My Christmas Wish…

December 22, 2011

Mike, Veterans Benefits

It’s been a week.  Hopefully the petty annoyances of the week are behind us.   The john had no need of an auger  <ggg> after all.  I’ve not yet gotten a new plunger, but will be right after the holiday.  

Remember that I worked in IT for a  lot of years?  While not a programmer, I know a pretty fair amount of logical information about pc’s and IT apps and programming.  I had good people working for me who made sure I didn’t look like an idiot when I had to argue for something for them with other real IT managers.  You can’t help but actually learn something unless you are, truly, an idiot.  Apparently I did not learn DO NOT CLICK ON THINGS ON THE WEB REGARDLESS OF HOW LEGITIMATE THEY LOOK.  I clicked on a flash update popup while on the web and installed a rootkit trojan.  UGH.  I tried to clean it…and did…but it overwrites system drivers.  My pc no longer had a windshield or lights.  It did not drive well at all.  I put it back where it was.  Finally, I paid McAfee $90 to remove it.  Yes.  $90 on top of my annual subscription fee.  (Merry Christmas to hackers and to hackers good night!) The first McAfee rep removed some of it…not the root.  I kept telling her it was illogical to think it was clean if the stupid mcafee software is telling you it’s not.  She reassured me it was fine.  I decided she must know what she was talking about. (Apparently I didn’t learn yet not to believe everything somebody tells you just because they are supposed to know what they are talking about)  I used the pc 24 more hours.  Noticed it was still telling me that the trojan was detected and cleaned…every 5 seconds.  I called McAfee.  I waited an hour to get access to a rep.  This rep put me on hold  every three minutes to consult her senior technician for about 10 minutes at a clip.  My confidence in her ability to effect a change in my pc waned.  Finally, the web assist session timed out and disconnected on one of these checking with my senior tech sessions.  I called back.  Waited almost an hour again.  Got another gal who I told where to find the bug and who went and found the bug..but had to escalate to a senior technician to remove it.  The appointment for that would be two days away.  Yesterday was the day.  Sudir, the senior tech that called, was marvelous.  I am bug free.   The drivers are OK.  The pc is a pc again.  I am happy.  A lot of housework got done in two days of no surfing. 

To make it an even happier time, Mike is having no side effects so far from discontinuing the two BP/Heart Rate meds.  I have found somebody at the VA to initiate the paperwork for a catastrophic disability eval for Mike and have an appointment for it on Jan 25.  The VA has actually looked at Mike’s compensation claim…though they seem not to have read it…and they have asked for a heap of info they already have.  They have the claim all bolluxed up meanwhile.  Hopefully the VSO is sorting it out with them.  I have another email out to him to find out his level of success in trying to sort it out with them and what his strategy is to get it back on track.  SIGH.  With the wc plunged, my pc plunged, Mike’s affairs sorting themselves out and house cleaned, I reckon all is right with my world and Christmas can arrive. I’ll bake cookies for Orthodox Christmas.  I am not in the baking frame of mind this week.

With our daughter and grandsons off on their own (after 6 years!) Mikey is finally getting to move into the big (used to be master bedroom) upstairs.  It’s painted, it’s clean, new bedroom furniture is installed…he needs only to get a mattress after Christmas and he’s moved in.  He’s also been working on one of the small bedrooms that used to be our other daughter’s.  It had lovely, frilly, Louis Phillipe wallpaper in it.  Pink and baby blue hearts and paisley.  Lovely.  It had seen better days.  And Mikey wants to use it for his “entertainment room” which translates to man cave.  The paper needed to go.  We’ve been having a terrible time getting the wall paper paste off and noticed the dry wall underneath the window was spongey…like from water damage.  I had a dry wall guy out last evening for an estimate.  There’s enough little dry wall work he can do that will keep him busy.  He tells me the water damage is from the condensation/leak when the old central air condensate drip lines were plugged.  UGH.  He tells me to paint the room with oil based Kilz to quell the wallpaper paste.  He’ll skim coat if anything bubbles.  He’ll replace a piece of drywall in my hall ceiling, the damaged piece below the window and remove any mold/replace insulation that might be moldy or wet, put a 3/8 layer up over the existing ceiling because it’s kind of wavy from the nails backing out , repair the dimple from Mike’s head when he fell and spackle anything in the bedroom, hallway and stairwaythat needs it while he’s here.  He figures about $500.  I was prepared for much worse so I am happy about that estimate and told him he can start as soon as he can get me in the book after Jan 1.  Mike is pretty happy somebody else is doing this work besides him…but he hates the idea of actually paying for it to be done.  Oddly, his current state or level of ability to actually perform the work never enters his mind. 

We’ve fallen into some kind of new normal routine.  It’s very quiet in the house without the boys here.  Mike has rediscovered the military channel…his old favorite.  He does not love football anymore unless it is the Eagles and he is watching with his son.   He sits on his chair, I sit on mine…we watch the military channel.  Ad nauseum.  Did you guess that I am not a military history fan?  He recalls some things about history…it used to be a subject he could tell you the most minute details about.  He confuses dates, battles, places, eras now.  But he loves it.  Now the question is…will he begin to remember any of it and retain it.  So far, not really.  Maybe.  I’ll say a qualified maybe.  Too soon to tell.  Words/sentences are still a little difficult.  Except when he wants to insult or confront his son in their manly badgering/bantering way.  The other day he came up with a completely appropriate, grammatically correct, complex if unprintable  sentence in response to his son’s bantering.  And topped it off by telling me he wished he “could have an artistic drink”.  I asked him if he meant alcoholic?  Nope.  A couple of questions later it came out.  An artistic drink is one that consists of something other than water.  Juice.  Iced Tea…or better yet, an Arnie Palmer.  Soda.  Something like this.  Prior to his illness he would drink only water.  Too much sugar in the rest.  It seems he is in some state of young boyhood post brain injury.  And sometimes the grown up peeks out. Like when I told him this week his blood pressure and heart rate better be fine because he scared me enough for one year and he does not have permission to get sick and die any time soon.  He laughed his old laugh and told me in the most disgusted, bemused tone he could must that he wasn’t doing any dying.    So, we prepare for the New Year, filled with hope for health and happiness for Mike, for all of you…and look toward February, looming right around the corner when it will be one year since Mike’s heart attack.  I wonder if I can consider us out of the woods then?  That’s my Christmas and New Year’s wish…what’s yours?   Meanwhile, Merry Christmas to all of you that celebrate…I hope you’ll experience the joy and the peace of the season with loved ones. 


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