Thursday, May 8, 2008

One good thing about going to work @ Wal-mart

I have had good days, and bad days, in my brief new 'career' at Wal-mart. As the title says, one good thing about going back to work is.......I have lost 15 pounds. My 'big boy' pants are loose, and my size 54 belt is loose too; it can't hold up my pants snug. There's always a silver lining.

Gasoline in Rantoul is $3.79/gal. I don't know what else to say about it. If we're not in a recession, we're durn close.

Here's a couple of laughs for you.

7th grade teacher addressing her class:
"During the performance half of you were sleeping, half of you were talking, and the other half of you were flat out being rude!"

My favorite so far this year:
A sign advertising potato chips at a gas station in Cottage Grove, Minnesota


Til next time, keep your stick on the ice.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

It has been three weeks.......

since my last post. A whirlwind of work, tiredness, and frankly, not much exciting happening. Like many people today, we are struggling to keep up with monthly obligations. Utility rates, especially for natural gas, are outrageous, and the many other things that come up have a tendency to try to crush one's spirit. However, we know God is in control, and He promises to meet our needs. Not our wants, but our needs.

Going to pick up my check now. More later.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Letting It All Sink In

Ten days have passed since Ursula's death. Lots of activity, family time, and attending to legal matters. It has not been without some drama, but these times always have that. The three kids, Kirk Tony & Ingrid, are all interested in doing things decently and in order. Some tasks have been given to other members of the family who have the time and ability to handle them. They have run into some complications which will take care of themselves in time. The pain of loss remains. Losing a parent is not easy. Trust me, I've been through it twice.

I have begun working for Walmart in Champaign in the meat dept. M-W 11am-8pm, off Th-F, Sat. 11am-8m, off Sunday. The first few days were exhausting. Not so bad now. Still learning everything that needs to happen.

That's all for now. Until next time, keep your stick on the ice.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Funeral Arrangements

Funeral arrangements for Ursula Williams are as follows:

Visitation: Family will meet friends Thursday March 20 from 5-7 pm @ Lux Memorial Chapel in Rantoul IL.
Funeral: The service will be held @ American Lutheran Church in Rantoul Friday March 21 beginning at 10:30 am.

Thanks to those of you who are praying and have commented here. Please pray specifically for Ingrid, who must now handle the financial fallout from this and still grieve the loss. God bless you.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

An Announcement

Ursula Williams, 73, of Rantoul IL, the mother of Ingrid Menge and Kirk & Tony Williams, died at 10:13pm Monday March 17 at Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana IL. She was surrounded by her children, their spouses, and her longtime companion Vernon Nash. Cause of death: pneumonia.

She is survived by her companion Vernon Nash, three children: Tony Williams, Kirk Williams (Carissa), and Ingrid Menge (Bob); two grandchildren, Heather Williams and Elexus Williams, and one great-granddaughter Keira.

She was born in Germany on Oct. 5, 1934, and witnessed firsthand the atrocities of the Hitler regime, losing family members in concentration camps. Later in America, she became a registered nurse and served at Carle Hospital for 27 years until her retirement.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

Thank you to those of you who have prayed for us. She is no longer suffering, and is with God, at peace.

Sunday, March 16, 2008


Ursula woke up late this morning, which is great, but nothing else has changed. Ingrid is very weary, as you might expect. Since she holds decision making authority, she needs strength and clarity of mind. Please pray to that end. I'm heading back to the hospital after completing this writing. Thanks to those of you who have been praying for us. We are so grateful.

PLEASE Pray...!

Ingrid called @ 7:30am. Ursula is not responding to treatment. She has fluid on the lungs from the pneumonia, and they cannot wake her up. This is very troubling. As you attend church for this Palm Sunday, please include our family in your prayers. Our desire is that Ursula would be healed; above all else, though, that God's will be done and He receive all praise, honor, and glory. Also for strength for Ingrid, Kirk, and Tony, her children. Thank you so much and God bless you.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Health crisis

Sometime between 9 am and 11:30 am today, while I was not at the house, Ursula was taken by ambulance to Carle Hospital in Urbana. I talked to Ingrid around 1 pm, and she said that the staff has indicated that Ursula has pneumonia. With everything else she has been through since the start of this year, that is not good. This comes just as I am getting started with my new job in the meat department at Wal-Mart on Prospect Ave. in Champaign. I am most concerned with the effect this will have on Ingrid. If you are a person who believes in God, please pray for this situation. Thank you, and God bless you.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Overdue Update

Ursula suffered an anxiety attack. She returned home the same evening. Because of her condition and lack of physical strength, she no longer is in full control of what goes on around her. This is very upsetting to her.

