Archive for February 2013

Camping is not for me

I have discussed this before in a reply to Tattooed Mummy’s post.

Camping really isn’t for me. When my brother and I were young we used to go camping every year. We spent 3 weeks in a tent. No electricity, no normal bed, no tv. It was fun. I loved it and couldn’t wait to do it again the next year.
So when I moved out of my mom’s house I went camping with my ex. Now our relationship was already falling apart, but this trip might have pushed me over the edge.

The camping space we reserved had been given to somebody else. I wasn’t too happy about it, since it meant setting up my tent in a spot I didn’t really like. By next Wednesday we were fighting a lot. And it started raining. Not very hard, a mild drizzle. It didn’t stop until friday morning. When I woke up I heard some strange noises. Not knowing what it was I turned and hoped I could get a bit more sleep. 30 minutes later I saw the tent floor rise. Within seconds the water came up and the tent started to flood. I tried to wake up ex, but he didn’t want to wake up. So I let him lay in the tent that now had about 4 inches of water in it. I desperately tried to rescue my medication and my clothes, but before I could do anything the water rose further. By the time ex woke up because he was getting wet I was out of the tent and standing in 12 inches of water. Everything I’d packed was wet and the shock gave me an asthma attack. I dragged everything out of the tent onto dry land. Ex stood there doing nothing. I managed to call my dad who had a real shock when he heard what was going on. He immediately stepped in his car and went to pick us up.
After that ex and I broke up.

Then I met Jay. I wanted to forget what happened with ex, so we went camping again. Different tent, different campsite, different part of the country. Everything was going to be awesome!
The first few days were going great. Until a rabbit decided to dig a hole right outside our tent. In the middle of the night I had to go pee. I went out without my glasses, stumbled right into the rabbit hole and managed to seriously bruise my ankle. We stayed at the campsite for a few more days until we realised my ankle wasn’t going to get better and we went home. Jay had to carry everything, as I couldn’t stand on one leg. Luckily Jay’s parents picked us up from the harbour.

photo courtesy of ginz: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ginz/

photo courtesy of ginz: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ginz/

Two years on and we decided to try camping again. Same tent, same campsite, same island. It was the end of June and it was cold. So very cold.
We were trying to cook on a tiny gas burner, but strong winds kept blowing it out. Other camping guests lent us their windscreen (3 metal plates put together with duct tape) and we managed to cook dinner. The next day those guests moved on and we couldn’t even make tea. That night we really thought our tent was going to blow away. It was horrendously windy and cold. But the tent was still standing when the sun came up and the wind had gone down a bit. We had a great day cycling around the island. When we went home we realised we couldn’t cook dinner, so we went for fish and chips. It didn’t taste as good as it did back home, but we ate it anyway. Big mistake!
We ended up having foodpoisoning and had to go home. Again…

So we decided never to go camping again. I really think Murphy’s law is in place for me when it comes to camping.

This post is inspired by today’s Daily Prompt. For more entries, please click here.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Forward

LaminateSkirtingboard

You may find this a strange picture for this weeks’ challenge, but let me explain.

We’ve moved house in October 2011. We had 2 rooms ready. The living room (wallpapered and flooring down) and one of the bedrooms (wallpapered and flooring down). We had bare concrete floors in the kitchen (open plan to the living room) and the hallway. The landing and the other two bedrooms had bare concrete floors and no wallpaper on the walls.

Since then we’ve managed to lay tiles in the kitchen and hallway, wallpapered one other bedroom, laid laminate flooring in that same bedroom, wallpapered the hallway and the landing plus the walls next to the stairs.
Last Wednesday we’ve started attaching the skirtingboards to the walls of the livingroom. I wanted to do this for ages, but since there’s still so much work to do, we hadn’t had time to do this. We haven’t finished yet. There’s one more wall to do, but most of it is (finally) done. And I’m so happy with it. It looks great!

So that’s why this photo say forward to me. Forward, progress, making the home we bought ours. Step by step, little by little.

For any of you wondering, the laminate flooring and skirtingboard is Balterio AUTHENTIC STYLE PLUS Olive 539.

For more entries, please click here.

