Saturday, October 29, 2016

You Just Never Know

As a parent, the worry is constant.  When we moved from Illinois to Arizona, there was a lot of planning involved.  Like 5 years of planning.  But you just never know how things will work out. Especially when you are dealing with disabled adult children. Will they make friends, will they like where they spend their days.  Basically will it be better and will they be happy.

Kate always had a blast with her friends in Illinois.  Attending multiple parties for a holiday, like Halloween.  My fears were put to rest when October rolled around in Arizona. Today is October 29 and so far she has attended five different Halloween/Fall Festivals with another one tonight and then trick or treating on Monday.  Yes, she is having a blast.  

And then there is Patty, is she happy?  This is a picture from her Halloween party at work. I think it is safe to say she is~ remember to share the joy.

Thursday, October 20, 2016


Living in Arizona is like being on vacation, every day. Seriously. I often say I feel like I live in a post card.  The sunrises and sunsets are just amazing. The 120 degrees in July and the 90 degrees at the end of October I could do without, but everyone keeps saying wait until January!

But that doesn't mean I don't miss being where I was for over 50 years.  I miss my family and friends.  This week has been rather trying in that way.

I had an neighbor/friend, Cathy, on my mind for several days so of course she called me earlier in the week.  Her news was sad.  Another neighbor, Joan, had passed away.  We all knew it was coming, eventually, but it is never easy to hear.  And I also knew that another neighbor, Arcie, who loved her like a mom would take it especially hard, and she was out of town when it happened.  My heart was heavy.

So, I feel a little melancholy I guess you would call it.  Not sad, just not happy.  I went for a walk today on my lunch and was listening to a song by Kenny Chesney called "I Go Back".  He sings about a time in his past he remembers fondly.  While walking and listening, I see something red out of the corner of my eye.  Right there under a flag pole, in Mesa, Arizona, is a garden of red geraniums... a fond memory filled my mind.

Every year on Mother's Day, my Dad would fill the planter on the front porch with red, pink and white geraniums.  I smiled and my heart was not quite as heavy.  November 4 will the anniversary of Dad's passing.  Mom is 92.

Spread love to your family and friends.  Hug them while you can, and share the joy.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Small World

Kate has a friend in Illinois who, when I mention the words he says often, those who know him will immediately know who I’m speaking of.  Every day, all the time. 

Yes, I’m talking about Jesse.  Jesse and Kate are good friends and would see each other at Our Place and other social functions.  He is a very tall young man, who lives during the week at Misericordia in Chicago and stays with his Mom on the weekends.  It is during the weekends that he does a lot of social activities with his friends in the North Shore, that used to include the Noll family.

Kate and I had lunch with Jesse and him Mom at a restaurant in Morton Grove.  He obviously went there often as most of the wait staff knew him by name.  And he is not a shy quite boy by any means.  Before the meal was served we said Grace and I’m pretty sure the tables at the far end of the room heard our giving thanks to the Lord… okay by me buddy!

Jesse doesn’t watch TV, but he is a whiz on the computer.  Almost daily I would, and still do, receive an email from him with simple requests: Please tell Kate and Mr. Noll and Patty hello. – How are you? – Please send me two business cards. - How is Arizona?

He also leaves me voice mails, mostly telling me he misses us.

Recently, Sarah (the only family member who hasn’t met Jesse) was doing volunteer work with ComEd. I knew this because she sent me a picture of the flower arrangement she had made.  When I asked her what she was doing, she asked me what Kate’s friend Jesse’s last name was.  When I told her, she said she was just hanging out with Jesse and Daniel (another old high school friend of Kate's).  Sarah was volunteering at Misericordia and they were delivering flowers together. 

She sent me a picture of Jesse waving to me from Illinois, and I sent one back of me waving to Jesse from Arizona. 

I smiled the rest of the day.

Of course he asked Sarah for two business cards and now she is also receiving his emails... life is good, share the joy!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

I Just Can't Wrap My Brain Around It

After my hiatus from blogging, I posted a blog that had sat in "draft" form regarding the inadequacies of the State of Illinois. It was about how  I had received a letter from Illinois Healthcare and Family Services stating that I HAD to choose a health care plan for Kate to be enrolled in by September 25, 2015, or they would choose one. I had explained we had coverage and didn't need it.  I was given a phone number that no one ever answered as a solution.

