Thursday, May 25, 2017

Down by the Station

We were down by the station early in the morning, looking for little puffer-bellies, but I guess they don't exist any more, especially not at a train station as small as the one in Davis.

It was kind of a quick morning.  I had set my alarm for 4:30 so I could get up and make cinnamon rolls for Jeri's last breakfast but the alarm didn't go off (or I slept through it) and I woke up with a jolt at 5:15.  No time for cinnamon rolls, but I could whip together some cranberry-walnut muffins.  I'll tell ya, I don't think I was even fully awake when those muffins went into the oven.  I was crashing around the kitchen trying to keep my balance.

But the muffins actually came out of the oven just as Jeri was coming downstairs, so we were able to have a last breakfast together before she headed off for Santa Barbara, where she will spend a few days with Tom and the family, a "fun time" she has earned after all her work here!

We did get down by the railroad tracks just minutes before the Coast Starlight came into view. 

Only time for a quick hug goodbye and Jeri was off to her next adventure.

As for us, we came home and I immediately went back to sleep.  I was awakened a couple of times, but when I gave up and went to the couch to sleep, I was able to sleep until nearly 11, to make up for the sleep I didn't get last night.

At 1 we went back to Atria.  Habitat for Humanity was scheduled to come sometime between 1 and 3.  While waiting, we finished boxing everything up and sorted into what was going to the SPCA thrift shop, what was going to the new apartment, and what was coming home with us.

In one of the boxes filled with lipstick, makeup, scissors and other toiletry items that I almost told Walt to throw away I found buried treasure:

This is 20 Susan B. Anthony dollars and 20 Eisenhower dollars.  I put out a call to see if they were worth more than $1 each and found out that they may be worth a bit more.  Perhaps twice as much as face value.  There is a coin dealer here in town and I will go and have him check.  At the very least, we'll have a dinner out of this!

The guys showed up around 2:30 and in no time at all, they had carted off all of my mother's furniture.

I admit to going out to sit on a chair in the hall to get myself under control, because I was fighting tears.  It's just difficult seeing things you have grown up with all of your life headed off to a charity, though I'm pleased that Habitat for Humanity can use it.  Heck, they even took her ironing board (I was not emotional about that leaving).

When that was all gone, we loaded up a cart and took the last 4 boxes over to the new apartment.  It was things like clothes, toiletries, and things to put on display outside her door.  Marge has the bottom 2 shelves, my mother the top 2.  

She seemed OK, thrilled to see me since it had been so long and she had missed me (she didn't remember I had been there yesterday).  One of the things I brought over was this very nice photo of Fred from their wedding.

The first time she saw it, she didn't have any idea who it was, and then recognized it as Fred.  She kept it on the bed and would periodically pick it up and either talk about how much she missed him, or try to figure out who it is.

One more trip will remove everything else from the apartment and then we are FINISHED with that old apartment.  Now all I have to do is make space for all the stuff I brought home in this overcrowded place!  It's been more of an emotional roller coaster for me than for my mother, but I'm happy to see that she has accepted the new places, even if she doesn't understand why she's there.

And Jeri made it to Santa Barbara in time for Lacie's dance recital.


Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Rollin' Along

One of the Swap Bot swaps I signed up for a long time ago was to write your partner and tell her about your day.  Little did I know the kind of day I would be having when I signed up.

It started kind of late for me, since I had insomnia and ended up writing my journal entry until nearly 4 a.m.  But I did go back to sleep and woke up sometime after 8.  Jeri and Walt were talking in the kitchen.

While I tried to come to and shake the cheese out of my head (I felt like I had cheese for brains), Jeri went on a bike ride and then Walt and I met her over at Atria.  I got there first and my mother was in the common room, asleep.  Sometimes when I look at the people sitting in couches facing the TV (it was playing a bunch of recordings from the 50s) I wonder if she really belongs there, since they seem to sit around slack-jawed, asleep or staring off into space.  But the I look at the people like my mother and realize that she does.

We went to lunch with her.

