We Have our 1st National Sales Tax

A shout out to my friends Robert Bloomquist and Tommy Stevens for bringing this to my attention:

Under the new health care bill – did you  know that all real estate transactions are subject to a 3.8% Sales Tax? You can thank Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid & Barack Obama and your local Democratic Congressman for this one.If you sell a $500,000 house, this will be a $19,000.00 tax by itself, NOT including any other costs of sale that generally range approximately 8% of the sales price ($40,000. on a $500,000. sale) !!!

Here in CA, it’s not hard to have a house in the $500,000 range. So now, if you use realtors, you pay their 6%, and an additional 3.8%. You lose almost 10% of your home value.  Wow, that’s a fairly big loss.

Well, I think I have decided to vote against nutMeg Whitman.  She seems a little on the crazy side with her English/Spanish mixed messages.  If she was against prop 187, as she claims in her ads, I’d love to ask her if she voted against it….Isn’t that how you demonstrate your moral outrage?  (Oh wait, she hasn’t voted FOR 20 YEARS!!)  Talk is cheap.  Ignorance is cheaper.  Brown is looking better and better, although I loathe the idea of a democrat (especially him) at the helm, the idea of nutMeg is worse.

 

I don’t think I have mentioned I attended a fundraiser for her back in the early days.  Paul Rodriquez was there about the water problems for CA farmers.   She took questions, and the first guy asked her what she thought of “Keynesian policies given the economy.”  She looked a little awkward, then said “You have to help me out here.”  SHE DIDN’T UNDERSTAND THE QUESTION.  This is a woman who graduated Princeton, and got her MBA AT HARVARD!!!!  I was stunned. She only took one more question, then they wrapped it up.   I sought the guy out who asked the question, and asked him what he thought of her answer (she had hemmed and hawed through it).  He was as flabbergasted as I was.  We were both there to because we WANTED to support her, but she couldn’t demonstrate basic economic knowledge.  Unreal.  Almost Surreal.

 

and yes, I am still doing P90X, albeit not regularly.  Too much going on at the office.

P90X & Girly Fashion

Wow.  Am I tired.  But, tired as I am, I can’t fall asleep.  Took Ambien, now waiting.   Rambling on…

So I thought I’d journal about P90X, my latest endeavor to stave off the rising hips of middle age.

I am just completing my first week of it.  Well, really, it’s technically the second week, but I’m not counting the first week because I was so wimpy about it, and I had some traveling to do in between the workouts.

So I started it up again this week, and surprisingly, I find myself at the 7th day of the three week cycle.  It’s my “rest” day.
Now, I have been doing this in my garage, which is a whole other story – but short story is it is great.  Which means I haven’t been going to the gym, so maybe I’ll do that tomorrow on my “rest” day.  I only have 10-15-20 pound free weights at home, and no bench, so until I build that up (which I plan to take care of this weekend), I might as well go and push metal at my local gym.

So, P90X.  It’s pretty good.  You feel kind of dorky doing it (which is the great thing about doing it alone in your home).  Especially the yoga crap and kendo pseudo martial arts stuff.  But at the end of the day, you feel muscles you had forgotten about, and that my friend, is a good thing.

So I think I will stick with it.  It may not help me in my battle of the rising hips, but it certainly can’t hurt it.

Oh, and that reminds me.  I have to make a bathing suit appearance in the very near future with my grandsons, ages 13 and 9.  My bikinis don’t seem appropriate ( for them at this age), so I bought some wake board shorts. How much fun is that!  Comfy shorts to play in the pool with the boys.  I got to thinking, the guys have had it right all along, and us chicks have been dealt the bad deck of cards – we are stuck shoving our bodies into skinny clothes, high heels, and strappybikinis, while the guys wear loose clothing, boxer swimsuits, and comfy shoes.  How did we (girls) get ourselves into this mess?

Admittedly, fashion is some kind of ego fun.  But will we ever be truly equal as long as we are willing to sacrifice comfort and commons sense in the name of fashion?  That inability to come to our senses is what, I think sets up apart.

