July Staycation – Log

Day 1 of Staycation

Began the day with a visit to my kitchen window to watch bird activity. Just missed getting a picture of the Red-Bellied Woodpecker. Squeaky window alerted him of my intent, and he flew away.  Birds are such nervous creatures.

empty suet feeder

Missed him by that much!

Had breakfast and chatted with the hubster before he headed off to the office.

My goals for the day include getting my front two rooms back in order after having them painted. I think after one month, the paint has dried sufficiently. After that, the kitchen. I mopped my kitchen floor last week, and now that I know what my kitchen floor looks like, I’m considering mopping it again and then glossing it up.

Later today, after my muscles cry, “Uncle!” I will pay some bills–or play games on my computer.

First things first, though–Tylenol.

End of Day 1. Got this done:

clean living room  kitchen

Looking good!

Day 2 of Staycation

Ouch!–when I sweat, it feels like acid on my face.

Went outside at 8:30am to clean out bird feeders. It rained yesterday, and they filled up with water. Before I had been outside one minute, the mugginess caused me to start sweating. I persevered, though. If I’m hot and thirsty, then the birds probably are, as well. Filled up the bird bath with clean water, rinsed off the feeders and put new seed in, raked and scattered old shell hulls.

Time for a break.

Today’s goal: Pay bills and clean up our dining room/paper collection room. Here’s a “Before” pic:

dining room before

I know, right? Well, let’s see what happens when I transform it.

Ta da!

dining room after

It took most of the morning to pay the bills and update my ledger. Then I stood for three good hours while going through papers and cleaning up the dining room. Back hurts. Tylenol time.

Tomorrow: mine and Dave’s bedroom and bathroom. Pray for me.

Day 3 of Staycation

Still no sighting of the elusive woodpecker. I believe he’s avoiding me.

Oh, well, on to the master bedroom!

Before:

bedroom before bathroom before

In all fairness, it’s been a crazy few months in our lives. Other than that, no excuse.

Later that same day: Progress on these two rooms is taking a bit longer than anticipated. I want to clean every drawer and closet out. I promise you, when we moved in we didn’t have as many drawers or closets as we do now! Or maybe it’s just the sheer mass of STUFF crammed in there. In any event, it’s on its way out now, but slowly.

Day 4 of Staycation

Mine and Dave’s 38th anniversary. Cleaning, but slowly. If we want to sleep on our bed tonight, I have to make some amount of progress. So, back at it! Dinner out tonight at Red, Hot and Blue. (Note: What a disappointment. It wasn’t what we remembered back when we lived in Maryland. Meat was tough on the ends, and Dave ended up with a stomach ache. Johnny Young, when will I ever learn that your barbecue ribs are the only ribs worth consumption?)

9:30pm – Okay, we didn’t get much else done on the room. Too tired. But there’s always tomorrow, right?

Day 5 of Staycation

Hubby and I spent the better part of the morning cleaning our bedroom. When I say cleaning, I mean moving all the furniture and vacuuming underneath it, wiping weeks of dust off of everything, and sorting shoes. I won’t even begin to tell you how many pairs of shoes the two of us own, but suffice it to say, they were under the bed, under the dresser, in the closet…

Anyway, here’s the after picture of the bedroom:

bedroom after 2

Tomorrow is the last day of my staycation. I got all of the downstairs projects completed. Yay!!

Believe it or not, I enjoyed this week much more than if we’d gone out of town. So much needed to be done at our house, and I feel contented at all that I accomplished. Thanks for letting me share this week with you.

*****************************

It wasn’t just housecleaning this week. I also did some reading. I read the Tilian Pandemic series by Tom Calen.  Whether or not you like apocalyptic-type books, you will love these characters. I truly didn’t want this series to end. It was nearly impossible to turn that last page and say goodbye to my new friends. According to Tom, though, some of his characters weren’t quite finished with their stories, so he’s putting their thoughts into a fourth book. I can hardly wait to read it!

Happy Independence Day, y’all! God bless America.

 

Unfulfilled Resolutions

Many years ago, I quit making New Year’s Resolutions. I never kept them, and all I did was end up angry at myself. For the year 2014, again I didn’t make any resolutions: except this one thing I was going to do—I was going to go to my mama’s house and spend as long as she needed to help her get her paperwork in order.

I had been watching my husband working to get his mother’s papers in order, and her information was pretty much straight. Reba has already planned her funeral, written her obituary, picked out her funeral clothes, has her headstone ready to go. And it still took several days for Dave to get all that paper in some sort of system so that he could grab it quickly if needed.

I had no idea where anything of my mother’s was located. As her power of attorney and executor of her estate, I found that inexcusable. I determined to fix that—to put all those papers in one spot so that I could find them quickly. I knew she and her husband didn’t have burial plots. That was something we’d have to work on in 2014. Mama’s health had been bad for many years, and her husband wasn’t doing too well, either. I paid their bills for them, so I knew they had life insurance. Other than that, I knew nothing.

It wasn’t that I intended to put it off so long. It just happened that way. Month after month of not setting aside that one day to do the one thing she’d asked me to do. So in December I told my mother that I was for sure going to come over one Saturday in January and help her go through all her papers and clean out and organize.