Thank you Daily Prompt…

Yesterday Daily Prompt asked us to describe our last nightmare. Reading about other people’s nightmares was interesting. And it triggered a nightmare for me. Great…

I was with Jay. We had just bought a house. And we were going to look at it for the last time. We were going to move in just 5 days. When the owner let us in I discovered it was tiny. It had only one window, looking out into the garden from the kitchen area. The kitchen had 4 units. There was just enough space to squeeze yourself in. The kitchen area had a large half wall with jail type bars on top to corner it off from the living room. The livingroom had very old sliding doors into the garden. But they couldn’t open as they were so old. The livingroom was about 2.5 meters by 3 meters. The garden was 4 by 4 meters and very overgrown.
The ceiling was cracked, ceiling tiles were falling down. The walls were covered in a heavy flowered wallpaper. The floor was a very bad colour laminate flooring with whole boards missing.
The whole time I was thinking “I can’t live here. It’s too small, it’s too cluttered, the cats can’t go outside. I don’t want to leave our house!!!” When we walked off Jay asked me if I still wanted the house and I told him no.

I woke up crying, since I really love our house and don’t want to move at all. Especially not to such a tiny house with no garden to speak of and windows only on one side.

In my dreams

When I dream I tend to gather all the things I did that day, put them on one giant heap and make a new story out of it. Generally it doesn’t make sense at all. Jay loves hearing what I dreamed up every morning. He always knows exactly which piece of the dream comes from which piece of my previous day.

Dreams

Generally, when I’m having nightmares it’s either about my past or about things that happened and where I felt I should’ve done something and didn’t or couldn’t do anything.
The last nightmare I remember was about work.

I was at work, alone. All my co-workers called in sick that day. It was 2 weeks before my vacation and I was very tired. My manager told me I had to work 11 day shifts (8 and a half hours) due to all my co-workers being home sick. I told her I couldn’t and that it wasn’t allowed to let people work that amount of hours. She told me it wasn’t her problem and that I had to go and help every client. I told her, again, that I simply couldn’t and that she couldn’t possibly suspect me to work all routes at once. She said she didn’t care and I had to go.

When I woke up I was so so mad at her. It took me a while before I realised it was a nightmare and not all my co-workers had called in sick.
Mind you, this was at a time when a few had called in sick due to the flu going around. Why I was fighting with my manager I don’t know. She’s absolutely lovely and I never fight with her!

For more entries to today’s Daily Prompt, please click here.

Photo courtesy of Nicole Pierce.

6 things you probably didn’t know about me

Many of us think of our lives as boringly normal, while others live the high life. Take a step back, and take a look at your life as an outsider might. Now, tell us at least six unique, exciting, or just plain odd things about yourself. Daily Prompt.

6 Things, that’s easy. Right? As it turns out, not so much. But I think I’ve come up with 6 things you probably didn’t know. Or maybe you did.

  1. I have an eiditic memory. Sounds great, but it’s not. I even remember the bad things that happened. And I can never forgive someone for something they’ve done ages ago.
  2. I do forget things. Like how many cats I kicked out the door. Or what to buy in the supermarket.
  3. I love llamas. Llamas (ans alpacas) are cute. I love seeing them out in a field. Too bad there aren’t many llamas or alpacas around here.
  4. I can walk past you without noticing you are there on the streets. But don’t worry, it’s not because I don’t want to see you. I just don’t notice you. I’ve been known to walk into my own mother without noticing…
  5. I have an irrational fear of dirty plates. I can’t help it. I find dirty plates the most horrendous thing I can think of. The idea that someone just ate off it is making me physically ill.
  6. I have a very twisted sense of humour. It’s a family thing. All my relatives are the same. If you ask me if I can do something for you, my reply probably would be: “I don’t know, can I?” Or “No, no, I can’t.” But I’ll almost always do it!

For more entries, click here.

 

 

A rule to live by

Have you ever had a mentor? What was the greatest lesson you learned from him or her? Daily prompt asks us.

My opinion is that you learn something from everyone you meet. You just need to filter out the most important things. There are two things, rules if you like, I live by.

The first is: Be true to yourself. Because if you aren’t, you are not you anymore. And you are the most important person to you.

The second is: No matter what situation you are in, always think “how would I want to be treated?” If you treat someone with disrespect, would you like it if you were in their shoes? Many times a day I take a little step back and ask myself “What if I was him/her. How would I feel? This, to me, is extremely important in my work. I’m dealing with people who, now, need a lot of help. But they’ve been around for so much longer than I have. And now a 25 (cough cough) year old comes in and tells them what they should do? Don’t think I’d like that very much… So I try to treat them with the respect I would want. I try to see them as the person they once were, not the man who forgets everything or the woman who just pees her pants because she has no bladder control. He had a good running business, she was head nurse. You can’t forget that and just see them like they are now. They once were like I am now.

Horsemeat in our food

Ever since the horse meat scandal broke out I’ve been amazed with the way people react. Instead of being concerned about the mis-labeling of the products they simply seem more upset about eating horse meat.

