Thursday, May 21, 2015

Mom's Adventures in Rehab Part II

                                                                     
(becuo.com)
 
Some people choose a nursing home facility based on the quality of care, while my mom's choice was based on the quality of snacks. This was my mom's third stint in rehab after her five day hospital stay. Her last visit was about two years ago, so we knew the schedule by heart. The old fashioned ice-cream parlor was open every day until 4:00, and on Friday afternoons they served pizza, and had live music. All of the activities took place in their Main Street area which was located next to the beauty shop.

Last Friday, I stopped off at my mom's room to drop off  her laundry before I met her at the beauty parlor. I noticed her roommate was just sitting there looking at the wall, so I asked if she'd like to go listen to the music downstairs. She was eager to leave, but was worried that her husband wouldn't be able to find her. I wheeled her over to the front desk and left word where we were going. Then I checked with her nurse to see if she had any dietary restrictions. After we got the okay, we ran into my mom's dear friends. I invited them to join us on the elevator, so they could surprise my mom. I felt like Dorothy leading her friends down the yellow brick road.

As I escorted the couple inside the beauty shop, I set my mom's roommate near a table, so she could listen to the music. Then I told her I'd be back in a minute to get her something to eat. She decided to also have her hair done in the beauty shop, so I brought her inside with us. She politely offered to wait until the beautician was available.

Though they had shared a room for three weeks, this was the longest conversation her roommate, and I ever had. It may have been the very first time she and my mom had actually spoken to each other. Their room was separated by a tall cabinet and curtain. Since they were both in wheelchairs, their paths only crossed on the way to the bathroom, or coming or going from the room. My mom was in charge of the windows and the air conditioning, while her roommate was in charge of blasting her TV loud enough, so my mom never had to turn on the volume on her set.

As my mom was busy socializing with our close family friends in the beauty shop, my first job was to keep the snacks coming. I brought in slices of pizza and a root beer float for the happy couple to share. My second job was to translate over the noise from the blow dryer, and background music. Meanwhile, her roommate was pleasantly perched on the opposite end of the room.

Suddenly, the mood changed as the hairdresser started whispering to the manicurist. When I asked what was wrong, she pointed to the oxygen tank on the back of the roommate's wheelchair. I didn't think it was a problem, because it wasn't in use. Then both the beautician and the manicurist explained how oxygen tanks and blow dryers do not mix.

After I apologized and offered to remove her from the beauty shop, she asked if my mom would mind taking a break, so she could quickly comb her roommate's hair before we all blew up. I distracted my mom with another slice of pizza, while she worked her magic, and then I whisked her roommate back up to the room. All the while, she couldn't stop thanking me for transporting her to and from the beauty shop. She kindly added, "Your mom is adorable, and she's way too young to have you for a daughter."

Fortunately, everyone made it out of the beauty shop alive. Then I noticed my mom's bangs were in her eyes, and asked why she didn't have the hairdresser trim them. She replied, "Do you think I could trust her to cut one hair on my head?"

My mom asked me to bring her a pair of scissors, but I thought it would be better if she waited a week to go to her favorite beautician close to home. A few days later, I noticed there was something different about my mom. Then it hit me. When I brought her caregiver for a visit, she must have slipped her some contraband scissors, so she could trim her own bangs. I told Mom she would be an ideal prison inmate, and without missing a beat she quipped, "Well, I do look good in orange."

67 comments:

  1. Hi Julie - I don't know how you do it ... bangs in front of eyes ... blowing up the whole rehab centre ... is there time to laugh in between??!! Now you've got me thinking about pizza ... I don't usually like it - but for some reason I've been wanting to have some, so this adds to those pangs of desire ... I could add something about 'pecker' in here .. but had better keep quiet!! 'Good in orange' .. your mother is certainly the wit and still has that brain well in tact, well groomed, and well prepared ...

    Cheers and I hope all keeps improving .. Hilary

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  2. Yikes. Who knew that about oxygen tanks? Your mother sounds like such a fun character.

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  3. As more than half of people in nursing homes are on oxygen, those beauticians should get extra hazard pay.

    I hope your mom is improving physically but we can see that her attitude needs no therapy. She is also so fortunate that she raised a kind daughter like you.

