Yes, we're back!
Granted, we're not quite back to full force yet, but we will be...as long as our luck holds out this year, that is!<crossing fingers, knocking on wood, spinning around three times and spitting>
From April 2006 until December, it was literally one thing after another. And there were several times when Greg and I were just trying to get through day-to-day without really thinking about life much. And possibly even battling a little depression as issues just kept piling up over and over. Seemed like we couldn't get a break for our family. A real emotional rollercoaster. 2006 was not fun at all.
And just as the end of the year was nearing and we started looking forward to the new year with hopes of better times...the stuff really hit the fan. I went up to talk to mom one day and she was talking like a Martian! Nothing was making sense to her and I couldn't understand anything she was saying. She was experiencing a stroke, which was causing brain damage in the area of her brain that controls communication.
Now I know that Alzheimer's is a devastating disease and don't mean to take anything away from those who have to endure the long goodbye. But I'll tell you, it's quite shocking to talk to a person one minute and they're just fine. Then go to talk to them an hour later and realize that, mentally, they're gone!
Just to give you an idea of what went on this summer, here's a little monthly diary from this end...
April - Easter brunch, my brother tells us his doctors told him "make sure your affairs are in order." He has been battling a blood disease for a couple years and he's not winning. He's only 57.
May - Stressed out from the news about my brother, mom suffers heart pains. Off to the hospital for a battery of tests. We also learn that my brother is in intensive care...but he does make it out of the hospital a few weeks later.
I catch the flu and am miserable for a week and have to converse with mom via email (in the same house) so I don't get her sick.
June - Mom's hiatal hernia acts up and she can't eat. Back to the hospital for surgery to dilate her esophagus so she can get food to pass into her stomach. But surgery has to be postponed while she stops taking strong blood thinners for her heart. She survives on a liquid diet for a week until surgery can be performed. (Note! If you suffer from acid reflux...DO get it fixed or you may end up like mom some day...her esophagus is mangled from years of reflux!)
July - My brother-in-law informs us that his prostate cancer has moved
to his colon and bones. He's also now suffering from Parkinson's.
Aug - Greg quits his job after 8 yrs for a new offer, which turns out to
not be what they said it would be...he's miserable. He accepts an interview offer from Microsoft and gets to a third round of interviews. Then his boss at the original job he quit contacts him and begs him to return. He
agrees and cancels the interview with MS...but rehiring confusion causes delays and more stress. It finally gets sorted out
and he's back running the geek department. Whew!
Things are looking up...and then Greg is driving to work one morning and a deer runs in front of him, which cracks up his new Mustang. Greg doesn't care about the car...because he's too broken up about killing the deer. Oh...and why a deer is running around the streets of Chicago...we'll never know!
I've been busy with family issues, so our pool turns into a green pit from lack of attention. We have to spend four days dealing with emptying, cleaning, and refilling it, as well as getting a new pump. We finally get it right again so mom can use it for warming therapy on her old bones.
Sept - My brother informs us that he now also has kidney cancer AND diabetes! The blood disease is taking its toll on his organs.
With all the serious health issues going on, a couple of my nephews from California come to town to visit the family. The family gathers at my niece's horse farm. The boys are having fun riding the horses (for the first time ever) and we're all having a good time. My nephews are a great source of comic relief...especially when one, who is a big shot executive, but who is always up for a joke, takes this great shot to show his colleagues how well his vacation is going!
But the fun didn't last long...mom gets bumped by one of my niece's dogs and falls! Arrgghh! She lands on her knees...knees she had replaced 15 yrs ago, which she's not supposed to be on! Back to the hospital! Tests show she doesn't have blood clots nor broken bones, but her one leg quickly becomes a huge bruise...from thigh to toe it is various shades of yellow, red, black, and blue. Yuck! She's laid up, wearing special circulation stockings for three weeks...as I check on her every couple hours to make sure she doesn't need anything and isn't walking around.
My daughter learns that her beloved
dog (Jack) has stomach cancer. She's devastated. Mom and I are also quite saddened as Jack was my first grandpuppy and mom enjoyed often doggy sitting for old Jack, who she loved because she said he was the only one around the house slower than she was. Stacy has to put him down. Tears all around!
Oct - My daughter's wisdom teeth make their appearance and give her
grief...she's off to the dentist for oral surgery.
I get a kidney
infection and am a wreck for over a week.
Nov - Mom suffers a stroke! Brain damage from the stroke causes aphasia (the inability to understand/use language...as if you're suddenly dropped into a foreign land where you don't speak the language and no one speaks yours). She can't even
recognize some of her children and grand/great grand kids. I spend 14
hrs a day with her in the hospital for over a week, hoping she "comes back." We finally get her home.
