Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Deep Thoughts

These two consumed my life for a while (3 years to be exact). They still do but in a different way now.
Nothing had more of an impact on how I feel about losing my Nana than seeing the pictures with the kids. This one in particular because the three of us spent so much time together. Nana and Hailey spent a lot of time in that chair. Hailey would "read" to Nana and Nana would look at the pictures and ask her what everything was. All the kids adored her. Didn't we all? 

This is just a sample of the great grand children. I have been going back and forth with a cousin from Maine trying to keep track of this family. She had: 
11 grandchildren 14 great grand children and 11 great great grandchildren!  

Bernice A. Woodman
May 27, 1917 Kingston, Nova Scotia, Canada
October 5, 2014 Ramona, California, USA

AKA Nana
AKA Bunny
AKA Auntie Bernice
AKA Honey Bunny

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Nana 2014

I went through her stuff today. It was difficult. I have attempted it a few times in the past 18 months. I tried this morning and walked away from it. I went to see her and brought a few of her favorite shirts. I called my dad. Then I came back home and started in on it again. I've packed what I feel I can part with. It's ready to go out into the world and be part of someone else's life. I stored some stuff in my closet that I cannot part with yet. Chris, Casie or Hailey might have to deal with it someday, lol.

She will most likely be moving soon (again). She's... we've been very happy with her stay at Ramona Senior Manor. Tough part is the money is running out and she needs to be moved to a place that will take MediCal. She's been approved now we just have to wait for a bed. This will not be an easy move since the care won't be as good.

Feb 5, 2013 Nana most likely suffered a stroke. She spent 4 days in Pomerado Hospital.
Feb 8, 2013 Nana was moved to a Skilled Nursing Facility in Escondido and stayed for about a month. They tried to get he to walk again and feed herself.
March 4, 2013 Nana moved to Grace Manor in Poway.
May 10, 2013 Nana moved to Ramona Senior Manor.
June 2013 Nana was put on hospice care.

It's difficult to go and see her now. I used to go almost every day. Since January when life got busy again I was lucky to see her once a week. Now I force myself to go. She's lost a lot of weight and she sleeps most of the time. I know she is well taken care of. The move to another facility will put her at least 30 mins away. She never wanted to live like this. I sometimes wish and I tell her in my mind that it's ok to go now. She's done her job here and she can leave us. I just don't want her to be anywhere else living just an existence. I fear the worst for her care and I know she will go down hill fast. I don't want her to go like that. If she could just go now peacefully and happy since she is so cared for and loved by the people she has been around for more than a year. Maybe I'm being selfish but I know she didn't want to live like this.

Monday, August 27, 2012


Sometime in the night on August 5th Nana fell to the floor in her living room. She spent the night there. She didn't have her alert pendant on. Luckily someone was scheduled to check in on her in the morning and bring her medication. The staff worked quickly to get her cleaned up and dressed and assessed there were no injuries. Dad was called and brought up to speed on what was going on. She was later brought down to lunch where she admitted to not knowing what to do and not knowing how to eat. Obviously her night on the floor left her disoriented. Dad had e-mailed all of us to let us know what was going on. He got a call a couple of hours later and they let him know she was very confused and they had moved her to the 2nd floor to keep a better eye on her.

Later that afternoon (Mon) Darryl and I went down to see for ourselves how she was doing. She was very confused and her mobility had been limited to a wheel chair. We checked on her apartment and saw the room she would be staying in. We brought her into the dining room on the 2nd floor where I urged her to sit with 3 other ladies. Introductions were made and she made a meal decision and we left.

Dad went down to see her on Tuesday. He got to see how she was getting along and we later met for dinner to discuss Nana and how we all felt. Chris and the kids joined us. We ate at Bite of Boston, a new place that has whole belly fried clams. I think we were all kind of in a state of shock coming to terms with Nana getting slower and possibly having to stay on the 2nd floor.

The 2nd floor is an assisted living situation and most of the residents have a genuine fear of having to live there. It's not quite a hospital room environment but it smells like one. There are caregivers there that assist with everything including getting out of bed in the morning, getting dressed, going to the bathroom, getting you to activities and meals and getting you ready for bed. The fear stems from giving up their independence. If you are strong enough mentally and physically you can basically go about your day but if you really have a need to get where you are going you are pretty much stationed on the 2nd floor and can't go anywhere else unless someone can take you.