I'd like to say it was a delicious lunch, but it wasn't.  The panini was dry.  They seem to have eliminated three things in the memory unit:  1) choice (unlike the main dining room, you don't get a choice of food, which is probably OK, given that choices are too confusing for my mother), 2) water.  There was always a big carafe of water on the table in the main dining room.  There was none here and none was offered, though everyone got a choice of cranberry juice or orange juice.  When I asked for water, I was brought a glass, which was nice.  But I usually drink a lot of water, and then 3) salt.  This is probably a good thing since I have complained about how salty Atria's foods are to begin with and how my mother salts foods that are already too salty for me (and I'm a big salt eater).  Given cardiac conditions and all it's probably for the best that there is no salt on the table.

When lunch was finished, we went back to the apartment and I tried to find towels for her.  She hides them in dresser drawers.  I did manage to find a bath towel and a couple of hand towels, but no washcloth.  I put them in the drawer of the dresser we put in the bathroom.

When we moved her in, I tried to duplicate the look of her dresser, as she had it, including the three necklaces she fiddles with all the time, trying to lay them out flat.  I got it pretty much as she had it but today two of the necklace are gone.  She hasn't noticed and I suspect Marge helped herself, but it's no biggie.  They weren't expensive and if my mother hadn't noticed, probably not worth making a fuss.  However, I will gradually bring her jewelry back here to avoid problems in the future.

We visited for awhile and then Walt and I went to her old apartment to continue the boxing up.  Boy, how could I ever have managed all of this without him!  He worked his buns off, and then Jeri came and helped.  Advice for anyone facing this situation:  before you get old and unable to do this yourself, make sure you have given birth to children who are able to help.  Ned didn't come today, but he as here all day yesterday.  Poor Jeri has spent almost the entire Davis part of her "vacation" helping to move her grandmother.  Both of them have been invaluable. 

I did what I could but eventually had to sit down because of my back, which was fine because then I could wrap up all the glassware and dishes that we are donating to the SPCA thrift store.

Lemme tell you, I thought going through all of her papers, photos, etc...the detritus of her life...was difficult  Packing up the kitchen was harder.  Every plate, every glass, every cup brought back memories.  The stack of placemats were a reminder of how she used to like to set the table looking so beautiful.  There was the Grandma cup that we used to fight over at Cousins Day, since we were all grandmas.  There were the silver decorated glasses that had belonged to my godmother, who died when I was 10.  So many memories.

At the end of 3 hours we had pretty much done all we could.  Walt and Jeri carted all the boxes that were coming to our house out to the car.

We still have another big pile of boxes that are going to be donated to the SPCA thrift store tomorrow and I think more boxes that are for throwing away, though I may be mistaken about that.  Walt may have done that today.  (Thank GOODNESS we have all those Blue Apron boxes!)

When we climbed into the car with the a/c blasting (>90⁰ outside today...cooler than yesterday, but still.....) all I wanted to do was plop in the recliner with a giant glass of ice water and take a nap.

However, that was not on the schedule.  We had a dinner date with an old friend.

Felix was one of our foreign guests in the 10 years we were doing foreigners.  He is from Croatia and was about to start his PhD in civil engineering at CalTech and wanted to have a family stay first.  I originally placed him with a woman who wanted someone from Croatia, and we rarely had one, but two days into the stay, she said she didn't want him because he wasn't from the area where her relatives stayed.  Rather than find him a new host family, we just took him here and it was her loss and our gain!  A lovely man.

We were trying to remember how long ago that was but sometime in the 1980s.  Walt saw him once about 20 years ago but I don't think I have seen him since he left Davis to move to Cal Tech.  He now works for an engineering firm in Washington and he and his wife own a B&B on Whidby Island and spend their spare time hiking in the mountains with their two white standard poodles, Storm and Bear.  The dogs are getting older now, he tells me, so they limit their hikes to "only"  4 hours instead of all day.

I had not wanted to leave the house after we got home from Atria and definitely wasn't up for a social evening, but it was a nice distraction and it was nice to see Felix again.  Best of all, we were home before 9.

Tomorrow afternoon the Habitat for Humanity folks pick up the furniture and then, I hope, we are OUT of that apartment.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The Detritus of Life

Anyone who has ever had to clean out the home of someone who has died or, as in my mother's case, moved on to smaller digs, knows the excruciating pain of going through every. little. thing. and trying to decide what to save (and why) and what to throw away.  

