Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Trust Factor

I know I had a prior blog in November that talked about Family, Friends, and Flares and how it is okay to get mad when you are sick so you don't burden the people around you.  It's a good feeling to have sometimes, but we as human beings also need to find a balance between doing things for ourselves, and asking for help when we need it.

Help can come when you least expect it and sometimes that help can be overwhelming, even stressful.  I'm sure a lot of you remember my post called Please Be Kind... Rewind.  It's a post about how my man does the laundry and how that kind of help can be stressful on me and my clothes LOL!  During flares, we need help.  It may not be the exact kind of help that we are looking for, but it is help none the less.

As you all know, my Grandma fractured her back and I've been going over to help her and my Grandfather out.  Grandpa can be a little stubborn when it comes to receiving help due to his Alzheimer's.  He does not like anyone who is unfamiliar in his house.  He has always had a hard time trusting people, so this is really nothing new.  He gets worried about strangers wanting to steal from him, or worse, harm his wife and him.  He's very overprotective.  He also worries about how much a service might cost because he knows his money will only go so far.

My Grandmother also tends to worry.  Her worry stems from him and his reactions.  She worries about how he might treat me, my Dad, or the plumber if Grandpa does not remember us.  She worries that he won't eat enough to curb his forgetful bouts.  She worries about him roaming around at 4 AM because he wants to shave.

A lot of unexpected worry can happen when you are ill.  There are things you just don't think about.  I remember having a conversation with my Grandmother about the garbage.  It goes out on a certain day and the pail needs to face in a certain direction or they won't pick it up.  One week my Grandfather became so distraught that he forgot who I was and my Dad.  My Grandmother told us to forget about the trash for that week because of this.  We did, but I became worried because I know that home invasions can happen and the garbage pails are a clue to these sick people that something might be wrong in a house.  If you deter from any part of your routine, it's a sign that someone may be ill or not home, easy pickings for a home invasion.

I don't want this to happen, of course, and I spoke with my Grandmother about it.  I actually became adamant with her about it.  I didn't want to be, but I do fear for her safety.  She understood my concern and we are now making sure that the garbage is out when it is supposed to be-- regardless as to whether or not Grandpa is himself.

Another thing that you don't think about often is being snowed in.  The storm that made the news today, storm Albert, hit Connecticut pretty hard.  I had a pretty hard time digging myself and the car out to get to my Grandmother's.  As I had stated in another blog on the net entitled The Sky is Falling, The Sky is Falling, Oh That's Just My Ceiling my apartment complex is not the greatest.  The attitude of the landlord is ridiculous.  He seems to think that the rent money should lace his pockets instead of using it to upkeep the complex.  What does that spell for us?  Well, management will only remove snow and ice on their time, a Sunday is not considered their time, so if you need to get to your car (or God forbid, have an emergency vehicle coming) you have to clear your own paths.  Sad?  You bet!  But oh so true for every apartment dweller I know around these parts. 

In fact, most people that rent have less rights than people do in jail.  Harsh?  Nope not really.  You see, a jail is considered a public dwelling so if there are any leaks in the building they must be fixed immediately.  Fixing a leak not only helps with taking care of your water feature problem, it also helps by preventing black mold.  A jail cannot have that either because black mold is extremely unhealthy to be around. 

An apartment is different.  An apartment is considered a private dwelling and if there is a leak, the tenant needs to go through the proper channels in order to get the leak taken care of.  Most landlords will only correct the leak, they don't bother fixing any of the damage caused by the leak-- and that's if you are one of the lucky ones.  Some landlords will only fix a leaky roof once it falls down. 

VERY SAD, but VERY true, happened to a friend of mine.  What's even worse is that rent costs just as much, if not more than a mortgage today.  Not sure why some people seem to look the other way when it comes to this unfair treatment of people who do not own a home, but they do.  Perhaps the laws will change one day.

Anyway, getting back to my story about Grandma, I was obviously going to be there late.  Dinner would have been late too if the neighbor did not take it upon herself to come over yesterday and reassure my Grandmother, Grandfather, and myself that she would come over with a lasagna around 11 am, the time my Grandfather likes to eat.  I can't tell you how relieved this made me feel because I knew how hard it would be for me to get two young ones and myself there in time to cook something.

Grandma was a little skeptical at first because she didn't know how Grandpa would take the change, but the neighbor and I reassured her that everything would be fine and it was.  Grandpa let her in and the lasagna was enjoyed by all. 

This kind gesture has taught me that sometimes you have to trust in others for things to run smoothly, even though it may be difficult.  Little things can always go wrong, we live in an imperfect world, but the kindness behind the effort of any gesture should always be celebrated.  Hope you all have a wonderful holiday season and experience a little kind gesture yourself.

Stay fabulous!
Love and friendship,


Friday, December 11, 2009

Just Thought All of You Should Know...

I just wanted all of you to know that we are only 7 comments away from another winner of an autographed book!  Now, since I have published another book, I will let this next winner decide which book they would like as their prize!

Keep commenting and keep thinking about which book you'd like as your prize.

Stay fabulous!
Love and friendship,


Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Quest for the Perfect Pillow

I must admit that I don't think about bedding, pillows, or mattresses very often.  It's kind of sad actually, because I used to sell all of those products when I worked for a famous retail chain.  The training was pretty intense.  We used to take countless numbers of quizzes and tests and sometimes we would have to go off site for all day training.

Out of every product I've ever sold, I'd have to say that selling mattresses is the hardest.  Believe me, I've sold almost everything you can think of from hardware to clothing.  I went from being a "Bob Vila", selling tools and paint, to an "Al Bundy" selling shoes.