Look at newscasters. The pros are dressed conservatively, and most females are dressed as thought they want to date  your husband.  Kind of weird.  Why show some much chest plate?  Or bare arms?  cover up girlfriend – you’re on TV.  It’s not your living room, it’s ours.  Be respectful.

Hmm I think that this is it. Ambien friend is kicking in.  I am fading.  Plz excuse any typos you found. I still want the junior senator O out of the senior office “P”.  If that is not clear enough, I want Obama out, and his socialistic ways reversed.  There, that local town (Belle sp?) where City manager gets $800,000/year, and council members get $100,000/year for their part-time efforts.  Problem is, if City Manager resigns, HE GETS HIS PENSION!!!!  It truly is a MAD MAD WORLD.  We need pension reform, and we need a youth who knows how to kick butt in the intellectual world.

Taking A Breather

Every now and then, we just need a rest from life. A day off.

I took one today, by accident, but now I realize how good it was for me.  I stayed home to await a delivery that required a signature.  I worked from home, but did some other things too.  It was the “other things” that helped remind me that we all need a break, especially when we are pouring ourselves into something.
So anyway, I thought I’d take a moment and update my blog.  Here are some tidbits about P90X,  Lady Gaga, and an interesting social experiment.
I started the  P90X exercise series about a week ago. My good friend Howard told me about it.  Wow, I didn’t realize how hard this non-gym stuff is!  I can bench 135 pounds at the gym, but can barely do a pull up.  I can see I have some work to do.  It’s so depressing in the beginning.  I even took photos for the b4 and after.  Thankfully, I have been through this before, and know that the outcome will be successful, as long as the commitment stays intact.  That’s the cool thing about diet and exercise – it’s a sure deal (unlike most things in life).  However, this time I am 13 years older, and don’t quite have the same drive.  One day at a time.
Father’s Day was yesterday.  When I was buying flowers for dad’s spot, there was a woman there buying flowers for her 14 year old daughter who died last August.  This was their first Father’s Day without her.  We shared stories – she told me her mom had died a slow death from complications dad had – and that he was lucky that he went quickly, even though it was hard to see him go. We talked about the H1N1 flu shot – she said when she got hers, it just took her out for 3 weeks.  I swear, there  is a problem with that vaccine, and we will learn about it over time.  There are too many people who say they had problems with it, and as we know, it was the tipping point in dad’s health.  He was healthy up until he got that darn shot.
Now for some general observations:  I saw in the news that Lady Gaga wore fishnets, and a long (open) shirt to some baseball game.   So basically she looked like she was at home in her bathroom.
These people who want to be celebrities really “get” me….. it’s one thing to wear outrageous (albeit entertaining) costumes when you are performing, but it’s completely another thing to do it when you are living “life”.   And prior to this “showing”, she was at some game where she flipped off the photographers.
But really, she’s begging for attention, isn’t she?  Can you shout “LOOK AT ME” any louder?  And let’s face it, she may be entertaining on stage, but she (and others like her) don’t “get it” that we (the public) are not all that interested in seeing their  “act” at the grocery store, at the ball game, or anywhere else.    Leave the performing to the stages.  If we want to see  your act, we’ll go see it.  But stop taking everyday life events and turning them into your photo-ops at our expense.  (BTW, the people behind her did not seem too thrilled to be sitting there.  Made me start thinking about how unpleasant it would be to attend an event, only to find that you are  stuck behind someone who believes their own press clippings so much that they have to take their “character” to the ball game).
They need to learn “It’s not about them”.
Did you see the story on the world class violinist who played in a subway station?  It was about a  violinist  who played in a subway station on a rare violin – as part of a study on behaviors.  No one stopped to listen.  It was a social experiment.  But people were busy, going to work…
While it’s sad but understandable that we rush a lot, people seeking celebrity status should take note – we like our lives, and don’t necessarily welcome  them in to it when they insert  themselves via non-performing venues (like sporting events, malls, etc)  If you are a celebrity, and we like you enough, we will find you without you having to be “in character”.  And believe me, once that happens, you may be getting more than you bargained for.  There is a reason it is sometimes  called “selling your soul to the devil”.

