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A different anniversary

September 12, 2016

As of today, I have been married for 24 years.  Twenty Four.  TWENTY FOUR!  Good golly, that is a long time, and I don’t feel much older than 24, so.  It’s weird.  IT IS.

We went out to a fancy dinner last night and today we have barely seen each other.  I had to take Sarah to school early, and then my taxi job filled my evening.

Last night we talked for a couple minutes about what life would be like when we are empty nesters.  I can’t even imagine it.  Seriously.  I want my chicks in the nest.  I can hardly remember life without them.  We were married for nine years before we had children, so you would think that I would be able to picture it, but I can’t.

Here is what I love the most about my husband:  When he lets his guard down, he is probably the most compassionate person I have ever met.  And, he is funny.  He makes me laugh.  Also, when my dad was on his journey last year?  He was THE most awesome support ever.  I am so lucky.

Now, I have some grading that needs attention!  xo

Almost Bed Time

September 11, 2016

Everyone else has ascended the stairs.  Each in their own rooms.  Some lights, I’m sure, are still aglow.  Some are extinguished.

I am sitting alone.  Feet up on the ottoman, computer in my lap.

It is quiet, save for the tapping of my fingers on the keyboard.

Someone left the light on in the family room.

I have two lamps alighting my work in here.

It is quiet, save for the tapping of my fingers on the keyboard.

I feel the weight of darkness slip in from outside and settle on my shoulders.

My eyelids are relaxing.  I yawn intermittently.

Someone is finally getting into bed, their footsteps loud against the quiet.  I wish them still.

I can feel the pull of my own bed, my smooth purple sheets, my cool, soft pillow.

I still have work to finish before my slumber.

I wonder how long it will take?

My wish for you:  Sleep well.

Good night.

On balance

September 10, 2016

It should read “On balance“but I couldn’t get the strike through to work…

I am procrastinating right now.  Have you ever seen this?

It makes me laugh every single time, because I have that damn monkey in my head.  This post is my case in point.

An illustration:  I have been telling myself that I need to to laundry for about two weeks.  (Could be longer, but that’s just embarrassing.)  Yesterday I wore a skirt that “looked okay” when I put it on and about half way to work I understood why it was NOT okay.  Oh, well.  I lived through it.  Now.  One would think that as soon as I got home, a load of laundry would be happily splish-splashing it’s way to being hung up in my closet.  Or at the very least, the first thing this morning…  It is 1:45.  PM.  No laundry.

HOWEVER:  The guy who has been slotted to fix my dishwasher has been waiting for a part for a long time, and it came in last week sometime.  I texted him last night to see if he could come this morning.  He texted me at 9:20 that he would be here at 10:00.  I washed all the dishes in the dishwasher by hand, cleaned the kitchen, and took a shower…I was ready when he rang the doorbell.  All of the kitchen NEEDED (desperately) to be cleaned, but wasn’t yet on the nonexistent list.  And now it is done!  And my kitchen is all sparkly!

I also said to myself that the stack of 50 papers needed to be done before I got out of bed.  Well.  I had to clean the kitchen.  And after the guy left, I watched Youtube videos for a while and ate lunch and read some blogs and checked my email and decided to write a post instead.

I get frustrated with myself.

So the papers are next to me.  It is a glorious fall day.  The windows are open.  And I. don’t. want. to.

I have hundreds of more papers on the floor.  Those 50 are just my first job.  I should really put in a load of laundry too.

 

A most embarrassing moment

September 7, 2016

It was the end of fall semester, and snowy.  I was a sophomore in college.  I had finished my finals and was ready to sell my textbooks back to get some extra Christmas money.  The sell-back place was in the basement, and there was one narrow staircase to go down in order to get there.

Did I mention that it was snowing?

The stairs were steep and covered with black rubber matting.

And it was snowing.

I embarked on the decline, arms loaded with large textbooks.

And

Down

I

Fell.

It was spectacular.  The sound alone:  thud, thud, thuudddd, thud, THUNK.  And, since it was the end of the semester?  EVERYONE was at the bottom of the stairs.

“ARE YOU OKAY?”

People rushed at me.  I jumped up and acted like I didn’t just fall down very hard, steep stairs.  “I’m fine!  No, really, I am just fine!”

I sold my books without limping or crying or anything.  That could wait until I was back in my dorm room.

*

So, today I had my Fast Track Class.  I team teach this course with my friend, Jan.  We have dumped our two classes together, so we have 50 students.  They seem to ALL need to talk to us after class, and we are always running late to our next classes.  We are both in the same building across campus.

Today we had to take the tunnels because it was raining, so we were even later, because we usually can take a short cut outside.

So.  We were rushing.

I had many bags and my arms were full of books.

We were entering the building where our classes meet and…

SWOOOOOP!

I was on the floor.

People were rushing at me.

“ARE YOU OKAY?”

I got up and said quickly, “Yes, I’m FINE, really, I’m fine!”