Patty giving Kate moral support at the doctor in AZ

Well the saga continues.  Since we have moved to Arizona, the house in IL has been receiving paperwork for Kate from an insurance company providing coverage for her through the State.  Knowing how the system works, or more appropriately, doesn't work, I just wasn't up for that battle.  I hoped, with no response on our part, I would eventually receive a notice saying something along the lines of "since you are not responding to our correspondence we will assume you no longer require coverage" or something similar to that.

No such luck.  Someone actually came to the house and put paperwork in the door. Which means someone went to the trouble to drive to our house and knock on the door hoping to catch someone at home.  Hard to do since we live 1500 miles away.  And by the way, I had officially notified all the parties involved that we were moving and Kate was no longer a resident of the State of Illinois and was a resident in the State of Arizona - she has a state ID to prove that.

So my daughter Sarah, still at the house in IL, said Mom, maybe you should contact them and get this taken care of.  So I did.  As I work 10 hours days in AZ, I called them from my desk during a break.  I called the phone number listed on the paperwork that states, "call us if you have questions". I called that 800 number and explained the situation.  I explained  it four different times as that is how many times I was transferred.  My break is only 15 minutes, so on the fifth transfer I sat and waited for over 5 minutes for someone to pick up, then I hung up.  That was probably the middle of September.

Today, September 28, I received a call from the insurance company here at my desk.  They wanted to know if all my issues were resolved.  I explained to her, nicely mind you, our issues and she offered to transfer me.  I politely said no and hung up.  I just can't wrap my brain around it.

Sunday, September 18, 2016


This afternoon we were enjoying an afternoon at the pool.  It was like 103 here today, but the water was chilly.  I think because fall is around the corner and the evenings in Arizona are getting down in the lower 70's.  I know my friends in Illinois are boo-hooing me right now.  I was lounging on the float, Patty was trying to get wet- "ew, it is so cold".  Only Art and Kate were brave enough to cannon ball it into the pool.  

So I’m soaking up the rays on my float and I hear splashing.  Art has splashed Kate.  Kate responds with "Hey, don't splash your favorite."  Patty and I of course both voice our shock at not being Art’s favorite.  Kate, always the diplomat quietly says “Oh, okay, I’m your favorite too.”

Yes, you will always be my "favorite Kate".

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

I'm Back!

It has been a very long time since I posted anything on my blog.  My life has been very hectic to say the least-moving across county-in stages-and changing jobs-twice! But this weekend we finally hung a few things on the walls and a feeling of normalcy (whatever that is) is taking over. We are enjoying the sunshine, the lovely scenery and of course, the pool!

When I opened the blog to tell you about a funny Katieism - I see there are several others I have here as drafts. As I read them, the day they discuss floods back to me like yesterday....

I am going to post one that I had here, sitting in the draft mode, and it might explain one of the reasons we left Illinois. I had titled it "I Just Can't Wrap My Brain Around It." Here goes:

The state of Illinois is at the bottom of the barrel when it comes to benefits for disabled adults in the United States. Today I had first hand knowledge on why this is.

Earlier this week I had received a letter from Illinois Healthcare and Family Services stating that I HAD to choose a health care plan for Kate to be enrolled in by September 25, or they would choose one. I was confused because we have third party healthcare for Kate through my employer. I had asked her caseworker previously about this and he indicated I didn't need to be enrolled in the ICP program because she is covered. So when I called them to say, thanks but no thanks, I don't want to choose a healthcare program for her, I was told again, like in the letter, either I choose or they will.

After several emails with several people, it was decided that after the staffing to be held today with these people, we would make a conference call and get it settled. So after this meeting, I made the phone call to the IHFS with her case worker sitting next to me and told them I was Kate's mom and legal guardian - the man on the other end wouldn't talk to me until Kate told him it was okay..... I gave the Kate the phone and she thought it was Dad and was telling him about her day.... so I took the phone back and the "nice man" on the other end still wouldn't talk to me because he couldn't understand Kate. Dah! That is why I am her legal guardian... even when the case worker tried to talk to him - he wouldn't talk to us, said if I was near a computer I could download the authorization form to send in saying I was her legal guardian- blah blah blah - because I have already done that - he just couldn't find it in the system.

So - he says to me - (are your ready for this) he can't help me and suggested that I call the local office at 847.000.0000 - BUT, with no laughter in in voice, so I am only assuming a straight face - he says,"no one ever answers that phone."

Seriously - call a number that no answers so I don't get enrolled in a program I don't want or need.

I'm still shaking my head.