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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Isa's Ginger Village - Snapshot

This is Isa's Ginger Village.  She made it with her class and the other first grade class.  It took them about a month to do and Maury and Nikki went in one day to help paint the basic colors ... It's a Master's Project!  Nikki said that Isa's group made the combination for the Museum :)  Isa's obviously a Wonder Grand Child!

Isa's Ginger Village


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Moving on ... passing a couple disappointments

Tuesday, November 27, 2012 @ 11:15 AM

Good morning … what little is left of it.  It’s about 11:15 AM and we have until about 1:30 PM to take our shower and then we’ll leave here early today to Dr. Marvin’s.  We have a 3:30 PM appointment due to off-scheduling.  The above picture is the one left over from Saturday that you haven’t seen yet, unless you have been over on Facebook.  We are still whirling in that space.  This was the group we had over for Thanksgiving and it included everyone except Rich who was taking the picture.  I thought that everyone had a good time, I know I certainly did … it was so fantastic. 

I think we might have told you some parts of it already, but we are unclear as to all that happened that didn’t get written in the briefer writing periods before this.  Basically though, both Maury and Laura kept up with things to get their families here pretty much on time.  Maury was about 15 minutes late, but we’d asked him to pick-up a few things at the grocery store.  AND, right before they got here we took a run to the little store too – we had to pick up butter which Rich needed right away and we picked-up also a bottle of inexpensive wine.  I just wanted enough to share a toast at dinner and that seemed to work out fine. 

Because Laura’s got here first we were able to show them a short tour.  With just a few rooms, it doesn’t take much to get through.  I was really pleased that I was allowed hugs all around.  That’s the kind of stuff that really makes everything worthwhile.  I liked Mike right away and watched how Austin was doing in the space.  The only thing I really remember about the tour was in telling Austin that if he wanted to get away from things that this was the room to come to.  It had some comfortable furniture and a TV.  Although, the TV was set on Christmas music, Austin seemed to turn into it right away.  I’m not sure which part was interesting him.

Afterwards, we went back to the living room – of course, after making introductions to Rich who was still in the kitchen.  I don’t recall all the pleasantries, but had felt that we needed to settle everyone – maybe myself too – in that I knew we couldn’t stand long.  We started getting to know one another through the pre-part and through dinner, but it wasn’t nearly as much fun as the group had in playing cards after Maury’s got here.  That had been another bustle as everyone settled in.  We used the bedroom of course for coats, and people came in and out of rooms and “people groups” in getting to their comfort level.  Both Laura and Maury’s had brought things like food and centerpieces.  It was such a unique beautiful experience – and Rich and us hadn’t even thought of having a centerpiece.  It was like things were happening to make everything just right.  Maury and Nikki had brought several dishes and we didn’t expect all that, but we feel usually the more the merrier.

Austin seemed to be out in the living room when the other family came.  I know that he was here, but also toward the back,  but primarily I remember him utilizing Rich’s chair the majority of the afternoon which was fine because Rich was working diligently out in the kitchen and that’s the way he would have wanted it.  I think Austin liked the chair because he could “slouch” into it comfortably and it rocked and swirled.  People seemed to fill in the room and introductions were made.  Fairly soon on … I think it was either Austin or Maury that had suggested that we play some games.  The only board game we had was scrabble and that wasn’t good for the group because it was focusing too hard and various spelling abilities amongst the kids. 

Maury got the cards out that were under the TV and although the decks were different sizes, he made do with them.  Austin was suggesting a game of BS, because it seemed he’d played it and had a lot of fun with it.  I think I focused more on Mike’s suggestion of King’s Corners.  In all throughout the time spent (up until about 5:30 PM when everyone left), they played three separate card games.  The first was the King’s corners which lasted a couple of rounds, then they switched over to BS, and then I guess BS+ in that Austin made a new game adaptation from the old game to make it more interesting.  And, then the last game, they got into Black Jack.  We didn’t have poker chips anymore, but what seemed to work out better was that we utilized Rich’s “Fishing Fund” jar where we throw most of Rich’s and my coins.  The kids understood readily when we told them that Rich saves the quarters for laundry, but they could have as much of the rest as they’d like.  Laura and I think a little Nikki worked on dividing the coins out.  I don’t recall knowing how much, but I don’t think it was much more than 85 cents each.  There was still a large stash, but someone reminded us that the bank had to have money to pay out, so that was fine.

Soon on … Maury took the role as dealer and Mike took the role as banker.  Everyone was sitting around the round table in the living room and it seemed everyone really had a good time.  I know I did.  I spent as much time as I could just watch and smile and laugh at the antics of the group.  Austin took a center role in keeping things moving along as did the other guys.  I so much loved having Austin join his female cousins … I can’t explain the feelings of completeness it brought.  There seems to be some idiosyncrasies that were best understood by Laura and even Mike, which helped balance out some of the excitements.  Austin is very direct in saying whatever is on his mind and he’s as sharp as a tack!  I so much love and encourage any of the family’s directness.  It’s not nice to be mean with it, but I think people are much better off in being honest.  Talking to Laura before and Thom after gives me the feeling that Austin gets a little more verbally aggressive – at least that’s my take on it, so we’re preparing ourselves for surprises, but one way or another you can’t help just loving the pieces out of this kid!

I think one of our favorite lines of the whole event was when Austin looked at Maury somewhere in the middle of the event and decided out loud that he was really going to like his long lost uncle.  Maury didn’t say anything, but I know he heard because at that point Austin had the floor.  I hope Maury is able to appreciate what a generous thought that was for Austin to have expressed.  Maury was the other lead in the events due to personality and leadership through the card game and ability to handle all the kids’ and others’ relationship to each other.  It was really impressive and I loved that Maury could definitely step up and be the male master of ceremonies – so to speak.  He could tease, play, or be serious at any time and brought to mind the way – Garvey sons act in general.  Mike and Maury seemed to get along too so that they were playing similar mental games with the kids.  Mike was the more serious of the two, but most of us were knew to him.  He has a really nice, easy smile and is very smart, AND he related to Austin beautifully.  Laura and Austin stayed fairly close during the day, but I think that Laura has been long enabled at being there for Austin and she supports him very well. 

There was one sort of negative thing Austin said to his mother about the pretty sweater she was wearing.  He had made a comment on her showing off – but I think that is part of Austin’s personality.  I don’t know why he did it, though I expect it will happen many more times down the line, though he might not always just target his mother who he’s most comfortable with.  He knows that no matter what his statements aren’t going to lose his mother’s love of him.  Maybe at those moments he’s just needing a little more direct contact with her and doesn’t know other ways at that very moment of getting it.  He seems at times to be a bit of a snuggly bear, so you can well measure the comfort between them.  I know that Austin depends on his Mom quite a bit … as especially, might be in a family without being married or having siblings.  I had no problem with it and especially was touched how well the two seemed to work together.  Laura was getting time to relax, but it seemed also that she was on call as to the impulsive quickness of Austin.  She is quick to correct but in a very gentle direct manner. 

I thought Austin related more to the adults than the other grandchildren, but I’m pretty sure he was watching out for them too.  A while after dinner – from my understanding that Austin went in the sewing room and three of the younger girls followed.  My impression from what little I heard was that Austin was on the chair and the three girls were giggly on the couch.  That’s a good test of relationships.  There was too much going on at the big table to watch carefully at the little table during dinner.  Rich said that Austin had eaten just a turkey leg, but neither of us had problems with that.  It was a matter of allowing everyone to find their comfort levels.  I seem to recall a few situations where Austin was making conversation between the two tables and I think the girls were more giggly.  I got to sit next to Jade and Mike at the dinner table and I enjoyed that location.

Maury told me afterward that I’d made a big misstatement too.  I’m not sure I can recall how it came about, but he said it was inappropriate.  Somehow I think we were focused on making sure that Laura and Mike be comfortable to come back to our home with or without Thom as long as it was alright with him, and of course Austin.  But, that is about where I slipped.  Maury said that I set-up a competitive situation with Mike in saying to Laura something about her being the center of both males attention.  I don’t recall the exact words, and I meant it as a compliment in that Laura had at some point won both their hearts and attention.  Maury though said if it had been said to he and Nikki that they would be angry with me.  I don’t know how Laura felt.  I didn’t mean to be out of place.  It’s just that Thom is still in my relational space as to Laura – probably, much more than others because it would be a normal focus of a mother.  I really didn’t mean to say anything negatively and I feel bad that it was perceived that way.