Two days later mom has a heart attack and I'm calling 911 to rush her to the hospital. Again I'm staying with her most all day since she can't communicate with the doctors/nurses due to the aphasia. I have to translate. Turns out mom needs surgery to insert a pacemaker! Surgery at 86 is not fun and she ends up in intensive care for a few days. But she survives and makes it home about a week later. Visiting nurses come to show me how to give her daily injections! YUCK!
Dec - One of my dogs gets sick and I nervously watch her to make sure she's okay...she is.
breaks down with both the loss of power steering and a cracked differential. Greg (former auto mechanic) spends the next two weekends in the garage fixing both problems in the freezing cold.
Holidays? What's that? It's been such a rough year, particularly lately, that none of us have the time nor desire to drag out and display even one piece of tinsel!
New Year's Eve - Feeling quite superstitious, we all, including mom, stay up to midnight to see in the new year...and carry out all the voodoo traditions we can think of<grin> to drive away the evil spirits that have been plaguing our family...with hopes of a much better 2007.
And <knock, knock, knock>, so far, things are looking up a bit. My brother sounded like he was on death's door when we spoke to him on his birthday just before Christmas. But now he's enduring the chemo better and has learned that the tumor in his last kidney is getting smaller. Mom is looking perky and got a big thumbs up from her heart doctor. Except for the continued bits of confusion, she seems almost better than before. And Stacy got a call that an older Eskie, just like Jack, was in need of a good home. She ran and got the dog and is thrilled to have a near Jack clone in her home.
Optimism was on the rise, so it was time to get back to work and try to put my own routine in order.
This month's cover says THANK YOU! That goes out to you all. To those of you who sent the many good luck and get well emails and cards to my family. To those of you who kept the faith that we hadn't bailed on you as a member. To those of you who sent all those don't worry, take care of your family emails. I do appreciate your patience and considerations for us, but know that getting back into the groove is exactly what I personally need to do...to try to get back to a normal life. The term normal has never sounded so inviting! I also want to give a heart-felt thanks to my writers who do such a great job helping me get valuable content into TechTrax for you.
And I also want to not only thank but also welcome new author Shawn K. Hall. Shawn was instrumental in helping me learn ASP web programming that has allowed me to add automation to the MouseTrax and TechTrax web sites. He's also been a great help to users in many of my free support groups (see http://www.mousetrax.com/resources.html for more info on those groups). Welcome and thanks, Shawn!
Now for a little TechTrax administration. During the year some of you emailed me concerned because your credit cards expired causing you to receive an email from PayPal saying your membership was cancelled, but you didn't want to lose your membership status. Not to worry. As renewals come up, if you still have your membership listed in your PayPal account, it will automatically be renewed for you. If you don't renew on your renewal date, you will receive an email from me the following week. It will remind you that your membership is up for renewal and will provide you with a different, individual payment link where you can make your payment...for the rate you acquired when you signed up. You will have one month to make that renewal, either by online payment or by sending a check, as will be detailed in the email. If you don't renew within that time, you will revert back to a free subscription. If you wish to become a member again after that point, your rate will become the current rate.
As for the missing training issues from this summer, they will be posted. In case you missed it, the new May issue was recently posted on the member's site. I'm working to double up issues to catch up on the missing training as soon as possible.
If you wish to cancel your membership, you need to do that through your PayPal account. But do know that your TechTrax membership status will ride out until the end of your renewal date. If you should prefer not to receive any further mailings from us during that time, you should go to the Manage Your TechTrax Profile page here: http://www.mousetrax.com/techtrax_manage_profile.asp
There you can access your profile and click the Delete Profile button to remove your name from our database. But as always, if you need any help along the way, just email me. You can do that either directly at email@example.com or by using the Feedback link along the top menu, and I'll be happy to help you sort out any issues.
And finally, I want to remind you that Office 2007 and Vista (the new version of Windows) will be available soon. Tons of writers have put out books on these subjects. Over the summer, I was the Technical Editor for Wiley Publishing's Word 2007 Bible (written by our own Herb Tyson) and the Office 2007 Bible. So, of course, I highly recommend these books. And some of our other authors have now become famous book authors, as well. Linda Johnson put out a book on Excel and Sue Jenkins put out a book on Dreamweaver. Be sure to check out my Books page where you can find more details and directly link to Amazon to purchase these terrific books. And yes, you'll find lots of training on these new software offerings right here in TechTrax...as well as tutorials on previous versions of Office, Windows and other technologies!
Again...thanks for your support! And I wish you all the very best of everything in 2007!