Unions

Since I could not say this any better myself, I will just re-publish this here.  Mort Zuckerman’s “The Crippling Price of Public Employee Unions”, posted May 14, 2010 in US News & World Report.

Go to article

The American public feels it is drowning in red ink. It is dismayed and even outraged at the burgeoning national deficits, unbalanced state and local budgets, and accounting that often masks the extent of indebtedness. There is a mounting sense that taxpayers are being taken for an expensive ride by public sector unions. The extraordinary benefits the unions have secured for their members are going to be harder and harder to pay.

Click here to find out more!

The political backlash has energized the Tea Party activists, put incumbents at risk in both parties, and already elected fiscal conservatives such as Republican Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey. Over the next fiscal year, the states are looking at deficits approaching hundreds of billions of dollars. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a liberal think tank, estimates that this coming year alone states will face an aggregate shortfall of $180 billion. In some states the budget gap is more than 30 percent. The result is a crowding out of the state role as the supporter of adequate infrastructure, education, and healthcare.

How did we get into such a mess? States have always had to cope with volatility in the size and composition of their populations. Now we have shrinking tax bases caused by recession and extra costs imposed on states to pay for Medicaid in the federal healthcare program. The straw (well, more like an iron beam) that breaks the camel’s back is the unfunded portions of state pension plans, healthcare, and other retirement benefits promised to public sector employees at a time when federal government assistance to states is falling—down by roughly half in the next fiscal year beginning Oct. 1.

It is galling for private sector workers to see so many public sector workers thriving because of the power their unions exercise. Take California. Investigative journalist Steve Malanga point out in the City Journal that California’s schoolteachers are the nation’s highest paid; its prison guards can make six-figure salaries; many state workers retire at 55 with pensions that are higher than the base pay they got most of their working lives. All this when California endures an unemployment rate steeper than the nation’s. It will get worse. There’s an exodus of firms that want to escape California’s high taxes, stifling regulations, and recurring budget crises. When Cisco’s CEO, John Chambers, says he will not build any more facilities in California, you know the state is in trouble.

The business community and a growing portion of the public now understand the dynamics that discriminate against the private sector. The public sector unions organize voting campaigns for politicians who, on election, repay their benefactors by approving salaries and benefits for the public sector, irrespective of whether they are sustainable. And what is happening with California is happening in slower motion in the rest of the country. It must be one of the reasons the Pew Research Center this year reported that support for labor unions generally has plummeted “amid growing public skepticism about unions’ power and purpose.”

There has been a transformation in the nature of our employment. Labor is no longer dominated by private sector industrial workers who were in large part culturally conservative and economically pro-growth. Over recent decades public sector employment has exploded and public workers have come to dominate the labor movement. These public sector employees have a unique and powerful advantage in contract negotiations. Quite simply it is their capacity to deliver political endorsements and votes for the very people who are theoretically on the other side of the negotiating table. Candidates who want to appear tough on crime will look to cops, sheriffs’ deputies, prison guards, and highway patrol officers for their endorsement.

These unions will naturally back a candidate willing to support better pay and benefits for their members, and this means as much as, or more than, the candidate’s views on law enforcement. The result has been soaring pay and the ability of state police and other safety officers to retire with pensions that place an increasingly unbearable financial burden on the states. In California, such retirees at age 50 often receive pensions at 90 percent of their pay; comparable retirees in most other states get about half their final working salary.

 

 

In New York, public service employees have received gold-plated perks for much of the 20th century, especially generous health insurance benefits. Indeed, where once salaries were lower in the public sector, the salary gaps in the public and private sectors have disappeared in the last two decades, or even reversed for most job categories. A Citizens Budget Commission report in 2005 showed that for most job categories in the greater New York City region, public sector workers received higher hourly wages than private sector workers. And according to a 2009 survey by the same group, this doesn’t even count the money that New York City pays in full premiums for comprehensive health insurance policies for workers and their families. Only 8 percent of workers in private firms enjoy that subsidy. Moreover, in virtually all cases, the city also pays the full healthcare premium costs for retirees and their spouses. And the city pensions are “defined benefit” plans, which are more expensive since they guarantee specific benefits on retirement.

