Saturday, June 20, 2015

getting outahere

When we started the remodel and other changes around here a few months ago, I knew there was going to come a point when we would need to get away for a few days and that point would coincide with the near completion of the remodel project so Jack would be ready for a break and feel able to leave.

My thought was that intersection of points would be around Jack's birthday, June 19.

I was so right. 

And so smart because I planned a couple of trips for his birthday, one over the past few days and one coming up in mid-July. 

Last Wednesday night, we decided to go to the movies.  We chose Jurassic World with the understanding that we don't require much from a movie to pronounce it a good movie.  It must be entertaining (either lots of action or a good story or if lucky, both), and it must distract us for a couple of hours, keep us from thinking about the current events.

With that criteria in mind, Jack's review of Jurassic World was that it was okay.  He thought it was a repeat of Jurassic Park, and with the exception of a scene between the brothers wherein one brother announces his intent to always take care of his brother (which, obviously was a tender moment for Jack), so except for that scene, it took Jack's mind off of work, the remodel, and other stuff he is trying to deal with.

My review would be that it had lots of dinosaur fighting and was similar to the original Jurassic except lots more people were attacked and eaten by the dinosaurs and we didn't get a chance to meet and care about or hate all of them.  So, it entertained and distracted us for a couple of hours.

Also, for Jr's sake, I'll point out that there were several youngsters at the showing we attended.  So, I'm obviously not the only mom who agrees to take a three-year-old to see a scary show about dinosaurs that eat people when he begs to go.  Those kids were crying throughout the movie though, unlike Jr, who fell asleep right at the start of Jurassic Park and didn't wake up until the last scene. Still.  I do feel a bit guilty about that, Jr.

Thursday morning we packed up the truck and headed to Durango, Colorado, to ride the narrow gauge steam engine from Durango to Silverton on Friday, because I figured Jack loves trains and would love a chance to ride a train from the 1800's, right?  My boss suggested we drive over to Grand Junction and then south through Ouray, Silverton and into Durango.  We got a late start, so the last hour or so of the drive was in the dark, through mountains that are filled to capacity with deer.  It was intense.  But the views for the two hours before the scary deer-filled hours were so beautiful.  But the deer.  So grateful none of them needed to cross the road directly in front of our truck.

Jack seemed to enjoy the train and the ride up the canyon to Silverado.

Sooo close to the rock walls of the canyon...I tried to get a shot of the incredible view of the river from the cliffs the train track is on, but my phone couldn't adequately capture it.  Trust me.  It was--well, awesome.  Awe inspiring.  Incredible.

Today we got up and headed to Mesa Verde. 

The hike we chose included lots of steps and ladders.  We are clearly not in the excellent physical shape we thought.  It was hot and we were (or at least I was) winded at the end.

We both felt a bit conflicted at Mesa Verde--it was interesting to see, but the ranger pointed out that the crowds of visitors are causing compaction of the soil, which is causing damage to the structures.  We both wondered if we all shouldn't be satisfied to see it from a distance.  But it was very cool to see again--I'd gone as a kid with my family, both on the train and to Mesa Verde.  Both were new to Jack. 

So for Jack's birthday, two days of distractions, which may have been the best gift I could have given him this year.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

moving along

We are so close to settling into our new normal.

Jack's brother has almost unpacked all of his stuff and I'm going to take his empty boxes to the garage across the street for Stu to use when they move in over there.

Jack's dogs and our dogs are mostly getting along.  As long as there are no rawhide bones in the area that is part of their incredible dog sense of smell.  Rawhide bones are apparently worth fighting or tussling or at least arguing over.  Maybe they're dog kryptonite.  Like the dogs lose their sense of who they are and start bickering with everyone and everything and forget to--hello--listen--stop that nonsense. 

Everyone in the family has taken home the things they wanted that belonged to Jack's mom.  There was still a lot of stuff left and I just couldn't get myself to take it all to the DI even though that's what Jack and his sister thought we should do.  I wanted it all to go to someone who would love it and appreciate it like Jack's mom did.  So we had a yard sale yesterday, which is likely how and where Jack's mom got much of it, at estate sales and yard sales and garage sales.