Wednesday Hailey and I went and had lunch with Nana which meant she got to eat in the dining room on the first floor. Her friends were glad to see her and were genuinely concerned since she was traveling by wheel chair. She was doing a little better but still having trouble finding most words to have a steady conversation.

It was decided on Tuesday the 14th that Nana would be staying on the 2nd floor. She would stay in the apartment she was in but move to the other room because it was bigger. There is a chance that sometime in the future she could have a roommate. This is very upsetting to her. They would be sharing a bathroom and kitchenette area. The people at Redwood are working with us and are very understanding of Nana's needs and will not place anyone there if they can help it. I had lunch with Nana on Wednesday and I did some measuring to see how things would fit. I sat with her for about an hour and just listened to her talk. I felt compelled to record her at one point and did so for about 30 mins. I think there were several topics strung together throughout. Dad spent a lot of time packing and moving things Thursday. We were all there on Friday to assist with the big move. Her bed a dresser and all of her lamps, desk, TV, chair and viewer were brought up. Dad unpacked the kitchen and I did all of her clothes and desk stuff. Darryl did the running back and forth making sure we had everything she needed. I made some bold, less is more decisions, hoping that out of sight would mean out of mind. Just keeping everything for clothing that she is used to having around. So far so good.

Eric, Yolanda and the kids came down on Saturday and were able to visit with her for a bit. (Which she is still talking about) They were able to give us insight as to how she felt the move went. Of course she was upset. Enough said. (except to say that I had winter and summer clothing mixed together, how dare I?)

Eric, Yolanda, Dad and the kids stopped in again on Tuesday on their way back from Mexico. Nana was trying to walk again. The walker had been brought up!

Hailey and I went to see her on Wednesday for lunch. She was walking with her walker, but very slowly. The slowest ever. We made it to the 1st floor for lunch and she got to visit with some friends she hand't seen in a while. We had a good visit. We also got to see a lady steal food from the cafeteria. She was told she couldn't take food at lunch since it's a buffet and you can eat as much as you want. She wrapped up her muffin and blueberry pie and stowed it in her walker anyway and high tailed it out of there. Well, as fast as you can go on a four wheeled walker with a folding seat.

Today I went to pack the remaining things from her kitchen and living room that need to be moved back to Dads. Not much left to move but Darryl and Ken are going to move it all with the box truck tomorrow. I was able to have lunch with her today and reassure her that some other things were getting taken care of. She did get pretty upset today when I told her she couldn't have her computer chair back. (It does't have arms and it wobbles because we had to take the wheels off) She even teared up at one point. So hard to give up your independence and be told what you can and can't do.

For the most part I think she's getting better and will have a pretty good time on the 2nd floor. She has a lot less to worry about and she's getting to all of her activities on time. She was walking much better today and I told her she seemed faster. Someone else told her they thought she was standing up straighter.

Now you are up to speed regarding Nana.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Today was a good day. Got up around 7am after a semi-restless night's sleep. There was a small earth quake at 3:28am and I couldn't get back to sleep until after 4:30. Went for a hike to Cedar Creek with Darryl, Scott and Mike as well as Molly and Bandit. Dino didn't get to go. He just had a bath and there's a baby on the way. We went to work after that.

We stopped in to see Nanni on the way down to Bonita. She had her evaluation for a Board and Care on Monday and should be moving there on Wednesday. She seemed tired and had trouble talking (she has a cold), but she seemed to be doing well.

Today marks the first Monday we didn't have to go to Poway to check on the store. It felt eerily weird. There was no second box of things to bring from Bonita.

I was going through some old ramblings from October and thought I'd share them here. I do mean rambling. This has been quite the roller coaster ride trying to decide if we should close the Poway store and be able to maintain business as usual. Please keep that in mind while you read the rest of this.

It's called Death of a Friend

I should have gone for a run this morning, but every move I make feels like I’m gasping for breath.

I started running again in October 2009. 20 years after I stopped. I felt I needed to do something about my waistline and my peace of mind. Things have been failing for a while and I felt if I could just have control of one thing. It would make my body and mind feel better.

I started Jazzercise in August of 2010. Not my thing and totally out of character for me. Brenda, my neighbor is a good friend and talked me into it. It’s a good workout.

