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.