As Ellie said, "It's my first yard sale I've ever had!"  Me too.  I've been to lots of yard sales but had never hosted one.  I knew I didn't want to barter or argue or have bad feelings about Jack's mom's things.  I wanted everything to go to new homes with people who felt good about what they got for what they paid.

And that is what happened.  We had waves and waves of buyers and almost everything was sold.  It was a lot of work--Shi and her mother haven't sat down for days--but it went well.

I know two things after having the yard sale.

1.  I was right to not want to take it all to the DI.  I couldn't stand the thought of pulling up with truckload after truckload and watching the people who work there throw it carelessly into bins.  It would have all been destroyed.  That was proven out to me when I took the last of it to DI.  We had one small truckload left over so I took it to my local DI and then I went to get a pedicure, only realizing there was stuff in the back seat of the truck after I'd already unloaded at the DI.  So I stopped at another DI on the way to the pedicure.  And that's where my DI nightmare came to life.  I opened the door of the truck, took out the first box, and as I was telling the guy that the box likely contained glass items, watched in horror as he turned and dropped it, amid loudly crashing and breaking sounds, three feet down into the bin.  Arghhhh.  Sadly my message didn't get received soon enough in his head.  After that, he was quite careful, but that scene was exactly what I feared would have happened with all of her things.  I'm telling myself that was a box of inexpensive glass vases, not a box full of lovely plates to display.  And I'm certain all of the effort for the yard sale was completely worth it.

2.  Jessie had the great idea to make cookies and cupcakes for the kids to sell at the yard sale.  She also added cold sodas and water, they made a sign, and they were off and selling.  It kept them entertained and they all made a few bucks because nobody can resist a homemade treat being sold by adorable little girls.  Having the kids all together for hours on a sunny day having a great time--selling treats, playing in the sprinkler, checking out the items they needed to take home--all of that was exactly what Jack's mom would have wanted and loved. 

Now we need to do a little tidying up, putting away the treasures we kept from Jack's mom's house, a little weeding, mowing, deadheading, watering, and some housework, and then, then we will be back to our new normal.

Friday, June 12, 2015

the period of mourning is done

I woke up yesterday morning around 4:00 with the thought in my head that it is time for the period of mourning to end. 

I don't know exactly what I've been feeling so down about.  Maybe just overwhelmed for a few years.  Or more. 

Probably lots of stuff to deal with.

Not that most of it is all fixed.

But I reminded myself that I'm basically a happy person.  Upbeat. 

And yesterday morning around 4:00, the cloud that has been hanging around lifted and the sun was shining again.

I'm pleased about that.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

my babies

Jr and Meredith--my baby and my youngest grandbaby.  Love.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Monday, June 8, 2015


After 43 hours of hard work and eventually a c-section, she's here--

6 lbs 15 oz, 19.5 in long.  No name yet, but amazingly healthy and adorable.

Friday, June 5, 2015

the chaos, oh my the chaos

Yesterday morning I woke early, around 1:30, got up around 2:00 (knowing that laying in bed wasn't going to put me back to sleep), and finally went back to bed around 4:00.  Last clock check was 4:26.


Then I dreamed that all of my family--my children, their children, my siblings and cousins and Jack's entire family and children--everyone--was at our house.  They were in the house and outside of the house and they were into everything.  There were toys and clothes and food everywhere(!).  So much stuff(!)  So many people (!) Everything--Everywhere(!!!)

It was overwhelming because I kept thinking (in my dream) that I needed to clean up all of that mess.  I was responsible to clean up all of that mess.

Hm.  Sometimes dreams are so boringly obvious.

Nothing clever or hidden or confusing about this one.

