric power during the day then the grid has major problems since it is built for power delivery to homes and businesses. Apparently running the grid backwards hits a lot of snags that anybody has yet to explain to me.

  7. Could be just you they are raising them on, since we don’t believe in price-fixing to protect buyers and mom and pop sellers’ businesses in this country. We send you to jail for price-fixing. Although it sure is odd that 99% of all gas stations around me are in lock-step to the penny on gas prices. That’s not price-fixing though; just an accidental coincidence of free markets.

    I have started a new tactic with Amazon. My practice in the past was to put things into the cart, until I built up enough for free delivery. Frequently, when I came back, there was a notice that something I had put in there several days ago, had increased in price. Formerly, I just ate the increase. But a few weeks ago, I had somebody else check the price of something in my queue, and lo and behold, it was cheaper for them than what Amazon wanted me to pay! Of course, we have discussed this before, how Amazon screws people by upping the price of things they are pretty sure we want badly, and will increase the price even while you are researching the order. BTW, those price increases were ALWAYS from Amazon items — I never had one of their marketplace sellers increase the price while it sat in my cart.

    So I have begun deleting those increased-price items from my cart and getting them elsewhere. So far, I have removed 3 items over the last several weeks (with Prime, I don’t have to worry about free shipping, because I am now paying for ALL shipping, thanks to Prime). Maybe Amazon will get a clue as to my new habit, but I suspect not.

    But commodities ARE increasing in price these days, as the Fed steals money from our pockets by decreasing the value of the money and investments we hold. Only the 1% are making out with positive increases these days. The rest of us are sheep being shorn.

  8. Speaking of Prime, I got the increase notice this morning and I only signed up a couple weeks ago. I figured the one month of trial was not long enough to test its usefulness, so I am trying for a year at my own expense. It really does not make any difference at all to speed of delivery after ordering, in my estimation. And regardless of what they promise, more than occasionally, they sit on a Prime order for 3 or 4 days before shipping. Did not start out that way, but after about 3 weeks, shipping and delivery actually seemed slower than what I used to get before Prime. Since I could not care less about the movies, I am not a happy camper with Prime and will not renew next year.

    I am recognizing that nearly everyone I know is now ordering a significant amount of stuff from Amazon. We needed a piece of electronic gear for the video business to test out a couple days ago, and my business partner was going to order it from Amazon and had already done the research. I urged the guy to check with the Indy Guitar Center before ordering. Lo and behold, it was a dollar cheaper, and no shipping charges, only gas to get to Guitar Center, which is only 10 minutes from his house. AND they could have it in the store in 2 days, whereas Amazon wanted more than a week before delivery. We ordered it from Guitar Center.

  9. Although it sure is odd that 99% of all gas stations around me are in lock-step to the penny on gas prices. That’s not price-fixing though; just an accidental coincidence of free markets.

    I worked at a gas station in my 20s. We had two other gas stations within visual range of ours and store policy was that our gas price always matched theirs. So, at the start of your shift you walked outside, looked at the other two gas stations, then came back in and adjusted prices to match them (they were always the same). We certainly did not price it based on what we paid for it, based on what it would cost to replace it, based on an average of the two, or any other standard way of determining cost. Gas stations are in the junk food, fountain drink, alcohol, and tobacco business. The gas pumps, pay phone, ATM, and restrooms are only there to get you to stop in.

  10. Lynn McGuire asked:

    Total or excess? What rate are you getting for the excess? Probably only 5 cents/kwh if you were here in The Great State of Texas. In my thoughts, solar power should be paid about 3X the average rate since it is generated during times of the peak power usage curve. But, somebody has to carry reserve power for you on cloudy days when your system generates very little and you become a consumer instead of a generator.

    We are on a program called “net metering”. In effect it uses the grid as a storage battery. If I generate more electricity at any point than I am consuming, my meter runs backwards, so I get a credit in the same amount I pay (about $.105/KWH). The credit carries forward up until March 1 of each year, so any summer surplus can be used in the winter. If there is any left on March 1, the credit goes to a program that pays electric bills for the needy. This is, after all, Oregon. I should get about 80% of my electricity from solar.

    There is a program here called “Feed In Tariff”. It pays $.39/kwh for excess power. However, the tradeoff is that you can’t claim a state tax credit ($6,000 in my case) and there is a lottery twice a year to participate in the program. The net metering program made more sense for me.

    The payback period on our system should be approximately 6 years.

    Rick in Portland

  11. In my thoughts, solar power should be paid about 3X the average rate since it is generated during times of the peak power usage curve.

    From what I have seen, you are paid the retail price of the electricity you put into the grid in most states.

    Apparently running the grid backwards hits a lot of snags that anybody has yet to explain to me.

    I only had a rudimentary education in power grid engineering for my Master’s, but I know a little. First, they have to be able to shut your system off the grid if they need to make repairs in the area. After Rita, when I had my generator hooked up at home and fed power into a set of plugs with a male/male connector, I not only threw the breakers to disconnect us from the grid, but I locked the breaker box and put a lockout/tagout warning label on it. After I got another extension cord I was able to plug everything into the generator directly and didn’t go through the home wiring.

