Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Silverback

It came to my attention yesterday that while Daddy was not receiving physical therapy since the therapist was on vacation, he wasn't going to receive it unless I made an issue of it. I'm usually more content to ride in the boat rather than rock it, but it was rock it time.

I rocked, brought the issue to the attention of people who could get something done about it, and he was in PT today.

So while I really like my allusion of Daddy as a Timex, it may not be the most appropriate. Yesterday I was in Mother Bear mode. Someone was messing with my cub, who can neither speak up for himself nor understand why he should.

And then I thought, Mother Bear isn't right. It's more accurate to think of Daddy as an old Silverback gorilla. Surely you've watched enough nature shows to know this comparison. Maybe the younger ones are knocking on the door of his leadership. Maybe his own protecting years are over. But he's still there.

Yes, Daddy as Silverback.


Monday, August 27, 2007

Re-winding the Timex

It's Monday, almost a week since Daddy fell. He was discharged from the hospital on Friday evening and returned to the nursing home. Once more back in familiar surroundings with people who know him, we were hoping for a speedier recovery.

Hmmm. Saturday wasn't so hot as he slept most of the time. Yesterday he was more alert and sitting in his recliner, although he couldn't get in to and out of it on his own. And he knew me again. I was no longer Uncle Bruce, my mother or his brother, all deceased. I was no longer on the opposite side of the room from where I was standing. Definite improvement for his mental state.

His physical will be evaluated today and hopefully we can get him further on the road to recovery. He still doesn't know what happened and why he can't get out of wherever he is. It doesn't matter how many times we tell him either. It just doesn't register.

So my "Timex watch" is ticking a little slower now, but it's still wound.


Thursday, August 23, 2007

My Timex watch

Just when things are sailing along smoothly, something comes along to tump you in the water.

Daddy fell Tuesday, the day after his 85th birthday, and fractured the neck of his right femur, ie, he broke his hip. A stint in the local ER, a ride in an ambulance to the hospital where the orthopedist works, surgery delayed until yesterday evening, and he is finally fixed again.

The procedure consisted of replacing the ball of the femur. Think Chuppa pop here: the stick was hammered into his bone and glued. The surgeon said Daddy's musculature was remarkable for a man his age. I was impressed with that in particular, given that he was been basically inactive (bed to table to bed) for a year. Sheesh! He must have been something a year ago.

So now we do rehab and therapy and get him going again. I've thought of him as the Eveready Bunny, "going and going", but now I think the better comparison is to a Timex watch. Remember that slogan? "Takes a lickin' and keeps on tickin.'"

Yessir, that's Daddy.


Monday, August 20, 2007

Happy Birthday to me!

Yep, today is my birthday. Being of a "certain age", I'm not telling the exacts, but I doubt I'll be living the same number again.

Birthdays are nostalgic. I tend to look back to special birthdays and smile. I also think of the parties I've given myself at 30, 40, 50, 55... oops! telling my age here... and the supposition that I don't want to wait until the next milestone at 60 to be doing it again. So, this is fair warning to my friends: I'm seriously considering one for 57 1/2.

So far today, I've fielded "happy birthday"s from the cat who woke me up at 4:30 in order to be first (my husband thinks he was merely hungry but did rush to be second to say it), both sons, my sister (who lauded that I'd always be older), and a friend who asked me to lunch. My dance card being full today, we're dining on Thursday. This is how one celebrates one's birthday all week.

My greatest birthday story is how I was named. My parents (in a fit of feistiness I never recall seeing) bet on my name and date of birth. I was due near my dad's birthday. They readily agreed on the name for a son (something to do with a Junior) but the girl name was leading to disagreement. So they bet that should I be born on my dad's birthday, he would name me. And I was. And he did. So instead of being a Deborah Kay which is what my mother wanted (and as it turns out there were three others in my class), I am a Velta Kay, named for my mother, Velta Lee. In most instances, I've dropped the Velta, but it lingers nonetheless. Two years later, with my sister due around the same date, my mother declined to bet. I think they must have agreed upon the name anyway.

But every year after I left home and married, my mother would call at the minute of my birth to wish me happy birthday. Sad to say, I think I miss that the most about her. I know I did the year she died. There was no one to call at 9:26 in the morning and say, Happy Birthday.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

We're having a heat wave...

(It's really hard not to finish the line, isn't it? So, okay, all together: "...a tropical heat wave.")