On the other hand, private sector workers in the survey were mostly in “defined contribution” plans, which means that, unlike their cushioned brethren in the public sector, they do not have a pre-determined benefit at retirement. If New York City were to require its current workers to pay contributions toward health insuranceequal to the amounts paid by the employees of local private sector firms, the taxpayer savings would approximate $628 million a year. In New Jersey, Christie says government employee health benefits are 41 percent more expensive than those of the average Fortune 500 company.

What we suffer is a ruinously expensive collaboration between elected officials and unionized state and local workers, purchased with taxpayer money. “Scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.” No wonder the Service Employees International Union has become the nation’s fastest-growing union: It represents government and healthcare workers. Half of its 700,000 California members are government employees. More and more, it wins not on the picket line but at the negotiating table, where it backs up traditional strong-arming with political power. It spends vast amounts of money on initiatives that keep the government growing—and the gravy flowing. Similarly, for the teachers unions—with the result that California and its various municipalities, especially Los Angeles, face budget shortfalls in the hundred of millions of dollars. California can no longer rely on a strong economy to support this munificence. Its unemployment rate runs about several points higher than the national rate and its high-tech companies are choosing to expand elsewhere. Why stay in a state with such higher taxes and a cumbersome regulatory environment?

California is a horrible warning for the nation of how dreams can turn to dust. In most states, politicians face a contracting local economy and shortfalls in tax receipts. Naturally, they look to cut expenses but run into obstruction from politically powerful unions that represent state and local government employees, teachers, and healthcare workers who have themselves caused pension and healthcare insurance costs to soar. It is not an accident that in framing the national stimulus program, Congress directed a stunning percentage of the $787 billion to support public service employees.

The lopsided subsidies for pension and health costs are a large part of the fiscal crises at the state and local levels. The subsequent squeeze on education and infrastructure investment is undermining the very programs that have made it possible for our economy to grow—thousands upon thousands of teachers let go, schools closed, mass transit slashed.

Between New York and California, the projected deficits run about $40 billion—and that doesn’t account for projected billions of dollars in the operating deficits in the states’ mass transit systems or the multibillion-dollar unfunded liability in many of the state pension plans. New York is badly hit because it is being deprived of tax revenues by the government’s indiscriminate attack on the securities industry, which has been so critical to the economy of New York State and to the United States.

 

Click here to find out more!City government was developed to serve its citizens. Today the citizenry is working in large part to serve the government. It is always hard to shrink government spending. It is particularly difficult when public sectorunions have such a unique lever of pressure.

We have to escape this cycle or it will crush us. One way is to take labor negotiations out of the hands of vulnerable legislators and assign them to independent commissions. They would have a better shot at achieving a fair balance between appropriate salary increases and the revenues and services of local municipalities. The electorate won’t swallow any more red ink

Richard Russel’s perfect business

http://ww1.dowtheoryletters.com/dtlol.nsf

The contents from the above link is pasted below. It’s a piece by Richard Russell, and is good advice.

I wish I wrote it, but I did not.   I did pass it along to my son 
*******************************************************************************************
So much for my father’s wisdom (which was obviously tainted by the Great Depression). But Dad was a very wise man. For my own part, I’ve been in a number of businesses — from textile designing to advertising to book publishing to owning a night club to the investment advisory business.

It’s said that every business needs (1) a dreamer, (2) a businessman, and (3) a S.O.B. Well, I don’t know about number 3, but most successful businesses do have a number 3 or all too often they seem to have a combined number 2 and number 3.

Bill Gates is known as “America’s richest man.” Bully for Billy. But do you know what Gates’ biggest coup was? When Gates was dealing with IBM, Big Blue needed an operating system for their computer. Gates didn’t have one, but he knew where to find one. A little outfit in Seattle had one. Gates bought the system for a mere $50,000 and presented it to IBM. That was the beginning of Microsoft’s rise to power. Lesson: It’s not enough to have the product, you have to know and understand your market. Gates didn’t have the product, but he knew the market — and he knew where to acquire the product.