This has been one of the most stressful things I have gone through in my life. I have had anxiety before, but nothing compares to the dread and feeling of not knowing what comes next…

Dream’s dying is like a part of you being ripped from your body. Reading someone else's positive quotes is a jolt. It wakes you up and then throws you down on the pavement, helping you to remember that everything around you is falling apart. Like you’re being flushed down a toilet and there’s no way of grasping at the sides to save yourself.

You feel like the world and everyone in it is out to get you. Like everyone wants you to fail. Every little thing is magnified, from the smallest bill to the largest. They are all LARGE at the moment.

There are moments when everything feels like it’s going to be ok. It’s the moments when you forget what turmoil you are truly in. You feel happy and carefree for a while, and then reality sets in. There’s work to be done, a deadline to meet, a phone call to answer.

You try to be nice, but people are people. They just can’t seem to get out of their own way. Why can’t I get past the fact that no one reads, no one comprehends, no one wants to do it themselves. They want to be told what to do. I’m not a salesman. I’m just a person that loves what I do and wants them to love it too. Why can’t you listen to me when I’m talking? You asked me, I’m answering you and you’re also answering yourself. Why did you call me?

I love waking up when I want. I still wake up earlier than most people. I love morning. I love getting a workout over at the beginning of a day. It sets you up for the rest of the day. You’re awake and alive! It just feels good. I don’t want someone to tell me I have to get up and be somewhere at a certain time. That takes the magic away, seeing the sun rise, seeing the sun set on your own time, that’s priceless. Spending time with the ones you love, being able to reach out and touch them whenever you want, that’s priceless.

Telling friends and family you may have failed. GUT WRENCHING! You’ve tried everything, put off stuff, cut back, and sacrificed, to no avail. The economy has drained everything. You feel like you may was well be taking your last breaths.

It feels like majority in this case does not rule. We are the innocent bystanders in this terrible accident that we may or may not have helped to create, but are nonetheless the victims.

I am in my 40’s and looking for a job. Is this the way things are supposed to go? Shouldn’t I be looking forward to retirement? Not looking at where I might be able to get money to pay my next mortgage? We did the right thing. We paid our debt down, only had one open credit card, and didn’t keep a lot open to chance. Is that why we survived longer then some?

It’s easy to point a finger. Blame someone else for your problems. Is this really our fault? Did we keep interest rates low? Did we keep 0% financing on the table too long and offer it to too many? Did we fix the numbers when things were starting to look bleak? Hindsight is 20/20, but those of us in the expendable cash industry saw this coming two years before the government would let anyone else see it. The banks should have been punished, not given a bail out. They should have been held accountable for throwing not only this country, but the world into financial turmoil. Lending money to people who are high risk is their fault. They were supposed to be the educated ones. They were supposed to keep us safe from ourselves.

We did the right thing and now we are screwed. Who’s going to bail us out? We are! We don’t want your hand out! We want a hand up though. Give me a hand; help me up while I’m down here drowning in your cesspool of lies and corruption. We don’t want to drown in your filth. We want to be able to rise up and swim over it into our own new world. Free of your greed and hatred toward those that can do things the right way. Get out of my way! We want to live again! We want to live again!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Sad Day x 2

Today Darryl, Brian and I cleared out the Poway store. We took all the merchandise out and spread it to El Cajon and Bonita. It only took an hour and a half to pack it up. It took 3 hours after that to sort it all out. We are going to get creative at Bonita with the back wall. Look out South Bay you are going to have some killer air soft and tactical gear. El Cajon got a bunch of new stuff too and the guys (Zach and Curtis) were working hard to rearrange things up front and organize the gear a little better. It was weird to pull into the parking lot at Poway at the end of the day and see the store so empty.

The fixtures and pictures at Poway will be taken down tonight. Art and Joe will be doing the heavy lifting. The pictures will be put up at El Cajon and if you would like any, Brian and I are sorting them out, so let us know.

When we got home we had a call from Jen, Darryl's sister. There was a meeting with the care staff where Nanni is and things are not improving. Nanni will need full time long term care. Uncle Billy will be flying out on Monday. This is such a sad time right now. It is hard for all of us to come to terms with how Nanni is doing and what she needs.

Nanni is on the left, Nana on the right
This is from Thanksgiving.

Nana talked to Uncle Jim today and he suggested she talk to the nurses on the 2nd floor (Skilled Nursing/Assisted Living) There might be a meeting tomorrow to discuss her doing exercising or other things she can do to keep her going. Updates later...