Let me just tell you that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with eating horsemeat. Horsemeat is a delicacy in many countries. It has been for thousands of years.
In the late Paleolithic (Magdalenian Era), wild horses formed an important source of food. In many parts of Europe, the consumption of horse meat continued throughout the Middle Ages until modern times, despite a Papal ban of horse meat in 732. Horse meat was also eaten as part of Germanic pagan religious ceremonies in northern Europe, particularly ceremonies associated with the worship of Odin.
Domesticated horses and cattle did not exist in the Americas until the Age of Discovery, and the Conquistadors owed much of their success to their war horses. The Europeans’ horses became feral, and were hunted by the indigenous Pehuenche people of what is now Chile and Argentina. At first they hunted horses as they did other game, but later they began to raise them for meat and transport. The meat was, and still is, preserved by being sun-dried in the high Andes into a product known as charqui.

horsemeat
France dates its taste for horse meat to the Revolution. With the fall of the aristocracy, its auxiliaries had to find new means of subsistence. Just as hairdressers and tailors set themselves up to serve commoners, the horses maintained by aristocracy as a sign of prestige ended up alleviating the hunger of lower classes. It was during the Napoleonic campaigns when the surgeon-in-chief of Napoleon’s Grand Army, Baron Dominique-Jean Larrey, advised the starving troops to eat the meat of horses. At the siege of Alexandria, the meat of young Arab horses relieved an epidemic of scurvy. At the battle of Eylau in 1807, Larrey served horse as soup and bœuf à la mode. In Aspern-Essling (1809), cut from the supply lines, the cavalry used the horses’ breastplates as cooking pots and gunpowder as seasoning, and thus founded a tradition.
Horse meat gained widespread acceptance in French cuisine during the later years of the Second French Empire. The high cost of living in Paris prevented many working-class citizens from buying meat such as pork or beef, so in 1866 the French government legalized the eating of horse meat and the first butcher’s shop specializing in horse meat opened in eastern Paris, providing quality meat at lower prices. During the Siege of Paris (1870–1871), horse meat was eaten by anyone who could afford it, partly because of a shortage of fresh meat in the blockaded city, and also because horses were eating grain which was needed by the human populace. Many Parisians gained a taste for horse meat during the siege, and after the war ended, horse meat remained popular. Likewise, in other places and times of siege or starvation, horses are viewed as a food source of last resort.
Despite the general Anglophone taboo, horse and donkey meat was eaten in Britain, especially in Yorkshire, until the 1930s, and in times of post-war food shortage surged in popularity in the United States and was considered for use in hospitals. A 2007 Time magazine article about horse meat brought in from Canada to the United States characterized the meat as sweet, rich, superlean, oddly soft meat, and closer to beef than venison.

You should be more upset by the fact that a few people have been mis-labeling your food than you now are with the fact that you’ve eaten horse meat. You enjoyed it when you didn’t know what it was, right?

Dementia is a bitch

After reading this post by ChickenRuby, I felt I have something to contribute to the discussion.
Not about children with special needs, but about elders who suffer from dementia or Alzheimer’s.

Like ChickenRuby, I’ve been bitten, pinched, hit, spat on, kicked and called names (being called a Nazi really hurt my feelings and made me cry). Most of the times by the person suffering from dementia, sometimes by a family member of the client.

Family members tend to think they know their relative better than we do. But we see their relative every day, for hours. We see that they are getting worse, that they forget more and more. Most clients have a tendency to act better when their relatives are around. But when they leave, the clients gets back to its normal self. The one that (in many cases) can’t perform even simple tasks.

seniorentwitter_en380

For families this is very hard to understand. I once cared for a woman who, physically, was fine. But mentally she knew nothing. Yet she wanted to go out, walk around the village, go to the harbour. Her daughter thought that was fine and was very angry when I told her I couldn’t let her mother go out unless someone was with her.
Mind you, she’d got lost quite a few times before. Luckily, in a small community everyone knew her and brought her back, but the ordeal made her get worse every time.

Or the gentleman who thought he could still drive his car around. One time, when I went home, I got stuck behind him. I was waiting for the traffic light to turn green when he suddenly overtook me (wrong side of the road) and drove through the red light, almost hitting a few cyclists. I got stuck behind him for 10 kilometers. Couldn’t get past him at all. He swerved from one side to the other, breaking randomly and going 50 KM/H instead of 80. It was dangerous.
I talked about this with my manager and coworkers and the advice was given to his children that they’d sell off the car. One agreed, the other one didn’t. So the car stayed. We called it in with the police, they came around and talked to the man, but he flat-out refused to give up his car or his driver’s license. In the end we had to call the police whenever we saw him leave and hope that he wouldn’t cause an accident.