There was another part that Maury thought to tell me.  He said since Nikki had talked to Rich on Thanksgiving that he had slipped into the number one position on her list of favorites.  Of course that is good for Rich, but made me feel bad.  Then I asked if I were on the list and he said that Bob – his stepbrother was second.  And, then I asked if I were at least third and he said just that I came in there somewhere.  I know that Maury tends to tease me because of some of our parts, but he’s saying always some amount of reality in it too.  It brought me down a lot the next day after he’d left for lunch here while he was on break from work.  We shut down because we weren’t handling the thought that we had done something wrong with both Laura and Nikki and even through Maury.  And, then Maury continued to tell me in a sense how gullible we were … he told me that one of my other DILs had been lying often to me about various things.  Of course that is hurting so I have to be suspect why Maury is putting out the negative, but I asked to be given an example.  I had hoped it would be something I could contradict just because others were looking at a different angle than Maury had been.  But he told me that I had said during the meal that Cari and Joe had gone to Oklahoma for a holiday visit with friends.  It was like yes, this is what Cari told me.  But, then Maury said it wasn’t true and that Cari and Joe had gone down to see Joe’s step-sibling family and that they’d taken a rental car and drove back to Chicago with Joe’s father and stepmother.  So it didn’t have anything to do with friends, they’d gone down to see family.  That confused me.  I didn’t know why Cari just didn’t say the truth.  Maury said too that she “strung us on” for a long time – just days before the holiday.  He said that they knew long before that they were going down and plans had already been made. 

I wanted to hold off hoping that Maury was wrong, but then we looked at Cari’s FB profile and saw that of course it were true.  It had been a family experience and that it included my son who hadn’t said anything through any of it, but was then at that point caught in an outright lie.  It wouldn’t have mattered, in that it is no secret that Cari favors that side of the family, but for her to distract me with something not true purposefully.  That just doesn’t say much for having built a good relationship with her.  I took it to my fault.  There was also that element of doubt because I had asked Maury to consider if the option came up as to living with Rich and me.  More of that in a little bit.  But, basically, before I could consider out loud the other option of asking Joe and Cari, the situation allowed Maury to say out loud that Cari wasn’t in an honest relationship with us.  That made me feel terrible and added to the thing stated to Laura, and the dis being on part of the list that wasn’t on top … basically, I went into a pretty negative spin the rest of Sunday.  Rich had gone out to visit his mother and I was depressed when he had gotten home. 

We talked to Rich about what had happened in each of the situations, and of course he’s always a balancer of thoughts.  After a while, we started to be able to do something besides stare at the wall, but it took hours and hours.  I can’t say that any of the above wasn’t true or to some degree my fault, but it made me feel terrible, because I was riding so high on how successful the day had been.  I’d forgotten the part where everyone talks afterward and things are “sorted out.”  It’s just that when we talked to Rich everything had been grand.  Maury gave me the impression I was seeing things with rose-colored glasses.  I guess in the end if it came to this maybe rose-colored glasses are better.  I’d like to think more that Maury was having a negative reaction like his father would and had some mean spitefulness in saying these things, but they one way or another hit their mark.

Of course, this conversation had come up in discussing Austin’s directness … It seems more now than anything another Garvey trait – through the male line.  I will still say I guess that truthfulness is more important than anything else.  I just don’t personally see the need of bringing others down.  Now I’m thinking even with Maury there was a reason he was being so abrupt with me.  I think in some really backward way it is a way of protecting me … like the truth is better taken from one of my sons than to be heard elsewhere.  It gives an impression that he’s looking over my back shoulder for me.  In the end we have this avenue of the blog to think things through, and we have the avenue of Dr. Marvin who we will talk to about this in a couple of hours.  I don’t know what it means to know that you aren’t a favorite on someone’s list.  Rich brought that part more to home that it was something said on about a 12-14 year level.  It’s no one’s fault that we have younger parts especially that are more upset by these kinds of situations.  The bottom line response to Maury was that we wrote him a FB note after we talked to Rich.  We told him that we were #1 on Rich’s list, and that he could be landing on the bottom of Rich’s list and that anyway we’d told Rich that he had to make more mistakes at Christmas so I could have a better chance.  HMPF!

Maury didn’t respond back.

Ok, that feels better.  We just got out of a very hot long shower.  My body feels more relaxed.  Rich was home for about a half hour to eat lunch, but he was watching fishy shows and we didn’t talk very much.  He had had a bad morning.  He had to meet with a customer who was greatly displeased with one of Rich’s shops.  They had made continual errors on the customer’s work.  Rich sounds like he renegotiated so that he lost half the money from his proceeds – so like $3000.  That’s BIG loss for us.  I’m hoping now that the workshop who had all the problems will also lose part of their profit for having screwed up so bad AND for having lost this customer’s good will.  I think Rich really did need to let flow over his mind the fishy world stuff.  He gave me a kiss on the way out, but he’s going to officiate a game now and won’t be home until about 7 PM.  We were specially nice to him LAST night, but we better count on doing the same tonight too.

So that was definitely a break in the day.  It is now 12:45 PM so we have 1 hour and 45 minutes to go before leaving to Dr. Marvin’s.  We might be back as early at about 5 PM.  WooHOO!!!

So let’s move on … I would like to conclude here – we thought about it in the shower, but that for all practical purposes that it still WAS a great event on Saturday – hmm just talked to Roberto … we asked him to come by again before Christmas because we wanted to give him a small token of our appreciation.  He’s like no noo… But we’re like yes yes.  Unfortunately we had some $100’s and some 10’s … And, we were looking more for $20’s.  I hope we catch him again … I think last year we dropped something off at the office and that will work too!  He’s a really nice guy and has been working for the building as long as we have.  The owners of this building own several more so lots for Roberto to do.  He said he’ll see us soon though because we are moving into the snow shoveling season and he does that too.

Ok, NOW back to regular writing … now though one and a half hours left.  Ahh AND we poured ourselves some Sprite.  We had had popcorn and turkey for lunch.  *Sigh* that be the good stuff AND we had dressing and pie for breakfast … ok, maybe that is not regulation, but it works for me.  There are two more pieces of pie so Rich says that we have to save them to share with him tonight *DOUBLE sigh!*  It’s a tough life!

Ok, getting back for real … we are going to consider that everyone had a good time, but some of them hold in reserve bad feelings, and so for all that … we don’t need to make their feelings our feelings.  I know that the laughter and gaiety were real.  I didn’t mean to say anything negative and I appreciated as hell out of having FIVE grandchildren here PLUS the adults.  To me it was just the most exciting thing.

There is now a major other thing to talk about.  We will say that not much other than general picking up happened on Sunday or Monday and pretty much even into today.  The dishes are all washed and put away, but a few things like dishwasher, bakers’ racks, table and chairs still have to be put away.  That’s not too bad … we’re still thinking through where the chairs need to go and what to do as to the twins coming over the weekend.  The other part we wanted to talk about though is what is happening with our house thoughts.  For all we know they will go nowhere and we’re half way between there and here now anyway.

Basically, to straighten out the mixmatch of information … we met Rich’s Mom’s best friend for Thanksgiving, and then she seemed very interested in us looking at her place.  She seemed to be conveying that she wanted to sell it and move on to her other place in Florida.  One of the problems beside a slow market is that the house is filled to the brim with objects from about 3-4 households who all willed things to her.  For example one of the women who had passed had 10 china settings … like who really needs that many?  They all have to get processed and there is a lot.  The stuff is in every room and there are a lot of rooms.  It is a 11 room house with 4 bathrooms.  EVERY room plus laundry and other crawl spaces are just full of stuff. 

The first thought was that she was giving us a leg-up on buying the place.  But the first thing out the door Rich said NO, it is too big.  Of course … that’s not satisfactory to me and we start to think how could we make the best use of a house like this if we were able to catch a good deal?  That’s when the thought of Maury, Nikki and family came in.  As you could see a couple of days ago, we had drawn up some ideas as to the space.  Basically, on the main floor would be Nikki in the LR for an office, Me and Rich in the dining room for an office, and then we would share the family room, breakfast nook, and kitchen.  Then upstairs, Rich and I would get the master bedroom and bath, plus I would get a sewing room, and then Nikki and Maury would get a bedroom and a bath.  Then downstairs there were three rooms and Maury and Nikki would have to choose whether those three rooms were for the girls, or whether they’d split two rooms and use the den area for a private family room for Maury’s family.  There’s another full bath on the basement floor, and I’m pretty sure it’s a half bath on the first floor – maybe more, but at least that. 

There’s a lot of problems with this kind of thinking … basically, I’m the only one that wants to do it – AND, we don’t even know if its something that would be offered by Pat.  None of us adults – Maury, Nikki, me or Rich can take out a loan, though we each have money coming in that could do the place if it were a rental, or most idealistically a rent to own.  BUT, again we’re not sure if Pat really wants to sell it, or if she could hold on receiving money.  We could deposit more with her if anything were to happen that we’d receive money from one of our mothers, but basically, it would be a matter of paying $2-2400 to her a month.  She might much better appreciate a clean bank sell, which puts us up to the point of just helping her organize and move her stuff to its proper resting place.  I don’t think she has so much in Florida though she might want new furniture down there, but basically, she has to make choices.  We’re not sure if she can right now.  It was only about eight months ago her mother passed.  And, I’m sure that those kinds of choices are hard for her.  But, on the other hand, she seems to prefer Florida and the place up here is big and most likely lonely for her.  One of the reasons she liked Florida was because there was a great church there.  Here she had an important part of a church, but the members were all old, and it eventually had to be sold.   I think she does have friends both north and south, but not as many daily relationships as when her mother, father, and roommate Ruth were here.