The day started with waffles, which I almost never make, and then in 3 vehicles, the 3 of us made our way to Atria.  Walt, in the SUV, bringing more boxes, Jeri on bike, and me in our car.

Jeri and Ned went to check on their grandmother.  I didn't even see her yesterday.  I was trying to sort out all the stuff in her drawers and separate everything in the apartment into piles for the SPCA thrift shop, and for Habitat for Humanity, and then the rest of "all that crap."  Jeri reported that when they arrived, she was in the common room, asleep, and I was happy to hear that they had gotten her out of her room and with the others, even if she was sleeping!  Maybe she will have more social interactions now that she is there.

Jeri, bless her heart, decided that "Marge," my mother's pod-mate, had taken over the door to their apartment and needed to share.  I love what she did

Ned helped with the clean up and took a huge stack of puzzles upstairs to the puzzle area.
At noon, we took a break and met Walt's brother Norm and his wife at Dos Coyotes, where we had a nice lunch, which I had to leave at 1:15 to get back to the apartment to meet the people who were taking the clothes we didn't move to the new place off to be donated somewhere.

Ned and Jeri took Norm and Olivia back to memory care and they visited with my mother and I settled in to go through drawers that were stuffed tightly with "stuff." It's easier to throw away someone else's treasures than your own.  It's also interesting to see the things she saved all these years.

I think she saved every greeting card she ever got and I tossed them all.  She also had a folder labeled "treasures" in which she kept, among other things, letters that Jeri wrote to her.  My mother was almost fiendishly proud of the fact that she never wrote letters to anyone, but she enjoyed getting letters.  I think I received one letter from her in my life.

I found all of my sister's school pictures through grammar school.  I haven't thrown those away, yet, but they are in one of the boxes of things to come home with me for further consideration.  I don't want them, but there is something that kept me from throwing them away.  I also was surprsed to find one of my grammar school report cards in the treasures folder.

This was another one of the treasures in that folder.

Olivia was a huge Joe Montana fan and since she was still visiting over in Memory Care, I texted her and she said she would stop by and pick it up on her way out.

Photos  .... oh groan photos.  I threw away lots and lots of photos, sometimes whole books of photos of people I didn't know.  One, I guess, was a party for my mother's retirement.  She is dressed up, with a corsage, and it's picture after picture of her with people I didn't recognize.  My father is in the pictures too, so it was before she met Fred.  Special memories but not, alas, for me.

I even threw away the album of the pictures of her wedding to Fred.  That was a painful day for me.  I was asked to be the photographer (I also was the cake decorator) and all day long it was "Bev, take a picture of us and so."  There are pictures with Fred's parents, with his kids, with all their grandkids, and with other people there.  Guess who was never asked to be in a photo.  The photographer.  To look through this album you wouldn't have a clue I was even there.  It set up the way it was going to be for the 10 years of their marriage.  Fred's family always came first and despite my attempts to make friends with his family, it never happened (until much, much later).  They even gave her a big party on one of those landmark birthdays (maybe 80).  It was at a winery they had some connection to, apparently a fancy place where everyone spent the night and the party was wonderful.  I didn't even know about it until after it was over.  So I had no compunction about throwing that wedding album away.

I did keep, though, letters she received from both Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, thanking her for her donations to the DNC and coming with an 8x10 photo of the president and a nice certificate.  I don't know what I'll do with those, but I just couldn't bring myself to throw them away.
There were also commendations from Hospice of Marin, where she volunteered for many years.  When she finally retired, she was their oldest volunteer, and the one who had worked for Hospice for the longest time.  Sadly, those also became "garbage."

I tossed her high school yearbook which was sent to all the graduates in preparation for their 50th anniversary reunion.  

On and on and on it went.  Walt was packing up the kitchen and putting thousands of framed pictures into boxes that I don't have a clue what I'll do with.

At 3 p.m., I collapsed mentally.  I was going to put a bookcase of framed photos into a box and I just sat there and literally couldn't move.  I finally decided to go home and left Walt there working, bless his heart.

I arrived home, plopped into my recliner and slept for more than two hours.  After I woke up, we attacked one of the things that we did not throw away..

My mother was a vodka drinker and this bottle of vodka has been in her refrigerator for months, maybe years.  But we decided that it was only right that we finish it off with vodka and tonic.  