I began at Wal-Mart on March 11. After completing my last few training modules on computer today, I could possibly see some time in the meat department, where I have been assigned. They schedule three weeks ahead of time, and for payroll purposes, the week begins on Saturday, and ends on Friday. I am paid every two weeks on Thursday. My work days are Saturday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, 11 am to 8 pm. Off days are Sunday, Thursday, and Friday. At least for the first three weeks. We'll see after that. I am grateful to have been hired for this job.

Until next time, keep your stick on the ice.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Health crisis

My mother in law Ursula (if you've read this blog at all you are aware of the recent hospital stay), was just taken by ambulance to Carle Hospital in Urbana. Evidently she wasn't sounding right, unable to remember or to say simple sentences. The paramedics do not believe it is a stroke, but are transporting her to the hospital just to make sure. They left about five minutes ago. More later as I am briefed on the situation.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Isn't she lovely.........isn't she wonderful

This is one of my favorite pictures of Ingrid. Even though she is the photographer in the family, she doesn't really like having her picture taken. Just look at her. I think the Stevie Wonder song lyrics above say it all.

I love you honey.

It's official: I HAVE A JOB!

I'm going to work for Wal-Mart Supercenter, on Prospect Ave., in Champaign, pending the results of the drug test. I anticipate receiving a call from personnel on Monday to say the test is clean, and to report for orientation on Tuesday. After having several interviews in January and February, at last a business has decided that they would like me to join their team. I am grateful for this opportunity, and thankful to God for arranging the circumstances, and for caring for Ingrid and me through all this.

Until next time, keep your stick on the ice.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Quick Update

I went for a job offer at Walmart (WM)Supercenter in Champaign @9am. They offered me a position in the meat department for 9.75/hr, which is a lot better that I was expecting. I accepted, and was sent to Carle occupational medicine for the drug test. I was told that the results would be emailed to the personnel lady, and she would call me Monday. Orientation would begin Tuesday.

What about Guardian West (GW), you may ask? I have not heard from them since the interview on Tuesday. I called twice yesterday, and once this morning before going to WM. Got HR man's voice mail. They are not out of the running...........yet. If they call with an offer that resembles what we discussed on Tuesday, I will accept, and decline the WM opportunity.

More later.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Job Prospects are Looking UP!

Had TWO job interviews yesterday. One at Wal-mart in nearby Champaign, and later at Guardian West in Urbana.

The Walmart interview went well. Surprisingly well. I say that because almost from the beginning, the manner of speaking was that I was going to be hired. The opening is in the meat department of the Walmart (W-M) Supercenter on Prospect Ave. in Champaign. W-M has a 3 step process in interviewing: a first interview by a department head, a second one with an assistant manager, and the third with the store manager. The store manager is the only one who can officially offer you a position. I went through the first two steps yesterday morning and was told to expect a call for the third interview with the store manager. I got the call @ 4 pm. The third interview (and likely job offer) is scheduled for 9 am Thursday.

The second place I went yesterday for an interview was Guardian West (GW) located in Urbana. They are part of Flex-n-Gate, and manufacture steel parts for trucks, and other vehicles. About three weeks ago, my friend Tom Bricker, a GW employee (and former co-worker of mine at Rantoul Products) told me about a job opening on second shift he was aware of. I submitted my resume and cover letter. Last week the HR supervisor called me to say that, though the 2nd shift position was filled, he had another open position that he felt I was qualified for: receiving clerk on first shift. I went in yesterday afternoon, and interviewed with the HR supervisor, and also met the shipping supervisor who would be my direct boss. HR man said he had one more interview to conduct and he would let me know sometime today. I have already left him a voice mail letting him know that I have another offer, but would really like to join the GW team, and asking him to contact me ASAP.

After six months of unemployment and over ten interviews, suddenly there are two companies who seem to want me to join their team. Imagine that.

