Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Walmart Heart Event

A few pictures from Doug's Walmart Heart event today! Thanks to the efforts of Sam Cornwell, who was in high school when I was, his wonderful team of Walmart Heart drivers, and the manager and staff at the Ithaca Walmart, Doug (and the rest of us!) had a very special day. Doug was made an honorary Walmart driver, complete with his own uniform shirt with his name on the front and a name badge attached! He received a bunch of goodies, including a Walmart Driver coffee cup, from which he will be drinking his morning coffee for probably the rest of his life, and a die cast Walmart Heart truck similar to the one he is posing next to with his new buddies in the picture above. I had to make room on the Jeff Gordon shelf for Doug's new truck! When I first explained to Doug that they would be doing this for him, I don't think he really got it. Hey, I didn't really get it until today, and I sniffled through a good deal of the event! I have been talking with him about it more the past few days, and I heard him in the hall this morning talking to the dogs, "Hey gogs, I know you're gonna miss me today, but I won't be gone long, and it's a good day! I might be on the news!!" I never mentioned the news, but Doug thinks if it's a big event, like his special 40th and 50th birthday parties, that it will be on the news!! So that was my first eye leakage of the day. After Doug received his honorary driver shirt and his goodies, they had another surprise for us. Seems Sam left this part out of the explanation when he called me to arrange for the event. They asked for me, as Doug's caregiver, to come up. The drivers had had a fundraising barbeque, and presented me with a check!! When we were discussing the event, and all that would go on, Sam said they would have some gifts for Doug. I told him Doug really didn't need anything, and so please use any money for gifts to make a donation toward an organization that could use it. For his 50th birthday, we asked for donations to Doug's former school, and Doug was able to present a check to them of about $600! They created a special activities fund, and used the money for extra activities for their current students. I hope their fund is still active, as Doug has another check to present! His school and his teachers had such an impact on him, and he has such great memories of the years he spent there, that it is the perfect place for him to make a contribution. Hopefully we can figure out a way to donate some to the organization where he currently attends some recreational events as well.

After all the presenting, they had a special heart shaped cake to share, and Doug got a ride around the parking lot in one of the big rigs they brought in for the event. Doug's sister Valerie has been feeling better, and was able to come from Hospicare for the event. My mom, his other sister that lives locally, also went along on another ride around the parking lot with Doug. A fabulous, fun day for Doug and for us! He has had so much loss these past few years, and we have some tough days ahead, but today was SO WONDERFUL! I cannot say enough about the dedication of the Walmart drivers, who started this program, and make all the arrangements for the event. One driver there today was even there on his day off!!

I hope these pictures give you even a small glimpse of what the Walmart Heart event was like for us! I have tried to include a small snippet of video of Sam introducing Doug--we'll see if it works!

Friday, October 1, 2010


One of the pieces of Doug's routine we have continued since he came to live with me is cutting out "coopongs." The Saturday paper had coupon sections in it, and Doug always cut the coupons out and took them up to Catherine. She and her husband run an organic dairy on the former family farm, and she always graciously received the sacred envelope of "coopongs" that Doug brought to her. (Thanks, Catherine!!) When Doug moved in with me, we needed to get the daily paper for the weather reports (also near and dear to Doug's heart!), so now I had "coopongs" in the Saturday paper, AND in the Sunday paper, which my dad delivers to our house and leaves on the front porch. While I do use coupons, I don't need ALL of them from two papers, so we had to revise the "coopong" procedure. Now I go through the "coopongs" and highlight around the ones we would use and would like him to cut out. That becomes one of the jobs Doug does while I am at school during the week--cutting out the "coopongs" that we will use when we go to the store. Things have been a little hectic here, and I was way behind in my highlighting job. Doug was ok with that the first week, a little less ok the second week, and getting downright crabby about the growing "coopong" pile by the third week. So I finally sat down on Sunday to go through three weekends of "coopongs" and start highlighting. Apparently Doug did not feel I could be trusted to follow through on this task unsupervised, because he joined me at the dining room table. Honestly, I wish I could have videoed the commentary that followed! As my pile of discards of "coopongs" we won't use began to grow, Doug started to go through them. Now, you know that one of his very favorite things is food, of all kinds!, and so now I was party to a running enthusiastic narration of all the types of food in the discard pile. "Oh, dis looks good!" "I love this stuff!" "Fruit is good for you!" "Dis cereal too sweet. I cane eat dat stuff!" "Hey, I like dis!" "How about some day we try dis?" etc., etc., etc. We now have a list of things he would like to try someday, and fortunately, he has already forgotten most of them. We still need to make hot dogs with cheese and bacon wrapped in "dem good lil biscuits" (I think this sounds like a coronary waiting to happen, but as a treat some night, I'll pull it off for him!) because Valerie, his sister, "made them in Florida one time." (Which she does not remember, but Doug sure does!) We finally got our folder of "coopongs" waiting to be cut out and the leftovers in the recycling. I thought. When I came home from work that night, nice and neatly cut out and laying on the counter waiting for me was a recipe!! One of these nights it looks like we will be having Onion Chicken, which is chicken breaded in those french fried onion rings. Doug absolutely loves onions, and apparently this recipe was just too good to pass up and toss in the recycling. I think I will try to keep up with the "coopongs" better from now on!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Birthday Golfing

Today is Doug's 56th birthday, so he went for his annual golf outing with family to celebrate. We had to change the time as it ended up being really hot today, so golf had to be earlier than originally planned. Doug doesn't do heat so well, although he is much better since he has been on breathing medicines. Here is Doug with my dad, and his sister, Jean, in the middle of his golf outing.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Birthday Greetings!!

Doug will celebrate his 56th birthday on Monday, August 30th. If you would like to send him a card, please do so. He loves to get mail!! If you don't know our address (sorry, not putting that out here!) you can send him a birthday greeting in the form of a comment on the blog. I think I can print those up for him. If not, he can still enjoy reading them on the computer.

Please join me in helping Doug celebrate a wonderful birthday, and thanks!!!

Yeah for my sister!!

Doug's sister Valerie is battling a rare form of cancer, signet ring cell carcinoma of the appendix. She ended up going by ambulance to a hospital and excellent surgeon in Baltimore. Doug and I had just returned from visiting her and were at a fund raiser for her at our local fire station. Here is Doug receiving the news that Val had just had the tube removed from her nose that had been there for about two weeks! You can check in on Val at www.caringbridge.org/visit/valeriehouck and see how she is doing. Doug loves his family, and we sure love Doug--the grin on his face says it all!!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Rachel Ray

Making breakfast this morning for Doug. As I work at the stove, he tells me, "You look like Rachel Ray! She is a nice girl!" It must have been the knife while I was chopping because I am quite sure the night shirt and woodpecker hair would not meet national television criteria!! I have not seen Rachel Ray, but if she is a "nice girl" and I remind Doug of her, what's not to like about that??

Just another of the many little stories that make living with Doug a joy. When you're around Doug, it just reminds you that the rest of us make life way too complicated most of the time.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Mower Man

Doug loves to help with all sorts of things, but tonight he got to help mow the lawn. I was using the push mower, and he was using Dad's riding lawn mower. Once a tractor man, always a tractor man! Those of you that know Doug know he has used all kinds of machinery on the farm. He is careful and meticulous, and has run many different kinds of lawn mowers, four wheelers, his old postal jeep, etc. He was thrilled to be able to help out, and thrilled with "this cute little tractor." I was thrilled for him to be able to do something he loves to do, and thrilled to get the lawn mowed!