Friday, August 5, 2011

Long Time no Post ... Sorry

BTK here...

Last post May, 2010 .... and life keeps happening. I guess in a way that's good. Because if it stopped happening, lot's of things would stop. Most of them ..... not so good.

Anyway, some quick updates

  • BP and AP married in October, 2010

  • BW and M are soon to be engaged / married

  • Home remodeling to be completed by September 2, 2011

  • Will price the house for a quick sale, hopefully

I am well.... such as it is. Hope you are too. Unfortunately, nothing very exciting happens around here. I am one of those eat, sleep and work kinda guys. I am able to work from my home. Actually, my office is in my bedroom. My commute to work is 3 small steps. My mobility is limited. I drive with my hand controls and walk with a cane. I can only shop at stores that provide battery operated mobility scooters. My COPD limits my ambulatory range. Not too exciting a life. But, its mine.

Enough about me.

BW (with financial help from M) has been in Ireland since June 10. He is doing PhD discertation research at University City Dublin and the National Archives. Any of you who know BW surely know that when he went there he was "scary" smart. I can't imagine what it will be like when he comes home after nothing but study for two months straight. I will surely need Wikipedia to translate every conversation. He'll be home on August 15th and I'll be glad to see him. Gets a little lonely around here sometimes.

Back to the BW and M story. Since my last post, they have developed a VERY close relationship. That became obvious for sure when she offered to finance his trip to Ireland. All BW would say is that she told him that " she had been saving for a long time to help him". Nice, huh ?

M recently completed her course work and liscening exam to become a Nurse Practicioner. Armed with that and her other professional credentials as a Phychiatric Intake Nurse, she secured new position in Centralia, Il (250 miles southwest) which is approximately 50 miles east of St. Louis. She has already rented a home and moved to the area. Her new position commenced August 1st. BW will be helping to complete the needed remodeling here at my home and will be moving to join her as soon as possible after his return from Ireland.

I will then be moving on to my "new life"... more later

Sunday, May 30, 2010

May 30, 2010 - A New Beginning

BTK here. For those of you who visit and have found nothing new to read, I apologize. There has not been much recently that inspired me to write. As I am known to say, "life just keeps happening" without much of interest to share with my small reading community.

However, I have now made what will be a life-changing decision for me, personally. I have decided on a new direction that I want to take after my current home is remodeled and, hopefully, quickly sold.

My experience living with my sons as adults ( along with a fiancé) over the last 10 months will just not work for me in the long run. They need their own space. I need my own space. But, those spaces must be separate and not at all dependent on each other to exist.

I understand, respect and appreciate the fact that my sons want happiness, safety and security for me in the future. However, I, and I alone, must decide what that means and how I choose to make that happen.

I have decided that a senior living community will be best for me. I have spent the past several weeks reading about and touring several reputable, licenced facilities in Chicago's south suburbs. I love Chicago and I don't wish to leave. I love the south side because I hate Cub fans. So one of the facilities that I visited will ultimately be my home. My challenge now is to decide which one is the best fit for me. I will share the names of the facilities in case any of you have comments, specific to a facility, that you would like to share.

First, I visited "The Park" in Olympia Fields. "The Park" offers all of the independent living options that make sense including accommodations and meal plans. They offer escalated care which moves to and through assisted-living to skilled nursing should I need that in the future. As I toured, I could see myself living there. I'll be back in the future to drill down on specific line items in the brochure. I found the staff I met welcoming and the accommodations more than adequate.

Next, I visited "Waterford Estates" in Hazelcrest. Acommodations, meal plans and amenities were comparable to "The Park". However , they offer a heated indoor pool and whirlpool. My favorite vacation destination for any of you who know me well. A different feel from the first place. But, here too they offered escalated care which moves to and through skilled nursing to "end of life". I found the staff welcoming and the environment " somewhere where I could live".

