Monday, April 24, 2017

a rod through the block

It was July of 1980. We had driven from Phoenix to Wisconsin for my brother Ronnie and Debbie's wedding. We had married the summer before in Phoenix. So excited to attend a family wedding so close to our 1st wedding anniversary.

 I recently found this old photo. Randy had changed out of his tux and we were off to start our new adventure as husband and wife in his '69 Dodge Charger

 So fun being on the farm. We even helped my Dad bale hay. Yes, that's me driving the tractor.

That's Randy helping my Dad.

That's my brother Kevin (11) driving the tractor. 

Well, after a wonderful week on the farm, we decided to start out for my sister's in Oklahoma in the evening after a family dinner at a local supper club. But I quickly realized I had forgot the stump.

Did she just say stump?

Yes. A tree stump. That my Dad had cut and left to burn. That I rescued for a possible end table. That I just had to have. Don't laugh, they're all the rage again.

So we went back to the farm to load it in my husband's '69 Dodge Charger. Side story... when I found the stump I made Randy carry it to the house. It's heavy. When it started to rain I made him bring it in the house so it wouldn't get wet. Like it hadn't gotten wet all those months outside! I know, I'm a lot of work.

So we hit the road and somewhere along I-35 in Iowa around 3am, I awoke to a horrible sound. My heart sank. Randy got us to the next rest stop, crawled under the Charger and declared "I threw a rod through the block". Well... is that bad? The look on his face spoke volumes. So without thinking "Then why did you do that?" I know, I need to think before I speak.

So he worked on the car in the dark for a while and then said he needed a bolt, and that should get us back on the road. Btw, he had totally rebuilt this car. And he always traveled with his tools. And if we didn't have such a good marriage I would have been jealous of the hours they spent together.

So we hitched a ride on a semi truck to the next exit/ truck stop. I had never been in a rig before, so I may have been a bit giddy, chatty... at 3am... poor truck driver. At the truck stop they let Randy dig through a bucket of bolts, where he found three in the hopes one would do the trick. We then walked to the other side of the exit and hitched a ride back to the rest stop. I was less giddy and chatty this time around. Reality was setting in. What if none of the bolts fit? So I began to pray for a miracle.

I quickly jumped down off the semi truck and began running across several lanes of freeway, and then through the tall grassy median, all the while looking back and no Randy. When I finally got to the rest stop I could see he was coming. He said that when he jumped down from the rig, the door wouldn't shut... he kept trying till he discovered a bolt had jammed the door. The truck driver said to take it, cuz hey, it just might be the bolt.

And you know what? IT WAS!

Randy tried the three bolts first... but it was the bolt stuck in the door that finally worked!

We had prayed for a miracle and God answered... and we were on our way! Praise the Lord!

And get this, when Randy sold the Charger a couple years later, that miracle bolt was still doing the trick!

Monday, April 10, 2017

the missing Handi-Wipe dish rag

My name is Linda Thompson and I am ADD/ OCD.

Knowing that, it should come as no surprise to you that when my pink dish rag went missing 32 years ago, I went a little crazy.

Let me set the stage for you.

This was no ordinary dish rag, this was the pink stripped Handi-Wipe reusable cloth dish rag. When I met my future Mother-in-law in 1978, she introduced me to Handi-Wipes. She only used Handi-Wipes as her dish rag. They were thin and durable and easy to clean inside glasses. I was hooked and have been using them every single day for the past 39 years. Check out this old commercial from the 70's.

Well, in our home, theses bad boys, I mean girls, functioned even more so than the 1001 uses in the commercial... the least of which were the assumed dish-washing function. You see, our 2 year old daughter Miranda had a vivid imagination and she alone took the Handi-Wipes phenomenon to another level. Long hair when she was pretending to be Sleeping Beauty... a cape when she was Snow White... a scarf while gathering berries in the backyard as Princess Aurora (all the while singing "I know you I walked with you once upon a dream"). Yes, several times a day she would have me wet the wipes down so she could conform it to her imagination.

Just so you know, the Hands-Wipes back in the 70's & 80's were much larger than the current Handi-Wipes. Seriously, no comparison. And don't get me started on the quality. The old ones were 100% rayon and totally reusable. I could launder an 80's Handi-Wipe several times before it started to fall apart. These days when you put the Clorox brand wipes through the wash they become a weird, puffy mess of uselessness.

Ok, back to the story. It was 1986. My husband Randy was the youth pastor at our church. The day before the dishrag went missing, his youth group held a car wash to raise money for summer camp. He came home with $300.00 in one dollar bills inside a blue Valley National Bank bag.

