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.

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