I'll post again when I know who I'll be working for. Until then, keep your stick on the ice.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Mr. Gout came calling......

Yesterday was not good. My gout condition, which I knew was coming on two days prior, hit me hard. I spent the day on the couch, except for trips to the restroom. Gout is a form of arthritis; in my case uric acid builds up on the skeletal bones of my right foot. When this happens it causes excruciating pain. It settled this time near the ankle. So as you might imagine, it makes walking very, very difficult. I have a cane, so I use it to try to get around. This has come about this time because I have not been consistent in taking the prescribed drug Allopurinol, which controls the buildup of the uric acid. Why have I not been taking the tablet every day?
Because six months ago, before being laid off, I got a three month supply. So I've been trying to "make it last." Obviously not a good idea. Please don't think I'm going for sympathy or something. Just explaining. I learned a lot about gout at this website: It's a great place.

It snowed a bit overnight. Ingrid fell trying to get into the van to go to work this morning. She told me by text message @ 7:50am, after she had gotten to work. She says she will tough it out. Well, so will I.

Thanks for dropping by, and keep your stick on the ice.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Happy me

Today is my 43rd birthday. Ingrid sent a greeting by text message. :-) She works from 7am-5pm today. As is the custom on Wednesday, I met with my pastor to select songs for the upcoming worship service on Sunday morning. I also watched the DVD movie "Unidentified" and later renewed my driver's license. Tonight Ingrid and I have Awana. What is Awana you might ask? A Bible based kid's club that our church has hosted for many years. If you would like to learn more you can visit their web site:

I got a very nice card and letter from my dearest friend in the world, Lisa. She and her family are doing well. Her husband is a great guy, and the kids are growing so fast. We've been friends for over 25 years. I am so blessed.

Keep your stick on the ice.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Sickness in our house

We both have been sick. I missed Sunday services today because I have a cold and severe congestion, which has caused me to sleep in the recliner the past 3 nights. Had another interview this past Thursday for a hospital food service position. It's frustrating; I have good interviews, the people are nice, but they hire someone else.

Someone I know has a birthday this week.....(wink)

Keep your stick on the ice.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Guitar Hero

Last night Ingrid and I went to an "after Valentine's Day" party thrown by our friends the Onstotts. Late in the evening, the guys got out Guitar Hero. It was my first time to play this game. Makes me want to learn to play guitar. I kinda look like a rock star, yes?

Weeeelllllll, maybe not.

More later. Thanks for dropping by, and keep your stick on the ice.

Friday, February 15, 2008


Ingrid had a second interview for the hospital today. And the agency she works for had quite a time getting her schedule for the next few days straight. I think they've got it now.

I got a call today from a place where I turned down a position last year, before the plant closed, because they wanted me to work third shift. This new position would be on second shift (3pm-11pm). I can deal with that a lot better than overnights.

Tonight is the Valentine's Party at our church. It's nice to get together with everyone. This year I'm not the romantic devil I should be. Oh well.

Thanks for reading , and keep your stick on the ice.

Monday, February 11, 2008


Yesterday when we left for church, it was four(!) degrees and the wind blowing at 40 mph. It's still cold, although the high was around 17 today. Ingrid and I both had job interviews, she with a local hospital about a health care tech (CNA) opening, and me with a local long-term care facility about a food service opening. I was told that I would hear something in about a week, while Ingrid is scheduled for a second interview this Friday. If we were to both get these jobs, it would be a steady source of income which is needed right now. I've been unemployed for nearly six months, and I need to get back into the market. I have had interviews during that time, but none resulting in any offers. I hope and pray that at least one of us will find favor in the eyes of these prospective employers.

Something funny almost happened last night. Our church's evening service begins @ 6 pm. At 5:35, I develop the hiccups. I began laughing about it.....but they didn't go away. Ingrid got a big kick out of it........but they didn't go away. I left the house, knowing that I was to lead the singing at church. Sometime during the trip, the hiccups went away. I was glad.

Stay warm.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Ah, the weekend.

Saturday. The weekend. For those who work during the week, a time to relax and unwind. Or get those things done that you didn't have time for M-F.