Someone had spilled what looked like a whole bottle of Gaterade on the tile floor.  I was wet because I landed in the puddle.

I went to class.  I entered and told the class that I had fallen and that Josh, my Supplemental Instructor, would hand out the quiz while I went to dry off and assess the damage.

I knew my elbow hurt.  I landed on it.

Yep.  My whole elbow was split and was bleeding.  I tidied up with toilet paper, found some instructor’s offices, asked the nice man at the desk if he had a bandaid so I wouldn’t bleed all over my clothes, and went back to class.

Falling in public.  So awful.  And, YES.  My elbow still hurts. A lot!  Haha!

Anniversary.

September 5, 2016

So, I have been writing this post in my head all week…but I have not figured out a good way to begin.  I guess I just have to dive right in the deep end, even though it isn’t at all the way I want to begin.

A year ago, today, my dad passed away.

My dad had Lewie Body Dementia.  He was having trouble with his Parkinson’s symptoms more so than the dementia, however, he definitely had his moments when he was off his rocker and in a world of his own.  He was still lucid though.  He still knew who everybody was and could talk about current events and could remember things that were happening.

Every day since Tuesday I have been trying to remember what happened on that day.  A week of anniversaries.

I didn’t write at all during this time last year.  Everything was just too much.  And now, I regret that .  I wish I had recorded that last conversation.  I wish I could remember the exact words.  Here is what I can remember:

8/30:  I get the call that my dad is sick, and I go to my parents’ apartment.  It is decided that we will call the ambulance and take him to the closest hospital.  He is admitted.  We have no diagnosis.

8/31:  I go to work.  It is the second week of the semester.  After work I speed to the hospital and hang out with my mom and sister.  My dad is talkative and accuses me of not voting for him.  I tell him that of course I voted for him and he says, “Well, then I mistreated you.”  I tell him to be nice.  We also have a normal conversation, but I can’t remember it at all.  Still no diagnosis.

9/1:  I go to work.  Diagnosis:  Congestive heart failure.  He had a valve replaced with a bovine valve several years before and now it is leaking.  He wouldn’t understand surgery, and open heart surgery is invasive and painful.  We opt not to do surgery.  We decide hospice is the best choice.  After work, I speed home to bake cookies.  It is the first day of school, and it is my tradition for my kids.  I race to the hospital  when I am done and hang out with my mom and sister.  I stay after they leave and Jeff joins me.  We hang out with my dad.  He is really talkative.  He isn’t really making sense, but he is entertaining.  There is something about hamburgers running a machine?  It was a fun night.  I am so grateful for it.

9/2:  I go to work.  I race to the hospital after work.  He is moved to N.C. Little Hospice in time for dinner.  I get there way before he does, and the nurses show me around.  I ask what the average stay is…they answer:  three days.  I am shocked.  I assume we have weeks to go on this journey.  I have class, so I meet him there and make sure he is comfortable and dash back home to get on the computer for class.  My sister stays with him and eats dinner with him.  I know she is grateful for this time.  She encouraged him to have some mashed potatoes, “I don’t care for potatoes,” he said.

He shocks the hospice nurses in the middle of the night by getting out of his bed and asking for them to show him to the bathroom.  We still don’t know how he got out.  The bed rails were up, and his mobility was limited.

9/3:  I go to work.  I speed to N.C. Little.  I get there to find my dad in a very different state than I had left him. He is awake -ish, and dozing.  He is trying to talk but very hard to understand.  My kids and Jeff are coming to eat dinner.  I thought we would be eating with him, but it is obvious that he won’t be eating.  I can’t remember if he had been awake in the morning when my mom arrived, or if he had slept most of the day.  I think he was out of it most of the day, though.  I remember thinking that it must be because he had been up at night.  Denial is strong.

My family still comes to eat.  We sit with my dad, and then the kids go into the basement to play a little.  My dad tries to talk a little.  He definitely perks up when the kids are in the room, but he is still hard to understand and still looks like he is struggling.  We decide to go get some food, and Sarah hangs back.  She tells me she wants some time alone with Grandpa.  The rest of us go get our food.  Once everyone is settled, I go to check on Sarah.  She leaves his room and bursts into tears.  He had his “moment of clarity” with her.  He sat up and asked her if she would be alright without him.  He told her he was leaving soon, maybe on Saturday [which was accurate].  He was going to see his mother and his Grandpa Chris.  He was going to read books when he got there.  Sarah was a wreck.  After several conversations, she was grateful that he told her.

9/4:  I go to work.  I speed to N.C. Little.  I get there to see a sleeping father.  He doesn’t wake up while I am there.  I sit and talk to him, but I can’t remember what I said.  I have dinner plans with my in-laws.  They have no idea what is going on, and I don’t really want to tell them.  It is too close.  It is too hard.  It is too much.  I check with the nurses to see if it is safe to leave.  I don’t want my dad to die alone.  They assure me it is fine, and they have my cell number if anything changes.  I go to dinner and pretend to be normal.