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  4. Hi, dear Julie! Cute story! It was nice to learn a little about your mother and to find out that she has maintained a sense of humor. A sense of humor keeps us all young. That was a close call with the oxygen tank! I'm glad you got a chance to talk to your mother's roommate. Everybody has life stories that they are eager to share and elderly folks are grateful when someone lends an ear. Bless you for spending time with her as well as with your mother.

    I wanted you to know that I discovered your comment on my Mother's Day post, Julie. Thank you very much for that extra measure of kindness. Enjoy your Thursday, dear friend!

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  5. Very well told. Excellent writing chops, you've got there. From the start, all the way to ending on a funny.

    Good stuff.

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  6. Amusing story, nice of you to help your mom's room mate. However, I didn't like the sound of the place very much. Glad your mom has retained her sense of humour.

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  7. Sounds like a very nice nursing home with all the fun stuff going on, music, pizza etc. With the large number of people on oxygen in a nursing home it seems silly they haven't a system in place whereby, someone who doesn't need oxygen on going has a portable unit holding area a safe distance away should the need arise. Think I'd speak to the head of nursing or the director of the home about it. Spent a couple of years back and forth with my Dad when his older sister was in an assisted living/nursing home situation. We could never get her to take advantage of any of the nice things they offered. Just getting her bathed was a real chore, because the first time they put her in a shower, she told us they were trying to kill her. She wasn't very easy to work with and thereafter special times and people were involved to get her in and out of a tub normally used for physical therapy.

    Sandy at Bridge and Beyond

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  8. How interesting. I was on oxygen for 6 years, 24/7, and never an issue with a hair dryer. Of course she could opt for a short cut that wouldn't require drying time. Use dry shampoo between beautician visits.

    Looking good in orange, huh? Ha ha ha!

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  9. sounds like you are a hit at the nursing home - wheeling folks about, shuttling snacks, and keeping folks from blowing up - good job. As for your mother's contraband - too funny. Orange can be a tough color to pull off. Glad you can write this with humor and love. Continued good luck and healing for your mother.

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  10. Ice cream and music? Sounds like a swanky place. I wouldn't look good in orange though.
    That was really nice of you to take her roommate downstairs.

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  11. Books could be written of the adventures of the dear elderly in homes. My brother-in-law's father imported cases of electrical tape, speaker wires and other contraband. When he needed a knife to cut it all, his acquisition technique turned dicey. I wish I could remember the rest. It involved knives and being moved to a single room because he lit into his room mate for ratting him out.

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  12. Hilary - "Your mother is certainly the wit and still has that brain well in tact, well groomed, and well prepared ." My mom will love hearing this, Hilary! Enjoy your pizza, though you really need to come to Chicago sometime for the absolute best deep dish! Thank you, Hilary!

    Liza - My mom is a lot of fun...most of the time! Thanks Liza!

    Arleen - "Hazard pay" is a great idea! Even without the fear of blowing up, my mom made the nursing home beautician's job the most stressful of all! Sadly, there hasn't been much improvement, but she'll be happier when she goes home tomorrow. Thanks Arleen!

    Shady - I agree that "elderly folks are grateful when someone lends an ear." It really bothers me when so many are left unattended. Thanks Shady!

    Ivy - Though my mom has not enjoyed her stay, she's still managed to come up with some great lines. My brother's also been texting me a few good ones that she's come up with while he's there. Thanks so much, Ivy!

    Jo - My mom felt more neglected, and the nursing staff constantly brought her pills at the wrong time. I feel horrible for patients who can't speak up for themselves in these situations. Thanks Jo!

    Debra - She is a "real pistol!" Thanks Debra!

    Julie

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    Replies
    1. It's gotta be rough on her for sure. But you do a great job telling a story. Seriously, you do.

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    2. Ivy - I don't know how I missed this before. I really appreciate your kind words! Thanks Ivy!

      Julie

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  13. Replies
    1. Shelly - You are absolutely right! Thanks Shelly!

      Julie

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  14. Sandy - They should have a better system set in place with the portable oxygen tanks. Sorry you went through such an ordeal with your aunt, My mom also doesn't like when anyone tries to help her take a bath, but when it gets to the point where they need extra assistance, it's even more difficult when they fight it. Thanks Sandy!

    Dixie - I'm sorry you were on oxygen for six years, and hope that you're in good health. All it takes is one incident for all of the nursing homes to be on alert, so it probably was the result of a freak accident somewhere. My mom's roommate left a few days ago, and I'll probably never see her again. Fortunately, my mom hasn't had to go on oxygen. Yes, as a redhead, my mom does pull off orange very well! Thanks Dixie!