Ingrid and I both have job interviews scheduled for Monday morning. She is interviewing for a health care tech (CNA) position in the surgical department at Covenant hospital in Urbana. I am going in for a food services position at Carle Arbours, a facility for senior citizens in Savoy, south of Champaign. These would be good steady positions for us, and we need that right now. I heard back from Midwest Portraits, and the man said he had made his choice, but that if the choices didn't work out, he would give me a call. We'll see.

Ingrid was supposed to have last night off, but they called her into work. She was not happy. It was a rough rest of the day. She is on her way home at this writing. Before coming into the house, she will go next door to help her mother. Yesterday was not a good day for Ursula. It's up and down for her on a daily basis. Ingrid is working third shift in order to be available for Ursula. I fear that the schedule will wear Ingrid down. I pray that doesn't happen.

Have a great day and weekend.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Elections, floods and.....snow?

The primary election went well from my perspective. We were assigned 5 judges, but one was sick and did not come. It made it interesting, but we made it through. Turnout in our precinct was, as usual, low for a primary, but voters came in at a steady pace, which made the day go by fairly quickly. My feet and legs were very sore when I got home, and my legs are still tired as I post this. Overall, a good experience.

The 11 inches of snow melted off over the past two days, and we got a day-long rain storm which caused flash flooding all over the county. In driving to Urbana to return the election supplies, I saw a trailer park where the water rose to the bottom edges of the trailer doors. One car was over half submerged. Several viaducts in Urbana and Champaign were flooded with well over five feet of water.

Now, the forecast is calling for 1 to 3 inches of new snow.

Where's that number for reservations to San Diego?

More later.

Monday, February 4, 2008

In a Fog

Today was crazy. Just crazy. A very thick fog moved in late last night, and stayed around all day. I mean, ALL day. Visibility less than 50 feet. And guess what? I drove 22 miles to Mahomet, in the fog, not being able to see more than one car length ahead of me.

Had the interview with Midwest Portraits. The owner is looking for people to cover a certain area setting up meetings with those service groups looking for fund raising ideas. It would certainly be a different career than working in a factory. I should know by sometime Wednesday.

Tomorrow, Feb. 5, is primary election day. I serve as a Champaign County election judge. My time begins at around 5:30am, with the polls opening at 6am and remaining open until 7pm. It's a long day, but I don't mind. I see it as doing my civic duty.
So, my next post will hopefully be sometime Wednesday.

Ursula, my mother in law, went to see her cancer doctor today. It was decided to begin chemo treatments today as well. Her condition remains the same, although she did have some chicken noodle soup today. So that's a hopeful sign.

If you are registered, VOTE! It's your right, and your responsibility.

More later.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

I heart the internet for job-hunting!

As a result of my adventures yesterday emailing my resume to different prospective employers, I got a call just after 8 this morning from Midwest Portraits Co. in Mahomet IL, asking me to come in for an interview Monday @ 1:15pm. Yay! This company is wanting to fill a position of contacting churches to sell pictorial directories and fire department fund raisers. It says it's a $25,000 base + Commission + Bonus. So let's see what happens there.

On Tuesday I will be serving as an election judge for the primary elections. Our county has recently implemented optical-scan technology; before that we had punch cards. (Can you say 'hanging chads?') The new way is better because not only are the votes counted as ballots are placed in the ballot box, but there is indeed a paper trail. The ballots are "darken the oval" in scope. You take your ballot, and a pen, and fill in the oval next to the person you wish to vote for. Then the ballot is inserted into the counter, the vote is counted and recorded on a memory chip, and the paper is dropped into a secure metal box. I firmly believe this method is superior to not only punch cards, but also to touch screen voting machines which do not leave a paper trail. Just my feeling about it.

More later.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Digging Out, Looking for Work, and a Golf Story

I was up @ 6:30am digging out the driveway from an eleven inch snowfall. I would have posted a pic, but I still need to learn how to download from the digital camera, and then post. I'm sure my wife can show me how.

