My Substitute Reality -You're just jealous cause the little voices only talk to me-

Wednesday May 17, 2023


Filed under: Family,Life — don @ 2:24 pm

It looks like time to update my blog. I’ll post a few of the major things happening lately.

Betty had an anoxic brain injury in 2011 due to stitches coming loose in her neck right after her Thyroidectomy. She was in an induced coma for about 3 days right around Christmas. When they brought her out of it, she seemed fairly normal, or as normal as you could be if you were in an induced coma. She came home about a week or so after that and all seemed good.

Sometime around 2015 she started noticing her short-term memory was not as good as it had been. She went to a psychologist who prescribed Adderall to help her get sharper. It seemed to help but at this time I wasn’t really aware of how much she was being affected. She was taking a lot longer to “sort her pills” and “pay the bills” but I just chalked it up to Betty being Betty.

By 2018 it was clear to everyone that her memory was being affected. She stopped driving because she had had a couple of auto accidents and she didn’t trust herself to drive anymore. She was also taking a very long time to do the mundane tasks and even cooking simple meals was becoming difficult.

In 2019 she started having a lot of bouts of having to go to the ER and was admitted quite a few times, usually for UTI or Hypocalcemia. Her body didn’t seem to want to regulate calcium and she would go from way under to way over. That affects the mind a lot and makes her brain injury issues much more pronounced. I don’t recall how many times she was in the hospital but it seemed like a lot. She also started having more trouble walking periodically. That was also the year I took over most of her “mundane” chores.

During 2020 I, like most older people with computer-related jobs worked from home. It helped me keep a closer watch on her and I was able to provide more support. She had a few times when she needed to go into the hospital but it seemed like her calcium was under better control. She did have to get another stent in her heart in early 2020. I believe that took the total to 5.

When I was able to get the vaccine I went back to work but I also hired a caregiver to come into the house to help her get breakfast and helped her until I got home around 2pm. I was getting up around 3:30 am so I could get into work and leave early so she didn’t need a full-time caregiver.

By early 2020 I was 67 and ready to retire. The company I worked for had given me quite a few stock options over the years and I didn’t really want to buy them all but it was either that or keep working until they sold the company. B and I had talked about moving to Arizona for several years and I really wanted to so I started looking at how to keep my options yet move to Arizona. I talked to my boss who talked to the CEO and we came up with a solution that allowed me to keep the options and semi-retire. We were able to move to Arizona on July 1, 2021.

I realized working in the morning and taking care of B was going to be difficult so I hired a part-time caregiver who did about the same schedule as the one in Arizona. She would arrive around 9-10am, help Betty get up and fed and then keep her safe until I stopped working around 1 -2 pm. She seemed to be getting worse physically and on July 25th, 2022 I had the paramedics come and they took her to the ER. I went a few hours later and asked the Dr. if he could put her into rehab as always before that had seemed to help. She was in Apache Junction Health Center rehab for about 5-6 weeks when the medical professionals decided she wasn’t going to get any stronger and needed to be put into long-term care. She stopped walking, even with a walker and they said they couldn’t help her.

I had been driving the 20 miles to see her every few days and about that time I was told about ALTCS, the Arizona Long Term Care System that would help with her medical needs and pay for her care if I went through the process to qualify. We started that in September 2022 and finally got her medically qualified in December but we have been working to get the financial side approved since then. By October I started looking for someplace closer that I could move her into. I found a group home only about a mile from me run by a couple of Haitian brothers. One of them, James, is a part-time hospice minister. Jimy spends about half the week there and James the other half. They take very good care of B and I love the fact it’s so close. I try to go see her every day.

This has been a very difficult process for both B and I. I have to admit there were times I felt like giving up. It was so stressful watching my wife slowly lose her ability to remember people and events. As is usual for patients with dementia she remembers long-ago people and things fairly well but there are some days she doesn’t remember any of the family. Her daughter Michelle went over on Mother’s Day and at first, B didn’t know her. She did remember her after a few minutes but I know it’s hard for B’s daughters too. I know well what it’s like to have a parent decline like that. My dad had Alzheimer’s and died of it in 2004.