So, If you take off being able to ever purchase the house, then we again have the part about helping her order things.  I was talking to Thom on the phone on Saturday after our event.  He had asked what is going on around here, and we told him about this fantastic Pat person we’d just met and that we had asked her if we can help … she didn’t really say yes or no, but she gave us a hug and I thought the answer was more like yes, thank you.  Then we told Thom that we had hoped that Maury could come by and help move some of the bigger things.  But, then Thom said, that he would.  We asked him what he meant, because he’s still living in the DC area.  He then went on to talk about it being a reason to come back.  We filled in the part where he could stay with Pat, because she had that kind of space.  We thought it be such an excellent idea because Thom is such a good worker and could be very trustworthy and able to Pat.  We also liked the part – that Thom would be just out of the Marines – so he would become a veteran, and Pat used to work with the Veteran’s through the government.  I know that Thom can be a gem to have around, but giving him this kind of large sense of purpose would be perfect. 

He’s got again 80 days paid leave.  60 days he might be able to hold onto because he will continue working with the government, but he could use it too.  He has the grand plan of working in Japan doing his old job but as a civilian and he feels pretty confident, but not totally sure he could get that job.  If he got that job, he would be at a 12 level, which is pretty high for a young sergeant level person.  I thought he said that it would mean earning $90,000 a year.  That would really be something.  But, the job doesn’t open until October.  Thom will be discharged in March, but with those 80 days that would amount to 4 months of having a paycheck even if he didn’t have to work.  He has another option to take a job in Norfolk in March when his time was up.  BUT, if he takes that job, he may get stuck at a 9 level, which meant that he’d not be at a 12 level if he went directly to Japan.  I’m not sure how that works, but Thom is pretty good about figuring stuff like this out.  Basically, Thom is going to need something to do before he gets the Japan opportunity.

Now though, we’d like to say there might be one other option which would be totally up to Pat.  Basically, then we called her on Sunday night and presented her with our business solution.  Thom is having very terrible problems with Duyen.  He would like to get out of there sooner, but they can’t afford two places.  They’ve both agreed to see other people, and that’s happening, but it can’t get any better, and most likely it will get a lot muckier.  If Thom were to take his leave in January, he could move in to help Pat.  I don’t know how long it would take, but Thom basically could work through March – when Pat wants to go down to Florida, Or, Thom could work until October, in continuing to help Pat with her things, or if Pat were in Florida, he could house sit for her for that time.  The deal for us, would be that Thom would be near to home.  He’d be only 2 miles away, and he has a car so he would be able to get to other family members and friends as well.  He’d not have to pay the rent – providing Pat gave him a room and he’d be able to keep her company and assist her in any means she seems fit.

There was one especially really cool thing in that I hadn’t thought of the Thom part moving here for a while and since it was a Thom idea it might likely be one to work.  BUT, again we called Pat two days ago and asked her to consider the idea.  It seemed like we caught her in that she might have been dozing, but it was clear that we overwhelmed her.  She had allowed me talk out my ideas without saying anything, and her general first reaction was that she wasn’t going to be able to move that fast.  She stated there were too many decisions she would have to make.  We tried to reassure her how valuable Thom could be in thinking through things AND doing the manual labor necessary and that he was really smart with an excellent sense of humor.  I really believe she would never have another offer like this.  They’d be really helping each other out.  She hasn’t responded back and we had told her to take her time.  If this is going to work – she will have to be the one masterminding the project – because it is her life that is getting sorted.  I think it would work out though there is no doubt in my mind that the first part of making decisions would be very hard.  There’s a little sense of “hoarding,” but mostly I think there is just so much stuff it has taken over all of her rooms.  Thom would be so good though in a crisis mode – at least we think it is severe enough to be labeled such.  It just can’t be a good deal for Pat to be living alone with all that stuff and sorrowful feelings because the people closest to her have passed.  She needs help and a clean break.  There’s no doubt that she has to make all the decisions – they can’t be made for her, but she can be helped to go through something I always heard and respected from the Flylady.  Basically, she says toward making moving decisions …

Hmm, ok … dash all that … We called Pat and she called us back and she didn’t want to go with the idea.  It wasn’t a long conversation, but she stated that she wasn’t ready to consider a roommate and she didn’t think it was a good idea to have a strange male in the place.  I can see her logic.  It stings a little bit though because he’s my son so obviously our trust and belief level is going to be different then Pat’s. But, I do understand that it was a lot to consider.  I hadn’t even considered really these points.  I would have thought it to be more reassuring to have someone in the house again – especially a Marine who happens to work in security.  But, we’re going to let that go … because although it was our suggestion, it’s no good if it isn’t good for her.  Maybe something else WILL work out for her.  I’m getting the idea that she moves slower than I’d originally thought. 

We did continue the part where we asked her to come over to share a dessert or something.  I’m guessing it would have to be around lunch, because I’m thinking she wouldn’t go out in dark even with it being close.  Again, we are strangers to her.  I’m still glad I asked.  If she had been in a different place and time in her life, she might have better appreciated the gift.  But, if she wasn’t in that space – it would be considered a hindrance.  I have to be ok with that I am not a hindrance it is just that my idea might have been.  It was like reshuffling the deck before she was ready.  But, that’s pretty much me.  We usually say and think what is on our mind.  Until you check things out, you never know.  At least we now have closure on this.

I still hope she lets me help her on Her time frame.  I feel bad though because what I could do is so much less than Thom could have done.  When I asked about coming over for dessert, she said that this week she will be taking care of her car – she’s renting while hers is repaired, so that pretty much choked up the week.  Maybe next week – though we have to consider the twins will be here on Sunday and Monday, and Dr. Marvin next week will be on Wednesday at 4 PM.  BUT, that’s as much as we can do now for the time being.  We’ve only got a couple of minutes before Dr. Marvin’s.  I have to say we’re disappointed, because you all know how we love a new project and getting Thom home would have been something.  But, for now … time to go again J


Monday, November 26, 2012

Jumping the gun here ... a lot!

First Floor
LR (Nikki’s office Area)
Dining Room (Rich and our) Office area
Family Room (Both families – space – but stronghold of Rich)
Kitchen (Joint)
Breakfast Nook (Joint)
Half Bath (Joint)

Three Stairs Up
Master Bedroom (Rich and ours)
Master Bath (Rich and ours)
Bedroom (Sewing Room)
Bedroom (Maury’s and Nikki’s)
Bath (Maury and Nikki’s)

Downstairs (10 stairs)
Den (Extra bedroom – or stronghold of Maury’s den/family room)
Bedroom (1-2 girls bedroom)
Bedroom (1-2 girls bedroom)
Crawl Space

All rooms – LARGE … House built in 1984

The situation is that we spent Thanksgiving with Rich’s mother, brother, Bud and Pat

Pat turns out to be an exceptionally nice woman.  She’s worldly, takes good care (a little overweight), but she’s independent and smart.  She had two short marriages no children … She’s about 70.  She used to move around the country working as a manager for Veteran’s Affairs.  When she bought this place it was purchased (1992) for her, her mother and father, and a friend from church.  Since then Pat is still here but the other three have died and the place is too big.  Pat’s mother was the last to pass in March.  It is obviously too big for her now.  2010 values were like $285,000 – 304,000 with $7500 taxes.  Good housing market it was up to about $500,000.  Pat is looking to sell.  She already has a place in Orlando Florida.  If she had it her way she would move by March.  Pat is Rich’s Mom’s best friend.  Rich’s Mom and Mary, Pat’s half-sister was best friends from childhood (70 years ago) before Pat knew Rich’s mother.  It is obviously too big for Rich and I, but if we went in with the double family we could make good use of the space, probably be paying no more than we both are now.  It would be interesting too if she could do it rent to own.  She had water damage downstairs – sump pump was electrical and water (1”) had come in when electricity was down.   She plans to redo floor prior to selling.

Problem is the house is not ready to sell.  There is the issue of basement floors (NOOO smells), but in the process of all these deaths and being a caretaker for another estate, she has about 3-4 households of furniture “STUFF” she’s trying to deal with.  She’s clearly overwhelmed.  I was talking to Thom about it last night … and we told him we had volunteered after the first of the year to start helping her.  She’s been processing little pieces but then gets overly tired.  I told Thom I couldn’t move the big stuff, but could help sort and such – anything from a sitting down position.  Then I told him that I had hoped to ask Maury to come over periodically to move things, and that I thought she would tip him for that.

Thom said he could move things.  And, I said how?  You live in the DC area.  Then Thom said that he has 80 days paid leave and that 60 days might transfer forward, but he will lose 20 days because he can’t carry more than 60.  So, he said that he’s going to be discharged in March and that he’s basically trying to figure out his time.  He is interested in coming down and exchanging work for room/bath for the interim time.  There are several options there.  His chief goal is to be in Japan for a job he’s pretty sure of getting that would start in October 2013.  He says that it is doing the same work he did before.  He said that the job would pay I believe like $90,000 and he’d be at a E12 rate, which is REALLY high up for a Sergeant.  I think the highest that the numbers go is E15, and then there’s some other categories. 

The thing is he has to do something between now and then.  The next part of his options is that in about March when he’s released he can get a job he would be interested in for the interim.  The problem with the job is that he’d get it, but then be put at like an E9 level.  He says that would jeopardize him getting the bigger bucks then when he went to Japan.  I’m not sure if that’s all good information like did I mess it up, but I think that’s what he was saying.