I got a lot done, considering the outside conditions. The local unemployment office (in Champaign, 17 miles south of Rantoul; GO ILLINI!) had scheduled a Job Fair, with prospective employers there to take applications and such. Well, Ingrid and I got there just after 1 PM to find that the fair was cancelled, because of the weather. Imagine that. So one of the counselors told me about a new online place to look for jobs. Let's just say the new one doesn't work any better than the first one they showed me. But I got a lead on a position in nearby Mahomet. Using, I posted my resume and not only applied for that position, but FIVE other jobs I thought I might be a fit for. Yet the state-sponsored websites could not match me with even ONE job! So my reply to the state websites:


Otherwise, how are things? My mother in law, Ursula, is still very weak and unable to each much. A visiting nurse tried for one hour this morning to draw blood, but could not. Even though she is home, she is still very sick.

Today's Quote from the Stupidest Things Ever Said Calendar:
"We have to belly up to the buzz saw, and I think we're reaping the whirlwind from it." -Tennessee Senator Jim Sasser


Oh, a story heard on Paul Harvey today:

The average golfer walks 900 miles a year on the course.
The average golfer drinks 22 gallons of alcohol a year.
It was computed that based on this information, the average golfer
gets 41 miles to the gallon.


Thursday, January 31, 2008

The best picture I've ever taken!

The sun setting over the Mississippi River near Warsaw, IL.
I'm no photographer, but this is a good one.

Pics of Us.

This is me, Bob, holding our dog Bobo. In this shot he was only three months old. Since that time I have also removed the goatee from my face. Since I'll be having a birthday in February, I decided I want to look younger. Vain, eh?

This is my beautiful wife Ingrid. She is, among other things, a photography buff, but doesn't like having her own picture taken.
What a great smile.
My mother in law is now home from the hospital. She is still weak, and has an apparatus which is used for feeding her through a tube, and also for the giving of insulin. Even after all this time, she still feels nauseous. If she were able to eat solid food, the machinery would be unnecessary. Until that time, she will use it. Having her home is good, for obvious reasons, but also Ingrid and I live next door to Ursula. (That is a story in itself, for another post.) No more driving to and from the hospital 17 miles each way, or buying the cafeteria food.
Tomorrow I will attend a "mini job fair" sponsored by the local unemployment office. 14 companies are scheduled to be there, looking for employees. There must be some company that will believe that my experience would be a good fit. We shall see.
More later.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Our "children"

This is Lily, our domestic tabby cat. She came home to us one month after our wedding. She loves boxes, as you can see.

This is Bobo, my beautiful miniature Dachshund. I grew up with a dachshund, Lady. She died when I was 7. We got Bobo in late September of 2006. He was born Aug. 8, 06. He's my buddy.

The long hospitalization is over.........

Ursula is coming home today. To recap, she was admitted Jan. 2, had surgery Jan. 4, and after fighting nausea and other ailments during her stay, is being released today. Ingrid is there with her. Yesterday's weather was, in a word.....CRAZY! 8 am yesterday, 41 degrees. 8 am this morning, 4 degrees. Big storm front blew through last night. Rain, freezing conditions, cars in the ditch. Ingrid worked yesterday 3pm-11pm, and ended up staying in Champaign rather than risk the roads coming home.

It will be interesting to observe things around here. Ursula will have to have more get the rest of the cancer that remained after the surgery. She has fought cancer for 23 years.....and the fight goes on. She is a strong-willed person, but this latest illness has left her very weak physically. It will be tough for her. God gives strength where we are weak.

More later.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


Attended Cathy's memorial service last Friday. It truly was a celebration of her life. More than a hundred people came, including over twenty members of the armed services. It was a good time of remembrance, praise, and affirmation of life.

Ursula was supposed to be released from hospital today, but a test that had been scheduled was abruptly cancelled. So the saga continues.

Ingrid is working evenings for at least the next 4 or 5 weeks, 3pm-11pm.

Temp here was 43 degrees at 8 am; around 3pm there is supposed to be rain, and temps dropping into the 30's, then tonight the rain will freeze and the low is supposed to be 5 degrees above. Crazy. Just Crazy.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Medical Update

We were awakened by the cell phone @ 6:55am this morning. Couldn't get to it in time so Ingrid listened to the voicemail. It was her mother, Ursula, saying that she had developed pneumonia and that the staff wants to transfer her to a nursing home. Whoa.