    Second, there can be stability problems if there are phase and impedance mismatches along the grid, particularly when there are problems along the lines.

  12. ech said:

    From what I have seen, you are paid the retail price of the electricity you put into the grid in most states.

    I am paid the same amount I pay, so you are right.

    I only had a rudimentary education in power grid engineering for my Master’s, but I know a little. First, they have to be able to shut your system off the grid if they need to make repairs in the area. After Rita, when I had my generator hooked up at home and fed power into a set of plugs with a male/male connector, I not only threw the breakers to disconnect us from the grid, but I locked the breaker box and put a lockout/tagout warning label on it. After I got another extension cord I was able to plug everything into the generator directly and didn’t go through the home wiring.

    There is an externally accessible shutoff that the power company people can shut down if they need to do work. In addition, the system does not feed power into the system for five minutes after it is powered up. In the event of a power failure, the grid will have five minutes to stabilize before my system feeds power to it. I assume the system matches phase and impedance or they would not permit it to attach to the grid. The system will not provide power if the grid power is offline. As we rarely have power failures, I do not expect this to be a problem. I suppose I should figure out how to safely energize the system during a prolonged power failure. We have about 40KWH of battery capacity in our two electric cars. If we could combine that capacity with the solar, we could probably run entirely off the grid in an emergency.

    Rick, running on 100% recycled electrons in Portland

  13. Chuck, I keep stuff in my Amazon cart for months on end, building up an order. When I login I get just as many reductions as increases. Sometimes for trivial amounts, sometimes significant. But I don’t doubt that they are playing silly buggers with you and others – and the solution is what you’re doing: remove the offending items from the cart. Perhaps buy elsewhere, perhaps put them back later. I’m sure they notice that sort of thing.

  14. ech wrote:

    “After I got another extension cord I was able to plug everything into the generator directly and didn’t go through the home wiring.”

    Is the power from a generator sufficiently well conditioned to run any sort of appliance of? Do you have a MG set or some other conditioner?

  15. the solution is what you’re doing: remove the offending items from the cart. Perhaps buy elsewhere, perhaps put them back later.

    The problem with that is that the price Amazon.com shows you may be different according to whether or not you’re logged in and, if so, who you’re logged in as. I wrote quite a while ago about Amazon’s differential pricing, and I’d guess they’re still doing it. It’s not like a physical store, where there are physical prices posted for each product. The price Amazon gives any particular browser varies according to how much Amazon’s algorithms think that particular buyer will be willing to pay for that particular item at that particular moment. I’ve noticed this by using two different browsers, one logged into Amazon and the other not.s

    I’ve also noticed this behavior from independent vendors that sell on Amazon.com, particularly for used books. I’ve mentioned this on my page before as well. Two vendors each have a used copy of a random book. It’s not a valuable book, and should sell for, say, $5.00. But each of the two vendors has an algorithm that frequently checks the price of the same book offered by competitors. When it spots the competitor’s price, it immediately adjusts its own price to one slightly higher than the competitor’s, with the idea being that someone may be willing to pay that price without checking competitors’ prices because it’s only a few percent higher. The problem is that it ends up in a positive feedback loop. I remember one book I’d intended to order that Amazon had two vendors selling one copy each of. It should have been a $5 book. One of the vendors had it priced at something like $628,000 and the other at $643,000 or whatever. I emailed one of the vendors and asked if they’d take $5.

  16. Long story short, my mom is now in a nursing home after a fall which may have been caused by a stroke. The nursing home has a great staff, and I didn’t really realize how great it was until two things happened. One was I read Bob’s post about the now fired caregiver and two I got a text message from my cousin telling me how wonderful the staff was.

    I guess I was too busy dealing with the fact that my 86 year old mother now has the body of an 86 year old to go with the mind of an 86 year old. Up until the last four to six months, my mom’s only health problems were that she had dementia and couldn’t go up and down stairs. Now it’s a longer and slowly growing list.

  17. I’m sorry to hear that. It’s never easy to deal with these problems.

  18. Sorry to hear about your issues Dave B. A good nursing home staff will go a long ways towards making the time easier, but it will never be easy.

    If your father (or your mother’s husband) was veteran check with the VA immediately as they will help with some of the cost.

  19. Sorry to hear about your issues Dave B. A good nursing home staff will go a long ways towards making the time easier, but it will never be easy.

    If your father (or your mother’s husband) was veteran check with the VA immediately as they will help with some of the cost.

    At the moment, since she’s there for rehab from the apparent stroke, Medicare and Tricare are covering it. I’ll be sure to get with the VA before Medicare runs out. She has sufficient savings to cover a nursing home for a while. Before we got here, I was afraid she’d run out of money in a nursing home. Now I’m more concerned about whether she’ll be around for her 87th birthday or not. I think it is still possible that her condition will improve, but it’s going to be a long slow process.

