The Blind Leading the Blind

Last week, we invited my parents over for dinner.  Eliz was making ribs on the grill, which both of them like, and there was more than plenty for all of us.  (Jake ended up having a few, but Jane was okay to pass on them.)  Two full racks and we still didn’t eat them all (though in eight months ago I probably would have finished them off.)

My parents hadn’t been here in a long time, since we usually go to them (and my mother doesn’t like doing the drive) and my dad has been interested in seeing our house again.  He is becoming more forgetful over the past months, which even he recognizes.  I have been complaining (hey, it’s what I do best) lately about the state of our house and he wanted to see it first hand, so we picked them up and brought them over.

Since we’ve moved Salon Supplies + Interiors and out of the now condemned rental space in Folcroft and work it primarily from our home office, our home has been overwhelmed with computers, beauty supplies, and even some salon equipment (hydraulic styling chairs make a unique second row of seating to watch movies or sporting events on the big screen.)  Anyway, as we receive orders from manufacturers and vendors, we bring them home, sort them, and add them to our inventory.  If I walked into our kitchen at this moment, I’d be shocked if there wasn’t at least a couple of beauty related items in there, if not a case or three.  (I had to look…  Only one item in the kitchen — a bowl bracket for a Belvedere 3100 shampoo bowl which we are shipping via UPS Ground to Hawaii.  I’m not sure how that works, but that’s another story.)  Within arms length of me at this moment, there is a sample of Fabulous Hair Argan Oil Plus (which we may start selling) and Ship-Shape Liquid Professional Surface Cleaner (which has to be added to our inventory on

My parents entered through our garage (which up until yesterday, we hadn’t parked in since late March) and noticed some of our inventory which doesn’t need climate control temps, but sells well enough to not have to run to Springfield (where we have some leased space) and bring it back to ship it.  They also saw boxes of business documents from the past three or four years.  Through in a few of our personal items like bikes, snow shovels, gardening tools, toys — well, you get the idea.  Did I mention it is a three car garage?  Of course, most of what my dad focused on was inventory.  He was surprised.  We walked through the laundry room into the kitchen and kids greeted us.  The kids and my parents talked for a couple of minutes, then I continued to walk around the house with my dad.  We’ve been here 17 years and we are well overdue for some new paint, new rugs, and a redo for the hardwood floors, which, even with his diminished eye sight, my dad noticed.

We walked out the front door and he had a look around the front and side yards, which our lawn guy had just taken care of the past week, so it looked nice.  All along the way, I was near my dad making sure he didn’t trip over a root of a tree or into a flower bed.  It seemed funny, because it is just like what Eliz or the kids do for me when we are out and about.  The difference being that I’ve already stumbled on the root or into the flower bed or hit my head on a low branch and know where not to walk…  As we headed back in the front door, I point out the small step onto the landing by the front door and then the step into the house.

Back inside, my dad wants a look upstairs.  We go up the front stairs since there is two small landings (the backstairs is one long run and I wouldn’t have been comfortable heading up that way.)  He looked in Jake’s room, then Jane’s, then our “guest” room.  It really isn’t for guests, but has an elliptical machine, exercise bike, and four drying racks where we dry most of our clothes.  He recognizes the bureau in there from our house in Wallingford.  When we get to our bedroom, my dad also recognizes the wall units in the sitting area, also from our house in Wallingford.  As we head back down the stairs, I want to stay close to my dad, but not too close where I might bump him or kick him (I have trouble judging distances and am constantly reaching further than I have to for door knobs, light switches, etc. and jamming my fingers.)  We make it down safely, then eat dinner.

After dinner, he wants a look in the basement.  There aren’t any handrails down those steps since we removed them to get some shelving down there.  I walk in front of my dad and go down backwards so I can tell him where the landings are.  I show him the inventory that we have there on one side of the basement, but not the 17 years of “stuff” on the other side.  Eliz has the inventory side pretty organized at this point and my dad is amazed how it looks like a little warehouse.

We head back up the stairs, my dad, then me.  Again, I’m close in case he stumbles.  My dad is 92 and a fall for him could be catastrophic.  I start thinking that me leading him around and trying to tell him about obstacles was like the blind leading the blind.  Literally.


What a Day

My day started off with Eliz telling me that we had water in the basement from the all the rain overnight.  While it’s not too big of a deal, it wasn’t the way I wanted to start the day.  We have been cleaning out our basement in preparation of bringing some inventory and all the documents, computer equipment, and office supplies from our business location, which we are vacating as soon as possible (more on that later.)  The water was coming in through two window areas, one of which looked like an aquarium, minus the fish of course.  Unless the water is coming up from under the window wells, we should be able to eliminate the problem by simply building up the slope along the outside of the wells and the wall.  There is a project for this weekend…

After a few minutes of looking around our basement, we get in the car and head to our business.  As we pull into the parking lot, Eliz notices water coming down in the vestibule.  As we open the door, water is pouring in and there is a good two inches on the floor of the vestibule.  With our heads down and mouths closed tightly, we enter the vestibule and hurry to the second door.  As we open that door, we are clear of the water pouring into the vestibule, but hear what sounds to be a couple of spigots running in the store.  Water is coming down all around the counter except on the counter with checkout terminal.  The glass showcase is wet, the storage containers are about half full of water, and the Coke box has water on it.

