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!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Ok, folks, this one is too funny not to share. Last night, after ice cream time, I was sitting here at the computer updating the Caring Bridge page for Doug's sister Val when he came stomping through the dining room hollering, "YOU'RE FIRED!" As he stomped down the hall to his bedroom, he added, "And I'm not kiddin you eeder!!!!" Quietly I asked, "Is there a problem?" (Ha, ya think??? Quick aren't I???) "DON'T CHANGE THE CALENDAR!!!" he hollers back. Yes, Doug takes his calendar stuff very seriously...I had torn off the pages for that day from my page-a-day calendars on the counter in the kitchen. The dogs were laying here at my feet, so I told them, "Let that be a lesson to you!" but I had all I could do not to laugh out loud at this little figure roaring through and firing me on the spot!!!! Later, after further discussion, it seems The Calendar Rules go like this: 1) You do not change the calendar until it is actually that day, and 2)You don't change the calendar at all--Doug does that! After I explained to Doug that I always had to change my own calendar until he moved here, we came to a happy compromise. The calendars can be changed the night before, but Doug will go ahead and do that for me. If I accidently forget and tear them off ahead of time, Doug will not get mad, and I will not be fired!! :) I pointed out that, if he fired me, there wouldn't be anyone to cook dinner--Molly and Tasha are not so good at cooking! This made him laugh (Doug likes to eat!) and I was off the hook for my little calendar faux pas. You'll be glad to know that peace reigns again in our little home!!!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


As a teacher, I have always realized how much kids are watching me, observing how I react, and how I behave. However, for some reason I didn't fully grasp how much this would be the same with Doug until the other day. We were driving home from some errands (I'm always hauling Doug somewhere; he loves it, and told me so. One day as we were driving, I told him, "Sorry I keep stuffing you in the car and taking you someplace!" He turned to me with a big grin, and replied, "I LOVE it!"), and were in and out of the shade and then the sun. When we drove into a shady part, I flipped my sunglasses up on my head. I saw Doug give me a sideways look, then carefully flip his sunglasses up on his head. When we drove back into the sun, I flipped my sunglasses back down. Doug looks over, then casually flips his sunglasses down as well. This went on, back and forth, for a few miles, until we reached a part of the road that remained sunny, and our sunglasses could remain firmly on our noses! I got quite a chuckle out of the whole routine, but it really did pound home the fact that I am now always being watched, and my behavior being modeled. (Ok, yes, I did/do have some modeled behaviors that Hoot, crusty old farmer that he was, provided that I would like to extinguish!!!!)

Tonight Doug says to me, in a sort of serious, thoughtful way, "Do you think we should have a bowl of ice cream?" (Not sure how many times I have said that to him, but it's more than several!!!) And now Doug's influence on me: "Good idea!" He says that a lot, and it sure summed up how I felt about a bowl of ice cream after another warm day! So we had ice cream from the Jeff Gordon commemorative tin that "his tousin Ninn" (alias his cousin Lynn) got for him, and that I inherited along with Doug. Yummy ice cream, Ninn!!!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Doctor Visit

Doug had a follow-up doctor appointment today, and I am delighted to report he is improving with the breathing medications he has been on. He has gained back some of the weight he lost, and his oxygen levels have improved significantly. Yay, yay, and yaaaaaaaay! We also went to get a repeat chest x-ray in preparation for a return check up with the lung specialist next week.

Speaking of chest x-rays reminds me of another funny Doug story. When I first took him to the walk-in regarding the breathing issue, they wanted a chest x-ray, but the technician had left for the day. The doctor asked Doug if he'd ever had a chest x-ray before. I thought maybe he had when he had a bout with bronchitis a few years back, but Doug said, no, in 1955! The doctor and I just looked at each other. The doctor said, "Well Doug, you would have been just a little baby then!" "Thas right!" Doug proudly answered. The doctor and I just sort of blew it off, and I made arrangements for Doug and I to return the following day for the chest x-ray. Doug and I went on home, and I started a slightly delayed dinner, as well as preparing dinner for the following night when I would be at a meeting. Shortly, Doug came into the kitchen with his baby book. I was zipping around trying to cook and ooh and ahh over the baby book at the same time ("What a cute little baby you were, Doug!" "Oh, don't embarrass me! You make my cheeks bwush [blush]!" is kind of how the conversation went!!), when he turned a page and went, "SEE??" Sure enough, Doug had had a chest x-ray on March 14, 1955!!!!! Truly, I should have known better than to doubt him when it came to remembering a date!! This is one of the Doug stories I think I might never forget--and neither will the doctor, who was amazed when I told her the story the following day after we went back for the chest x-ray!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Dining Al Fresco

This table is one of those spur of the moment purchases that you just want to cheer about! We saw it as we were going into the grocery store last week. On sale, $20, the legs pop in, adjust for uneven yard, pop out again, and go in slots under the table so it can be stored flat in the shed for the winter. Doug really thought we ought to have it, and we love it. We have eaten outside many nights since then, after it has cooled down. Doug's really easy to cook for; he loves almost everything except sour cream and raisins, and after almost every meal, he tells me, "I love it!! Good job, Tenise!" (My name comes out more like Tenise than Denise in Dougspeak!) What's not to love about that?? We'll probably be eating at this table until we have to wear our flannel shirts, but we're not even going to think about that!

