Thursday, August 22, 2013

Life is Messy and Filled With Details

It's just after 7:00 a.m. and I see another perfect day outside my bedroom window. Morning sun reflects off the houses across the street, the sky appears cloudless. The window is open and screenless. There are no mosquitoes in Seattle.
I am contemplating a morning excursion with Lauren and Kelan to berry pick in Discovery Park. I've not picked berries since I arrived and today might well be a good time. Or, after checking my calendar, the only time.
In the afternoon, Kelan and I had planned a trip to the Pin Ball Museum downtown - a birthday present 'together time.' He had a difficult time making a decision about this excursion. Should we go together to Fred Meyer for yet another Lego set or should we go to see and play on the vintage pin ball machines. His mom counseled, "You'd have this memory for all of your life. Will you remember buying one more Lego set?" It took some thought, but Kelan finally opted for a life memory. BTW, checked the Pin Ball Museum website and they don't open today until 6:00 p.m. and Kelan is once again at football practice. So, perhaps pin ball machines on Sunday? Scheduling with all four grandchildren is a major undertaking.
Yesterday was busy, busy. At 9:00 a.m. I picked Caroline and kids up at a car repair place on Leary Way. We drove north and around Green Lake to day care and then I dropped Caroline off for work on the UW campus. Back to Jeanne's house just after 10:00.
Jeanne took Lauren and me to a big antique warehouse, the kind where folks rent and set up their own booths. One fellow had a whole side of the warehouse and huge pieces of furniture and whole walls taken from other abodes. He had a very nice 'tableau touch' which was exactly what Jeanne wanted me to see. Here is Lauren in the midst of a tableau. A bit French?
We three went to lunch at a Vietnamese place we remembered, New ownership, but still good. I had an excellent Vietnamese crepe. We took lunch home to Kelan.
Then it was time to head for Ballard Market to buy fruit and a roast chicken for supper at Caroline's; then to Walgreen's for a prescription refill, glue sticks and 'product' to keep my hair from flowing flat. Off to Dad's by mid-afternoon. Persuaded Dad to take another walk outside to see the blue sky and all the bed of geraniums and petunias. His physical world is now of such small parameters. And it's just so gorgeous outside. One perfect day after another.
BTW, it hit me yesterday. "It' is always those moments in Seattle when I have a teary meltdown. I get a sad, caged feeling when I survey Dad's days, rewind our conversations, take another look at the people with whom he lives. Of those five other folks, only one can converse. AT ALL. The others look off into the distance or shout their discomfiture. Mostly, they look down, close their eyes or curl themselves inward,. Alive, but in hiding?
Dad told me I looked like 'the 55 year old'. "Who is that?" I said and his caretaker pointed to the newest member of the adult family home. I'd seen her for the first time a few days ago, slim, grey haired, youngish, always pacing, staring at the floor. "She is really only 55?" I asked. There was a nod. This 55 year old woman has totally lost it? Never to return?
This home is good to those whose lives are drowned by brains that no longer function in the everyday. They sit, are wheeled about, fed, given medicines. They are silent or on occasion cry out heir frustrations and anger. And that is it.
Dad lives in this very good home and his primo caretaker has become a friend as has the facility's owner. Dad spends his days gently cared for, but....  And so? He still, as Mom used to say of folks, "has all his maarbles" and I think he'd be less lonely with more folks with whom to talk.
So, every time I visit Seattle, I go through this quiet meltdown of grief, sadness and the big 'why'.
On Tuesday afternoon, I took Lauren to visit Dad and I saw him watch her every movement, his eyes just glowing. A year ago, I asked Dad what he liked best about our annual family picnic in Discovery Park and he said, "Watching my great grandchildren play on the hill." I remembered that as I watched him watch Lauren.
When I left Dad yesterday and fiddled with those double locked gate doors - well, that was when I lost it. Even with meltdown, the day was scarcely over.                           
I drove south on Roosevelt Avenue to pick up Caroline at work and then we drove west in late afternoon traffic to pick up her car. Place closed at 5:30 and we made it just as they were closing their doors. I drove to her house while she went to pick up the kids. Assembled a baked chicken dish with fresh figs and lemon slices. Chopped kale and finally made a batter for those squash blossoms.
Consulted Steve - who had just arrived from work - about an early supper for the kids - but his advice was vague, so I continued assembling chicken and figs. Of course, when Charlie and Lulu rushed in the door, they wanted instant sustenance and ended up with bowls of Cheerios, milk, whatever. Caroline announced that she never cooks real meals when she works because when they all hit the front door, supper must be immediate and easy. Of course.
Then John texted that he'd just landed. I texted back, "Can you stop by?" Not a great time of day for visiting families with little kids. Nor was it a good time for me to be cooking a real dinner. John came by and then went on to spend the evening at Kate and Denny's house.
Caroline and I had planned to attack the rooms in the basement again last evening, but it never happened. We were both too tired. On Monday, we'd actually had good and fruitful hours sorting and deciding. I even took a carload of things to Good Will. We made headway in that space, even if it doesn't quite look like it. She found a damaged portfolio of artwork she'd made for a drawing class in 1987, her freshman year at Brown. this image was about capturing 'gesture'. The second drawing is of her dorm room and I quite love it.
FYI, Caroline and Steve's basement was partially flooded with a sewer line back up at the beginning of the summer. Yuck! Her entire studio room had to have the bottom two feet of Sheetrock torn out and replaced. Carpets relaid. Lots of good stuff got wet or totally ruined.
Things that didn't get wet were tossed quickly onto the opposite side of the basement room and there they've stayed all summer while carpet was replaced. On and on. Hence, our great sorting of craft materials, fabrics, clothes and toys. Wish we had another day there to empty that floor. I know the headway we made in one afternoon and evening. NO, I do not have one before and after photo of our endeavors. We were too engaged in the process.
Caroline and I are so the same. Too much stuff and a story to go with each item. We save and resave many things because of their back stories.
After supper, I asked Lulu if she would plow through the big box of random socks we'd collected. Told her, I'd give her 5 cents for every pair of her very own socks she found and matched. She swept into the process and earned $1.25. That makes 25 pairs of socks Lulu could put in her dresser drawer. What little girl even needs 25 pairs of socks? Hey, Steve matched his socks too and I found a red Smart Wool sock of mine that I'd considering missing. Must have left it in Seattle last April?
Left Caroline's way after 8:00. A very full day.
Yet to be written about - meeting baby Audrey yesterday, the newest member of our family.
Yet to be written about - berry picking in Discovery Park and John's and my visit with Dad today.

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