And we really are. After a June with temps in the 80s for highs and enough rain to turn off the sprinkler system, July came a little closer to being normal, and now August is typical. Typical only in its 100+ days; atypical in that they've just now started.

Every time I listen to the weather, they report the normals, highs and lows. What has struck me is the number of highs set in the year I was born. In August.

With no a/c and pregnant-out-to-there with me, my mother must have been at her most miserable. That she repeated the feat two years later with my sister is a testament to her will to "family plan" rather than any suffering she would do with a toddler and in the heat.

I've rarely had sympathy for any of my mother's health problems (she died ten summers ago of kidney failure due to a heart that couldn't pump efficiently due to ignoring what was best for her health). I've felt she brought most of them on herself. She was loathe to exercise, ate what she pleased (all of it fried), and in later years, ignored the doctor's advice that she was on the verge of diabetes brought on by obesity. I think in her last months she had a few regrets or the fact of her mortality snuck up on her, one, because her attitude changed just the slightest bit.

But think of her pregnant with temperatures over one hundred--records still standing after more than half a century--and I do feel sorry for her.

Bless your heart, Mother, for all the complaining you ever did, you never mentioned it.

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Sunday, August 12, 2007

Our 35th

Today is our 35th anniversary. We are spending it in typical anniversary style: he is golfing, I am doing the laundry. (To be fair, we are spending the night in Dallas and going to dinner and brunch and shopping next weekend.)

But the day of our anniversary always has me thinking of the ones that came before.

The first: Memory is hazy. I think I dug the top layer of the wedding cake out of the freezer and we had a bite and discarded it.

2-14: Haven't a clue.

15: Oh, I remember number 15. We were on the RV adventure to Maine, coming home. The day before our anniversary we'd been traveling on the New York State Thruway (or somesuch) and noticed our friends and their RV were no where in sight. We circled back (not easy to do) and found them with a broken down transmission. After taking their kids aboard, we watched as their RV was crated off to a dealership in Syracuse. (Or was it Rochester?) Long story short, the part to fix it was coming from Boston, would take several days, and after we all spent the night in the Toyota dealership lot, we had to part ways because we had to be home. We went on to Niagara Falls without them. So on our 15th anniversary, we were 4 sad little sacks without our travelmates, eating baloney sandwiches in our RV in the parking lot. It was, sad to say, our last RV trip before we sold it.

16-19: Haven't a clue.

20: Spousal unit made arrangements and whisked me off to Dallas in the middle of the week for a night at The Mansion on Turtle Creek. We had a lovely meal, a relaxing night, and ate breakfast at McDonald's so we could be home in time for the office to open.

21-28: Started the night in Dallas routinely. DIdn't always do it.

29: Night at The Mansion, treated sons and girlfriends (now wives) to dinner on the government's $600 tax refund. Spent more than $600. Took kids to the Ft. Worth Zoo the next day.

30: Celebrated a month late, but we went to Santa Fe and stayed in a B&B near downtown. Great time.

31: See 21-28 above.

32: Didn't stay the night, but we planned our Australia trip with the travel agent.

33-35: Pretty much a night in Dallas, or at least a day.

Here's to 35 more!


Wednesday, August 08, 2007

RV: 3400 miles: 10 states: 4 adults: 3 rolls of toilet paper

As promised (as if anyone would hold me to it), the best-ofs from our trip:

Best campground, prettiest: Vista Royalle in Bancroft WI. Trees everywhere and a great deal of care taken with the "streets" and layout.

Best campground, bathrooms: Nearly a tie between the last two KOAs, Middlebury IN, and Traverse City MI. Shower stall doors that locked, space on the counters for make-up, good lighting, and they were clean. Plus, there were enough of them. I had visions of repeating our experiences 20 years ago of standing in line at the showers. Either we were earlier risers than then or more people are accommodating themselves in their RVs, but there was only a line once.

Best sunset: Full moon rising on one side of the Pictured Rocks scenic cruise boat, sun setting on the other, Munising MI.

Best laugh on ourselves: Not knowing where the gas tank was until we got out and looked.

Most over-the-top stop: Precious Moments, Carthage MO.

Best winery stop, MO: (my opinion here): Oak Glenn. The white port...

Best winery stop, MI: (again): Brys Winery, Old Mission Peninsula. Eye-popping tasting room.