Since my last post, these have been a small--really quite small--slice of life around here:

1.  We've mostly finished the basement remodel, at least the part for Jack's brother.  Still need to paint the doors and door casings.  And get some blinds for the windows.  And finish Jr's space.
2.  We've moved in Jack's brother.  He is diligently working at unpacking.
3.  We also moved in Jack's brother's two wire haired terriers. 
4.  We are buried in things at Jack's mom's house.
5.  Jack's mom seems to be settling into life at the assisted living facility.
6.  Jack's two sisters are now both aware their mom has moved and their brother has moved.
7.  We celebrated my dad's birthday with my siblings, our kids, grandkids, and several cousins.
8.  Sweet Gwen is growing, thriving, and was blessed by her daddy last Sunday.
9.  My longtime friend at work was laid off Wednesday morning.
10. The drummer's wife is scheduled to deliver their little girl today.

I know there has been more, but if you don't post regularly, stuff slips from your mind.  Or you have nightmares.  Or at least that's how it goes for me.

A few notes about the goings on around here:

1.  After getting through a nearly entire basement remodel in three months, I can now understand how couples divorce when building a house and acting as general contractor.  Holy cow there is a lot to do, a lot to decide, and a lot of pressure to GET.IT.DONE. and MAKE.ANOTHER.DECISION.  NOW!!!  Such stress.  But look, Jack and I are still together and probably even stronger.  And most of his brother's area is complete, and soon Jr's area will be complete and he will be able to move back into his space and life in this house will calm down.  And then, seriously.  NO. MORE. PROJECTS.  For a while anyways.

2.  Moving in Jack's brother has not been hard for us.  He's a good guy and he's Jack's brother so when we made the decision to move their mom to an assisted living facility, we knew part of that decision was figuring out where he would live too and we just didn't know where else but here that could be.  We see him becoming part of our family, interacting more, participating in family stuff more, and it is all very good.

3.  The dogs?  That is another story.  They are brother and sister purebreds.  Who have bonded very nicely to each other, but don't feel a particular need to respond to anything we humans say.  For the first few days, I thought maybe they were deaf, based on their lack of response to ANYTHING.  But then I noticed they began barking when my dogs barked, so I thought there might be hope given enough time to settle in.  It has been less than a week and we all seem to be getting more accustomed to each others' little quirks.  Although two days ago I had to reach into a pile of four dogs wrestling in the dining room who seemed intent on teaching one of them a lesson about something in the dog world that I didn't understand.  There was growling and snapping and screaming and the only thing I could grab a hold of was one of their collars so I did and lifted him out of the fray, just high enough for the other three to decide he was now the target.  Luckily I got him safely on a chair, hollered for the rest to knock it off already, and then separated everybody, sending some outside, some downstairs, and some to their beds.  Oy.  Worse than kids.  Jack's brother calmly stated that he thought Gus was the instigator of that melee.  I thought Gus was the target of the attack.  Not that it mattered.  Mostly, they all just needed to knock it off and get along.  And they have since then and there was no blood so it's all good.

4.  Oh! the things at Jack's mom's house.  My oh my! the things.  For many years, they lived in a modest home, a modest life, saved and made do.  Then they bought the house across the street, which is at least twice the size of their previous home.  And then Jack's dad died.  So for the past 13 years, she has enjoyed buying things to furnish the house.  Very nice things and lots of them.  All of the rooms are fully furnished with complete sets of furniture and lamps and pictures and decor.  She liked to shop at estate sales, so the furniture is Ethan Allen and the pictures are all prints that are matted and framed and such.  And there are many, many things.  Like why have one or two baskets when you could get 50--on trips to Europe or from local shops or from yard sales.  And why have one or two flower pots for the yard when, again, you could collect, say, 100 of them.  And the same goes for figurines.  And to a lesser extent coffee tables and end tables and linens and floral arrangements and holiday decorations and kitchen stuff and bedroom sets and couches and chairs, oh the chairs, and on and on.  Some of the things are very familiar and have been around for years.  But much of it was brought into the house in the past ten years or so.  But now someone has to go through it all and decide what to do with it.  This organizing/sorting/deciding process is a whole other, very long and complex set of stories that I can't even begin to remember, let alone write about.  No wonder I dream about chaos.  But we are working through it too, much thanks to Shilo and her mother, and perhaps in a few weeks, we will have implemented the constantly moving target that is our plan to deal with all of the things in the house.  And then Stu and Shi and their family can move in over there.