Two days ago, we were told that Ursula would have a feeding tube placed directly into her stomach, because even after all this time, she cannot keep solid food down,with hopes of her being discharged sometime next week. Now, pneumonia. I had pneunomia 3 years ago. Of course, I was only 40 at the time. Ursula is 73, and with everything else happening, this is devastating. Ingrid is at the hospital at this time. I am home, sick with a bad cold and horrible congestion. So going to visit is not a good idea.

This is the type of thing that you're never ready for. Aging parents struggling with their health. Both my parents are gone, Mom having died in 1981 when I was 16, and my dad died in 2002 at age 76 from bone cancer. Ingrid is going to have a lot to deal with. I hope that I can be a help to her.

My cousin Cathy's funeral is this Friday morning @ 11 am. I hope to be well enough to go, but probably not. And of course, Ingrid needs me, so that takes priority.

More later.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

The call I had been dreading....

has come. At 9:05 this morning, my aunt called to tell me that my cousin Jeff's wife, Cathy, passed away at around 6:00pm last night from cancer. It was expected, but still hard to hear. She leaves behind her husband and three daughters; Meaghan, 21; Rebecca, 18, and Kimberly, 17. Jeff & Cathy were married for 24 years. Jeff serves in the Air Force. Funeral arrangements are being made.

If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, as I am, please include this family in your prayers. Cathy is with her Savior, and for that I am so thankful.

More later.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Caught in the Middle

About a week ago, there was a nasty exchange between Ingrid and her brother Kirk at the hospital where my mother in law is currently a patient. Yesterday Kirk took me aside to give me what he termed "the truth." I wont' go into it except to say I now have a pretty good idea how it all started. I have said before that Ursula has found fault with the hospital staff. The confrontation of last weekend was because of a phone conversation between Ursula and Kirk, during which Ursula allegedly said she didn't want Ingrid to stay with her at night, and that "she doesn't do anything when she's here." She further allegedly stated that Ingrid was, using my words, rude and disrespectful. Kirk heard that and the next morning entered the room to confront Ingrid. He says she yelled at him. She says, and Kirk agrees, that he pointed his finger in her face, moving her glasses up her face in the bargain. They both believe they are right, and have not spoken to each other since.

Here's my take: Ursula is a controlling person. If things aren't the exact way she wants them, she will do whatever is necessary to get her way. Ingrid is a CNA, yes. But there is an entire hospital staff there to take care of Ursula's needs. Ursula, however, doesn't necessarily see it that way. Until I came along almost 10 years ago, Ursula was still basically controlling Ingrid's life. Ursula was sure that when any health crisis came up for her, Ingrid would drop everything and be at her side. Even after our wedding, she has been quite a bit. Ingrid believes that just because she knows how to do some of the tasks of the hospital techs and nurses, that doesn't mean it should be expected of her to do it. Ingrid has helped her mom in using the bathroom and walking the halls with her. Kirk sees any refusal to do these tasks (as expressed by Ursula) as being disrespectful. The bottom line is that Ursula will manipulate anyone or anything, family or not, to get her own way. Kirk is being manipulated, but he doesn't see that. Meanwhile the standoff continues. At this point, Ursula won't leave the hospital until she's good and ready.

I'm caught in the middle. I think both sister and brother have copped attitudes, therefore neither will be the first to apologize. Meanwhile Ursula has stirred things up yet again. I know that I am out on a limb saying these things about a woman fighting cancer and laying in a hospital bed, but in the nearly ten years I've been in this family, I have seen this over and over again. Ursula's kids were raised (by herself for the most part) with fear and intimidation. As I see it, her love has always been based on performance and results, rather than being given unconditionally. So as a result, all three have a lot of anger toward her. Except when she gets sick. All three are hard-headed, like their mother. All three believe that they are usually right, like their mother. One thing is for sure. The way to motivate Ingrid is not by yelling at her.

What do I do to help this situation?

Thursday, January 17, 2008

It's been a while...

since I last posted. During that time, my mother in law's condition has improved somewhat, to the point that if she can eat solid food and keep it down without nausea, she could be cleared to go home soon. We still don't know about any schedule for chemo or anything like that yet.