So that’s what’s been happening to us over the last 12 years. The last couple of years have been the hardest but as of this writing B has been seeing a PT person and OT person and has actually walked using a walker for support. She wants to come home and I would love that if we can get her strong enough to help in her care. Right now I could not do it without a lot of help. She enjoys the people in the home and has a roommate she adores. This will be our life for the foreseeable future. If it changes I will say something

Saturday December 28, 2019

Update to my About Me page

Filed under: Family,Life — don @ 3:39 pm

This is an update to my About Me section. I figured if I put it here more folks might see it.

I’m now 66 years old.  I’m still married to Betty and we still live in the San Fernando Valley.

I retired from Boeing at the end of 2008 and planned to only take a few months off before finding a consulting job.  Unfortunately, that was right about when the economy tanked.  I finally found another job at ThinKom Solutions Inc., an antenna company, where I’ve worked since September 2009.  I was hired as a Sr. Test Engineer but when they needed some kind of system to keep track of inventory I started developing one.  In a couple of years, that system had become a full-fledged ERP system that the whole company relied on.  I spent around 50% of my time developing software and the other working on microwave and RF antennas. Now I’m waiting for them to sell the company so my stock options are worth something I can retire on.

Around 2014 we were approached by GoGo Air, a company that provided internet on airplanes.  Their system was maddeningly slow (9 MB for the entire plane) and could only handle texting and email.  Business people used it but cussed it for its slowness.

We designed an antenna system that was capable of providing 500 MB/s to the plane but has so far been limited to around 80-100 MB due to modem technology.  To date, they have installed close to 2000 systems on multiple airlines.  Everyone who uses it raves about it.

Heather and Jocelyn are both married to the same guys who we love.  Heather and Mark live in the same house in Gilbert, AZ and Camden is in 11th grade and a geek who loves video games and robotics. Carsten is in 8th grade and a bit less of a geek but also enjoys video games.

Joce and Eric live in a small house in Kenosha, WI with their 3 kids who they are homeschooling. Liam is 11, Emeric is 7, and Eloise (Elle) is 4. Eric got a job at the school he graduated from (Gateway College) as an IT person. The small house is on a fairly large lot, almost an acre, and makes for fun times when it snows and berry picking in the spring/summer.

Ann moved out quite a few years ago and has been living on her own. She moved to Van Nuys which is quite a bit further away but still only about an hour by city bus or 20 minutes by Uber. She visits her mom every month or so.

Jen got married to a guy she had met at her job at Target in Simi Valley.  She and Patrick lived with us for several years before finding an apartment and moving in there, a few miles away in Woodland Hills. Jen still works for Disney in a store in Northridge. She always dreamed of working for Disney so she’s living the dream. She’s not a fan of retail but at least she works in the back so minimal exposure to the public. Patrick went to DeVry and got a BS in something like Web Development. He has been a geek (like me) since I met him. I helped him get a job at ThinKom several years ago but he soon showed them how valuable he is and was given an extremely good review earlier this month.

Michelle has exceeded all of our expectations. When she graduated she worked at 24 Hour Fitness for a while before getting a job at the super fancy-dancy Penninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills. She worked as a PBX operator and met quite a few celebrities but I think her favorite was delivering a fax to George Lucas. Next to that was probably riding on the elevator with Wolverine (Hugh Jackman). She offered to get out as good Penninsula employees are expected to do but he said no, stay on. I think she still swoons when she thinks about it. In 2018 she got married to Josh Bergman who she met through a friend she had for many years. Josh is a sports nut and loves the Dodgers like me so we get along pretty well. (Mark also loves sports but he’s a Diamondbacks fan so….) Michelle also went to DeVry for a Bachelor of Science in justice administration with a minor in corrections.

