Thankfully, we are now through the main construction season on most highways. Unfortunately, some of the construction on our interstates and even some of the secondary and state roads continue throughout the winter. It seems to be a never-ending battle to avoid construction jams and messes along the interstates in Ohio and West Virginia. Pennsylvania seems a little better than the other two states. In considering the great volume of trucks that travel along Interstates 70, 64 and 79 in this area, I must remind you again as I did in a previous blog that there are a number of items that you should be aware of.
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Last year my daughter Stacey was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. The bottom of my world literally dropped out from beneath me. The thoughts going through my head were many and varied. Why her? Why now? She's my baby girl. This is not real. She has children to care for. What do I do? What can I do? My initial horror of the thought of multiple sclerosis stems from my ex-husband's mother, Mary,* who died of some form of MS when she was 54. I remember it vividly. The horror of her life as she slipped away has been at the forefront of my mind since my daughter was diagnosed. Mary had to have a stomach tube put in because she could no longer swallow. She was totally bedridden because all of her muscle function was gone. She could not speak clearly and it was very difficult to understand her in the last year of her life because she no longer had control of her vocal cords. Although I come from a faith-filled family, I can't seem to stop the uncontrollable thoughts of how Mary died from passing through my mind when I think of my beautiful daughter, the mother of five children ranging in ages from 14 to 9. I keep telling myself that technology is so much better today than it was back then. I would feel better about that had Stacey been diagnosed in a timely manner. She was having different symptoms for different things and ended up having multiple surgeries before a definitive diagnosis was made. The terrible thing about MS is that it can mimic other diseases, so every other disease that Stacey may have had had to be ruled out first. The testing that had to be done was unimaginable.
On January 26, 2004, I began my employment with Bordas & Bordas. While I was very excited to have been given the opportunity, I was also unsure if I was making a good decision for my family at the time. I had an "almost" 4-year-old and a 7-month-old baby at home and hadn't worked since the birth of my second child, so I was certain that I didn't know what I was going to miss in their lives by going back to work. School would soon be starting for my oldest and with that came classroom parties, book fairs, plays and all of the other exciting school functions that young children participate in and can only hope that their parents are there with them to share. And then what happens when they get older and there are other more involved activities like after school games, fundraisers, concerts, musicals.....the list goes on.........would I be there for all of that? I knew a lot of parents that missed out on such events in their children's lives due to strict work demands.
Our mom talks to us about Otis the Dog, the big yellow Lab who used to live with us, on a daily basis. She misses Otis and Zoey, the Great Dane, very much. Otis is missed everywhere he used to roam, from the office to our home. Privately, we think he was Mom's favorite, even though she always tells us that she loves us just the same. She did have him with her the longest out of all of us. Plus, in his later years Otis was sick and needed a lot more attention from Mom than we ever did. We love and miss Otis the Dog very much-- Mom says she only hopes we turn out to be as good of a dog as he was. I've been hanging around the Bordas & Bordas office for about three years now, and only got to know Otis for a short time when I was a puppy. Zoey mothered me, but Otis barely tolerated me. In my defense, I was a puppy, and it wasn't my fault that it was so hard to behave myself around him. Otis was a strong and handsome yellow lab-you can still see him in our picture of the whole office on the web page. He was with Bordas & Bordas for eleven and half years when he went to cross the rainbow bridge to see his friend Zoey, who left us just five weeks before that.
Every year on March 17, millions of people across the country celebrate St. Patrick's Day. They wear the green, throw back their beers, and claim to be Irish whether they really are or not. Throughout my life, I have joined right in. I guess in part that is because of my heritage with my ancestors, who had last names such as Haggerty, Finnegan, and Gainer. In some ways, it is largely because I attended the University of Notre Dame for seven years, where it is nearly impossible to not feel Irish. But, most of all, it is probably for the same reason as most people --- St. Patrick's Day at its core is just downright a lot of fun.
Despite the comprehensive laws and regulations that are supposed to protect residents of our nursing homes, too many times things go wrong. There is a financial incentive for nursing homes and the companies that run them to cut corners by hiring too few staff members and underpaying the staff members who do work there. For these and other reasons, the quality of care received by residents of nursing homes falls short of the standard. Although the injuries suffered by the victims of such abuses can take many forms, dehydration, pressure sores, infections, choking, elopement, and falls are some of the more preventable and serious injuries that we see. In particularly tragic cases, nursing home residents may not survive their injuries. To be clear, each and every nursing home has an obligation to provide quality care to every resident in the facility. It is not the fault of the resident or the resident's family when the nursing home falls short of these standards. However, there are some things that we can do to help make sure that nursing homes live up to their obligations. The federal government has published some useful information that may assist you in selecting or evaluating a nursing home. Those resources can be found here: http://www.medicare.gov/nursing/overview.asp . The most important part may be to trust your instincts and ask questions. I realize that depending on each individual circumstance, frequently visiting your relative in the nursing home may be difficult. However, the personal involvement of the family at the home can be very important.
A gigantic gas explosion in Adair County, Kentucky occurred this past February 13 th . The explosion was so massive that a crater 60 feet deep was left behind. Two homes were totally destroyed and two people were hospitalized as a result. The explosion has brought attention to a significant safety problem affecting all of America, that is particularly serious in the Ohio Valley and its communities in Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania. The public is only now learning that the federal regulating agency for gas pipelines only has approximately 100 inspectors to handle 300,000 miles of natural gas pipelines in the United States.
We interact with them on an almost daily basis. They can make or break our dining out experience. Often times, they will recognize you as a regular customer and know what you want before taking your order. At the end of your meal, you leave a "tip" for great service. Have you ever wondered what happens to these tips, or realized that your tip may be your waitress's primary form of compensation for a job well done? More often than not, the waiters and waitresses in our favorite restaurants must rely on the tips left by their customers because their paid wage may be as low as $2.13 per hour. Under the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act ["FLSA"}, 29 U.S.C. 201, et seq. , an employer may take a "tip credit" and pay its waiters and waitresses a mere $2.13 per hour in direct wages, unless applicable state law requires a higher amount. As exemplified by a recent Department of Labor investigation and action against Philadelphia sports bar and restaurant chain Chickie's & Pete's, restaurants often abuse the FLSA's "tipped employee" provisions and ignore other statutory provisions which require additional wages be paid to tipped employees.
The massive, deadly gas explosion in New York City continues a trend that becomes more disturbing every day. Aging infrastructure and a persistent failure of gas utilities to inspect, evalutate and maintain their lines are causing lethal explosions across the country. Grieving residents of East Harlem are now just another community left devastated by neglect of the critical safety rules that would allow gas to be a safe, cheap and efficient rule, if companies could only be influenced to follow them.
The sun will come out tomorrow. Remember Annie ? I watched the motion picture countless times as a child. Whether or not you like the show, the reality is still true. Whatever your circumstances are today, they are most likely to change tomorrow. Things in my life the past year have not turned out exactly the way I would have chosen them to have turned out. For various reasons, the past twelve months have been some of the most challenging yet transformative months of my life. There have been times when I have been extraordinarily happy. I have also experienced times when I wasn't so happy and it was difficult to understand why the situation was turning out the way it was. Despite these difficulties, I have changed into a different person than I would have been if I had not been allowed to live through some of these circumstances. I'm sure you can attest to the same things.