This whole ordeal has been the hardest on Ingrid. She wants to be there with her mother, but Ursula is not the best hospital patient. Being a retired RN, she knows the score. But when she's the one in the hospital bed, she expects the entire floor staff to be at her beck and well as family and friends. When that is not the case, she throws a fit. She's 73, and it still works for her. I believe that she does what she does, because it has worked for her. That makes for very strained relationships with her kids (Tony, Kirk, Ingrid) sometimes. Make no mistake, when she is sick, they circle the wagons, like families do. I have observed this dynamic for nearly 10 years now. Unlike in the beginning, I know when to keep my mouth shut. :-)

I did not see Ingrid at all yesterday, but we talked on the phone. Today I met her for lunch. During that time, at 12:55pm, she got a call from work, wanting her to take a case @ a town almost 40 miles 2pm. She talked them down to 3pm....we raced home to our house, where she had not been since Sunday....stayed 25 minutes....then left for work. She comes home, to our house, tonight. Being a CNA for an agency means driving to various assignments, sometimes with little notice. On top of that, it is snow-showering in our part of the country, with lows tonight expected to be 15 degrees. Above zero. Great. Rain....which will freeze,...and Ingrid thirty-five miles from home, having to drive in it to get home. Oh my.

I continue in my efforts to find stable employment. Temp work pays $7.50 to $8.00 an hour around here. About 40% less than what I made at the factory. A humbling experience, to be sure.

Meanwhile, my cousin Cathy is stricken with cancer that made necessary the amputation of her lower left leg. Now the cancer has spread to the bones. It's just a matter of time.

More later.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Hopeful News....and a new Complication

Yesterday we finally heard from the doctors concerning my mother in law's condition. It appears that, at this time, there is NO pancreatic cancer. They want to begin chemo to get rid of the remaining cancer around the colon and small intestine. Further surgery may be needed. We are so thankful that pancreatic cancer seems to have been ruled out at this time; however, we know that an MRI indicated a spot of some sort on her pancreas. Yesterday evening her blood sugar level (she is diabetic as well) measured 199. On Saturday it had been around 160. It is still too high.

This morning, Monday, Ingrid, my dear wife, called and said that Ursula had developed vaginal bleeding and is going in for a scope this morning.
Ingrid spent the night last night after coming home Saturday @ noon and staying home until we went yesterday afternoon. But even at home, she didn't sleep well. It seems that there was a disagreement between her and another family member. Ingrid was very hurt, then became angry, and came home. The experience, however, caused her to not sleep well Saturday night. She was up @ 12:30am and didn't sleep the rest of the night. I am so concerned for her health and well being, but until Ursula comes home, being at the hospital every night, while still working, is the norm.

More on this story later.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Say WHAT?????

From the "No Comment" Dept:
San Francisco 49ers head coach Mike Nolan, commenting on the team's private workout with Utah quarterback Alex Smith before the
2005 NFL Draft:

"He had to cut the wind with his balls, which is something we had to see."

Allllllllllllll righty then.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

January 10, 2008

Today was not a good day for Ursula, my mother in law. Food wise, she was upgraded to "full liquids," which means juices, strained soup, ice cream, et al. She didn't feel well all day, and while I was there, between 6 pm and 9:15pm, she felt she wasn't getting enough air. She has been on oxygen for a few days now. Ingrid was told the pathology report will be in tomorrow, so finally we will know just what we are dealing with. Also tomorrow, Ingrid will be working a total of ten hours in a split shift. Being a CNA with an agency, she gets assignments for as little as 2 hours to 8 to 10 hours. On one hand I hope the pathology report comes early, so she can go to work. On the other hand, if that happens it will be on her mind during work. It's not an easy situation either way. Ingrid is staying at the hospital tonight, and after her work day will return Friday night. I know this is really hard on her. Yet she doesn't complain. I know that she needs to do this, but I miss her at home. It's hard to maintain your normal life when you are basically living at the hospital.

On the lighter side, here's something that made me laugh, and I hope will do the same for you.

"Actual country song titles" (according to the 2008 calendar The 365 Stupidest Thngs Ever Said)

*She Made Toothpicks Out of the Timber of My Heart"
*Get Your Tongue Outta My Mouth 'Cause I'm Kissing You Goodbye"
*Mama, Get the Hammer (There's a Fly on Papa's Head)

So long for now.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008



My mother in law Ursula is doing somewhat better this morning. Ingrid finally came home, to our house, around 10:30am (Central) after having spent three consecutive nights, as well as five of the last seven, at the hospital with her mother. Ursula doesn't like to be alone at any time while in hospital. Ingrid, her daughter and my dear wife, is sleeping right now. She will be going back later today to the hospital. Sigh.