Most breath-taking view: Chateau Chantal, Old Mission Peninsula. This B&B sets atop the finger that is the peninsula and you can see the lake from east and west.

Best overall day: Mackinac Island.

Best surprise: Gasoline prices steadily dropped as we traveled. With a 60+ gallon tank, that's good news.

Best modern convenience: WiFi.

A bit off-topic, but things to bring next time: TV cable to connect to the campground's outlet. At least we had videos with us.
Broom. Dust-buster. Suction-cup holder for the dining table so our things wouldn't slide all over the place. (We rigged one up out of a shower caddy.) Clock. Calculator. (Although it didn't hurt any of us to do long division to get gas mileage.)

Best idea for the next trip: 4-5 nights in the RV and then a night in a hotel.

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Monday, August 06, 2007

Why I would/would not live in Michigan

Why I would:

Flowers everywhere, as in front of this B&B on Mackinac Island. When windows boxes cascade off bridges and from the second floor to the first of a mom-and-pop motel in a small town, then this is a place that does flowers and color right.

Why I would not:

Read the large print. That's the snowfall in FEET for the Traverse City area!

Not for a Texas girl!


Saturday, August 04, 2007

M2M and the License Plate Game

We are veteran players of the License Plate Game. It was a way to occupy the children (and ourselves) on cross-country trips and to sharpen observation skills. Until plates became so varied by either the state changing its design every few years or making money off special interests (college, charity), it was easy to spot a familiar plate two car-lengths behind. On only one of our 6 megalithic road trips did we capture all 50 states. The last into the fold? Nebraska. Go figure, as we were touring the western states.

So on this trip to Michigan, it was a given we'd play. At first it was easy, then there were days without any entries. Surprisingly, we were treated to RVs with tags from British Columbia and Alberta and what must have been an exodus of such from Massachusetts. By the end of the trip, though, we had only gathered 42, not including the Peoria and Cherokee Nations of Oklahoma.

It wasn't surprising what we didn't see: Hawaii, Alaska, Idaho, Utah, Nevada (okay, a bit surprising here), Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut. What was surprising was that we never saw much of anything.

For example, California, Colorado, and Florida are always easy. I don't think those people stay home in the summer. But this year they did. This year, with the price of gas as it was (and the prices were dropping as we rolled along; we paid more at home but at one other place), people either stayed at home or stayed close to home. As such, the Michigan campgrounds were covered with Michigan cars, a stray Indiana or two and one lonely (and our only find) of New Jersey.

I'd like to think we were someone's Texas because we sure didn't see many of those either.

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Friday, August 03, 2007

Day 11: M2M: Sliding in on a wing and a prayer

Well, we really didn't come in that way. For starters, the RV didn't have wings, not even at 70 mph. What it didn't have either is air conditioning much beyond the driver's seat for 3 days. But we did fine, starting early in the day and keeping our travel time relatively short.

Once home, we spent 90 minutes unloading the thing (how did we get so much in there?) and then cleaning the interior. Then this morning before it was driven back, it got an outside bath. It needed it because we only had bad weather one day, then it was a drizzle and a week ago. Meanwhile, at home in north Texas, they'd been (ahem!) blessed with close to 6 inches of rain early in the week.

Upon coming home, cats Tuxedo and Pyewacket were a bit stand-offish. After all, we had deserted them, leaving them to only lap up twice daily visits from their "aunt." They were hardly neglected nor inconvenienced, but try telling that to a spoiled housecat. The flower beds are overgrown, the butterflies are having a field day, the house needs to be dusted (gag!) and vacuumed (immediately if not sooner), and I did laundry for 7 hours. I can barely see over the ironing pile. All this, bills and mail and checking on my dad, and, gee, it's good to be home!

Always good to go and have new experiences and see new things, but, you know, it's great to be home, too!

Photos are excellent and I'll post some later.

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Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Day 10: M2M: The Home Stretch

As the generator has decided to take a vacation from us (I called the rental agent to warn him said RV was not road worthy), we have decided to treat ourselves to the Embassy Suites in Little Rock for our last night on the road. Traveling in a non-air conditioned camper is a bit warm as the afternoon comes in, so we think we deserve it. We plan to be home early afternoon tomorrow.

Then we have to empty and clean the RV in order to take it back Friday. The laundry mounts, the mail is a cascade, the cats will be unforgiving through the weekend... and next week we'll wonder we were ever on the road.

Wrap-up by the weekend.

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