Ok, this is a mess ... we're really out of sequence.  This entry had originally been written to share with Maury and Nikki.  So, we aren't even up to this part in the narrative.  Just that we had written this part before Maury stopped by on Sunday for lunch.  So we're going to put it in now because it has a lot of good information.  I think the next entry though will fill in the middle before we got to this part - asking Maury and Nikki to consider if this ever became an option to move in with us, because without them, having a five bedroom house would make no sense.

So, to be continued.

We are somewhere up to ... Rich is still cooking and we're cleaning

Sunday, November 25, 2012 @ 5:17 AM

Good MORNING!!!!!  This was the seen at our house yesterday afternoon.  It was one of the best Thanksgivings ever!  We still missed a couple of sons and DILs, but other than that it was one of the most remarkable days!  This was the day that all my Grandchildren met each other under the same roof!  AND, it was at my place.  Just what a wonderful day it was!  I’m so sorry that Thom couldn’t have been here to see his son interacting, but it was very very nice.

We did call Thom afterward, and then he called back.  It was a good conversation.  I didn’t like the part that he’d been drinking, but it was a holiday weekend, he was not drunk and he was safe within his own home.  He has told me before that he only drinks on weekends.  I’m thinking that you can’t hold a security job at the Pentagon without being clear-headed.  I know that it is just a mother’s prerogative to worry, and I know I shouldn’t, but there’s always the fear that something can happen to your kids that keeps a mother always on call.

But this was way later in the day and there is so much to go over between one point and another.  I think our last note went out on Friday, and nothing was written yesterday on Saturday because there was so much other stuff going on.  I really did want the day to go well – inviting over Maury’s and Laura’s families.  AND, it truly did measure up!  I think though we’ll take it back to Friday and see what we can remember.

The first memory we had was that we were working very hard to get the last blog entry out of most of the events on Thanksgiving Day.  The part that hadn’t gotten as much attention was that we were over at Maury’s after being with Rich’s Mom, Bud, Mark and Pat.  We’ll get back to the Pat part later, but we had asked and she declined going over to Maury’s.  We would really like to invite her over today while our place is picked-up AND dusted and while we have some pumpkin pie left.  She had said that it was one of her favorites, and this particular one was homemade by Rich!  But as to Maury’s …

When we got over there Rich had to drop me off because it was raining, I didn’t have a coat, and there was no immediate parking.  AND, just because that’s the kind of guy Rich is.  Just has to warm one’s heart.  Jade and Jasmine were in Maury’s and Nikki’s place on their own, because Maury and Nikki had gone out to walk Lady.  Lady came in VERY wet, but the kids had worn protective clothing, though I’m not really sure if they’d taken an umbrella.  It is a very romantic thought of them being out together in the rain because of the dog’s needs.  That’s one of the great parts of having a dog with no yard is that you get that image of people just loving their dog enough to take care of his or her personal needs without the advantages of just letting the dog go out in the yard. It thrills a Mom to know her kids are just plain out capable!  But, then again – what else to expect – they have four kids.  I just love saying that!

When Maury, Nikki and Lady got home, they unwrapped and then we talked in the Living room for a bit, but after a while, Jade suggested that we should have desserts and that turned out to be a good deal too.  Friday’s entry talked about a new fireplace mantel and fire – but there was no real fire … it just looked very real.  Maury said that they had gotten from their father when he had moved into his new place.  I guess he had two of them, and didn’t need the second.  It makes such a remarkable difference in their living room.  They have another piece of furniture corning it off that matches in color and stature, so again … Just an amazingly warm feeling walking into their living room and chatting.  Maury and Nikki had chairs in front of the fire.  Ok, forgot we were moving on.  Ame and Isa weren’t there, but the rest of the family was and it was a very nice conversational space to be in.  Nikki and Maury had presented THREE desserts to choose from – Pshwoo!  Because of something that Maury and Jade had going on, when we asked if there wasn’t something we could bring, Maury suggested ice cream and Jade filled-in the details.  I guess that worked for their family too, but no way are we eating ice cream with the other sweets there to be had!

It seemed that we stayed there a good while, but not too late.  Maury and Nikki we’re going to do the Black Friday thing about 10 PM.  I forgot to ask how that went yesterday, but they seemed in pretty good shape.  I JUST LOVE to have them over our place too, but it is nice seeing them in their environment as well.  Again, VERY nice conversations.

I’m thinking I’m not going to remember much of that night.  We got to Maury’s about 5 PM and let me think … we must have left around 7 PM, because I’m thinking we knew we had to take our medicine, but there wasn’t any water in the car so we might have waited until we got home.  We’re pretty sure it was a Rich night Hehehe, but I’m not remembering what we did now.  Just remember the Maury part.  Shoot, I hate that when it happens.  I’m not sure if we talked to Linda that night or not either.  Two nights seems like such a distance … Oh wait!  We got part of that I guess in our last entry.  I should then just read over that later to see what happened.

We’re then up to Friday.  I think we had gotten up, but then went back to bed on the couch because I remember something going on with us at the couch – maybe it was the cats or just keeping our eyes closed and dozing, because we wanted to let Rich sleep in and we hadn’t heard his rousing yet.  As it turned out … he had been up for about an hour in the kitchen planning his morning.  Since we’d woken with the kitties, we had made coffee before laying down so that was available to Rich.  When I woke up formally and Rich came in the living room, I think we talked.  I had remembered to look up the time we’d invited people, because we’d forgotten.  That’s just standard operating procedure though.  It turned out that we’d invited people at 1 PM and dinner was at 2 PM.  That worked out really well all around.  Laura’s were right on time and Maury was just 15 minutes later.

Before they all got there though there was some cleaning yet – AND some gift-making.  I’m getting my days confused as to what came first and next though.  I know that we’d gotten things cleaned-up so that there was a break in the Living room so I guess we’re still on Friday morning – mentally we’d jumped to Thursday, so I’m not sure now which day was which … there was one morning I know … oh yeah … that was Friday.  We had written until just after Rich had left to get the chairs.  That would have been around noonish.  At that point we finished dusting the piano and the desk and file area and then we moved into the bedroom.  I remember making the bed, and then starting by emptying the suitcase … I know FINALLY!  And then after that was sorted completely, we went about 3 rounds of hanging things up – you know the 3-4 piles of clean folded clothes?  Yeeks we’re going to need getting in on the steaming, ok ok … I know you know this … just saying is all!

After all the clean clothes were put in the closet – we put ours in our side, but Rich’s clothes we left on the laundry side so we could only put steamed clothes back in his closet.  So after that we’d finished dusting the room.  I’m thinking that is about when Rich came home.  He had more groceries and he had brought home the chairs, but had left them in the car which was fine because we didn’t have any floor space left at that point.  We are pretty sure that Rich got into the cooking part fairly soon.  Before the end of the night, he had made dinner which were brats on French bread and French fries, and then on the T-Day side, he had made Turkey, dressing, bread, THREE pies, and really good bars.  He’s like a demon in the kitchen.  Our part of helping was to stay out of the way, but also to peel and cut two bags of apples.  Pswhoo.  Lucky he had bought a new apple peeler!  WhooHOO!!!

He gave me time though to finish working in the sewing room.  That needed a lot of organizing.  Rich had done the moving around of things so that we had started the dishwasher for most the plates and bigger serving pieces from my Grandmother’s set after Rich had put them from the Baker’s Rack to the counter.  Then he moved the iron and Baker’s Rack to my sewing room, and we still had the walker upstairs.  Basically, as the other pieces came up the garbage and walker would go down, but that took til the next day because he had so much to do in the kitchen.  I didn’t have any problem with the furniture being moved because the places he’d placed things made sense.  He then moved the dishwasher to where the Baker’s Rack had gone, and then he moved the second one closer to the sewing room, and then he brought in the small round stone table from the balcony.  He also moved the treadle machine to under the window sill in the kitchen.  One last thing he did which I thought was interesting was that he took the two quilted pillow cases and he hung them decoratively by the fire. 

Once while we were in there, he teased that my next quilt should be a roaring fire to place under the fireplace mantel.  I think about the time he had said that, we were talking to Linda, so during that process we looked at various pictures, but we found one we liked, and now am holding that challenge with Linda to make it.  We set up a competitive situation where she had to finish Tony’s tree, and then we would have to finish Rich’s fireplace.  This is the picture we are going to base the quilt on J

Obviously it won’t say “Vector Stock” WITH the X through it, but otherwise you get the idea.  I’m really excited for the project.  I don’t think we have those kinds of colors – pretty much yellow, gold, orange, red, brown and black.  It might mean then rustling up some kind of colors from the quilt store and we’re excited to pieces thinking we should work with Batiks.  It will be BEAUTIFul!  That would be a January/February project though.

Getting back to the day … with Rich cooking in the kitchen we had a very nice time with cleaning-up the sewing room.  Mostly it is about clutter and our table had taken on a lot when we started not only cleaning the other rooms, but as well working with Dr. Marvin’s angel.  Did we show you that yet?  Oh my gosh!  We just checked and you haven’t even SEEN the angel!  Wait let me get that for you!