Lastly, I visited "Tinley Court" in Tinley Park. Accommodations, meal plans and amenities were comfortable. They offered a "walk-in shower" not offered in the others. However, although they offer assisted-living, no skilled nursing was available on site. The geography is familiar and comfortable, only 10 minutes from my current home. Although I could see myself living there today, I must consider the fact that perhaps I would not want to move again, in the future, when my health needs changed.

I have an elder care adviser assigned through "A Place for Mom", a free nationwide elder-care referral agency, who is helping me sort things out and prioritize my selection steps.

I have learned a lot in the last two weeks about the " direction I have chosen". I am convinced that this direction is correct because of my physical limitations, the Chicago weather and the fact that I don't want my family concerned about my daily safety or well-being.

I feel I would be well served in any of these communities. It will just take some more research and additional visits to determine which one is right for me. I choose to make this decision for myself rather than leaving it to my family in a crisis circumstance.

As always, thanks for reading.

Comments are welcome.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Mother Day, 2010

BTK here . Catchy title, huh. Thought you might be tired of that chronological date stuff. At first, I was not going to post today because I've been focused on another "no fun" holiday without my "P". But I have read about and experienced some incredible moms recently. Because I was inspired by their stories, I thought it only fitting to share their stories despite my initial inclinations.

First, there is "B" (the runner). B is a full-time employed mom of two and a great blog writer (check her out here) who participated in a 13 mile half marathon on May 7th. After her husband and children, running is her passion. This family is truly remarkable. We have only met online recently. But her stories read with much enthusiasm and passion and she provides great pictures. A great mom, indeed.

Next, there's "M" (the teacher). "M" went to college with my son, BW, and married one of his best friends. "M" is a SAHM who just this year decided that homeschooling would be the best choice for her children. She has undertaken this task without reservation. She and her husband "K" have also completed the pre-adoption process to welcome an Ethiopian baby or toddler into their family. Yet another amazing young family. They are currently on the approved waiting list with Ethiopian government. Time will tell. She shares her amazing story, chapter by chapter, here . "M" also is a spectacular photographer.. Read her story. You will not be disappointed.

Next, there's "C" (the SAHM + dynamo). "C" and her husband "K" ( as I may have told you before) welcomed ( through open adoption) Bella into their home in February, 2010. Bella is a special needs child who has been diagnosed with Septo-Optic-Dysplashia. "C", her mom, is an adoption expert ( at least by my definition). In addition to Bella, her younger daughter, Beauty, was also adopted from Guatemala. Their family of of five is completed by big brother, Bear, at the ripe old age of four. "C" and "K" are young, energetic, enthusiastic parents ready to save the world one child at a time. This past week "C" spearheaded a fund-raising effort for Children's Memorial Hospital in Chicago which raised over $1500 in just three days using FaceBook. Read her family story here. I am proud to be a small part of this family as the godfather designate for baby "Bella".

All of these strong, young moms put me in mind of my own mother. Not so much in the way I knew her as an adult. But, how similar she must've been to these young moms at an earlier age mirroring their strength, fortitude and courage. As I've mentioned before, I was physically challenged as a child. Some would say, even more today. I can only imagine, by reading these young mom's stories, what it must have been like for my own mother in those early years. Through them and their stories, I have grown a deeper appreciation for what my mom did for me. Although, she went to her reward in 2004, and I did not tell her enough, I remember her fondly today... Thanks, mom. I love you.

And last but not least, my "P". She raised our sons to be the men that they are today. She allowed me to help, from time to time, except with the " teaching them how to walK". "Watching your father will only confuse you", she would say with a big smile. Truth be told. They could imitate my gait almost as good as me. Children need their moms. I would give all I have to bring her back for them on Mother's Day. Even I am not that good.. sorry.

So, as we celebrate another Mother's Day. I found a different way to honor moms.. Thanks to all who contributed and those of you who read.