Apple had by far the best product in the Mac. But Apple made a monumental mistake. They refused to license ALL PC manufacturers to use the Mac operating system. If they had, Apple today could be  Microsoft, and Gates would still be trying to come out with something useful (the fact is Microsoft has been a follower and a great marketer, not an innovator). “Find a need and fill it,” runs the old adage. Maybe today they should change that to, “Dream up a need and fill it.” That’s what has happened in the world of computers. And it will happen again and again.

All right, let’s return to that wonderful world of perfection. I spent a lot of time and thought in working up the criteria for what I’ve termed the IDEAL BUSINESS. Now obviously, the ideal business doesn’t exist and probably never will. But if you’re about to start a business or join someone else’s business or if you want to buy a business, the following list may help you. The more of these criteria that you can apply to your new business or new job, the better off you’ll be.

(1) The ideal business sells the world, rather than a single neighborhood or even a single city or state. In other words, it has an unlimited global market (and today this is more important than ever, since world markets have now opened up to an extent unparalleled in my lifetime). By the way, how many times have you seen a retail store that has been doing well for years — then another bigger and better retail store moves nearby, and it’s kaput for the first store.

(2) The ideal business offers a product which enjoys an “inelastic” demand. Inelastic refers to a product that people need or desire — almost regardless of price.

(3) The ideal business sells a product which cannot be easily substituted or copied.This means that the product is an original or at least it’s something that can be copyrighted or patented.

(4) The ideal business has minimal labor requirements (the fewer personnel, the better). Today’s example of this is the much-talked about “virtual corporation.” The virtual corporation may consist of an office with three executives, where literally all manufacturing and services are farmed out to other companies.

(5) The ideal business enjoys low overhead. It does not need an expensive location; it does not need large amounts of electricity, advertising, legal advice, high-priced employees, large inventory, etc.

(6) The ideal business does not require big cash outlays or major investments in equipment. In other words, it does not tie up your capital (incidentally, one of the major reasons for new-business failure is under-capitalization).

(7) The ideal business enjoys cash billings. In other words, it does not tie up your capital with lengthy or complex credit terms.

(8) The ideal business is relatively free of all kinds of government and industry regulations and strictures (and if you’re now in your own business, you most definitely know what I mean with this one).

(9) The ideal business is portable or easily moveable. This means that you can take your business (and yourself) anywhere you want — Nevada, Florida, Texas, Washington, S. Dakota (none have state income taxes) or hey, maybe even Monte Carlo or Switzerland or the south of France.

(10) Here’s a crucial one that’s often overlooked; the ideal business satisfies your intellectual (and often emotional) needs. There’s nothing like being fascinated with what you’re doing. When that happens, you’re not working, you’re having fun.

(11) The ideal business leaves you with free time. In other words, it doesn’t require your labor and attention 12, 16 or 18 hours a day (my lawyer wife, who leaves the house at 6:30 AM and comes home at 6:30 PM and often later, has been well aware of this one).

(12) Super-important: the ideal business is one in which your income is not limited by your personal output (lawyers and doctors have this problem). No, in the ideal business you can sell 10,000 customers as easily as you sell one (publishing is an example).

That’s it. If you use this list it may help you cut through a lot of nonsense and hypocrisy and wishes and dreams regarding what you are looking for in life and in your work. None of us own or work at the ideal business. But it’s helpful knowing what we’re looking for and dealing with. As a buddy of mine once put it, “I can’t lay an egg and I can’t cook, but I know what a great omelet looks like and tastes like.”

Back in the saddle

“Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway.”  Marion Mitchell Morrison, 1907- 1979 ) (aka John Wayne)

Well, I am not and was not scared to death, but that quote is a nice tie-in to the fact that I am getting back into the swing of life after dad’s death.
And I have re-discovered Ted.com.  My, how I love that site.   I have decided to track the viewings here.  There are so many that I want to go back and revisit, and some I am sharing at the office, in little mini-meetings, for my engineers.
The fact that they are on my iPod is even better – I can view them walking t the gym, or just listen to them running to the gym.  Waiting in a doctor’s office, etc. And they are almost all invigorating, healthy food for the soul.
I think between these and business, industry, & politics, I won’t have an idle mind!