Jeff comes back to N.C. Little with me.  We find a nurse sitting with my dad.  She had been sitting with him since I left.  She knew I didn’t want him to be alone.  I am awed.  So grateful.  We sit with my dad until 10:00-ish.  Jeff leaves to go home.  I stay for another hour.  I don’t want to leave.  The nurses come in to ask if I am sleeping there.  I show my ambivalence and reluctance.  They tell me to go home.  They will watch him.  They will call me if anything changes.  I am grateful.  I want to sleep in my bed, they helped illeviate my guilt.

9/5:  I get up early and pack my grading.  I am at N.C. Little around 7:00-ish.  My dad’s breathing is awful.  It sounds like he is drowning.  I am upset.  I sit with him for several hours, talking and grading, but mostly not grading.  The nurses come in late morning to give him a bath.  I am weepy, and the nurse hugs me.  I tell them how awful it is to witness him drowning, and they quickly correct me.  The breathing is not because his lungs are filling with fluid (congestive heart failure) but it is the “death rattle.”  This is oddly reassuring to me.  I thought he was struggling, but evidently this even occurs with people who are concious that are approaching death.  The nurse tells me she has asked patients if the “death rattle” bothers them and they have said no.  This helps my composure.  My mom arrives.  We sit with him.  A therapy dog comes to visit.  The dog is disinterested.  The owner says something like “Dogs can tell when there isn’t any response.”  My sister arrives.  We decide to eat lunch.  The social worker comes at lunch time and gives me books about death to give to my kids.  We chat and linger in the living room.  Finally I decide I need to go back in to my dad’s room.

The rest I will save for my notebook.  My mom and sister and I were all there when my dad passed away.  I am so grateful that I was there.

 

I really can’t believe it has been a year.

A Busy Sunday

September 4, 2016

I woke up this morning at 5:30.  Since I am old, sometimes sleeping makes me sore, so I went downstairs to get some Advil.  Of course, Franklin needed to get up because I was up.  I don’t really understand this cause and effect.  Literally anyone else can get up and he doesn’t care.  But if I get up–well then everybody needs to be up.  It is annoying.  I took him outside and then brought him back to bed with me (he usually sleeps with Sarah).  I was pretty much waiting for Jeff to get up so I could get some work done, but instead I fell back to sleep!  I slept until 9:00!  (That is really late for me.)  So, that put me behind.  I had to go grocery shopping, make potato salad, clean up the house, and take the kids school clothes shopping before taking Sarah to Choir at 3:00.  Jeff’s dad was coming to dinner.

I got everything done.  Whew.  I had about 10 minutes to spare.

Jeff got up early and tended the brisket in the smoker all day, and then made “beer can chicken” to boot.  Dinner was delicious.

Jeff’s dad stayed later than usual talking, so I just sat down because we had some cleaning up to do once he left.

I am tired, but it is a good tired.  I have a stack of work I am going to try to get through tonight.  I hope I can find some motivation.  Then I have another stack for tomorrow.  I have forgotten how much I hate grading papers.  It sucks.  However, I have some fun things to read, so once I get started I know I will be interested.  I am grateful for that!

Tomorrow we go to my sister’s house for Labor day.  I will have to prepare fruit before we go.  I am so blessed with a full life and a loving family.  Grateful.

I hope your weekend has been as wonderful as mine! xo

Today

September 3, 2016

Today I woke up and read things for fun.

Today I didn’t leave my bedroom until after noon.

Today I got a little work done–things crossed off my list.

Today I talked to a good friend on the phone for longer than I should have.

Today I went to a movie with my family–the new Ghost Busters!

Today after the movie everyone scattered, and I had the evening alone.

Today they found Jacob Wetterling’s body.

Today I opened my door to a 13 year old boy who was dropped off in my neighborhood to sell candy for a cause that is not known.  I googled it.  Nothing.

****

He rang my doorbell as I was watching the clip about Jacob Wetterling.  I asked him who dropped him off at 7:00 at night in a strange neighborhood.  I asked him if he was okay.  I worry so much about these kids.  But what can I do?  I don’t want to get him in trouble.  And he is alone.  And he is vulnerable.  Gah.  He was such a cute kid.

Today my heart is broken.  For Jacob.  I was 19 when he was taken.  I remember clearly.  The whole state was praying for him to be found.  Everyone was keeping an eye out.  Patty Wetterling became an advocate for missing children.  Because of her, we have a national registry of people who have a history abusing children.  Because of her we have “Amber Alerts” that puts the public on the look out for missing children as soon as it is found out that they have been taken.  When we were at Target a couple of weeks ago buying school supplies, all of a sudden there were alarms coming from everyone’s phones–Amber Alert.  That ended in tragedy as well.  A seven year old girl.

Today I am worried about that 13 year old boy who came to my door.  I worry that he is alone.  He is from North Minneapolis.  That is not close to here.  I hope he is okay.