I head back to my office to check on the leak just outside my office door in the showroom.  The bucket is about half full, the floor is wet, and water is dripping on a table that was damaged by water last week.  As I peer into my office, I notice that the ceiling tile that had a six inch square wet mark on it after last week’s storms, now has a 12 inch by 15 inch wet spot.  Luckily, the tile is still able to absorb the water and none has dropped onto my desk or filing cabinet.  I had slid my computer and phone farther away from the danger zone Tuesday night before we left.

I grab my camera and begin to shoot video.  Eliz points out areas she thinks should be shot.  We both go into the warehouse together with the camera.  Water coming down the front wall and pooling in several places.  We also notice water coming down the side wall near the loading dock bay.  This is a first.  We then head back to where our cabinet shop (R.I.P.) was.  Water was dripping down the walls in at least half a dozen places, plus dripping down from the ceiling in another half dozen spots, including into our laminate bin.  I got it all recorded on video, in case we need it later.

Ginny helped us out and came out of retirement for a couple of hours so Eliz could take me to my cornea doc appointment, which is over on Presidential Boulevard in Bala Cynwyd.  We’re about halfway to the appointment when Ginny calls.  Seems that the lights have gone out in several areas of the showroom and store.  She’s tried the flipping the light switches off and on, but nothing happens.  Some lights still work and the computer hadn’t lost power, so we tell her to remain open if she feels it’s safe.

Once at the appointment, we wait awhile before i get called back.  It is not to see the doc, but to check my vision.  Eliz stays put in the waiting area because we’re told the room is small and I won’t be in there long.  The tech has me cover my left eye (the good one) and waves her hand in front of my face.  Nothing.  I told her if I looked up at the lights and she did that I could probably see it.  She agreed and I saw the brightness change as she waved her hand.  I then cover my right eye, why, I don’t know.  She puts up the big E on the screen.  I knew it was there.  Completely blind people know it is there.  Hell, even Wesley would know it was there when he was mostly dead.  Trouble is, I really couldn’t see it that well.  The tech then flips the pinholes down and I see it much better and can also read the next line (SL.)  She then asks if I can read the next line after that, which is the OPLB line (yes, I have it memorized down to 20/60.)  I always try to spot the corner of the L, but can’t distinguish any of the letters.  They all appear to be black marks.  I head back to the waiting room.

After I sign a couple of forms Eliz filled out and we wait a few minutes more, we are called back to the examination rooms.  Today, we’re in Pod 3.  We wait for a bit then Dr. Ayres comes in.  He has a look at my chart then gives me a look.  He says the cornea looks good and he that he doesn’t know why my vision has decreased to 20/400.  We discuss my options of getting some sight back.  There is only one he thinks could help.  That solution is removing the cataract in that eye.  That wasn’t the answer I wanted.  While removing a cataract isn’t usually that big a deal for most, it holds more risk for me.  Cataract surgery, as Dr. Ayres explained it, could wreck last years partial cornea transplant.  That would mean I’d have to have that all over again.  Also, any surgery could destabilize the eye and more glaucoma problems.  Dr. Ayers told me to think about it and talk to my other ophthalmologists about it.  I told him it isn’t something I could do in the next month or two because of the business, but after that we’d consider it.

After my appointment, we went across City Avenue to Starbucks.  I love the Apple Chi Infusion.  I only got a tall because if I gain any more weight my friends might throw me a baby shower.  Time to go back to the mess at 617A Grant Road.  About two minutes after we walk in the door, I get a call from Paul from CareOne.  CareOne is a senior community operator that has ordered salon equipment for two of their new communities in Jackson, NJ and Holmdel, NJ.  One of the pieces in today’s delivery was damaged in transit from Belvedere, the manufacturer.  Great.  I try to call Belvedere, but can’t even get an operator on the line.  Once I do, fifteen minutes later, I can’t get my rep, so I leave a voicemail.  I head out of my office and try to get the lights back on in the store.  A good customer is in shopping for his monthly order, so I put the lights on hold and grab a flashlight to help him in the dark areas.  He keeps telling me, “You ought to kick his ass,” referring to the landlord.  As Eliz starts to ring him up, I head to the electric panel.  I search for breakers that feel like they’re not on.  I find a couple and mess with them.  After a couple of minutes, the lights are on again!

After we closed at 6:00, we headed over to Crozer for my GP appointment.  She had ordered a blood test to check to see why I’ve been feeling less than 100% for a long time (since mid-summer.)  For some reason, all of the things she wanted to test for where not done, so I’ve got to have another blood test.  Hopefully, we can go before work on Friday.  I finish up at about 8:00 and head to Wing Hing in Brookhaven to pick up dinner.  We finally get home at 8:35 and eat.  Our long day is done.

I am pretty disappointed about needing the cataract surgery.  I honestly don’t believe it is the reason for my decreased vision.  I also don’t feel that removing it will get me to anything better than 20/200.  Is that better than I have now?  Absolutely.  Would I see well enough to throw a ball around or shoot hoops?  No.  I am starting to believe that this is just how it is supposed to be.