Tie-Dye Dance

Oops! Forgot to take a picture before we left for the tie-dye dance yesterday, so we did a little re-creation at home tonight. Too many requests for the photo to ignore! You can see we had a little confusion regarding tie-dye and tie, so Doug is also wearing the tie that Catherine, who now lives up on the farm, gave him for the Fourth. His tie-dye is courtesy of Rachel; this is one of her volleyball shirts that she loaned to Doug to wear. He was absolutely thrilled to wear Rachel's shirt. I remember the first dance we went to, Doug stuck kind of close to me and took it all in. Last night, he disappeared onto the dance floor as soon as we got there, and I saw him again when it was time to go home! He did see me peek into the gym occasionaly, and I tried to get a picture of him doing the "Locomotion," but the gym was too dark. Let's just say he was having a great time!!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


I have to say, Doug can be an interesting mix of ages anywhere from 5-95. Although I read him pretty well, you never quite know when the 5-year-old (or sometimes 2 year old!) is going to show up. A few weeks back we went shopping at Aldi's for Rachel's (my niece, his great-niece) graduation party. I'd never been to Aldi's before and did not have a quarter for the grocery cart. Holy cow!! We had a little episode out front about not getting a cart, even though we were only there for a few quarts of strawberries and some blueberries. He wanted to get a cart, was sure we needed a cart, and with his arms stretched out and his little hands spread wide, told me "EVERYBODY KNOWS IT!!!" I very calmly told him that no, everybody didn't know it, because if they did, he would have told me, and I would have had a quarter!! That stopped him momentarily, but I still got a dirty look (hey, I've been getting those from kids for many years now and they have absolutely no effect, sorry bud!) and he was grumpy for most of the trip through the store, with a little muttering going on. Later, I have been able to joke with him about the cart at Aldi's, but there was no joking going on that night! Then another night, I was teasing with him, going "Hey Doug, you're my favorite! I love you!" He replied, "I know that!" and so I asked him, "How can you tell?" He looks at me with a big grin on his face and says, "Everybody knows it!!" So, I guess universal knowledge can be both good and bad!

Really, he has come a long way with some of his behaviors. I've said that what I wouldn't put up with from a kid at school, I won't put up with from Doug, and although I can't change behavior overnight, I can change a lot of it with time and patience. This arrangement works well for us because Doug is VERY endearing most of the time, plus I have a lot of patience, as well as an almost perpetual sense of good cheer, and a good sense of humor! I was really proud of Doug last night as there was a problem with our satellite reception for the tv, which could not be resolved with tech support over the phone. Supposedly because of the storm. The tv went out right in the middle of the "wrestling" that he loves (see, there IS a God!) and I thought for sure we were going to have a tantrum. Nope! We tried fingers crossed, humming, and tapping out loud while we kept unplugging that darn box and plugging it back in again to reset the system. He was fabulous--I was so proud of him, and told him so. Today I still couldn't get it to work, so more calls to tech support, and even to super-de-doo tech support, but no luck. I was the one getting crabby today, but now I have to be careful as I have a very watchful audience! We have a technician scheduled to come on Thursday, but tonight I tried again and the silly thing worked. I'm keeping the appointment until we see how it goes tomorrow!! Their customer service has been great, but I am not impressed to be having problems with a system that has only been in for two weeks. However, if Doug is handling it, then I guess I'd better! He got no worse than a few mutterings of "stupid tv!" and that only happened tonight when he wanted to watch the weather. Weather is a BIG deal--almost as much as getting the mail!

Passed Out in the Chair!

This is what happens when your days are filled with busy things like writing cards, golfing, and whatever!! Doug calls this just as I titled it, "passed out in the chair." We seem to have been doing this a lot of afternoons during the past week of hot weather--and Doug insists that he is not snoring, that it is Molly! Which is actually often true!