Pretty nice, hmm!??  I LOVE HER!  I’m not sure if we talked too much about this because otherwise we would have left a picture, but we had been fooling around with applique, because we’d just done a few pieces, and we hadn’t used the newer materials from Ann’s retreat (Steam-a-seam 2, Tear-away, and the pressing cloth).  Hmm, did we tell you that?  I’m thinking here we might have written about it in FB, but I don’t think we wrote about it here.  The other hard thing about doing a new applique project was that we knew for the pottery quilts we were going to have to add the skinny line that traces all the angels part … I know you can see it … it is that whitish outline. 

All the cloth pieces came from my Grandmother’s stash.

Whoops … lost focus here … and it is now a day and a half later, we will pick things up from here in a couple of posts J  Sorry!  It is now Monday afternoon…


Friday, November 23, 2012

What a wonderful Thanksgiving

Good morning … it is me.  We’re up and at atom at 6 AM today … seems like we’re getting back in the spirit of doing things in the morning again and up before Rich.  I’m thinking part of it though too is that we’re taking the afternoon medicine again and then too the case was last night we had coffee to drink in the evening … I think I’m going to try that some more.  Not more than a cup or so, but I do like drinking coffee especially when its colder and I do like waking up a little earlier than we have.  We didn’t go to bed until about 11:30 AM, so we’re thinking we could run out of energy somewhere in-between, but I really love the idea of getting so much more out of our life.

We had a very interesting day yesterday … it was Thanksgiving.  I enjoyed the day from start to finish.  We had some time in the AM to go computer shopping with the intent of buying folding chairs so that we can entertain.  That seemed to work out just fine.  It took us a few hours, but we were relentless in our pursuits.  I know you know how we can be.  We finally found the deal that Rich and us could both live with.  It was over at Lowe’s on 79th and Cicero in Chicago.  We were able to pre-purchase from an actual store ten chairs for $9.98 each.  They are the traditional folding chairs that can take 300 lbs of pressure and they are steel construction – all good!  Most of the chairs we were finding were through the Internet, so even Sears, Wal-Mart, Office Max and other various “popular” stores were just connected to the stores that warehoused them … the best deal was that we were going to need waiting a week.  But, people are coming tomorrow and … we just didn’t think about doing this sooner, because Rich said he would pick something up … and here it was T-Day – WITH black Friday shopping (YEEKS) and no chairs – with the next day being our event. 

I’m pretty sure that Rich actually liked that part though we didn’t talk about me Internet shopping, but he’s got the location, he doesn’t have to drive all over the place, and he’s getting quite the deal.  The best of prices at other stores had been about $15.  If nothing else … Rich loves a good bargain!  Neither of us has figured out where we are going to store the chairs, but likely we will have to address the closets again.  They weight 9 lbs. each and are about 18” wide and are probably about 2-2 ½” wide for folding.  I’m’ not sure it doesn’t say … maybe up to 4”?  I’m thinking that they will all stack in about a yard width in space.  I think it’s really doable in our front closet, but we’ll have to throw out the older broken chairs and put the Christmas tree somewhere else.  *Sigh* For the most part – we know from the other chairs that they fit ok under the coats and official’s clothes of Rich.  It might be a challenge.  Also, I think that there are hanging pictures in there of Rich’s older maps.  We’ll just have to be slightly more efficient.  There were 14 reviews on the chairs and it is at a 4.9/5.0 rating … that’s pretty cool.  We’re not sure of the color exactly … we heard described almond, bone white, tan and gray.  From the picture I’d think more between the bone white and gray.  Basic “light” color and they are said to fold real nice, are sturdy, and are a good value.  YAY!!!

Ahh … ok is moving on!  We got our coffee now too!  Missy is a little meowy this morning.  Maybe it is an effect of me not sitting on the couch this morning.  Rich must have gotten up during the night because he’s lying on the couch.  I can’t believe how much the wind is blowing cold sounds out there.  It had rained some last night and Rich said the temperature was dropping.  The temps are like 38 degrees and the wind is at 22 mph.  Yesterday though it had been warm enough to walk out of the house without a coat – beauty!

Ok, then after the shopping, I think we talked to Linda for just a bit and then after we were realizing that we had about 2 hours before we had to go shopping.  I have to think a little harder about what happened there.  I think the time went pretty fast.  At least a half hour was taken in getting in and around the shower and dressing … I remember sitting in the shower for a LONG time!  I am usually pretty zippy, but it was so nice and warm.  J  I’m thinking then we noted it was about 1 ½ hours left and it seems that we were making a choice between house cleaning and sewing, but then in reality none of that happened.  BUT, I’m not sure what did happen.  I remembered somewhere in there steaming clothes for both Rich and us.  Hmm, maybe it will come to us.  It seemed that we were doing fine … and we weren’t feeling rushed.  Just we’re not sure L


The next thing on the agenda was that we needed to pick up Rich’s Mother’s friend Pat.  Rich needed to stop for gas so in the meantime I called my mother to wish her a Happy Thanksgiving.  It seems pretty normal up there, and it seemed that she was in a good mood.  She was a little more able to have a regular conversation, or maybe it was because we were in a pretty good mood that we were interjecting ourselves in-between her conversation.  She still took our conversation as doable by two people responding back and forth.  Nothing like she asked how we were doing or anything … and she avoided direct questions to the holiday in that she said she knew we were busy for the holidays, so then assumed she knew what was going on in all that.  We must have told her what are general plans were.  She was generic enough in her response, that I don’t know if she’d remembered any details, but we were like fine … ok too good a mood not to be brought down there J  I don’t think my mother tries to hurt everyone, but she does like the general control level.  And, she’s considering herself to be the older wise one now … so I suppose that’s a good thing she doesn’t ask about our life.  What information she has I’m thinking she has organized in her thoughts like we do of her life.  Maybe it’s something that’s just past down in our family life or maybe it is just general family stuff.

That is what has been trying to tell me of late is that there’s a lot of dysfunctional in everyone’s life and because there is – there is really no dysfunction.  That could lead into a long conversation.

Breaking into all those thoughts though is that Rich and I were in a talking mood just a bit ago.   I like when he figures stuff out with me.  We were going over better some of the families relationships and conversations about how Pat’s family and Rich’s family connect.  It’s being taken up in a general well-being mood.  I think I had started off with a poorer conception of Pat … I thought she was going to be more like Rich’s Mom in feeling older and self-centered.  After my mother’s conversation we pulled up to Pat’s house … Rich and I had been casually talking after my Mother’s conversation, and I remember him saying this is Pat’s house … and the first response was “oh my that’s a nice house.”  It was a big sprawled brick house nicely attended to from the front.  The garage had taken up most the front of the house’s presence.  But there was a nice set of windows across the front which would seem obviously like the front room.

The next surprise was that Rich had gone up to the door to get Rich’s mother’s friend Pat, and the door was open, but out came a really friendly looking person who wasn’t in bad shape like Rich’s Mom.  The thought that came to mind was that she was bubbly like Rich’s Aunt Diane and Uncle Bob.  They are much older, but both they and Pat seemed worldly and contemporary!  She wasn’t like old old like Rich’s Mom who has a frail body and looks as she might for drinking and smoking her entire life.  Pat is like can stand straight up and moves probably better than us.  Rich talked about her being probably 10-15 years younger than his Mom which puts her more like the age of my Mother, but again … much more worldly and able.  She seemed all at once like a strong woman and someone very able to take care of herself.

Within a few moments we seemed to be talking up a storm.  We talked the whole way to the golf course 45 minutes away.  I so loved it!  She’s able to do two way conversations like Rich and I might do or Linda.  I was interested in finding out all about her though.  She had worked for the Veteran’s Affairs through the government and had lived ALL over and she had taken early retirement in part to take care of her parents and another lady Ruth who lived with them.  Unfortunately, her mother had just recently passed.  She said that she will most likely be moving down to Florida, but then we didn’t want to handle that part much because it was like she was only a couple of miles away and someone to talk to who was interesting and very capably independent.  We haven’t had anything like a friend here in the Chicagoland area for about 20 years other than Rich and a few friends through Rich.  I don’t get out much and don’t even know the people in the apartment, but Pat struck me as someone I’d really like to get to know.

It was almost disappointing getting to the restaurant because it meant us being more quiet again.  Rich went as far to call us chatty.  YEEKS!  Dinner turned out to be very nice.  I was next to Rich who was next to his brother Mark, and Bud was across from me, then Pat, and the Rich’s Mother.  I got kind of stuck in the back, so I wasn’t able to get out easily, so I didn’t give out smooches, but Bud noticed Hehehe.  So we went and gave everyone the appropriate greeting.  Bud looked in terrible shape as to moving slowly.  Rich’s mother was in a wheel chair instead of her walker, but she looked happy to be there and had plenty to talk about.  It seems that Pat and she really fall into an easy relationship.  I think that Pat does a better job of keeping the conversations more on time and relevant and she’s very helpful toward Rich’s mother in kind of a caretaker model.  Sometimes Rich’s Mom talked to the table and sometimes she and Pat just talked.  It was difficult for me to converse because my voice doesn’t carry in a way she can pick-up easily with her hearing problems, and usually in larger company we get to a quieter listening mode.  Rich’s Mom had a TALL drink that was like 5/6’s alcohol to water, but she had just that drink and I don’t think she finished it.