Shortly before Michelle and Josh got married they decided to move to Arizona because the cost of living was so much lower. They ended up in Phoenix where most of my siblings and Heather’s family lives. She got a job at The Phoenecian as a PBX operator but around a month later saw an ad for a position in the Department of Child Services. She got hired and became a caseworker and quickly rose as the best one in her office. Over the next year and a few months, she placed many kids into families and as of this week, she found she had more than anyone else in the state. She decided she wanted to raise in the ranks so she is back at school going for her Master of Science in psychology, concentration on forensic psychology. A big change from the girl who didn’t know what to do with her life 15 years ago.

Betty has spent a lot of 2019 going in and out of the hospital. In 2011 she had her thyroid removed and that evening the stitches broke which caused her to lose oxygen to her brain for a while. It’s finally caught up to her as she has a lot of trouble with short term memory and has been feeling sick off and on all year.

As I write this we are in Los Algodones, Mexico getting new teeth for me. In 2015 I got an All-on-4 on my upper and this year I decided it was time to do the lower. In 2014 my brother Richard had told us about Los Algodones and how much cheaper dentistry is here and it’s still the way to go if you need anything more than a cleaning. I am getting Zirconia plates on the upper and lower. They would cost about 3-4 times what I’m paying. Don’t want to cite prices but suffice it to say I’m saving 10’s of thousands of dollars.

Most of you know we lost my mom in 2017 and Jocelyn lost her mom in 2014. We think of both of them often.

My politics are similar to what they were in my About Me page but I do have to say I’m not a fan of our current President’s demeanor.  I do like how the country has prospered under his administration but I also feel he has given the US a lot of negatives.  He isn’t really respected by other countries and that’s a bad thing.  I do have to smile at how so many warned the stock market would collapse and the economy would tank and all the “good” things Obama had done would be undone.  I think the opposite of most of that has happened.  The stock market has boomed, the economy is doing very well, unemployment is at its lowest since the 70s and although we aren’t respected we also aren’t looked at as a pushover.  I think he’ll probably be re-elected but once again I don’t plan to vote for him.  I wish the Democrats could see just what a terrible field they are backing.  I think I would probably vote for Tulsi Gabbard if she got the nomination but there is next to no chance of that.

Happy New Year to all and may the 2020s be good to all.

Sunday August 14, 2016

What’s Happening? Part 2

Filed under: Cars,Family,Life,Personal,Work — don @ 10:39 am

Near the end of last year my company was looking for new people to help build our antennas.  I was thinking our son-in-law Patrick was a smart person who learned quickly so I talked to my boss about bringing him in to see if he would be able to help.  He started around the beginning of December and has worked out very well.  Everyone likes him and thinks he is a great worker and asset to the company.

I stopped riding my bike to work because I was car pooling with Patrick.  We took my F150 4X4 most of the time but that thing gets terrible gas mileage.  I knew we needed something that would do better.

I started looking at information on electric cars.  Daryl has had his Volt for several years and really loves it.  I thought that might be an option and then I looked at the Nissan Leaf.

The Leaf is electric only which means if the battery runs out you have to either tow it or recharge it and there’s no gas engine to do it for you.  But it also has an 87 mile range for the older versions and 107 miles for the 2016.  I figured 87 miles would be enough since I could drive it the 30 miles to work and then charge it back up while there.

We looked at a 2013 Leaf that had 18,000 miles but it didn’t have the Level 3 socket which allows you to charge to 80% in 30 minutes.  I felt if I was going to have one I might want to take it to someplace like Santa Barbara where I could do the Level 3 charge and then come home the same day.

We went to the Nissan dealer to see if they had any used Leafs but they didn’t.  I started talking to them about what a new one costs.  Turns out when you buy a new electric car you get a $7,500 tax credit from the US and a $2,500 rebate from CA.  Nissan was also giving a $4,000 rebate and since I belonged to a credit union I got an additional $3,500 off.  That’s $17,500 off the sticker price.  That’s close to 50% off.  I figured I might as well buy new and that way I got the Level 3 socket.