Mattresses are a tough sell because most people don't give them a second thought.  They want something that's firm and something that is cheap, why?  Because that's what they slept on when they were a kid and it worked out well then, so why not now.  It's a hard thing to overcome, and yet, people should because one third of their life is spent while sleeping, so it might as well be a comfortable experience.  Since most people think this way about a mattress, you can imagine what they think about pillows.

Pillows and I have not been getting along in the past recent years.  I fluff, but they still remain flat.  I wash and dry them, but I still seem to get an allergic reaction-- even with fiber filled.  I was getting a new pillow about every 3-6 months or so because of my discomforts.  

I'm not a big fan of soft pillows even though they are supposed to be great for side sleepers.  I like my pillow firm so I can wedge it in between my shoulder and neck.  This gives me a ton of support and it keeps my neck in line with my spine at night.  A soft pillow does not keep my neck in line with my spine and causes a great deal of stress on my neck and shoulders.

Pillows have become pretty expensive over the years.  I can remember being able to walk into a department store and being able to buy 2 pillows for ten bucks.  The prices today, well, they can make me loose a lot of sleep.  I truly can't believe how much some of them cost.  For me, I tend to shy away from high priced merchandise because I just simply can't afford it.  Try as I might for my search of the perfect pillow, I was reluctantly coming to the conclusion that a better pillow for my condition may just come with a much bigger price tag.

Recently, though, I won a contest from Sleep Number.  This contest allowed me to win a customized pillow from them.  The pillow itself comes with an outer shell, an inner core, and an outer protector.  Prices for these pillows can range anywhere from almost $80 to almost $220.  It's a big investment, but is it worth it?  Some previous winners of the pillow were very excited for me because they knew what I would soon experience.  A lot of them DM'ed me their congrats from Twitter.  I was excited, mind you, because I've never won anything in my life that I could use-- up until now, of course.  A pillow was something I really needed to help me sleep better at night and this made me hopeful.

Once I received my coupon, I took a trip to a local mall and went into the Sleep Number store.  I was greeted by a really nice and knowledgeable associate named Dennis.  Dennis was taken a back at first by my coupon because it was something he had never seen before.  But once I explained what it was, everything went very smoothly from sale to transaction.

What I liked about the pillow buying experience was the fact that Dennis asked enough questions to get a feel for what I needed in a pillow and he took the time needed to fulfill that need.  I wound up with a totally custom pillow because I wanted some support, yet, I have allergies to down.  Dennis was very patient with me, but coaxed me into trying a down inner core because of the comfort level I was seeking.  He explained that the feathers are triple washed so that the dander from the feathers is gone.  This makes it less sensitive for people with allergies.

I was a sceptical-- to say the least.  I knew that the mere sight of down would send me into a sneezing fit.  It was the main reason why I went to fiber filled pillows to begin with.  What's worse is the fact that even when the down is removed from my sight, I will still have a sneezing fit and possibly have an asthma attack.  But I did try it because at the time I had my inhaler, so I felt like I really had nothing to loose.  And boy was I glad that I tried!  The feather inner core was soft and fluffy and gave just the right amount of support.  I did try a couple of other inner cores too-- just to make sure, but this one was it.  

I settled on the down alternative shell, the feather core, and silver pillow protector.  The silver protector provides protection from odor, static, and allergens.  It contains an all natural anti-microbial protection.  I couldn't wait to try it out so I started using it that very night that I got it.  It did take a little getting used to and I must say that you shouldn't let that discourage you if you plan on purchasing a pillow of your own.  The reason being is that the pillow is new and there has not been a sufficient enough time for you to contour with the pillow in one night.  The company gives you 30 days to try it, but I'd say that if you are not feeling more comfortable in about a week, try a different one.  Fibro patients are more sensitive to their own needs.  You know your own body and if you can't get comfortable in a week, you won't be in three-- don't torture yourself.

What I also liked from the experience is the fact that I got to try out some of the beds without feeling pressure of buying from a sales associate.  I've been in sales for almost half of my life and I know what those poor people go through, and believe me when I say that the pun is intended here-- they are in most cases poor people.  

I feel pressure myself because when I'm shopping, I have an intent to buy, but it may not be at that moment.  Pressure builds for me when I start to get to know the person I'm talking to and feel that I really should buy so I can help them out.  Sound silly?  Well, maybe to some, but to me, it's not.  I genuinely like to help people and if a sale helps them out, I will try my hardest to make that happen.

A mattress is a big purchase.  It's a lot of money.  Yeah, it's an investment and you could go for financing, but why do that if you don't have to?  I'd rather save up for what I want because it would take a lot less time to save up for an item than it would to pay it off on a credit card--let's face it.  I'm almost 37 and I still have college bills from 1995 that I'm dealing with.  I don't need anymore debt, thank you very much.  

When I shop, I want to know I can buy if the price is right, but sometimes an extra $500 to $1000 dollars is a little hard to come by for this gal, so I tend to window shop.  That's a little hard for mattresses because you really have to lay on them to figure out what's best.

But after my pillow experience, I now know which bed I'd like to be my next, and that's the memory foam.  It's a little pricey at almost $2800 for a queen to be delivered to your home.  That's going to take some serious saving time, but it might be worth it.  If not, the pillow top is also another great alternative.  It might not be my first choice, but it's comfortable too!

You all know me and you know that I would never pressure any of you to go buy something, but I will say that you should at least check these pillows out so you can get a better idea as to what is out there for you and your comfort levels.  This pillow is something that I will cherish for many, many years and it's so nice that I'm going to get one that's comfortable enough for my husband.  He deserves something this nice too... and so do all of you, my dear readers.

Stay fabulous!

Love and friendship,


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