Of course it’s hard acknowledge that your relative can’t do what they used to do. They slowly travel back in time further and further. Until, finally, their body gives up and they die. And that’s hard. But don’t ignore the signs, don’t ignore the people who care for them. They know what they’re talking about, they know your relative better than you do, really.

Dealing with dementia is like dealing with a child with special needs. They don’t see what consequences their behaviour might have. They simply don’t know. They tend to think they can do whatever they always did, but that time has passed.
And that’s hard. On the client and on the family.

Cartoon by TeddyTietz

Price of disposable washcloths

This is an update after my previous post about disposable washcloths.

In that blog post I wrote that I didn’t think the argument of “disposable washcloths are cheaper than normal ones” was valid. After doing some math (and I’m terrible at that) it turns out I was right!

Here are my findings:

1 pack of disposable washcloths cost € 0,69.
1 x 6 KG load of laundry (60C) costs € 0,92.
1 normal washcloth weighs in at 35 grams on avarage.This means there are 171 washcloths in 6 KG of laundry.

If we do a simple sum it comes to this:

  • 1 disposable washcloth costs € 0,14
  • 1 normal washcloth costs € 0,005

If we make it a bit more awesome, it comes to this:

  • 171 normal washcloths in 6 KG of laundry cost € 0,92
  • 171 disposable washcloths (compared to 5 normal) cost € 23,60

That is if we would use 5 normal washcloths for each person every day!
But we never use that many. We use 1 or 2 at most. So let’s do this sum again, only comparing those 5 disposable ones we have to use (or throw away) each day to the 2 we normally use:

  • 171 normal washcloths in 6 KG of laundry cost € 0,92
  • 171 disposable washcloths (comapred to 2 normal) cost € 58,99

So, in conclusion; If we pay less than € 3,99 a KG to the company doing the laundry, normal washcloths are cheaper (171×0,14:6=3,99).

Remember, this is comparing the disposable washcloths against the cost of laundry of normal washcloths. I did not take into account the cost of buying new washcloths. I didn’t think that was neccesary!

I will take this up with my manager as I really think this is not cost-effective at all!

Using disposable washclothes, right or wrong?

Today, at work, we had a presentation about using disposable washcloths. The idea is that, from now on, with every person who’s bedridden or needs to be washed in bed, we will be using these disposable washcloths.
There were a few points that they brought up that (according to them) are really important.

disposable washclothFirstly, these washcloths are a lot cheaper to use than normal washcloths and towels. One pack contains five washcloths and cost € 0,69. A quick search reveals that doing one load of laundry costs around € 0.92. So it appears to be cheaper. But how many washcloths and towels are in one load of laundry? Way more than 5, I can tell you that.

My second point is that they told us it was cleaner. While I can agree to that, the story was not all that it cracked up to be. They told us that we can use one or more packs a day. The clothes we don’t use can be kept up to 24 hours. After that we have to throw them out.
They have to be heated in a microwave. They’ve just told us that there are always germs all over the services we store things on and how it’s bad for older people to come into contact with those germs. So we put the package on a bedside table (germ ridden), open it, use what we need and store the rest in the bathroom. Then, when we need one again, we put the package (now germ ridden too) in the microwave and begin to wash again. After we’re done we put their food in that same microwave! When I pointed that out I got told that this wasn’t a problem as they were their own germs. This does not add up.

Thirdly, they told us it would be a lot quicker. They said we could safe 10 minutes on each client. Well, let me tell you this: I spend 10 minutes washing someone. No more. So, does this mean I can wash them in 0 minutes? It must be.

My fourth point is that they said people like the warmth of the cloth. Well, excuse me, but I never ever wash someone with cold water. I always use warm water and my clients are always happy with the temperature of the cloth! Towels I hang over the radiator to warm them up a bit before using. So again, I’m not convinced!

Fifth, they told us these clothes were tested against allergies. But they did not reveal the outcome of these tests. Now I might be way too suspicious, but I don’t trust any test results of tests carried out by people who had an interest in the product tested.

Fluffy TowelMy idea of these things is that they are just plain horrible to use. They smell terrible, they feel terrible (okay, I only felt them cold, but I did not like touching them). And I fail to see how such a product will help our clients to feel at home. They’ve been using normal clothes and towels all of their lives and now they suddenly need to use disposable ones?

So, do you have any experience with these disposable washcloths? Do you like using them? Either for yourself or for others? Because I do not look forward to using them.

I’d rather use a nice fluffy washcloth and towel over the disposable ones.