Clerical Tasks

Doug was working yesterday to make a card for Diane Strong for her birthday. We were able to take it up to her last night, along with a gift, flowers, and the song/kazoo routine. We also collected a few more things that we still needed to get. Doug made sure the recycling papers had a plastic bag over them in case it rained--some habits never go away!
He has also been working steadily each day on completing change-of-address cards to send out to his MANY friends and relatives. I took a picture of him in his Jeff Gordon bedroom when we first started putting it together--it's also posted on this page--and used that picture to make the cards for him. Seriously, I ordered 60 of them initially, and then had to order 20 more! I took all his addresses from several different address books and put them in a database so they are in alphabetical order when we are trying to find addresses. It will make the task a lot easier next time! I think Val spent a couple days with him a year ago trying to get his Christmas cards done from a hodge-podge of addresses. We had a little slide whistle ceremony tonight to celebrate his finishing writing the last one. He only has four cards left!! I think we better start his Christmas cards in early November.

Calendar Keeping

Suddenly, we have lots of events and appointments we have to keep track of! I had this old desk calendar, and Doug is writing in the dates on it so we can use it on the wall. Keeping track of birthdays, etc. is a BIG deal for Doug! He has a large mental rolodex of birthdays that you would not believe--we all count on him to remind us. We have also started a new tradition--me on the kazoo, and Doug singing--to help people celebrate their birthdays. I get several reminders a day of upcoming birthdays, so as long as Doug is on the job, we're set! (Tasha was supervising this task, but got distracted by a chipmunk outside the window.)

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Doug's new room turned out perfect for him. He's got his Jeff Gordon bedspread, sheets, and pillow cases, his Jeff Gordon pictures framed and on the wall, his Jeff Gordon flag, and more Jeff Gordon pictures on his shelf. This room, in its former life, was the guest room with my gram's quilts, flowers, and antiques. You can see that it has undergone quite a transformation! Doug's chair from on the hill fit perfectly in the corner, and faces his tv on the wall, along with his collection of Jeff Gordon hats that I hung up for him. On the wall next to the window above his bed is his "Go Big Red!" cheering sign that David got for him when they went to the Cornell Sweet 16 games. David took him to several games this year, and Doug became a big fan of Jeff Foote, who is from Spencer. Doug takes cheering for both Jeff Gordon and Jeff Foote very seriously! You can't see in this picture, but Doug is also wearing one of his many Jeff Gordon t-shirts. This one Bob and Val got for him when they were in Daytona, I think two years ago. It has Doug's face and Jeff Gordon's face while they are wearing racing gear, and Doug has the same picture on the shelf in the background. Interestingly enough, our house number is 324, and Jeff Gordon's number is 24. It made it easy to teach Doug his new address!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

I took this picture back in the spring. We were getting ready to go to the Wacky Hair Dance with Doug's chorus buddies in Ithaca. It took a little fast talking to go with the wacky hair--Doug likes things just so, and that includes his hair! But Doug was a good sport, and off we went. He even let me take this picture before we left. I love the look on his, sheesh, I'll do it if you want me to! Yep, he's a good sport, and we had a blast! This week we go to the last dance of the summer; Tie-Dye! Gotta find a tie-dye shirt and we'll be ready! Doug is looking forward to it.

This morning I was waiting for Doug to have him take his morning dose of breathing medicine. (He has had some issues with lungs/breathing and is on two medications, which have made a lot of difference.) When I went looking for him, this is what I found! Is it any wonder the dogs are delighted he's here????? (Doug says, "Please don't look at my morning hair!" I told him we all look like that in the morning, and Tasha doesn't care what his hair looks like as long as his hand keeps petting!!!!)

Doug was pretty excited to have a vist from Greg Edwards, one of his farm buddies, today. He got to show Greg his room, his new mailbox, one of his scrapbooks, and how much rain was in the rain gauge from last night! (We had to bring the indoor/outdoor thermometer and the rain gauge down from the hill--keeping track of this stuff is important to Doug. If you need any of this data, just contact our favorite scientist and he can supply it!) Doug loved visting with Greg, who is now practically our neighbor, and has promised to stop by often. Rumor has it that a trip to the Tastee Freeze and a strawberry or rootbeer milkshake might be in Doug's future...!!!!! See, it's not just family that spoils Doug! (Doug is sitting here with me while I do this, and his comment? "That's right! Everybody knows it!" Case closed--nothing more left to say!!!!!!