Monday, May 3, 2010


BTK here. Thanks for stopping back. Things are pretty much “status quo” here. Remodeling goes on. Life continues to happen. Work continues, and while necessary, is exciting for me but boring for you... so we skip it.

Fast forward to the weekend (5/1-5/2)

I was alone for all of it. I actually didn’t mind. As the self-imposed, monastic silence continues in the household, I’m actually getting more comfortable with the alone / down time in my life, once again (more on that later)

BW went to help a friend (of his girlfriend) move. (Didn’t Seinfeld have rules about helping strangers move ?) Then, BW was going to the city to hangout with her when the job was done. Girlfriend picked up BW before noon, Saturday, and off they went. As of this writing (5/3 pm), he is still not home. So, one must assume that a good time is being had by all.

BP and AP were also off to parts unknown about noon, Saturday( 5/1). Came back to change clothes and nap on Saturday night, then, on Sunday, off for the afternoon on yet another quest for fun and excitement.

I had free run of the house all weekend and I ran it on my schedule, in my underwear (for part of the day), for a change. Probably, TMI, sorry.

I did laundry. I ran errands (I was fully dressed by then). I actually felt like cooking and made a dinner for myself Saturday night. That is something I never do anymore when my house mates are around. You see, I don’t cook well enough to match many of their tastes or any of their skills and sometimes do not really care for what they eat. Why be embarrassed. I wait for the “alone” opportunities and satisfy myself.

After dinner, I watched some DVD movies on my LCD TV. The TV and stand are too big for my bedroom / office. But, with the house empty, I could sit in my rocker (it’s kinda broken –need a new one) in the family room and be comfortable.

Sunday. I bought and wrote out some cards for birthdays and mom’s day and mailed them. Actually felt like “cooking” again, if you can call a BLT … cooking. But, I had no proper ingredients, damn. Off to the grocery, on a mission. $62.00 later (no alcohol).. I’m home with all the fixings. Visited all five food groups: Bacon, Italian Sausage, Vienna Beef Hot Dogs, NY Strip Steak, Other Stuff. My BLT was fabulous (i.e thick cut, hickory smoked bacon, romaine lettuce and off the vine tomatoes on a lightly toasted hoagie roll with mayo) As I write this on Monday (5/3), I am contemplating leftovers (even I can’t eat a whole pound of bacon alone). The remainder of the shopping trip’s “spoils” will appear on a menu in the very near future.

To my dear readers who are of the vegetarian ilk, I love you all so much that I’m eating “your share” and mine, too.Nothing goes to waste. It’s a nasty job. But, someone has to do it. Glad to oblige.

About being alone. At first, when Patti left me, it was like she was away at work or the store and would be back in a few hours. After a while, I realized that she was NEVER coming back. I could not stand it. I have been plagued for a long time with the negative concept of “being alone”. Even with people around, I was alone.

For the first time, in a long time, this past weekend, I felt different. I had no schedule to follow or “must do” list to complete. I was alone, yes, but, not really. I could comfortably call Patti to mind and she would have loved the White Sox games I watched (they won). She would have hated the Rambo movies. I smiled when I thought of that. My friends C, K and the Littles were celebrating a 4th Birthday for the big brother, Bear. Thinking of that made me smile, too. So, being alone gives you time to relax, think, reflect and plan. I guess I did that. It made me feel so good. I’ll do it again , soon

Yes, I did eat the leftover bacon... another great BLT.

Thanks for being there... I am always glad to be here..... I wish you all, enough.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


BTK here. Rough week. Since last time there are some stories to tell. Band Practice. Confrontation (Young vs. Old). BTK is Sick. Family wedding plans (not mine) begin.

Lets get started.

