Shirley Thompson

North Shore Update

THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY

The week began with my sister Betty waking me up at 5:30 on Monday morning.  I'll get back to that statement in a moment.

On Sunday I attended church and discovered that the church needed help to pay their heating bills for the remainder of the winter months.  With fuel costs going up it has become a hardship for the little church to pay the higher heating bills.  The pastor had a red bucket on podium with him that had a sign on it that read "Coal Bucket."  During the offering this bucket was passed around for the congregation to put in any loose change from their pockets if they could, or put a few dollars in to help the church out.  This bucket would continue going around each Sunday until the end of February for those that wanted to help out.  I had a lot of change in my purse so when the bucket got to me I emptied it into the bucket making quite a racket.  I figured that they would forgive me for the added noise.

Now we get to Monday morning.  As I said, my sister Betty awoke me at 5:30 in the morning to tell me she had a great idea.  Why it had to be 5:30 in the morning is beyond me but it happened.  She decided that the books I had on hand (about 50 or 60) could be sold the congregation or used for a book signing at the church with the church receiving the profit from the sale and I just receiving what I paid for each book.  I thought it was a great idea but also know that I'm not exactly a famous writer and maybe nobody would want to buy the book.  I also didn't know if the church would want to consider this idea.  She convinced me to call.  Now, the reason that this wake up call was so unusual is that my sister Better passed away 2 years ago in December.  Perhaps I was dreaming, or call it what you want, but I think she communicated her idea to me and I certainly can't take any credit for it since it was her idea. 

I tried to go back to sleep but found I couldn't so I watched some news for awhile, got dressed and headed downstairs at 9 to get Rich up.  I must admit it was quite a wake up call for him that morning when I announced that Betty had awaken me at 5:30 with this idea she had.

"Excuse me?"  Rich questioned.  "I think you meant your sister Lois called you right?"

"No," I replied, "It was definetly Betty."

"Do I need to point out to you the fact that your sister PASSED AWAY two years ago this last December?"  he reminded me.

"Well," I answered, "you can believe me or not but I know it was Betty and she had this great idea."

I then proceeded to tell him of Betty's idea and he agreed that "she" had a good idea.  I told Rich I would all the church office later in the morning to ask them if they would be interested.

"You might want to skip the part that it was your sister's idea."  Rich said.

"Of course I can't," I replied, "I can't take credit for her idea that wouldn't be right!"

Rich just groaned.

I called the church office and left a voice mail message.  The pastor called me back today interested but he had to leave me a voice mail message since Rich and I were in Duluth on an adventure you will read about later.  Once I talk with the pastor and explain how this happened he may decide I'm a basket case and decline the offer of my help.  I did call him back when we got home and left him another voice mail message.  We will see. 

Now we get to Tuesday, and it is a day that I wish we could forget all about.  Read on.

Today Rich had a doctor's appointment in Duluth with the Neurologist.  I figured we would get a call from the transporation company telling us their van could not make it up the driveway.  I've been driving up and down the driveway, it is icy, but I have made the trip numerous times without incident.  I didn't have any confidence that the transport company could get their real wheel drive van up here.  I had requested the van for noon; Rich's appointment wasn't until 1:30 but I figured that they are always at least a half an hour late in arriving to pick us up.

To my dismay there was a knock on the door at 20 minutes to noon and there was the driver.  I was shocked, he had made it up here.  I shouldn't have celebrated so soon.  Once we got in the van he promptly got the vehicle stuck and with the help of some old carpet pieces, kitty litter, and fancy manuevering he finally got the van out of my part of the driveway and we were on our way.  By this time it is now quarter to 1 and I was glad that I had asked for the van to come early and even happier that he had arrived so early this time.  We arrived at the doctor right on time and were ready to leave by 2 in the afternoon.

I called the transport company and they sent a van to pick us up.  This time we had a young driver that is in the Air Force Reserves and had just returned from Iraq.  We had an interesting conversation all the way back to Two Harbors.  He started up the drive and at the first small hill we ran into trouble.  After backing back down the driveway, sometimes going sideways down the drive, he decided that the van wouldn't make it up the drive.  The tires, he said, we very bad and he had complained a number of times.  I told him I would walk up the drive (it is a mile and half mind you), get my truck, and come back down and we could get Rich into the truck and put the wheelchair on the contraption attached to the back of the truck.

I started the walk up and after the first couple of hills I started to pant.  I kept going and finally made it to the house where I promptly ended up with an asthma attack.  I had to get into my truck to drive back down the drive to get Rich and I had to sit for a while just to get my breath back.  Once I could almost breath normally, I climbed into the truck and headed down the drive.  I got to the bottom and we got Rich out of the van and ready to transfer to the truck.  I drive is icy so this was really quite interesting to try.  We tried, and tried, and tried some more but could not get him far enough up onto the seat where he wasn't sliding back down to the icy driveway.  We got him back in his chair and back into the van to keep him warm. 

I told the driver that I have OnStar and was ready to push the button when he told me to wait.  He called his dispatch and there was another van in Two Harbors at the hospital and they would send that driver over to help us.  We waited, waited some more, and continued waiting, and finally the van arrived with a young lady driving it.  The tires on her van were good but the company decided not to have her try the trip up and they were to get him into my truck and the chair onto the back of the truck.  They finally accomplished this feat wth a lot of grunting, lifting, pulling, pushing, and finally got him stuffed into the front seat.  We then got the chair onto the contraption on the back of the truck and both drivers hopped into my truck to ride up the driveway to help me get him out of the truck.

It was now close to 5 in the evening and I had no problems driving up the driveway and we got Rich out of the truck, into his wheelchair, and then into the house.  Getting him out of the truck is a lot easier then getting him up and into the front seat of the truck. The drivers were interested in the view so I invited them in to take a look and then offered them some soda's for their trip back to Duluth.  I then drove them down the driveway and dropped them off at their assigned vans.  I gave them each a copy of my book for their efforts and headed back up the driveway to get Rich settled in. Boy, what a day. 

We have to repeat this at the end of the month when Rich goes to the doctor again.  I'm going to call for our plow person to put some sand, dirt, or salt down on the driveway.  I actually take my life into my hands whenever I try to take the garbage out to the dumpster.  I should buy a pair of ice skates.