5. I stopped by the care center a couple of nights ago and found Jack's mom and sister playing bingo with a handful of other residents.  His mom was having such fun.  It was like seeing her at a baby or bridal shower years ago with my dad's sisters and nieces, all such fun, funny women, and Jack's mom laughing and enjoying how entertaining they can be.  I know every minute at the care center isn't laughing and eating candy, but that evening, during those bingo games, she was happy.

6.  So glad Jack's sisters are finally aware of and involved again in his mother's and his brother's lives.  Families are so complex, so complicated, so hard, yet so vital.

7.  My dad's birthday party was a big ole success.  Mom insisted neither she nor he wanted to make a fuss for his 90th birthday, so I decided to invite everybody to come to my parents' front porch for cake.  That way mom didn't have to be concerned about whether or not her house was clean enough and if she didn't want to join the party, she could stay inside.  But she was delighted, I think, to see all of the family.  Dad refused to get off the couch or even look outside, so everyone--around 60 people I think--piled into their tiny living room to wish him well and to sing a rousing round of happy birthday to you.  Pretty sure he didn't remember anymore who most of the guest were, but he beamed and then blew out his candles.  The 90 balloons out front entertained the younger kids, and everybody got two or more of the cupcakes I'd made and Jessie frosted earlier that day.  We sent everybody home with balloons and extra cupcakes.  I wasn't sure I could pull it off, and I suppose if my mom had been angry or irritated about it all, I'd probably have told her it was my brother's idea.  But she enjoyed it and so did dad.  And he survived all the excitement and even remembered it the next day, so that was very good.

8.  Sweet Gwen is just that.  So sweet.  And cuddly and adorable.  A bright spot in this crazy time.

9.  Oh yes.  The layoff.  A total surprise.  No clue it was coming.  My almost 62-year-old friend, co-worker, fellow paralegal, work traveling companion, lost her job on Wednesday.  Part of the effects of a merger we were told.  She wanted to work 3-4 more years and then retire.  We've been through so much together over the past ten years, and now she is gone.  I am not very good at staying in touch with friends and I regret that.  It isn't that I don't still think of friends often, wonder how they are doing, wish we saw each other more often.  It's just that people are so busy.  I often feel like I'm just one of many friends in my friends' lives and because I don't make more effort to stay in touch, they have lots of others to fill their time with, or maybe it's that friends are close when they're in similar situations but then life changes and you see each other less often, even though you still feel the same way about each other?  Eileen and I were together every work day, all day for over ten years.  We know each others' stories and laughed together and comforted each other and lived every day together.  She was there for me when my gramma's life was a mess and when my gramma died and when I lost my shit and when I put myself back together.  I was there when her mother died from dementia and then her father died.  We were together when our favorite boss lost his job, when we had no boss for a while and then when our boss was far away and when he left and when the next one got fired and when the latest one was terminated due to the merger.  We worried at first about our jobs, but after a while, we started to feel safe because we were still around after all of the bosses were gone.  And then the newest boss decided we only needed one paralegal in our office so they kept me and let her go.  She is trying to figure out what she'll do next.  I'm hoping we will stay in touch.  I do not like the part of life and friendships known as moving on.  It sucks.  Friends are too precious.

10. And finally, the drummer's wife is one week overdue and her doctor plans to induce her today so hopefully, soon, we'll meet their first little girl.  I am so excited and anxious and ready for them to start this new part of life, which is I think, as Jack's mom always says, the best time--when your kids are little and life is about playing and learning and growing.  Hoping and praying that all goes well today.  I'm sure there will be pictures in my next post.