I’ve been driving it for several months and I have to say I love it.  Since I got it I have only had to stop at the gas station once when I drove Betty’s Camry on a day it was low on gas.  Since we have the solar panels on the roof most of the electric is “free”.  It’s not exactly but very close.

I love being free from gas so much I’m contemplating trading in the Camry for a Volt.  I would still get the $10,000 in tax rebates and credits on a Volt.  I would definitely want to do it before the end of the year so I could take the Federal credit off my taxes next year.  We will see how things go.

What’s Happening? Part 1

Filed under: Family,Life,Personal — don @ 10:23 am

It’s been a long time since I’ve added a post so I figured I could give a summary of what’s happened since my last one.

My last post was about the birth of my first granddaughter Eloise (Ellie) Weiss.  Betty and I flew out to Wisconsin in January to spend a little over a week with them.  I had wanted to spend some time there since we don’t get to see Jocelyn and Eric that often.

We flew out at the end of December on American Airlines.  One of my presents to Betty was going First Class.  I had us on a 767 that had the lie down seats in FC so it was going to be quite an adventure.  Unfortunately that plane had some problems so we were forced to get on a smaller plane but at least she still got to experience FC service.

I had decided to fly into O’Hare because the price was better if you were going FC.  It was a mistake on my part as I didn’t think about how much air traffic would be using the airport in the middle of winter.  Chicago had a blizzard on our way there and it caused lots of delays which caused lots of planes to stay at the gates which meant there was no place for our plane to go once it landed.  We were stuck on the runway area for 1 1/2 hours.  Really glad we were in FC then.

The trip to Racine took about an hour once we got out of the airport.

We stayed at a hotel I had found when I went out in 2014.  It was a small place but the price was good and it was fairly clean.  It was also only about 2 miles from Joce.

There was snow on the ground and it did snow a few times.  Having grown up in Tucson and living the last 29 years in LA I don’t get to see much snow.  It was very nice and I’m glad we didn’t get snowed in.

Michelle and Josh joined us a day or so later and we went to Milwaukee to meet them for dinner.  They had problems with getting their car but eventually we met and had dinner.

The next few days we went various places and did family things.  Then Michelle and Josh had to go home.

We stayed a few more days and had a great time not feeling rushed.  One thing I had wanted to do was take a tour of a cheese making factory.  There was supposed to be one not too far from Joce but it wasn’t open while we were there.  We didn’t get to see any but we did get all the curds and cheese we wanted from the world famous Mars Cheese Castle where the owner is good friends with Joce and Eric.

When we flew home it was uneventful but we felt we had a great vacation.

Saturday October 24, 2015


Filed under: Family,Life,Personal — don @ 11:12 pm

After 4 grandsons we finally have a granddaughter.

My youngest blood daughter Jocelyn gave birth to Eloise Elizabeth Weiss on Saturday October 24th at 5:09 pm in Kenosha, WI.

She was 8 lbs, 5 oz and 20 1/4 inches long.

Betty and I will be going out at the end of December with Michelle and Josh joining us a few days later.


Friday September 11, 2015

Never Forget

Filed under: Family,Nothing,Personal — don @ 6:14 am


Tuesday May 5, 2015

Heading Back Down

Filed under: Cool Stuff,Family,Life,Personal — don @ 12:42 pm

We will be heading back down to Mexico on June 30th.  Since they need about 4 days to put in my permanent plate I figured I might as well take advantage of the extra US holiday that they don’t celebrate.

According to the email they sent me it takes 1 day to make the new plate then I have to go back for any adjustments the next 2 days.  It’s possible I will be done on the 3rd and if so we could come back then instead of waiting for the 4th.

We are also going to stay in a hotel on the US side this time.  It’s the Quechan Hotel and Casino right at the off ramp from I8.

Maybe I can win enough to pay for my implants!  Ha!  I’m a funny guy.  I’ll be lucky if I don’t lose much.  I do like the nickel slots though but I suspect they will be updated like the slots in Vegas where you don’t use money anymore.