Band. Some parents might be pleased to have their son's rock 'n roll band practice in the family room. Advantages: no cover charge, autographs are free and requests are played instantly. Disadvantages : Five electric guitars and a full drum kit vibrate the walls and floors in a 1000 sq. ft. home beyond belief, the kitchen fills with interested homies, girlfriends and groupies who contribute nothing to the session and make it impossible to get food, ice or even leave my room for the bathroom until it's over. I could not hear to make or take phone calls and I could not think to answer e-mail. Don't get me wrong. I love this band and all the guys in it. But I need to hear them in a much larger venue that is not right below my bedroom/office. I had to leave.

Confrontation. When I returned. The din continued. I wrote my son, the drummer, a poison pen e-mail. Not the smartest move. But, what's done is done ( and frankly I would do it again.) There are six guys in this band. The only reason that practice is here is that my son will not say no. I am hoping I planted that seed. I'm betting I did not. That was Friday, 4/23. Since then we've exchanged a fiery e-mail thread and have not spoken.

I woke up last Tuesday (4/20) with an ear ache and a sore throat. Despite my other ailments, these are new symptoms for me. I was alarmed. I called Dr. Feel-good but couldn't get an appointment until Friday 4/23. I decided I would visit a " Minute Clinic" at CVS to see if I could get some immediate relief. Although I have a high threshold for pain, this was really bothering me. The nurse practitioner was professional. However, because of my existing HBP medication, she was not able to prescribe anything. Therefore, I had to wait for Friday (4/23) to see my own doctor and suffer through the band practice, virtually unmedicated. No fun at all.

Feeling somewhat better after using the prescriptions for several days. Still not 100%. But better.

Wedding. Spoke to my sister last night about the marriage of her daughter, my niece. My niece and her fiancé have selected the Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia. They will be married there by a minister who is a longtime family friend of her fiancé's family and will live in Columbus, Ohio where her fiancé's family runs a family-owned bakery business. The wedding is in February, 2011. Because I have special challenges connected with traveling, I will begin the planning immediately.

Thanks for reading. Your Comments are welcome.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

April 21, 2010

My last post on "tax day" took us all over the place. I want to try and get back to the reason we gather here. I want to share my thoughts and experiences since the last time and hope you find something interesting. That said, off we go.

That Friday, 4/16, I heard from my friend, "D". She is a newly hired security consultant and project manager with a well-known firm. We spent some time on the phone. She explained how she had been treated as a new kid on the block. E-mails ignored. Meetings set aside "for a more important priority". That is, until her director called a mandatory meeting which "D" facilitated. At that meeting, her associates heard what I already knew, she knows her business and was hired for a reason. Problem solved. "D" is happy and moving forward.

"D" is also a dog person. Her Doberman, Max, has been in therapy to regain the use of his back legs. Finally, this week, the water therapy which was recommended has been producing some results. Good luck Max. Keep on going....

On Saturday, I visited for lunch with my friends, C,K and the "Littles" a wonderful family of five (including my goddaughter-to-be baby Bella) who have become close friends that I love a lot. We had a wonderful lunch from Portillo's ( which they paid for over my objections - I made them promise that next time it's my turn). After lunch, we talked for hours about, among other things, Bella's therapies, Beauty's EI (Early Intervention) school and Bear's sports class. We shared family stories and secrets that only draw people closer. I like that. This is an extraordinary family that I will enjoy being around for a long time.

Sunday. In my life, when you spend Saturday playing..... Sunday becomes very domestic. With help from BW, laundry was done, a few bills were paid and we did a major visit to the grocery store. As I mentioned before, BW is a great cook. He had menus planned for the current week and knew exactly what we needed to buy. I filled in the list with household stuff. We had a very successful trip and didn't forget anything. That's important.

Monday. A workday for all here. BW cranking up his job search in all directions, revising resumes and, of course, hoping for a callback. Sorry I don't have any cute little kid stories. My sons are very big kids. However, they do eat and sleep as often as possible just like the little ones do.