Dinner was good and dessert was terrific and there was quite a bit of conversation.  Rich seemed to be having more conversation with his brother, though he checked me several times to make sure we were ok.  We’ve been bothering him enough about feeling invisible that it was to be expected in a nice way.  At one point I realized that Bud wasn’t in the conversation either, so I struck up a conversation with him.  We talked just about general things, but it was nice to have someone to converse with at the table.  Rich and us can obviously talk, but together when out, we tend to talk to the people we’re with than to each other.  We know we’ll check things out with him later as couples generally do as they are comparing insights as to relationships.

I didn’t feel necessarily like we had to rush.  I was comfortable that we had plenty of time before we were expected at Maury’s.  Pat was able to steer some of the conversation so that it wasn’t just centered on Rich’s Mom.  I really don’t mean to be critical.  But, most of the conversation as mentioned before is just around her memories and we’re back to the old problem of it being over five years and she still doesn’t know my kids names.  We try to bring it up periodically, but things like the number of grandchildren I have just go way over her head.  It’s like she’s never really built up a conception of it.  I think she knows that I have a son in the military in Washington DC, but I don’t know if she’d know that we have 3 sons.  I think too she’s confused if they are married or not.  Sometimes you have to have some kind of internal scaffolding kind of interest, but these things aren’t important in her world.  Rich and I have talked about it many times before.  Where for us it hurts our feelings, Rich is just like she’s old and you just have to take her for where she’s at.  And, we do, but there is a sense of distance, because while we’ll always go with Rich to visit his mother, it isn’t something we might do without a specific need.  I guess Rich and us have a general understanding that he is the caregiver and we are the caregiver’s girlfriend.  Rich still states he doesn’t want to have me seeing his Mother when she’s overly drunk and rowdy.  I guess I’m glad because I don’t want that to be my major thoughts of her, though it seems we always are worrying about her drunkenness, falling, or the calls coming at the middle of the night that take sleepy Rich from the security of his bed.

After the luncheon, then we were back in the car with Pat and an easy conversation happened again all the way home.  We had readjusted our chair so we could turn more toward her from the front seat without pulling our neck.  The conversation seemed just as interesting.  We had asked her if she’d like to come with us to Maury’s and have dessert with them, but she stated she had to get back to the dog.  She calls her Betty Boop 2.  He’s a twelve year old pug.  We heard more stories about all that, but again we want to provide privacy in conversation.  At that time, she reminded us again that she’d like us to stop in and see the house.  We were like fascinated.  You of course know what we are like in houses … like its heavenly.  She’d talked about how spacious the house was.  So when we got back to her house, it was raining, but she opened the door to her garage and Rich and us slipped in.  One of the first things to notice was a piano with a lot of pictures and this huge living room.  But, there was a competition in our view between looking the house space, and noticing how much stuff was in the house. 

The next thing was that we met Pat’s dog.  She was a little barky at us at first, but Pat picked her up and introduced her on more of an eye to eye level and the Betty turned out to be really friendly.  I love dogs and was happy to find we weren’t an interruption in the dog’s life in a negative way.  Pat took us on a glorious tour of the house.  One room unfolded into another and they were all great rooms – very large, nice encasement windows – like Bay windows on all sides and again it was just huge.  Pat had told us of inheriting around 3 families worth of “stuff” and she’s sorting through it which explains the clutter, but she’s slowly working on taking care of it.  We felt very comfortable in the house and we offered to help Pat if she would like.  We still have to get past the quilt/holiday season, but I think she might accept my company.  We made sure she realized that we couldn’t stand long, but I would be good to go as sorting and taking care of most things from a sitting position.  I can still move things around and get up and down and do stairs, just that it is measured.  I appreciated she didn’t mind that when the little group tour moved from one room to another that I would sit down to conserve body time standing.  I felt bad though in that she was so much more able to stand and move around even though most likely 20 years my senior. 

I talked to Rich to make sure he was ok with volunteering to help and he said that it was up to me, but he said too that we had to watch ourselves and not obsess again with houses.  He knows as well as I – that we’ve been looking to live in a house again.  Heheh – the first thing he said out the door, was … it is tooooo big!  But, in our eyes it was perfect.  We liked the idea of Pat’s support in taking care of people generationally and having taken in a woman from church because there space was so big and she’d wanted to help.  The woman stayed for many years after and Pat took care of her mother, father, and Ruth the friend.

We’ve talked a lot in the past about taking care of Rich’s Mom if we had a house that she could stay at.  Having a guest room was always a part of the dreaming of offering her and Bud a different living situation.  Maybe not all the time, but at least like Karen’s where you could give them respite from one another.  It thrilled me to pieces to find the first thing when the garage door opened and there was a ramp that it turned out Bud had built and that his mother could and has been in the house – and that Pat knew his mother most likely even more and certainly for longer than us.  It just seemed that it was doable and that if I built up confidence that I could sometimes take Rich’s Mom’s to Pats.  I know we are way past ourselves and I would still hope that Pat wouldn’t allow the smoking, but man-o-man how many doors suddenly opened up. 

We thought Pat was very open in showing us her house.  I also felt that she was describing such a big space as maybe being open to have someone else move in.  She knows we are in an apartment and it just seems the kind of woman who has been used to living with people and suddenly was without.  She showed us even the basement part which was like another living area.  It had a den, a room she used to use as an office and a bedroom; she used to stay in when the other three were still alive.  She talked about how the house made adjustments to the different circumstances … it was a feeling of being around an old fashioned sense of life where people took care of each other as their responsibility. 

I really had no idea if Pat would think or was thinking of having Rich and us consider living with her, at least until she was at the point of selling her house and moving south.  It might be a big open part of my imagination.  I know she’s going to need quite a bit of time in dealing with all her stuff.  Rich and us were just talking about how something has to move out of our space here before moving something else in – like our problem finding space for the chairs.  We would have to make sure Pat knew that we weren’t interested in taking her stuff, because we really have enough of our own and it would then just be a duplicate where she’d taken others stuff and it overwhelmed her house.  Our house doesn’t have those levels of clutter, but we have enough furniture that it feels a bit cluttered too. 

After a while at being at Pat’s place with her then we had to go, but before we went we got and received the nicest hugs.  It was like we’d met a kindred spirit.  We could converse at the same level.  I think she climbed much further in life then we’ll most likely go, but we’ll putz around building that as we have been this year.  I’m in no means shameful of what we do.  I really do love our life.  There is worrisome thoughts of what would happen if something happened to Rich.

Afterward … Rich and us talked on the way to Maury’s house … obviously Rich had seen my mind start to whirl and we had to be slowed down.  One of the big obstacles in letting Pat get to know us is that we still have to deal with our multiplicity.  It’s hard, but most people don’t really have much concept of disability.  There is something though.  If Pat did work with Veterans … maybe she knows quite a bit already about PTSD.  Pretty much then we’re coming from an angle she might be able to accept.  She seems so competent I don’t think she’s the type that would flap easily.  She’s very perceptive … Just such a nice warm person – you just can’t imagine!

Rich said afterward that I should say anything about his mother like not being able to talk to each other where we weren’t just listening.  It’s hard though … I think over the years and a lot through our writing is the key issue we have with feeling invisible.  We want relevancy in someone’s life – we want a relationship where we can interrelate.  And, even in our consideration in losing most of Kendra from childhood we’ve really missed having a woman in our life we can relate to on a similar level.  That’s one of the nicest things about Pat … she’s so gosh darn capable.  It just seems though like us she could use a friend in the neighborhood.  All these years we’ve never found someone to be close to in the area.  I love my quilting sisters, but the difference of space is problematic.  I’m so happy that the twins are going to be coming to visit us finally, but that’s taken 3 years.  It’s a hardship of space.

I know though that Pat wants to move to Florida … I don’t know maybe she would stay longer.  I don’t know there are like a million thoughts going through our head and in it’s normally obsessive manner we seem to be contemplating each one.  As most things in life … it has to fit together in hundreds of aspects for it to really work.  It has to work all across the board.  Like there would be the part of her having a dog and wanting another while we have cats.  I don’t think she likes cats much, but like her dog of twelve years, we’ve had our cats thirteen years.  The animals would have to live together.  I think it would go that the cats would pretty much stay in the basement and the dogs would have upstairs and they would visit each other, but each take on their domains.  There is soooo much space in this house it could be done.

I don’t want to shirk the part where we are talking about being at Maury’s afterward.  It was a very good time and it doesn’t deserve the fact we have just moments to write before Rich drags us off to preparation for tomorrow.  He’s been in already hinting strongly that it is my turn to do my part – which takes me away from my writing, which you know how much we love.  We are now listening to Christmas music and we do seem to be now thinking seasonally.  After we’re already past Thanksgiving which puts us in the middle of the season Hehehe.  We still have to deal with the part of the family coming tomorrow which means cleaning today.  I know what’s in front of me … Just not having enough time to express all the thoughts that yesterday brought. 