I have mixed emotions about it. On the one hand, it's wonderful that the children rally around Ursula. Her son Kirk returned to work today after spending the hours of his work days on Monday and Tuesday with his mom. Oldest kid Tony visited from out of town on Monday as well. Ingrid has spent the most time, not only by her own decision but by Ursula's wishes as well. It's just that......I miss Ingrid when she's not home. Selfish, yes, but I do. Plus I still can't wrap my mind around this notion that family has to be with you 24/7 while you are in the hospital. Of course, I have not been hospitalized for any reason since I was 15. So maybe I'm not the best person to comment. But I see how hard it is on Ingrid, physically, mentally, and truthfully even in our pocketbooks. Neither one of us has worked since the crisis began. I am receiving unemployment benefits along with any temp work I get through Manpower, but it pales in comparision to what I made at the factory before it closed. I realize, such is life. Family dynamics are, at the same time, fascinating and frustrating. As the old preacher said, "Can I get a witness?"

I think at some point soon I need to post the back story of our lives. I had intended to do so earlier, but the crisis with Ursula happened. It is fair if I expect anyone to be interested in this blog, that I should share a bit of my personality with you. Coming Soon.


Monday, January 7, 2008

Devastating News

This is not an entry I ever wanted to write.

My mother in law was told yesterday (6 Jan) that she has pancreatic cancer and nothing more can be done. We are still waiting for the pathology findings......evidently the doctors will use that to estimate how much time she has, and if there is any treatment. She is 73, having been born in 1934 in Germany, just after Hitler came to power. She lost family in the concentration camps. After coming to America, she married and adopted three mixed race children, my wife being one of them. She worked hard and earned a degree in nursing and did that for 27 years. This was her worst fear going into surgery last week, that there would be cancer in, on, or around the pancreas. She has recovered from the confusion I wrote of in the last post, and is awake and alert. She understands what is happening, and seems to be taking it well.

My wife and her brothers are, understandably, very upset. As all families do, there were issues, but in times of crisis, they are there. This is the biggest crisis yet. My dear Ingrid has spent 3 of the last 5 nights at the hospital with her mother. She is exhausted, yet hesitates to leave her mother's side. Being a CNA herself, she is qualified to stay with her mother and ask the questions that need to be asked. I don't know what the immediate future holds.....but as a follower of Jesus Christ, I know who holds the future. Our lives are in His hands.

Just about everything else has taken a back seat for now. That's all right; it's how it should be. My main concern is for my wife. She will have much to do in the coming days in addition to holding down a job as well. I just want to be as much help to her as I can.

More later.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

A "Happy" New Year?

Hey. Hope your new year is starting out better than mine.

My mother-in-law was admitted to the hospital on Wed. 2 Jan with a bowel obstruction. Turns out it is a reappearance of cancer, which she has fought in various places since 1985. Surgery was performed on 4 Jan. The surgeon could not get it all, because it wrapped itself around her small intestine. He got what he could, and chemo/radiation will have to kill the rest. Unlike her other surgeries, she doesn't appear to be 100% mentally yet. This afternoon when I went, she believed she was in her own bed, at home, and couldn't understand why nurses were trying to make her get up and move. She stubbornly refused, and told them to "get out of my house." Problem is, she's in a hospital bed, in an actual hospital, the very one where she worked as an RN for 27 years. My dear wife Ingrid has spent two of the past three nights at the hospital with her mother. She is worn out. She is sleeping now as I write this @ 9:00 pm Central time 5 Jan.

Seems like back in the day, hospital visiting hours were rigid and unbending, and no one was allowed to stay overnight in a patient's room. Now it seems commonplace. When did this start?

Otherwise, how are things? I lost my factory job of 20 years back on 31 Aug. because of a plant closing, and in December began work with a temp agency. It's been tough trying to find a stable permanent job, that isn't fast food or convenience store. That may be next. I am not complaining or having a pity party, though. God is good....ALL the time.

Thanks for dropping by.