I noticed the dish rag was missing immediately upon entering my kitchen the next morning. I always have it draped over the sink. But this particular morning, no dish rag. I looked everywhere. I asked my husband, our 5 year old son Shawn and 2 year old daughter Miranda. No one had seen it. That's when the OCD kicked in and I become a tad bit obsessed with solving the mystery of the missing Handi-Wipe.

Well, I eventually went out to the back patio... and there was a chair... under our kitchen window... with the Handi-Wipe on the chair.

That's when it hit me... someone had used the Handi-Wipe to wipe down their prints while climbing out our window.

Which meant... they had climbed through that window... and ENTERED OUT HOME!



Sure enough, the Valley National Bank bag was gone. Randy had left it on the kitchen table.

I quickly surmised a horrifying scenario and thanked God he had left it on the kitchen table!

You see, I am a light sleeper. And because the bank bag was on the table, they took the money and ran. Had Randy not left the money on the table, they would have most likely wandered further on  through the house, waking me up, and God only knows what would have happened. Thank you Jesus!

Which is why you should leave a $100 bill on the table when you go on vacation, because they will more than likely take the money and leave, thus protecting your home from being ransacked while looking for money and valuables.

Well, I was recently reminded of the dish rag story, when I came upon a fabulous vintage find while thrifting with my friend Kathy.

I seriously gasped! Ok, I screamed... in my head. I had never even seen these dispenser packs back in the day, but these are the actual vintage Colgate-Palmolive Handi-wipes!
In fact, these vintage boxes are selling right now for $35.00 a box HERE!
I found these at Goodwill for $1.99 a box.

This is the packaging I purchased back in the day. Notice the 14"x24" size. The new ones are 11"x19". Yes, the new ones made by Clorox are packaged very similar, but that's where the similarities end. So sad.
You may be wondering if I have plans to use those vintage Handi-Wipes. Maybe the yellow ones. I do have plans to gift the pink ones to my daughter Miranda when she has a daughter some day... and now I'm all weepy just imagining my granddaughter with a pink stripped Handi-Wipe draped over her head.

Thursday, April 06, 2017

behavioral variant FTD

We're coming up on the 3rd anniversary of my husband Randy's dementia diagnose.
Frontotemporal degeneration to be exact.
Of course looking back we can see changes as far back as 2011. So technically he is going on 6 years, and considered moderate by his neurologist at the Banner Alzheimers Institute. He goes in for a yearly test to evaluate the progression... and that's it. He takes 40 mg of Citalopram in the morning and 100 mg of Seroquel at night... and that's it.

Randy has behavioral variant FTD. Those diagnosed with progressive nonfluent aphasia FTD have trouble speaking and producing language. Randy has no trouble recalling words and is still quite articulate. Very thankful for that.

Behavioral variant FTD

Mild bvFTD

In the first several years, a person with bvFTD (sometimes called Pick's disease or just FTD) tends to exhibit marked behavioral changes such as disinhibition, apathy, loss of sympathy or empathy for others, or overeating. Problems with planning organization and sometimes memory are evident, but the individual is still capable of managing household tasks and self-care with minimal help. However, impairment in judgment can lead to financial indiscretions with potentially catastrophic consequences. Social withdrawal, apathy and less interest in family, friends and hobbies may be evident. At times, they may behave inappropriately with strangers, lose their social manners, act impulsively and even break laws.  

Moderate bvFTD

Over the course of a few years, the symptoms seen in the mild stage will become more pronounced and disabling. You might also notice compulsive behaviors like repetitive urination, hoarding or collecting objects, compulsive cleaning or silly repetitive movements. Binge eating may create weight problems and other health issues. The cognitive problems associated with dementia become more pronounced, with mental rigidity, forgetfulness and severe deficits in planning and attention. The MRI image at this point will show that the shrinking of the brain tissue has expanded to larger areas of the frontal lobes, as well as the tips of the temporal lobes and basal ganglia, deeper brain structures involved in motor coordination, cognition, emotions and learning.

Randy's current repetitive, obsessive behaviors ~
  • he turns every light on in the house. Constantly. Like every single light and every ceiling fan.
  • he's constantly asking for waffles. I make homemade waffles every Sunday, and then make them up each day till the batter is gone. He loves them so much.
  • he rarely asks me to take him to QT for a Coke, but visitors are asked to take him. 
  • it's a compulsion... anxiety... when things are out of the norm.
  • and when he wants them to leave, he sweetly tells them he is going to walk them to their car.
  • oh that we could all be so blunt. ha!
  • he turns the shower on, walks away and it's left running till I discover it. My water bill...
  • he loves taking showers. So thankful for that.
  • he's so happy laying on his bed and listening to his music.
One of my very favorite photos.
Me, my man and the mighty Mississippi. (2005)