So thinking with only minutes … just finishing up?  One thing we wanted to say was that the living space was doable to us and Pat in all directions.  Shoot, I know I’m racing here … just don’t want to stop.  I know I’ve been dreaming of a house for the last fifteen years, and nothing has ever shaped itself … we’ve had so many thrills along the way though in putting together these thoughts.  I think it’s just part of being a cancer is to feel the home as such an important domain.  Last night Rich and I had a good time in getting back home … and we massaged him all the way through a special, but after he’d fallen asleep – we’d had a couple cups of coffee at Nikki’s … we just laid in bed thinking of possibilities. 

I think we’d have a hard time selling Rich on the idea.  I think his hard part is that for one he likes his independence too – though is very willing to help Pat out if she needs something – especially because we’re only a couple miles away.  But, other than that … he looks at a house as something that will take him away from his life fishing and other things he would like to do.  Rich said that a house like that would be way more and too expensive for us ever to buy and we know that Pat wants to fix it up so she can sell it … that would put us in a position of giving up a safe apartment for a situation that wouldn’t hold out over the long run.  But, you know me … shoot I keep saying that … but the nesting part of me has taken over.  We think that we’d be able to handle the basement level for most of our living situation – with one room upstairs for our actual bedroom.

Mostly what it would mean is that we’d turn the den into Rich and our family room, and the other two rooms would be one – an office, and two – a quilting room.  That means that most of our time would be spent downstairs when away from Pat, but we’d also have our bedroom on the raised floor.  Ideally Pat would keep the bedroom she wanted and the extra bedroom would be a guest room so her friends or our granddaughters could visit us J ßBig smiley face.  Pat for some reason or another though has taken a smaller bedroom instead of the bedroom her mother used to have.  I think the mother’s room is actually bigger and it has the most fantastic bathroom – in suite.  Oh my gosh to see that bathroom – it is to die for!  It has a huge hot tub like thing and I remember only the parts of it also having a shower, and it being big enough for the three of us to stand WITH extra room.  There was a wall with like three sides mirror over the bathtub and the most scrumptious thing was that above the bath was like a raised ceiling with this wonderful skylight.  Oh man oh man.  I could see Rich and us leaving the den downstairs and coming up to our private suite.  There’d be a couple comfortable chairs with our normal bedroom stuff and a TV and then I’d take these long baths as Rich found his tiredness enough to get massaged.  I’d be like dreamy!

I think one thing we figured too was that after being at Maury’s house … his father had given him this piece of furniture which was a beautiful fireplace encasement and this fake fire burning inside that looked real.  There was no need for ventilation, because it was a fake fire, but it seemed so real.  Rich said it was like a video set up to illuminate the facade wood burning in the hearth.  I LOVED it!  This room could handle something like that. 

I would also LOVE to spend time to be with Pat in her area.  She would keep the bedroom and the guest as discussed, but she’d also keep reign on the formal living room, dining room, and family room upstairs.  This place had just the most huge kitchen with an island almost the size of our kitchen, and it had a breakfast nook.  Again clutter everywhere, but you could see how wonderful the space could be.  Pat says she lived in mainly the area of the kitchen, breakfast room and family room that was open to each other.  It’s plenty big a social space to share, but would be Pat’s space to so we could live there and still give her privacy.  Both her and Rich like to cook, so they’d strike up a relationship that way.  I can imagine doing things after the place cleared up some like doing the handstitching while talking to Mary, but again having the privacy of the den, office and sewing room downstairs.  There is also a big room for laundry down there, so I’m sure since all the doors really open up to the hallway and laundry room that we’d have space to share too – so that Pat would have an excuse to come downstairs and visit especially when Rich wasn’t there.  I’d think that we’d have to get some kind of buzzer – Hehehe or she would need to get a cell phone – AND she was talking about that so she could call us without doing the walk if she wanted or needed help. 

There would be a long time though in helping her order the belongings she has inherited.  AND, there’d be a LOT of talking as women do, but also being able to work with another woman without having to say necessarily much at all.  I would hope that she kept the space long enough so that if she did go to Florida, she wouldn’t have to sell – she’s got a place there … so that she could do season back and forth and we could help take care of the place in the winter.  Maybe do something like a rent to own.  We would have to put in enough to cover all the expenses including covering her tax bill, but the house would remain hers as long as she’d let us stay.  If we ever did stay long enough to buy it after she wanted out – and thinking here someday we’ll inherit something from our mothers, then maybe one day we could do the same for our kids. 

I can’t help but to think that Thom and Joe will always be ok, but Maury and Nikki with the four girls could really use a little support.  They are probably more than ever away from getting their own place, but even if the girls were still living with them and we were renting from Pat – with her coming up for the hot summer months of FL they could stay there … by then we’d be able maybe to share space with Maury so our living would stay the same.  Hmm, that wouldn’t work, but in general maybe one day after the house was ours, then Rich and I could handle the house, but have Maury Nikki and any of the kids still around to move into the house.  I’m sure we’ll always be fine with the living downstairs.  We’d have to assure there was some system though because the basements flooded before and needs the floor to be fixed, but the bottom line is that with a house that big – if it were one day ours then Maury, Nikki, us – either with or without Rich would be able to handle the giganticness of the space – with or without girls.  Just its one of those houses that will always adapt.

I’m so way in front of the horse and buggy here.  We don’t know that Pat wouldn’t want to continue a plan where she moves in March and then we wouldn’t have a place to live because it be forever before we could pay her the houses value, and we don’t know how soon, she needs or would like to have the money from the house.  The one thing we have going for us, is that as long as she would have us, we’d continue sharing the space seasonally so she could come back and forth as long as she wanted.  I don’t know.  Just bowled over by the part of our brain that organizes and organizes trying to find our future.  BUT, we’re like half an hour over the time we’d promised Rich so we’ve got to get going … we see furniture and stuff of our own that needs cleaning and ordering.  So, hmm???  Let’s get at that? 

Ok, you shoo!

Pat's Place the one in the center with the red car :)


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Old Family Matters ... AND, getting into the quilting gear

Saturday, November 17, 2012 @ 9:58 AM

Good morning.  It is now about 10 AM and we’re really starting to do something.  We slept in until the kitties woke us at 5:30 AM, then went back to bed on the couch until about an hour ago.  Rich was in the living room by then and we’d had a bad nightmare.  It had something to do with being at my uncle’s house, and then we were trying to pack up.  There was fishing involved and stuff to do with quilting … the twins were there and were part of our situation of packing up.  I knew that I had insulted somehow my aunt … I think I thought one of her guests was someone else and I snapped at him before realizing it was someone different, and then she got angry at me … we had gone out to the vehicle to finish packing before realizing that we’d left some of our quilting stuff in the house.  I didn’t want to go back and first one of the twins went in and then my sister, but they weren’t finding what we had forgotten and in the meantime we’d started packing a “truck.”  There was something about trying to put back the seats and moving harder objects while having enough room to sit.  I had gone toward the back to get something and CS had then gone in and tried to move or change-up something I’d worked hard on and we got angry and yelled because she wasn’t paying attention to boundaries of what was mine to do and what was hers.  There had been a lot of friction too in that we felt unwanted and was trying to desperately move on, but we were feeling waited down.  In actuality Chief was sitting on our legs and we were completely under covers – including head with a pillow on top of us and our arms down the sides of us with our hands under us.  We felt locked in that position.  The ending of the dream came with my father being angry at us for causing problems, so he told us we were going to have to travel back under the truck (where they store the wheels).  We got upset and backed out to the door of the now moving truck … we were at a stand-off where if he made a move toward us physically, we were going to jump – commit suicide.  I remember thinking that we were being dishonored in front of our friends and that was part of what we couldn’t tolerate.

About then is when we woke up and Rich talked to us for a little bit until we were calm again.  One of the things he’d remembered to tell us was that he had heard the Archie’s song – Sugar, Sugar.  And, decided he was going to call us his candy girl.  We felt a little romanticism in the air and made it to the computer to play the song … We liked the words, and by that time were a little better able to leave some of the other stuff behind. 

Part of the dream beside obvious connections to packing our quilting stuff and the twins (retreat) had been that my grandfather had come up in discussion and then we were trying to explain some of the relatives – primarily my Mother’s brother and his family.  We ran up against the memory of our cousin Debbie deciding back after my Grandmother’s funeral in ’06 that I was too much to deal with and then in the process of finding that we ran into an email from my cousin Steve.  It appears to have been the only communication, but it was addressed to my sister, his two sisters, his brother and his father as if I were one of the families.  This is the story Steve took from a copy of something in the email…  He wrote:

This sounds like Grandpa Wes,

> Have you ever wondered what the difference is between Grandmothers and Grandfathers?      Well, here it is:
> There was this loving grandfather who always made a special effort to spend time with his son's family on weekends. Every Saturday morning he would take his 7-year-old granddaughter out for a drive in the car for some quality time - pancakes, ice cream, candy -- just him and his granddaughter.
> One particular Saturday, however, he had a bad cold and really didn't feel like being up at all. He knew his granddaughter always looked forward to their drives and would be disappointed. Luckily, his wife came to the rescue and said that she would take their granddaughter for the drive and breakfast.
> When they returned, the little girl anxiously ran upstairs to see her grandfather who was still in bed. "Well, did you enjoy your ride with grandma?" he asked. "Not really, Pa Pa, it was really boring.
> We didn't see a single asshole, queer, lesbian, piece of crap, horse's ass, liberal pinko - democrat Obama lover, blind bastard, dipshit, Muslim camelhumper or son of a bitch anywhere we  went!"
> Almost brings a tear to your eye, doesn't it?