    Joanne - Thanks for trying to make me feel better, as I willingly wheeled a dangerous vehicle into a potential death chamber! I'm always glad to take on another glamorous unpaid job. I wish I knew how to add this to my resume. Thanks again, Joanne!

    Alex - It looks lovely, and has some nice perks. Sadly, they were low on staff, and often made my mom wait close to an hour when she needed assistance. Little did I know the trouble I'd cause by bringing her roommate downstairs! Thanks Alex!

    Joanne - This is why I thought my mom would be an ideal candidate for prison. Between the nursing home, assisted living, and the hospital, they become adept at institutional living. Your brother-in-law's father sounds like he was a real master at working the system. He found a great way to get a private room, which normally costs a fortune. Sounds like he had lots of great stories! Thanks Joanne!

    Julie

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  15. I've told you this before, but I'll say it again: your mother is lucky to have you. Then again, you're just as fortunate to have her, too. May you continue to enjoy and annoy each other for many more years to come.

    Loved this post, as always. You do have a way with words, lady.

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  16. That's cute. All she needs is a tattoo on her face.
    Sounds like a nice facility. Your mom and her roommate are charmers, as is your mom's daughter. =)

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  17. Look good in orange! That's great. It sounds so nice there. The nursing home where I worked was not very nice, but many of our patients were there because no one else would take them.

    Love,
    Janie

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  18. This reminds me of where my mom is now residing. My mom and her then roommate had the battle of the TV stars. It drove the PSW's nuts! I could hear the TV's half way down the hall. They never talked to each other and my mom couldn't care less. Thankfully the home is really great and there is no major waiting and it is so very clean. Now my mom has another roommate since the workers had to split my mom and the other lady up de to the TV's

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  19. GEM JULIE ~
    This was funny all the way through and I literally laughed-out-loud several times.

    You are one heckuva great person, Julie! And I sure hope your Mom is improving. I figured that once her 3 problems (which you had predicted before the doctors even found them) were diagnosed, yer Ma would be quickly on the mend. Yes? No? So-So?

    >>... She kindly added, "Your mom is adorable, and she's way too young to have you for a daughter."

    Wow! That must have made you feel fabulous, eh? Ha!-Ha!

    About a week ago, a 54-year-old woman who lives in this same complex I do guessed my age as "38". I'm 55. The rest of the day I was pretty much floating on a cloud, thinking how good I look for my age.

    The next day, I discovered that the woman who guessed my age as "38" is probably (literally) crazy. Dang! Shouldn't there be an elevator car in this elevator shaft?

    I gotta tell ya though, your Mom's place sounds wonderful (pizza, ice cream, live music). I wish I had moved in THERE instead of to HERE.

    ~ D-FensDogG
    'Loyal American Underground'

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  20. Susan - Ha-ha! I also hope we'll "continue to enjoy and annoy each other for many more years to come!" And you said that I had a way with words?! Thank YOU funny lady!

    Robyn - Oh yeah, my mom would be thrilled to have a tattoo right smack in the middle of her face, though she may reconsider if it gave her a leg up with the prison stylist! Thanks Robyn!

    Janie - Working at a nursing home is one of the most difficult jobs there is, and I'm sure you were patient, understanding and helpful, Janie. I wish the nursing staff, and physical therapists had been more conscientious. Fortunately, the social worker was quick on arranging the proper equipment to set her up at home. It's very sad when people have no where else to go. Thanks Janie!

    Birgit - Sorry your mom and her roommate had to battle over their TV's! I hope she's happy with her new roommate. Thank goodness your mom's receiving good care in a nice environment which gives you one less thing to worry about. Thanks Birgit!

    Stephen - I can't believe you have such a great memory! Glad you picked up on my back-handed compliment! She tried to cover up afterward, but the deed was done. I don't think you're giving yourself enough credit, Stephen. Even crazy people can have some hidden talents. Maybe she used to work as a carnie guessing people's ages, and you were the first person that she ever got wrong. Why don't you post a recent photo, and let us be the judge?

    At the beginning of the story, I mentioned how the nursing home had great snacks, because I wanted to start off on a positive note. Her care on the other hand, was sorely lacking. After being there almost a month, they rarely remembered when to give my mom her medications, and we constantly had to remind them. There were many other instances as well, so it's a great place if you're perfectly healthy, and just want to hang out eating pizza and ice-cream. Fortunately, my mom is heading home tomorrow. Thanks Stephen!