Tuesday January 6, 2015

Implants in Mexico

Filed under: Cool Stuff,Family,Personal — don @ 1:35 pm

I’ve been wanting to get implants on my upper for about 6 years but with the cost of them in the US I couldn’t justify it.  I had actually had my middle four teeth on the upper pulled and a bone graft done about 6 years ago but when I was finally told the actual cost I decided to wait.

The cost in the US was going to be around $30,000 and that was for just 4 teeth (2 implants).

Earlier this year I realized since I was over 59 1/2 I could take some money from my 401K without a penalty so I started looking at dentists in Los Algodones, Mexico.  I heard about Los Algodones from Richard and I know Dale and Donna also got some work done there.

The dental group that seemed to be the largest with many good reviews was Sani Dental Group.  I got a quote from them and scheduled my first visit for December 27th-31st.

We arrived on the 26th and drove over the border without talking to anyone.  We went straight to the Hacienda Los Algodones which is a hotel owned by Sani.  It’s a very nice little hotel with decent sized rooms and very friendly employees.

The next day we went to Sani and they did a CT scan and a panoramic X-ray.  Then I met with a diagnostic specialist.  He said I needed an All on 4 (which is what I wanted anyways) and he suggested I get an implant on my lower back right molar (which had been extracted quite a few years ago).  I agree with them and we also planned to do a post and crown on one of my teeth I had done a root canal on a few months ago.

They said to come back on Monday so we spent Sunday checking out a few stores in town.  Every few feet someone comes up and tries to sell you something.  We weren’t buying.

Monday morning I went in and they numbed my right lower side so he could put in the singe implant.  That was completely painless so I was ready for the extractions.

He then numbed my upper right side and started pulling teeth.  I had 4 on that side with one a molar.  That wasn’t very pleasant and he had to keep adding Novocaine.  He finally had them all out and started doing the implants.  Again, the implants were not painful at all and he had the 2 in within 15 minutes or so.

Then he numbed my upper left and extracted the 2 teeth and then put in the other 2 implants.  As before there was no pain involved (of course my mouth was very numb).

Next came the part I did not like at all.  He said my bone was medium to soft and that he didn’t want to install the temporary plate that screwed on.  He wanted me to use a full denture for the next 6 months.  I told him I really didn’t want to do that as one of the reasons I went with the All on 4 was you get teeth screwed into the implants basically the same day.

He convinced me to try the denture but as soon as it was in I started gagging.  I told him there was no way I could put up with that for 6 months let alone 6 hours.

He said he would go ahead and install the temp plate like I wanted as long as I signed a paper absolving them of any damage caused by not waiting.  I went ahead and did that since I was not going to use the denture.

So later in the day we started doing the temp impression/plate.  To do that they put a plate in your mouth and start painting what I believe was acrylic material so that once they had it done they used it to make the temp.  That was probably the most uncomfortable procedure of the whole day.  It was in my mouth for close to a half hour and wasn’t doing my gag reflex any good.

On Tuesday I went back to have the new temporary screwed in.  It looks great and feels *okay*.  I suspect I’ll get used to it in time.  I do have to take it easy for the next 3 – 4 weeks and not eat anything hard.  I figure I can handle that.

To sum it up my experience was mostly good with the exception of the full denture.  I know I will be very happy once I get my permanent plate in about 4-6 months.

I should also mention that Betty got a post and crown while we were there.  The cost for both including a panoramic x-ray was only $300.

I would like to say something about the town but we really didn’t spend much time walking around.  On Monday we did go to a restaurant for lunch and then another one for dinner.  The one we went to dinner at was called Kashas and it had excellent food for decent prices.  When we first got there we noticed only one other couple.  While there a bunch more people came in and they were all locals.

If you walk around town be prepared to be semi-accosted by all kinds of people trying to sell you trinkets, artwork, and various other items.  Most of them would take NO but a few were very persistent.  One guy actually scared Betty with his aggressiveness.

I highly recommend going to Mexico if you need any dental work that would be expensive in the US.  You can save a lot over the cost in the US where it costs 300-400% higher.

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