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Sad Day


Today is a sad day. We will be closing one of our stores this weekend. We tried to stick it out through this recession. Which by no means is over no matter what media and economists say. Just because the bank bail out worked for the government doesn’t mean it worked for the people of this country. Just because the numbers “look good” doesn’t mean things are good. A great number and growing number of people are still out of work. I would like to know why they think “90,000 people back to work every month in the private sector” is so significant. Maybe because they like to throw numbers around and make them sound important.

We have three stores and a park where people play paintball. For over 2 years now the park has been holding everything together. It can no longer withstand the amount of debt the three stores pile onto it. It has been a tough decision. It effects more than us. It affects our employees and their families. Some of these guys have been with us for so long they are like part of our family. We know they have seen it coming. They are the ones working the sales and seeing what little is coming in.

So today we had to tell Brian that his last day at Poway is Friday. We of course discussed keeping him on at one of the other stores and giving him jobs at the field when they are available. It’s just not enough. He was our biggest concern when deciding all of this. He’s one of our best employees. He’s very reliable and we rely on him a lot. He took on a lot of responsibility at the store and took much of the burden of running it off our shoulders. We waited so long to tell him so it wouldn’t ruin his Christmas. We were also hoping for a miracle that never came.

Why do people claim they want good service, but continue to shop for the best price and turn away from the best service? We actually offer better prices and better service than they can find elsewhere as well as other incentives to buying our products. We’ve used all social media possible to make sure they know this, but people still think they are getting a better deal at box stores. Then they whine about having to pay us to fix their problem marker or install accessories because the box store has no actual knowledge of the product they sold them. At least they sought us out and we get to educate another person on quality and performance. Hopefully they stick with us and can afford to continue playing.

We’ve lost many players to the economy. They themselves losing jobs and having to cut back. Entertainment is the first thing to go when you are trying to save money. I know this first hand. We haven’t taken a real vacation in over 6 years. That was our entertainment. Whatever time off we could get was spent traveling. The most traveling we do now is to Yosemite once a year and this year it might not happen. Keeping our house would be sweet victory through this economic downturn. We’re not big spenders as it is. We never went for extravagance. Maybe that’s why we lasted so long. It’s almost like we can see the light at the end of the tunnel, if we can just make it a little further, things will be ok.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

What's it going to take?

Every other month or so we have to sit on the phone and give feedback to manufacturer/distributor's in the industry. We tell them again and again what works and what doesn't and what we think needs to improve. We've been dead on with predicting what's going to happen when things aren't ethically business savvy. Yet, even though these people ask our opinion they don't listen or they react to slowly to the problem.

We sat down in September with some retailers and the BIG BOSS of a major manufacturer/distributor so they could get a feel for how we felt about how things were going and what they could do to help. Since then we feel as if it was a meeting to justify what they already knew and went ahead and gave the box stores more product to sell. They also gave the box stores space on the website we had to BEG for even though we've been doing business with them for over 16 years.

In the last 2 months we've seen the box stores selling paintballs for $30/case that are knockoffs of brands we sell at $50 and $60 per case. While all along the same distributors want us to raise our per case price. Makes us think they don't understand how their tactics effect the entire industry. Once again it brings me back to the manufacturer/distributor not knowing who the customer is. Roughly 80% of the market right now is new players. They are going to shop for the most inexpensive way to play the sport whether or not the product is in fact good. Half of those people will quit playing after the 2nd or 3rd time because the cheap marker or the cheap paint they bought isn't working like they thought it would. The other half hopefully goes to a reputable field or store where the inconsistencies are explained to them and they get educated that you can't short cut your self on quality if you want to have a good time.

Retailers who specialize in paintball are getting the shaft. We're the ones who can sell your product with complete confidence the customer knows what they bought as well as service your product if something should go wrong. Since 2005 manufacturers have taken retailers for granted. Not just the economy has played a roll in the dwindling numbers in paintball players. It's simple, if you sell something that has a specific niche, you need to support it. While box stores might be able to move a ton of product, is it reflective of the numbers actually playing and continuing to play the game?

Store/Field owners who actually care about staying in business and not just making a quick buck care about customer satisfaction and whether they come back to play or purchase. Just drawing people in should not be the end of the road. You need to nurture them. Give them a reason to come back or at least a reason to recommend a friend try it out. Growing the sport is the only way it will survive and become a legitimate sport/activity. The word is out, people know what paintball is or they have at least heard of it. Keep them coming.