    Julie

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    Replies
    1. When some of our patients who had never had visitors died, I learned from their obituaries that they had families--families who couldn't be bothered to stop by the nursing home occasionally. We became their families.

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    2. Janie - I don't understand how people could ever abandon their families. They were very lucky to have you looking out for them, Janie.

      Julie

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    3. JANIE ~
      Wait! I remember you now (I think). Awhile ago - like a year ago or so - did you post a blog bit about working at a nursing home, and I was impressed and left a comment on it?

      I think it may have been a Christmastime story. Was that you?

      ~ D-FensDogG

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  21. I never knew that scissors were contraband in a retirement home. Are they worried about fuelling gang warfare? I like the oxygen tank on the wheelchair - has your mom asked her room mate for a sniff? I couldn't see an oxygen tank without wanting to inhale.

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  22. "Your mom is adorable, and she's way too young to have you for a daughter." Well, Orange is the New Black :)

    Great piece, Julie!

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  23. Gorilla - Not only were they concerned about "fueling gang war," but they also feared my mom would seriously injure herself, because she's been on blood thinner for her clots. This was one instance where I agreed with them.

    Carol - Ha-ha! Good one, Carol! I'm telling you my mom could be on that show! Thanks Carol!

    Julie

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  24. Quality of snacks? Sounds legit to me.
    Me? I hope to find a nursing home which serves fish sticks and lime jello on Fridays.
    Mmmmmmm.........jello.

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  25. Julie, sounds like you had your hands full! I love your mom's sense of humor and yours. Bless you for being such a kind, patient, and caring person.

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  26. Al - What a winning combination! The good news is, as long as you're breathing you'll be in high demand at any nursing home, or assisted living place. Yep, any man over 80 is worth fighting for in their eyes. Once they find out you're an accomplished author, you'll be an even bigger rock star, Al!

    Daisy - Thank you Daisy, but I wish I had more patience. I do try to be "kind and caring" though, but some days are better than others! This means a lot coming from such a wonderful person, Daisy!

    Julie

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    Replies
    1. I hope to rock the "Wilfred Brimley Suspenders-With-Belt" look.
      It's a dream I have.

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    2. Al - Though it might be darn near impossible, with practice you could pull it off. You might want to avoid baked beans when you're out in public to be on the safe side. Oh, and you'd better start working on that mustache soon!

      Julie

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  27. G.J. ~

    >>... I can't believe you have such a great memory!

    Yeah, now if I could just remember where I left my beer before it gets warm...

    >>... Maybe she used to work as a carnie guessing people's ages, and you were the first person that she ever got wrong.

    Ha!-Ha! Yeah... and then again... maybe she was the 500-pound "bearded lady".

    >>... Why don't you post a recent photo, and let us be the judge?

    ;-) Even if I had one, I wouldn't post it.

    >>... After being there almost a month, they rarely remembered when to give my mom her medications, and we constantly had to remind them.

    Wow! Unbelievable! Just curious: What state was that?

    >>... Fortunately, my mom is heading home tomorrow.

    ALRIGHT! She'll probably improve much faster in a place she'd rather be, anyhow. Good news, Julie!

    ~ D-FensDogG

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  28. LOL - when there's a will, there's a way. Good on your mom for getting the scissors. I am still amazed that the rehab has all those snacks available all day, and has a beauty shop.

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  29. Stephen - You probably left your beer in the shower with Bryan and Brandon! What could you possibly have against a 500 lb bearded lady? This facility is in IL. I'm kinda disappointed about the photo, but I can't blame you, as I've been trying to update mine for the last few years. Thanks Stephen!

    Rhonda - Great minds think alike! I was just admiring the wild mushrooms on your blog! As far as I know, most nursing homes have onsite beauty shops, as it's difficult for many patients to go elsewhere. Fortunately, my mom didn't get hurt with the scissors. She's such a rebel! Thanks Rhonda!

    Julie

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    1. >>... You probably left your beer in the shower with Bryan and Brandon!

      What in the world are you tal--- ...Oh, wait! You're RIGHT!

      Thanks for the response, G.J. I would have guessed AirheadZona., but IL. doesn't really surprise me either.