There is much to say

The funeral has come and gone. He passed February 8th.  In the hospital, in room 8.  I begin to realize after the fact that there are a lot of  8s – his birthday adds up to 8, he was born in the 8th month – did you know “8” in numerology symbolizes the businessman.?  It readsYou are inspiring, result-oriented, powerful, ambitious, visionary, generous, perseverant, forgiving, broad-minded, money-conscious and self-disciplined. You have the potential for enormous success. You are also a good judge of character a natural leader and a survivor.” 


And that was dad.  His obituary was quite long.  I did the Eulogy.  Fortunately, over the past year or so, dad and I had been journaling some memories, and I used those memories as the basis of the Eulogy.  These are posted at my website, janeterry.net.  They are long, but make a good read.
The funeral was beautiful, if I do say so myself.  Beautiful day, overflowing crowd, flowers everywhere.  It was not a boo-hoo funeral, but one of love and inspiration, because that is what he was all about.  With military honors.
We are coming up on Easter now, so it’s been about 6 weeks.  I go to his site at least once a day, usually twice.  I have purchased a plot nearby him – I can’t explain all of this, before this, I just wanted to be cremated.  I thought, “who cares about it after we are gone?”  But now I do care.  I keep dad’s flowers fresh and watered.  (That is one advantage of being buried in the ground – the sprinklers water the flowers!)
I’ve bought a crypt near dad for my husband and I.  Peace of mind comes with that.
I am working on the two (blog) entries I did while dad was still living – I am so glad I managed to get those in, and wished I had done more.  I am adding post scripts from what I know and can recall – before the memories fade for me.
I just finished his memorial DVD.  Maybe that sounds pathetic to some, but it is very comforting to me.

Politics, as usual

Margaret Kimberley interview by Russian Time’s Marina Portnaya

The above link is a terrific commentary on Obama administration’s lack of change in foreign policy in the first year of Office.  Except for a change in language….
Does the US public want to be misinformed?  Another good interview with Russia Times.  A commentary on our “news” people distorting the news, when they are really offering opinion-based programming (except CNN).  Are people not interested in new news.
Daniel Hannan’s viral European parliament speech – Scathing address at Gordon Brown about the complete lunacy of his spending.

Finally, did anyone read the great (Charlie Rose) interview with Paul Volcker in the 12/30/09  of Business Week?  Where he points out that Obama has not filled the ramparts of the administration?  Check it out:

“You feel strongly that the financial system has gotten out of whack. Do you think the American political process is capable of fixing it?
The American political process is about as broken as the financial system. Therefore, one has to be a bit skeptical. Just to give you one little example, one unrelated to the financial crisis. Here we are on Dec. 29, almost a year after the Inauguration, and there is no Under Secretary of the Treasury. That should be an important position. How can we run a government in the middle of a financial crisis without doing the ordinary, garden-variety administrative work of filling the relevant agencies? The Treasury is an outstanding example of a broken system, but it’s not the only one.
Is part of the problem that Congress is slow in the process of approving?
Slow is too fast a word to describe what’s going on. The Administration is one quarter over, and it hasn’t manned the ramparts of government yet.
So it’s the Administration’s problem? They haven’t gotten their Executive Branch in place?
It’s partly a reflection of the discord in government and extreme views on either side and fighting each other for every scrap of advantage.
In interviews in the past you said that’s why we needed to change the political process; that’s why you thought that candidate Obama was the best choice for President.
True. But has he been able to do that at this point? It doesn’t look that way. I think that’s unfortunate. I wish the Administration would pay more attention to what’s needed to improve the ordinary functioning of government. We can’t even fight a war with our own people any more. We’ve got to hire Blackwater. I think people have lost confidence in government, they’ve lost trust in government, and it shows. This isn’t a question just of this Administration. It’s been kind of a steady, downhill path.”