We then sent a note to Dr. Marvin about these people not seeming safe … we didn’t recall having received this note, just that there weren’t any more notes sent afterward.  I don’t know what caused them to stop if it was me or someone else in the family.  Just knowing Steve would be the one to try to include me, but he didn’t seem to comprehend that something like this wouldn’t be funny to me like most likely the others and that their bigotry was highly insulting.  It did seem to give evidence as to the un-safety of getting to know members of the family, because we were so different than their thoughts – especially in their thoughts or respect of other people.

Dr. Marvin seemed to agree … he wrote back, “Yes, consistent with what you described last night.  The culture of disrespect was strong and it seems that she has bought into it. Agreed, not safe.

The “she” relates to my cousin Deb.  Although we’d been very close growing up … the years had provoked a lot of distance.  We’re still bothered by her statement on not wanting to “bother with us.”  I see she is now connected on FB to my sister and other cousins, and we go between wanting to contact her and be included too and not messing with it knowing that she could be a dangerous person.  In her telling me I wasn’t someone before she wanted to bother with – it makes her a dangerous person for us … Maybe not for others, but it doesn’t do anyone any good to be told she isn’t worthy of “bother.”  It was one of the most directly hurtful statements made to me – certainly in my adulthood, although there were plenty of other toxic relationships.  It sucks to be left out, but then there’s mental health.  I’d rather stay on the side of Dr. Marvin – who I trust as to his humanity.  I’m willing to let go of most the others.  I guess it’s always been that way … Maybe too like my father “throwing us under the bus.”  In a sense it seems that is the situation with them – they are/were willing to throw us under the bus, because we’d caused a difference from them – especially in our thoughts of my grandfather.  We thought he was dangerous to us … and obviously they held him in high respect.  The same would have gone for my mother.  It didn’t seem to be a problem growing up that she or my father were so abusive.  In their eyes I’m thinking they felt it must be deserved because we were the kids and my mother could do no wrong.  I think my mother still respects her brother and his family though I don’t think they treat her well – they are above her.  I don’t really trust my mother, but I wouldn’t want to see her hurt either.

Ok, these are much too complex thoughts.  I don’t really want to be here, but these are the sets of thoughts brought up this week in meeting with Dr. Marvin.  We had discussed again the last time (my grandmother’s funeral in 2006) that my uncle was still remembering us as it was funny the embarrassment I had felt when at his place in Shell Lake, my mother and most likely others were drunk and she’d flung off her swimming top to be revealed nakedly.  That does seem to be something that would be TOTALLY inappropriately and frightening to me, but the uncles memory was how funny it would be that I would be upset.  There’s so much I don’t remember of what happened in those days, but it goes to the argument that we’ve felt my uncle very crass, though he seems to be proud of it. 

These aren’t my favorite thought sets … and we’re going to try tucking them under again until we meet with Dr. Marvin on Tuesday.  Thursday is Thanksgiving so obviously we won’t be meeting, so I’m not sure if Tuesday won’t be lighter.  It doesn’t seem that we have much control over the situation as to what is discussed thought between the parts, we do have control.  Just that we don’t know what various parts is going to present or where the hardest issues lie.  I think that we finished the major part of the retreat and then the second half was again spent with family of past.  Toward the end it seemed after talking about my grandfather and some of the things we remembered from that time, we had to then again skirt past Dr. Marvin.  We almost turned back, but knew that was against protocol, but we wanted to tell Dr. Marvin how sure the skirting past him part was related to skirting away from our Grandfather grabbing at us – and the other female cousins.  I recall directly that we spent nervous energy on being given whisker rubs, we don’t know much other though the scene seems to have threatened us more on a different level to have caused this kind of behavior with Dr. Marvin for 13 years.  I know that part is coming up and closer to consciousness, but we’re thinking Dr. Marvin would say we can take our time with it and that we don’t have to look at more than we can deal with at one time.  It hurts our brain to even think through that image of walking past Dr. Marvin.  It doesn’t seem to matter which party had been out to that point, whoever walks past him is pretty petrified.  It seems that it is about what he “could” do in grabbing out at us, even though we know intellectually that Dr. Marvin wouldn’t do anything bad to us.  The fear we have is unjustified in the present and is just too deep for us to have dealt with even though it’s been like a million jillion years AND we wish that part to be over.  The fear and anxiety is still real.

Ok, girls … enough enough.  This is the point where we feel the need to eat … I’m guessing that it is emotionally-based.  Maybe something … thinking peanut butter rice cakes.

I’m not settled on what to drink though … it seems early for pop, but don’t think water would do it and at 10:45 AM it seems too late to make another coffee.  We could do it, but most times we never get back to then drinking it.  Ok, just a bit of pop … *sigh*

Ok, feeling a little better, some space in-between us and the next thing.  We’re listening still in the background to some fishy stuff.  Rich is listening in part to that and he’s also on his laptop.  Not sure what, but I know that it is infrequent that he gets a chance to relax so we’re going with that’s a good idea to just give him some free time.

Last night we had been working on the quilting when he got home, and then we went into the living room to pin the quilt and to catch up with him, but he turned the channel to some really negative stuff – people chasing each other with machetes and stuff … so we complained that it was too violent for us, but he said there wasn’t anything else on.  We started to go back to the sewing room because we weren’t going to sit through that … but, then remembered it was about 10 PM and we hadn’t remembered to take our medicine, so we did that and then shut off the lights in the back room and headed for bed.  We watched NCIS which in reality could be considered similar to the other show in that there is usually some kind of violent murder, but it seems different in that we’re watching the good guys and maybe about 5 seconds of violence – to set up the murder – if at that … NCIS balances humor and injustice so it is at a different level for us.  Toward the end of the show Rich came to bed – his show had been over apparently for about 15-20 minutes and he’d just sat there thinking we were still sewing.  He likes to crawl into bed with us, but we weren’t happy in that we’d already been separated about 8 hours and that watching his show would exclude me from being around him.  There was a little playing that out, but in general we settled down and he let us hold him.  That part was nice.  I think he wanted to do more, but by then we were pretty tired and not quite in that mood.  *sigh*

While Rich was out we’d worked on the writing and something else on the computer – not sure what, but had disconnected that to eat and watch a couple shows of Anderson Cooper and we watched some quilting shows, before we finally complained enough to ourselves of not getting any work done.  So then we made a decision about 7 PM to work on the quilting a bit.  We did the first steps in figuring out the borders and binding, and then cut and sewed those together, then we sewed the ONE border on, and then cut the backing and padding, and then we attached those sets together with safety pins.  It held about 36 pins for 27” x 27” of fabric.  The next step will be the actual quilting part.  I’ll do that as soon as we finish writing.  We didn’t get to the laundry this morning because of our general laziness we’re thinking.  We got into the late morning up, and then the settling from the dream and such from writing, and well, we aren’t much past then, but don’t like doing laundry this late.  Maybe we will though - should probably check to see if the machines are running.  Rich told us that he would be willing to do the sheets and such, maybe we’ll do a white load if there is still time.  Better check?

Hmm, checked, it doesn’t seem like anyone is using the machine, but we don’t have enough quarters.  I suppose the thing would be to ask if Rich has any, but then we’d have to do it for sure.  Getting Rich involved in moving isn’t something we want to really do – both for his sake and ours.  We had a good Domestic Goddess day yesterday – not so excited about it today.  We would like to spend some time with Rich today because he’ll be doing a couple of games tomorrow.  For the most part though, we are used to being on our own for most the day … so would sort of like to just keep our own schedule.

I’d like to be able to write something of real substance, but I don’t think we have any of that going on in our mind.  We did talk to Mary Ann yesterday and she was happy that we’d gotten the box mailed.  I should say we packed it and RICH mailed it.  I think we told you that yesterday though.  She was thinking she’d get it today already, but we’re thinking probably about Monday or Tuesday.  It sounds like she’ll be able to do the work right away.  We also talked to Julie and she is taking some of the pressure of having enough time to finish the Marine quilt by saying that we shouldn’t feel pressured and that we could just give it for the spring event … We’ll let Linda know that to help take some of the pressured feelings off her.  We know that she has already said she wouldn’t take any more quilts for the year, so we’re thinking she might feel stuck with our two already.  I don’t know … that’s the kind of thing you just have to ask the other person so you don’t mislead yourself by information that hasn’t really been put out yet.  Take it easy girls!

I wish I could talk to the twins or LV Linda today … miss having no contact with them after having had such a good time.  Our Linda’s schedules are already changing and we’re going to have to give-up some of the time we’ve spend together during our more normal times of 10 AM, 2 PM and/or 7 PM.  It’s a switch.  I’m a big girl – theoretically at least, right?

AHA!  Wrote the twins a note … might try one now to the other Linda, and then CS?  Yeeks seems like we’re outstanding on a couple of notes.

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