2014-02-01 20.08.57Now, here I sat in early February, cleaning out those drawers and files by myself. My mama was gone; diagnosed with cancer on a late Thursday evening and gone by Sunday. In truth, she’d been too sick to even have me come over for most of January. Somehow, though, that didn’t comfort me. I’d taken too long. And it was such a small thing she’d asked—one Saturday.

What resolutions did you make for 2014? Did you decide you’d read your Bible from cover to cover this year? That’s a good resolution. Did you decide to lose weight? Another good one.

How about your family? Did you resolve to spend more time, be more patient, be more available, say “I love you” more often?

Priceless.

The moral of the story is this—you may miss a day in your Bible reading, but you can catch that up (and you should). You may blow that diet for a day or two, but you can get right back to that. That other stuff—that family stuff—don’t miss a minute of that. Sure, it takes effort, and sometimes you have to shuffle your schedule all around to get it done. Yet the benefits you will experience from keeping those family resolutions—that human interaction—will reap lasting and satisfying results. And it will minimize future regret and guilt, because you don’t get those lost minutes back.

Don’t wait until you have to go through those papers alone. Don’t waste moments on inane activities that take up your days, those “important” things you feel you simply must get done. Nothing is more important than keeping the resolutions you make concerning your family. And nothing is more rewarding.

Growing Old Together

Imagine being married to the same individual for 51 years. Now, imagine your spouse has died. Your children are grown and live in other parts of the city, or in another state. You go home from the funeral, and the sense of loss is overwhelming. Oh, the kids call. They visit and spend some quality time with you. But at the end of the day, at the end of the visit, they are gone. And you are once again alone in the home you shared with your lover for 51 years.

You are older, so maybe you aren’t as able to do the things you once did. You don’t see as well; you can’t drive at night anymore; you can feel your body beginning to break down. You are lonely, and you are growing old alone.

Do we children of older parents have a responsibility to them? That’s a silly question. Of course we do. The Bible says it this way: “…if any widow has children or grandchildren, they must first learn to practice piety in their own family and to make some return to their parents, for this is acceptable in the sight of God.” (1Timothy 5:4)

do_not_cast_me_off

Sometimes we live close enough we can visit them several times a week, and they are able to stay in their own home. Many times, our parents become ill and need nursing care, so we find the best facility we can for them and pray they are comfortable for their last years on earth. Often, the best option is to have them live with us. The idea, of course, is to be sure they are cared for and they aren’t lonely.

I read a book recently titled When I Married My Mother, by Jo Maeder. In so many ways, I identified with this woman and her relationship with her mother. It was interesting and a bit unnerving. I finished the book, and then I asked God, “Are you going to make me let my mother live with me?”

I have to be honest with you, the thought of my mother living in my home makes my stomach hurt. We have pretty much worked through the terrible past, and I understand fully she can no more change the way she lived her life than I can change my own past. It’s the present that is rough. We don’t get along very well, at all. I don’t do manipulation well, and she is a master at it. That’s all I’ll say about that, because who knows what the future holds, and I don’t want to make it more difficult than it may be.

Dave’s mom came to live with us a couple weeks ago. It wasn’t something we were even considering two months ago. If you’d asked us then about the possibility of her coming to live with us, we’d have said that wouldn’t happen. Reba was getting around pretty good, and she’d always said she would never live with her children.

But something happened that the doctors can’t see on MRI’s. She either had a mild stroke, or she just got really, really tired of being lonely. Whatever happened, she lost her short-term memory and was often agitated. She would call Dave and just cry because she had to ask questions about how to do the simplest thing. Since she’s moved in, she and Dave have had the same discussion about wills, money, property, etc., every single days—sometimes several times a day. She can’t remember if she’s taken her medicine, and it makes her cry because she can’t remember. We gave her a pill case to put them in, but she keeps forgetting to do that.

Just a while ago, I was making a grocery list based on a couple of dishes she wants to cook for us. She told me several ingredients, stopped and stared out the window and then asked me, “What am I giving you ingredients to make again?”

But what concerns me more than what she can’t remember, is what she vividly remembers that never actually happened. For instance, she asked me what I did with the cake in the refrigerator.

“What cake?” I asked.

“The one in the big pan.” She replied. “Somebody had taken some of the icing off of a piece, but it wasn’t me.”

After assuring her several times we have not had any cake in the refrigerator since she’s been here, she started crying. The things she’s remembering are not happening. I suppose it’s possible that past memories are recycling through, but the certainty she has about certain events—and the fact that they haven’t happened—gives me cause for concern.

My friend, George Parler recently posted on his Facebook page: Most people don’t like hearing the words, “growing old,” but for me the phrase, “growing old together,” has a nice ring to it. It defines a lifetime of love in the midst of the variable turbulence of life. No, growing old doesn’t bother me, but growing old alone scares me.

Our initial goal was to get Reba here with us to help her with her loneliness and to help her begin to thrive again, instead of sitting depressed in her apartment all day. We felt that her being with other people regularly would help her regain some of her old self. Since she’s been here, though, it’s become clear this is what needed to happen, because of this new development in her memory. She’s only been here two weeks. She may begin to thrive and regain some of her old self. Or she may be her old self now with a few glitches in her memory track. We do believe we have done the right thing.

Truthfully, it’s strange having her in the house all the time, and we are still working on getting used to this. I’m sure it’s just as strange for her, too.