Day 2

Saturday morning, around 4 am, I awake, and hear him downstairs coughing.  I go down, and crawl into the bed next to him while the care-giver helps make him comfortable.  I do not know it at the time, but I now believe the transition from the hospital to our house exhausted him.

Think about it. He had been battling something since December 18th, trying to get it under control.  On December 30th, he has 3 stents installed, and now must recover from that.  His body has been battling PF.  I can only guess his body is shell-shocked.
His energy is so low, I am alarmed.  I think I am losing him.  He won’t eat.  He just wants to sleep, and needs assistance in getting comfortable. And his legs are restless.
Louise decides to stay home, battling her own exhaustion and mending herself.  She calls my cousin Patty, and a few others.  Dad and I “talk”, he concedes he has had last rites, and perhaps it wouldn’t be so bad if this was his time.  I alert other family members, and I am beside myself as I think I am about to lose one of my best friends.
I see him every day at the office.  He is never judgmental, always patience.  Why have I not realized how close we were?  My dad is not an emotional man.  He is a business man.  He takes pleasure in building things, including people, and operating a company.  Our conversations were never touchy-feely, but generally about the business, politics, or economics.  They were spirited and academic dialogues.  I enjoyed them, as he is the only one I have these discussions with (most people aren’t interested in these kinds of spirited debates or laments).
Tears flow and flow.  In between naps, we exchange few words, but all are aimed at preparing for the worst.  He sleeps more.  Roxanne, our care-giver, suggests Ensure, and Dan runs out and buys a boatload.  We encourage dad to try some, and he does.
It’s almost as if he knows that he can choose to die, but if he chooses this and he doesn’t die, he could make things worse.  So he begins to make an effort.  He drank two ensures that afternoon, and ate a couple of nuts.  I call people to say I see some improvements.  We turn the TV on to the last half of a football game.  Although dad doesn’t watch it, we talk in-between “rests” about the analogies between football and business.
Wendy comes in at 9, and the night shift begins.  I continue to stay in the bed next to him, hearing every breath, every word, and making sure every need is taken care of.  We sleep fitfully through the night, catching short naps.
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Post script (4/2/10):
Dad stayed with me for two weeks, moving home on January 22 (my birthday).  He had made significant progress, but had suffered setbacks.  The week after the above note was written, he started to eat again, savoring Costco’s Alaskan King Crab legs.  He ate eggs, filet mignon, yogurt.  Not a lot, but he was eating.  He’d get up, and we’d even get him out to the main room once or twice.  But the Sunday the 17th, he suffered nose bleed from the oxygen drying out his nasal cavity.  We fought it all day, and it killed what little appetite he had.  It would dribble, then stop. I finally called an RN, and as she was leaving, a huge clot of blood came out his nose. I couldn’t get her back, and I was panicking…was this a 911 emergency?  a nosebleed?  I call 911 and hung up. Thankfully, I called from the land line, and they called me back.  I explained the circumstances and my hesitancy to the dispatcher, and he sent an ambulance.  They cauterized the bleed at the hospital, and sent him home. That week, he had to once again rebuild his strength and stamina.   I hated to see him go home, because I gave him special care I knew Louise was not able to give – for example, when they repositioned him in bed, instead of “dragging” him up, I would get on the other side of dad, and we would lift him – a much more comfortable experience.  And he didn’t have a good TV in his room.  But maybe the call of his home office would urge him to try to get better.
But he did move home, on my birthday, and I went on to the trade show, and when I returned, I went to see him.  He was up in his wheelchair watching the MA returns?  No, I think it was the state of the union address.  He was sitting there alone, as Louise was in the family room watching it, so I pulled a chair up and sat with dad, holding his hand.  The TV was kind of high, a little hard on the neck, but it worked.  It was one of those old CRTs, and it was small, so when he was in bed and watching, it was almost too small.  We couldn’t get the DVD player to play on it. Dan and I tried to figure it out, even with dad’s help.  Louise finally agreed that I could call TV service people in.  Dad had a sharp mind, and he needed stimuli. He couldn’t just lie there, day in and day out.