    Her condition after the fall was pretty good, but she’s gotten weaker over time. Two weeks ago, she was sitting in a wheelchair by the nurses station, because they were concerned she would try to get up and wind up on the floor. Now she’s so weak that they don’t have to worry about her getting up.

    I knew that if you’re weak and in your 80’s every health problem was a really big deal. I didn’t really understand it, but that is slowly changing.

  20. Yeah, we’re going through that with Barbara’s mom right now, and went through it before with my parents and her dad. The older you get, the less “bounce-back” you have. What would have been a minor illness when you were 60 or even 70 can be a real killer at 85. You simply don’t have the resources left to recover from it.

    The typical progression at that age is a gradual (or not-so-gradual) downward slide, with occasional peaks among the troughs. But if you graph it out, the peaks gradually become lower and lower and the troughs become deeper and deeper. It’s heartbreaking to watch, knowing that there’s not a damn thing you can do to stop or even slow that progression.

    The key to keeping your sanity is to remember that old saying: Hope for the best, but expect the worst.

  21. She has sufficient savings to cover a nursing home for a while.

    If she is on self-pay where Medicaid (not Medicare) is not paying anything the VA may contribute somewhere around a $1,000 a month toward her care. I am not sure about Medicare and how that affects the amounts. Once Medicaid starts paying the amount drops to $90.00 a month.

  22. My best to you Dave in dealing with this. My observation, unfortunately, is that when the dementia/Alzheimer’s sets in, something starts happening to other parts of the body’s ability to integrate and function properly. Both my mom and my aunt (sisters) declined rapidly and were gone fairly quickly once they could no longer communicate usefully with others. They both got weak, even though they were still managing to do their daily exercise routines. I know that is not the case with everyone — Ray’s aunt being a prime example, — but it has been the case with most of the fading elders around me.

    It is a trying and sad time. It was really hard for me to adjust to the fact that my parents had cared so admirably for me during my entire childhood, and I could lean on them at any time for any reason, but they reached the point where they could not stand on their own (figuratively and literally) without help from me. Somehow, I never imagined that my parents would ever become dependent on me, instead of the other way around. It was tough to witness that happening.

  23. I knew that if you’re weak and in your 80′s every health problem was a really big deal. I didn’t really understand it, but that is slowly changing.

    I can really understand where we all seem to be on this. Hopefully I will be more realistic when this time comes for me.

    We are starting this process with my wife’s father. He is 81 and has broken his back three times, twice in the USA military so he is medically discharged and a 100% disabled vet. He takes about 30 minutes to get up now out of a chair so that is a nightmare. Plus he is incontinent so he wears depends. Once up, he can walk about twenty steps before needing to sit down. Did I mention that he is 6’2″ and weighs about 350 lbs? He falls all the time (sometimes daily) and is a dead weight to pickup.

    We are talking with him about moving into a nursing home and he maintains that his problems are minor and that he is going to get better soon. He wants my wife and her sister to move back home with him and help him change his depends. That is so not going to happen. His girlfriend lives next door and is enabling him. She also yells at my wife and her sister about not taking care of their dad which is very frustrating to me and my brother in law. Help him, yes; take care of, no.

  24. My best to you Dave in dealing with this. My observation, unfortunately, is that when the dementia/Alzheimer’s sets in, something starts happening to other parts of the body’s ability to integrate and function properly.

    Thanks, Chuck.

  25. With my mom it seems we’re having a chain reaction of things now. Last Friday my mom aspirated something because she can’t swallow after the stroke. This week because she aspirated something she now has aspiration pneumonia. Next week, who knows?

  26. Very sorry that your mom and you are going through this, Dave B. Like others have said, it seems to accelerate with a snowball effect after a certain point. And like Lynn said, it appears as though many of us are going through this and witnessing and trying to help out as best we can without much success, and can only hope to bear up under it when our own time comes.

    Best wishes and regards from northern Vermont.

  27. My SIL took my FIL to the hospital last night via ambulance. Pneumonia, which I have been telling him for three weeks to go see the doctor. He has been denying that he was sick and refused to so. I even took him to the VA hospital three weeks ago hoping that we could talk him into going into the walk-in clinic. No dice.

    His girlfriend tried to call 911 several times last night and he told her to stop each time. His girlfriend then called my SIL and my SIL called 911. The hospital got his pulse down from 200 to 100 and then put him in ICU.

    My wife drove up to Dallas this morning to be with him. Sigh. The real problem will come when they discharge him in a week or so. They will probably want him to go to rehab and he will refuse. Sigh. He needs to be in a nursing home as he cannot take care of himself anymore.

  28. Some of us old guys don’t wanna ever let go of control. What we’re gonna need to realize when our time comes, is the toll it takes on everybody else. I plan to never lay that on loved ones if I can help it, but as we well know, the best-laid plans of mice and men, etc.

    Gotta say, a guy that size and that old and that careless about his own health is not gonna be around forever.

    Best wishes and regards for yet another tough situation, Lynn; God help us.

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