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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

ANYWAY…

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 :)

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