      I think the most recent photo I have of me is about 6 years old. I posted it on one of my defunct blogs. I could find it, but 6 years ain't exactly "current" is it?

      For a guy who once wanted to have a long career in front of the cameras, I now avoid them like I avoid coffee in my Irish Coffees. :-)

      ~ D-FensDogG

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  30. I don't know how I missed the first post, but I just commented over there.

    Like StMc, I was laughing all through this one. You really have a wonderful way of telling a story. I think you could write an entire book with Mom Snippets. It would be a hit, I'm tellin' ya!

    That last line killed it. Just killed it. Your mom is quite the character. I wish I could think that quickly!

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  31. Stephen - Is that the same cute photo where you're strumming your Monkees guitar? Glad you've been cutting down on caffeine!

    Robin - Oh Robin, if only you were my agent! Since Betty White's show has been canceled, I would love to write these "snippets" for her next TV vehicle. Though if someone offered me a book deal, I'd also be thrilled. Of course, my mom will probably be discovered and forget all about me. That's show biz. Thanks for believing in me, Robin! I also appreciate your kind words from Part I.

    Julie

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  32. My character on the blog looks good in orange. Me, not so much... Your mom is so fantastic, and I love that she still has her humor about her. And you're such an awesome person for helping out her roommate.

    The last time I went to a nursing home and helped someone out, the other old people started asking me for things because they thought I worked there. I had to flag someone down because they then thought I was being rude for not helping them, but I'm not exactly trained at administering medicine and bringing food.

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  33. Making my way around on the A to Z Road trip! Stopping by to say hello and I hope to see you again next year, if not sooner!

    Mary
    www.JingleJangleJungle.net

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  34. Wow! That sounds like such a cool place for your mom to stay! Not at all what I would have pictured rehabilitation to be like.

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  35. B & B - I'm sure all of the residents in the nursing home loved you! It sounds like you were a bigger help than most of the staff. My mom would definitely get a kick out of sparring with you guys! Thanks Bryan and Brandon!

    Mary - It's nice to see you again! I'll head over to your place soon!

    Caryn - It did have some nice perks, but the staff could have been more helpful.

    Julie

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  36. This sounds like a fantastic place for your mom and anyone else to stay! Thank you so much for sharing this. :)

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  37. Your mom is really fortunate to have you to look after her.

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  38. Linda - It is a great place for self sufficient seniors who enjoy snacking.

    Yvonne - We're both very lucky. Thank you so much, Yvonne!

    Julie

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  39. LOL as always your Mom is the absolute best. So funny. I also had to laugh imagining you trying to keep up with all the snacks while also translating. :D

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  40. Hey Julie,

    Brilliant! Have you ever thought of having a sitcom with your mother? I'm sure the TV networks would be eager to do the show, Heck, you might even get a couple of lines per episode :)

    Nice one, you and your beloved mother.

    Gary :)

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  41. Julie - Yes, it's all about the snacks! They proved to be a great diversion while our lives were hanging on by a thread! Thanks Julie!

    Gary - It's a lovely thought, but I'd probably only be hired as her personal assistant! I would love to write a sitcom for my mom. Do you think Penny's agent could give me a call?! Thanks Gary!

    Julie

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    1. Penny's "pawblicity" agent shall be contacting you shorty. It will involve you supplying the finest in doggy treats :)

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  42. To be fair, 99% of my decisions are based on the quality of snack involved so me and your mum are very similar like that! x

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    1. Scarlett - I'm glad you also know what's important in life! It's nice to see someone who has her priorities in order. Ha-ha! Welcome to the club! Thank you, Scarlett!

      Julie

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  43. Replies
    1. Sandy - Hope you're having a great weekend too! Thanks Sandy!

      Julie

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  44. Great stuff, Julie. It was really nice of you to take her roommate down too.

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    1. Ava - It was on my way, and I thought she might enjoy the change of scenery. I never dreamed it would stir up so much trouble! Thanks Ava!

      Julie

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  45. LOL. What a fun story! Really worth sharing again and again.

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  46. That's nice the rehab has all that. Your mom sounds awesome.

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  47. Lux - Thank you so much, Lux!

    Cindy - I agree that Mom is "awesome!" Thanks Cindy!

    Julie

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  48. Haha, sounds like fun. And snacks are always important

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    Replies
    1. Sarah - You're probably better at having healthier snacks than we are. Thanks Sarah!

      Julie

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