The service repair people were scheduled the following Wednesday.  Also, I had remembered that dad liked orange sherbert, and he was enjoying that.  Loved it.  I was hopeful, although he continued to wave people off when they tried to feed him or encourage him to drink water.  Tuesday, dad collapsed, and we later found out it was dehydration.  I think we were both surprised that dehydration could do that, but at the office, he used to tell me that I was the one that had gotten him to drink more water.  So how had I missed it now?
And I had to delay the TV people because it was all just too much for Louise.  Which meant dad was going to go home to nothing-ness.
Another blow.  He came home on Thursday, well hydrated, looking good, but by Friday was becoming listless. I called the RN who arranged for an IV fluid of liquids for the weekend.  And if he was not eating by Monday, we’d do a tummy feed.  There was a flurry of activity that Friday night, but I felt we were leaving him stable.  I told the care-givers to not just ask if he wanted food, to bring the food.  If he didn’t eat it, we’d just toss it, but if they ask first, he’ll wave them off.  So just bring it.
And I had the RN tell Louise it was okay for dad to eat hot dogs.  He’d been asking for them, but she worried about the sodium and nitrates.  As the RN pointed out, he wasn’t eating enough as it was, so there was no worry he’d eat too much sodium or nitrates.
At times, it feels there is too much to tell, but I must get this out of me.
Okay, so Saturday, he has a rough morning, I am told.  We got there at noon, and had secretly brought with us a new flat panel TV with a built in DVD player.  He awoke around 1, and when I thought he was strong enough, told him we had a new TV for him.  He said “well, let’s hook it up!”.  Man, we went straight to work!  Got it in and working in about 15 minutes.  Watched “You’ve Got Mail”, one of his favorite movies, then some NCIS episodes.  All in all, I think it was a good day – even a great day.  And he had his hot dogs.
The call came at 5:30 the next morning.  “That can’t be good” I said as Dan answered the phone.  It was the caregiver calling, dad was in a coughing fit, Oxygen level at 35.  Dan could hear dad saying NO NO NO in the background.  The line went dead. We rushed over, they had already gone to the hospital.
At the hospital, they had put the tube into dad’s throat – Louise said it was miserable from what she could tell.  They had him sedated by the time we were there.  He stayed that way until the end.
At one point, Sunday afternoon, he was moving his head from side to side, as if he was agitated with the tube.  I asked if he could hear me, and he gave me a short nod.  I asked if he knew why he was there – he gave a brief shake of his head.  I explained what had happened, and reassured him that we knew his wishes, and if he could just bear with us for a little longer while we figured things out, then we’d follow his wishes if that’s what we had to do.  I told him Byron was coming, and go to a happy time in his memories – a picnic with the family, his first date with Louise, etc.  I think he heard me, and he quieted down.
He was never able to breathe on his own again.  We had hoped to get him off the tube Monday morning, but we could not get his oxygen level strong enough even with the tube, so that hope disappeared rather quickly.
Of course later that day the doctor told us that what we were doing were heroic measures, and we knew that was not what dad wanted.  Louise had the legal power to make the decision, but she checked with me, and crying hard, I had to agree with her decision.
We went back into the room, and I explained to dad that we were going to get that nasty tube out of his throat.  That we were going to leave the room for 10 minutes (at the doctor’s request), and when we returned, they’d take the tube out.  That we would be there to help bring him back, or to send him to the Lord.
when they took the tube out, I said “You’re free now”, and “You have been strong for us, and we will be strong for you” and as it became clear he was leaving us, I urged him to go towards the white light (I don’t know why I believe this is what one sees when they cross over, but it’s what I believe), and find his loved ones.
I never did feel the presence of others, and I never have felt his presence afterwards.  I had hoped to – I have read accounts where people feel the loved ones coming back, but that hasn’t happened for me.
I go to his site every day that I can, which is pretty much every day.  I keep fresh flowers for him.  We have now ordered his plaque, and I am excited about that.  He is on the wrong side of the crypt, but there is nothing i can do about that right now.