Last weekend Doug and I helped out Bert and Mary White by watching their little dog for them overnight so they could get away with Lori and Jack and his family to visit other family in Scranton. We sneaked out of the house in our jammies and bathrobes about 10:00 Friday night after we had let Molly and Tasha out for Last Call. We sneaked back in on Saturday morning--not early; we don't do early well! Mary and Lori picked out these plates for us (no, that's NOT Doug's twin on the plate!!!) as a thank you. We have had more FUN with these plates!! This morning it was scrambled egg hair, bacon mustaches, and sausage ears. You should hear Doug giggle when the plates are brought out! We were sooooooo happy to be able to help out the White's, but they sure picked the perfect thank you for us.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Doug and dogs! This picture was taken back in the winter on one of Doug's many visits to my house. My dogs are well behaved, but they take up a lot of floor space, and I wanted him to be able to spend time with them prior to moving in so that he was comfortable with the dogs. It took him a little time to get used to the Saint Bernard--he's somewhat meticulous, and dog hair and dog slobber are not for the faint of heart! That said, Doug loves animals, and the dogs love the attention. One or the other of them is usually right near Doug, and Molly, the Saint Bernard, can often be found laying on or near Doug's feet, just like in this picture.
Uncle Bob took this picture outside the courthouse after we finished with the judge. Please note the nice white shirt, tie, and suit jacket. Doug knows how to dress for an occasion, and took his preparations very seriously. He looked so handsome, and we were so proud of him! When we were done at court, I took him to McDonald's for breakfast, then we did some other errands. He proudly tells everyone that "My niece Kelly had a nice little baby girl! I am a great-uncle again!" I think most of Owego and a good part of Ithaca have all gotten the message by now. The clerks and several customers at the MVD, the man at the fish counter at the grocery store that was getting our shrimp (more on him later!), the check out people at Target and Walmart, the counter people at McDonald''ve got the idea. I told Kelly, the news is OUT!!! You don't want to be shy if you are out and about with Doug!
Doug's new mailbox. Getting the mail is EXTREMELY important to Doug. This was his job when he was in school and he takes it seriously. If you visit us, DO NOT go get the mail!!! Because I live on a busy road, I wanted Doug to have a mailbox where he could get the mail without having his back to the road. Poor David had to set the post for this twice as the first time the mailbox was higher than postal regulations and so he reset it in the hole for the old mailbox. Did I mention that it was our first really hot, humid day when he got to do this, after he had put Doug's new tv on the wall, and after he had to take the same tv off the wall because they had given me the wrong one, and also after he got to put the correct tv back on the wall?? We owe Doug's successful transition to many! I wish David could have seen Doug the first time I pulled in the driveway with Doug in the car to show him the new mailbox. "A new mailbox?? For me??" Hands clasped to heart, "Oh, I LOVE it!!!!" See why we love Doug?
Here is Doug having his first breakfast in his new house. Told him it's not usually like this, but today we are celebrating!
Check out that smile! He is always telling me, "This is very good!" The way to Doug's heart IS through his stomach! Often when I am cooking, you will hear him exclaim, "Oh, Denise! That smells soooo good!" You hardly even need to start cooking before the compliments start flowing...what's not to love about THAT??

July 9, 2010

So many people have been asking about Doug and wondering how he is settling in. I am delighted to report that the entire transition has gone astoundingly well, better even than I had ever hoped! Very grateful to Diane for keeping Doug on the hill since November after Hoot passed away. Think that this helped Doug with move to my house--after a tough few months of losing "his" dog Sam, then Donald, then Hoot, he was able to make those adjustments before he had to adjust to another place to live. I was able to plan and pave the way for Doug to make the move, but I truly did expect it to be difficult for Doug when it came to the actual move. Not so--he loves his Jeff Gordon bedroom, his tv, his mailbox, my dogs, and his air conditioner! We sorted and tossed while packing his stuff with nary a peep from him. (I couldn't believe this myself!) In fact, it got so I would hold an item up, he would look at it, then say, "Trow it out!" with a little toss of his thumb over his shoulder. Not what I expected at all!!!!! There are so many funny stories and things that Doug says that I thought I really needed to start a blog to share them with all the people that love Doug and would like to hear of his/our adventures.

This morning we (Doug, Val, Bob, and I) went to court to have Val and I approved as Doug's official guardians. Last night I overheard Doug in the hallway talking to the dogs. (I have two dogs, a St. Bernard, and a Golden Retriever. Plenty for Doug to love!) It went something like this: "I got to tell you dogs, tomorrow I go to court. I get all dressed up in my good clothes. I can't wait!" Oh yes, we went in full regalia; dress pants, nice white shirt, tie, dress shoes, and suit coat. (Thanks to Diane, he has all this stuff. We sure know Hoot didn't take care of dress clothes!! Thanks to Dad for tying the tie for us last night so Doug could slip it over his head this morning--not my department!) I was able to talk him into leaving the suit coat on the back seat and putting it on just before we went into the court building. Those of you local know that it has been HOTand steamy here this past week, but it was very important to Doug to be all dressed up, so suit coat it was!

At the court, the judge was great with Doug. He came right up to the table where we were sitting, and leaned down in front of Doug. He talked about why we were there, and then complimented Doug on his nice tie. Then, he teasingly said he might take that tie. Doug was beaming, looked him right in the eye, and said, "Well, you can't have it!" Even the security officer was laughing! The paperwork took months to get taken care of, and we were only in court about ten minutes or so, but long enough to leave them smiling, which Doug has a tendency to do!

I will keep checking in and share some more stories that come to mind as Doug and I travel our new road together...