It was just the remedy I needed, but I was still exhausted and went to sleep at 10, falling asleep instantly.  Of course that meant I was awake at 12:30 and now, at 3 a.m., I have finished writing this and hope that now that it's written, I can get back to sleep for another two hours.

We should have less work to do today, but still have lots of sorting to do.  Jeri and I are going to have lunch with my mother.

Monday, May 22, 2017

It's Done!

The best part of yesterday was when my mother, sitting in her chair, looking out the window of her new apartment, found a tree that was particularly beautiful.  I knew it was going to be OK.

We had  long day and I'm sure my mother is waking up this morning not having a clue where she is, but I hope at least she can find the bathroom.

It started at 11, when Jeri went to Atria to take her grandmother out for a couple of hours.  When they were leaving she texted me an all clear message and the moving crew gathered in the apartment.  It was Walt, Ned and my mother's stepson Ed, who worked tirelessly for the next two hours to get things set up.

I took pictures of things like her dresser and the table she sits next to so I could recreate it when we got to the new apartment.

I'm wondering if there are going to be problems with her neighbor, the woman in the apartment on the other side of the "pod" my mother is living in.  She seems to have taken over.

We met Marge and the difficulty with her is that her memory is worse than my mother's.  We had a conversation with her and I stll don't know what she was talking about.  She did come in and look at the apartment and ask why Walt and I didn't get into bed, because that was all there was to do there.  I'm not sure she understood that we were not going to live there.

Things came together quickly and soon we had the apartment looking set up and ready for Nick, from the maintenance staff, to come in, and hang pictures.

Nick was still working on getting her TV hung on the wall when Jeri and her grandmother returned, so things were a lot more chaotic than I had hoped, but she didn't freak out.  

Ned went to the dining room and got cups of ice cream and Jeri cut up strawberries she had purchased while they were out and we all took a break.

We took her on a little tour, showing her the garden which she seemed to really like.

When the TV was connected, Walt found a music channel of music that my mother would know and Jeri got her singing to Nat King Cole.

The connection between music and the brain always amazes me.  She can't remember my name sometime, but she can remember all the lyrics of songs she sang back in the 40s and 50s.  Jeri had created a playlist for the car and she said that my mother sang all the lyrics of all the songs even songs Jeri didn't know.

Eventually it was time to leave.  I was surprised there was no staff person there to make sure she knew what was going on, but both Jeri and I stopped to let people know that we were leaving. 
We came home, Jeri and Walt enjyed a "dark and stormy" out in the carport and chatted for awhile.  I cooked dinner and we toasted our good work for the day.

Today we have to face the mess that we left behind and try to sort out what is going where.  Someone comes today to take all the clothes we did not move and on Wednesday, Habitat for Humanity takes all rest of the furniture.

But I slept peacefully last night for the first time in a couple of weeks.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Sunday Stealing

We found this gem from a blogger named Geebee from the blog Geebee’s Trip. He states that he was tagged by Buttercup. But, it was probably stolen at that blog as well. So, of course, that will be as far as we go. Tracing back our theft's thieves might take some time. Please consider liking WTIT on Facebook. Click here. Have a great Sunday!

Cheers to all us thieves!

Sunday Stealing: The Q & A Questions

1. where is your significant other?
He has gone to Peet's to get coffee beans and the PetCo to look at the puppies on display for adoption.

2. your favorite thing?
Today?  Air conditioning.

3. your dream last night?
I don't think I dreamed last night.  I often do not.

4. your goal?
That my mother's move to the memory unit tomorrow goes well and that she's not too traumatized by it.

5. your hobby?
Answering questions.

6. where do you want to be in 6 years?
Probably right here doing the same things.

7. where were you last night?
Sitting in the family room watching TV

8. what you're not?
A fan of our 45th president.

9. one of your wish list items?
World peace and a clean house.

10. your pet?

Lizzie on the left, Polly on the right
11. missing someone?
This week, my sister, dead since 1971, who should be here helping move our mother to the memory care unit.

12. your car?
Honda, though we have rented a car for the weekend and apparently we now have a temporary SUV.

13. something you're not wearing?
make up

14. love someone?
I love lots of people

15. when is the last time you laughed?
Reading Congressman Ted Lieu's cheat sheet for Trump's overseas visit.  Read it.