Tuesday. Another workday for all. Rewind and repeat. I woke up with any earache and a sore throat thinking, of course, that I was finally going deaf. You see, I wear headphones, every day, all day to create the "white noise" I need to concentrate on my work. I went to the "Minute Clinic" for some pain relief. Although, it turns out not serious, it's still painful. The nurse practitioner, although polite and professional, was not prepared to give me any cool sinus decongestant drugs because of my high blood pressure medication. Damn. I'll try again on Friday with my doctor, Dr. Feelgood. He comes into the examining room with his prescription pad in hand and asks " What is it you need"??

Wednesday. Gee that's today. Another workday for all. Rewind and repeat. As I write this, I hear chainsaws buzzing outside which means that BW and BP are proceeding with the backyard remodeling (your remember- required by the bank) . They actually did some work last night, by electric construction lighting, to deconstruct the outside stairs which were built in 1991. We try to revolve our major refuse days around Wednesday. Garbage pickup is Thursday in this neighborhood. That's information I'm sure you needed to know. So, if you come to my house with a lot of garbage, come on Wednesday.

As they used to say, that is the week that was. No drama, crises or major upheaval. Nice.

Thanks for reading. Your comments are welcome

Thursday, April 15, 2010

April 15, 2010

BTK here. I thought it would be appropriate for the "taxman" to have a post on tax day..

Ah.. dear readers.. some of you may need a bit of background to support that assertion. You see I have done what I do in the same industry for 42 years now. While it is not my day-to-day pursuit in my current position, I have an industry reputation as an employment tax expert which is based on some 30 of those years spent studying IRS and state documentation and implementing systems and procedures which compute and report on payroll taxes while making sure the computations are accurate. So on the day when you all must settle up with the IRS and your state(s), I just want to say this. If the systems I have helped to build, support and calculate have touched you, in some small way, I hope they helped you to make proper tax decisions for your family. I strive every day to make sure that every paycheck my calculations touch is as accurate as I can make it.

With the current jobs bill legislation on the table, new calculation challenges are presented. I am already working with a team at my company to make sure that we deliver understandable and accurate computations to support the new hire tax breaks provided to employers.

Happy Tax Day.... (appropriate "TaxMan" Beatles music plays here)

Beyond that ....... since last time.

Family is fine. BW and BP, together again as they were meant to be, bonding as brothers are supposed to do.

Remodeling moves forward. The back brick-paver patio has been deconstructed and the new support lumber (6 x 6) is in place and leveled. The bricks will be reset (I get to help with that 'cause that's a tedious sittin' job that I don't mind) once the deck base is re-leveled and supported with sand and pea gravel. So, BTK is on the clock for that.

I continue my advocacy class at Hadley School for the Blind. I want Bella, my god daughter-to be, and I to have all of our guns loaded (with knowledge). Combined with the knowledge from her parents, K & C.. She will blow the world away. I guarantee.

I think I had mentioned a while back that I was physically challenged myself. I also think I promised to explain "later". Well, now is later. I was born, like Bella, physically challenged.

Some history is in order. I was born with cerebral palsy, affecting only my legs, and leaving untouched my arms, voice, brain, speech, etc. from a medical perspective, a mild case of the disease at best. I have married, raised a family, held a job and conducted a fairly productive life for my 62 years. Looking back, my challenges are nothing compared to what baby Bella might face.

When I found her story, through her supermom's blog, I was "inspired and touched beyond words". Through my life I have received boundless help from my parents, my siblings and medical professionals, too many to count, to achieve the life that I have accomplished today.

We all know the phrase " paybacks are a bitch". When I met little Bella through her parents, C & K, I knew that she and I were going to be friends for life. I am challenged, she is challenged more. But guess what, we'll deal with it together. I'll kick the doors open that she can't see and and she'll tell me about the doors that I don't acknowledge are there because her sixth sense will always keep us safe. Good team she and I.

As always, I've rambled too long. But, if you're here, you knew that anyway.

Thanks for reading ... your comments are welcome