16. last time you cried?
I misted up this afternoon listening to my mother and Jeri having a "conversation."  Jeri was so incredibly gentle and patient with her.  She must have explained that she is married to Phil at least 10 times.  But it was fun to watch my mother's delight when Jeri told her she was a teacher.  She was thrilled to learn she had become a teacher.  Maybe that was the saddest moment of all for me.

17. favorite pastime?
Watching reruns of NCIS or White Collar, reading, writing, taking pictures with my iPhone

18. are you a hater or a lover?
Life is too short to waste time hating, though I might make an exception for the current president.

19. any vices
Is Facebook a vice?

20. favorite questions blog other than Sunday Stealing?
I think the only other question blog I read is Saturday 9.  Maybe I'll get some good suggestions from others answering these questions.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Saturday 9

Saturday 9: Him or Me -- What's It Gonna Be? (1967)

Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here. 1) In this song, a man pleads with his girlfriend to make up her mind. Do you consider yourself decisive?

Good Lord.  I am chronically wishy-washy.

Since this song is all about either/or, we're using that as our theme this Saturday ...

2) Choose a condiment: Catsup or mustard?

Depends on for what.  Basically I prefer catsup for things like hamburgers, mustard for hot dogs.  But some times I mix it up.

3) Choose a sci-fi series: Star Wars or Star Trek?

Star Trek all the way, Baby!  I saw the first Star Wars, slept through the second and didn't see any others until the recent one, which I did not understand.  At. all.  But I can quote liberally from lots and lots of TOS.

4) Choose your spy: James Bond or Jason Bourne?

While I enjoy Jason Bourne, I loved James Bond.  (Is there any other than Sean Connery?)

5) Choose your winter sport: Football or hockey?

Not really big into either (unless I'm in Santa Barbara and the 49ers are playing, when I love watching with son Tom and granddaughter Brianna).  I don't really know much about hockey.

6) Choose your breakfast: Pancakes or waffles?

Waffles, though I make them rarely because they seem more work than pancakes.

7) Choose your side: French fries or potato chips?

If they are shoestring potatoes, definitely French fries.  If they are thick clunky fries, I prefer potato chips.

8) Choose your chore: Washing dishes or doing laundry?

I'm bad at both, but slightly prefer washing dishes.

9) Choose your next-door neighbors: Munsters or Addams Family?

NEWS FROM ATRIA:  Well, the big move is in  2 days and today I told my mother she is going to move.  I didn't say when, but told her why and described the room for her.  I even cried a bit, telling her now I knew how she felt when she had to put her mother in a home.  Maybe that helped.  Anyway, she said that I'm the boss and she'll do whatever I want.  Of course by now she won't remember any more.  But she has been told.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Little Friend of Mine

19 May 2017
Little friend of mine how you'd make me laugh
Hysterically, I lived for that
We had a lot of fun
Sick and unconventionally
Straying from the norm

Everybody knows how you'd question life
Philosophize and lose sleep at night
I know how that can be
I've been there before
and now it feels like I'll be visiting again.

Look at what you've done.

But you don't have to say you're sorry
'cause I forgive the ones I love
I'll just look forward to tomorrow
But look at how I cry.

I"m pretty sick of all these tears
I know this wasn't planned at all.
Still I wish that you were here.

Little friend of mine how you'd drive me nuts
Abuse your mind and push your luck
But how I adored your brain
We had something between us--
we were both slightly insane.

Little baby brother, I know you know
I'll never let your memory go
Still I feel like I should say
Christmas might be difficult but I think that
everyone will be OK.

Just look at what you've done.

But I don't want you to worry.
'Cause everybody fucks up now and then.
It's just a part of being at an early age.

But look at how we cry.

So much we want to scream
Look, I know you were a fan and all
But this is too much like James Dean.
I know you were a fan of him
But this is too much like James Dean.
Link to video of song

Quote of the Day
It wasn't just her fingers playing, her whole body was a representation of every single note that came streaming out of her heart, represented on the keyboard. I longed to be in that place so badly, to see her face and to watch her fingers caress the keys and fight with the keys and make love with the keys and wrestle and struggle.
~ David, from The Piano