Monday, April 9, 2012

Wrapping It Up

It has been a very long trial. Not the kind you read about in the paper, or the kind Judge Judy hears, but an Endurance Trial, like a marathon. This started about 8 years ago and is not yet over, but it getting close. It is the decline and care of my husband's parents of which I speak.
I was not long married to Eduard, only a couple of years, when his parents started to come undone. First his father was diagnosed with Emphysema. He refused to quit smoking or use the oxygen regularly. He didn't like the lung meds and generally just ignored his condition. But it got worse fast, and soon he was having a hard time breathing without the oxygen. At one point he caught his face on fire while smoking with the oxygen on. He did finally quit smoking about 1 1/2 years before he died, but at that point, he was a total mess. His brain started to die from lack of oxygen, his lungs stopped transferring CO2 out and then it was over in 2009. That was only 5 years after the diagnosis.
In the meantime, mom in law developed colon cancer. There were operations, chemo, radiation, lots of xrays and MRIs, tests. She started in 2006 and we told her we would be there to see her through it. She made it to remission in 2008. The colon cancer had spread to her lungs and the forecast was bleak, but she was fighting hard and things looked up. Even still, she smoked like an old car- 3 cartons per week. After FIL died, MIL traveled to Oregon, went out to dinner some, but didn't really get out much. She seemed to be waiting to die even though her health was improved. In 2011, the cancer in the lungs started to grow again.
The choice of more Chemo pretty much destroyed MIL's body functions. In August she chose hospice care and went to bed to wait for the end. We visited daily, hired 24 hr. care, ran all the errands and shopping, started repairs on the house. She had a brief upturn in health, then a rather quick and continuous slide down. It ended in January.
Well, it ended for her, but we were still doing stuff. We have now gotten almost all of the work on the house done, things tossed or donated or retrieved. We have interviewed real estate agents and are prepared to sell off the assets. There are a few big items left to clean out of the garage, but for the most part, we are looking at getting our life back.
But what will that life be? I am weary to my bones from the work and disruption. I want to go someplace and just relax for a month and try to find my center again. I have a year's worth of work here, just on the yard, projects that have been on hold, people I need to contact, things to do, places to go, sheep to meet. Where is my ordinary world? How do I start putting my life back together?
It was a couple of years back that I started cleaning out and tossing old stuff. Now the garage is full again of things I don't recognize. Please tolerate this mess while I try to recover, find the floor, and clean my refrigerator and shower. Like the other house, all I can do is start at the front door and move from room to room until it is done. Hopefully, it will get done and there will be time for the hammock before the summer is gone. You have all been wonderfully patient and I appreciate that.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Time Warp

There was a time when people who were shocked by the fast pace of change used the phrase- future shock. It is when you step off the plane from Kansas and find yourself in downtown New York. Everything has jumped forward about 50 years. It is disorienting.
So Eduard and I went out on a date on Sunday. We have been buried in work on his estate issues and our own life has been on hold for months. We needed to escape to something quick and close. We went to the movies- you know, the theater where you can see a new movie before you down load it on cheepflicks/netshows/blockbummer- later in the month. To be painfully frank, we haven't been in a movie theater together for about 4 years. I think he went on a work escape one time during that last 4 years, but it has been a long time for him, too.
We went to see "Mirror, Mirror"- a children's (and a bit of adult) movie. Because they had great costumes, and it had some of my favorite stars playing bit parts, but mostly because we just needed to get away and it seemed like a good idea at the time.
The disorientation started as we approached the building- there was no place to buy tickets. No guard at the door. Just walk in. There was a full alcohol bar that took up about 2/3 of the lobby and the area where the ticket office used to be was now a space age lounge. There was a computerized ticket kiosk on the wall and a small area where you could buy tickets with one helpful agent. We waited in line because we were confused.
When we got to the "agent" we ordered two tickets for Mirror- we had to select our seats from the few that remained. We chose the very back wall for that privacy you get when avoiding a child packed theater, but I have never chosen a seat for a "movie" before. Eduard offered a $20 bill and the agent stared at him. The tickets cost $34.50. He had to grope around in his wallet for another $20 bill. I was staring at the food area, trying not to notice his embarrassment.
They had gourmet popcorn- you know, the kind with chocolate dribbled on and coconut and nuts. And cheesecake. And sushi. And a variety of wild coffee drinks. You could get chocolate fondue with fresh fruit to dip or donuts. Somewhere on the menu was some regular popcorn, but it was buried in fine print, no pictures. Don't forget that full alcohol bar. There is a margarita waiting in there for you, to go with the gourmet nachos.
We slipped past the food and headed for the theater. Finally, we found the guard who checked tickets. He directed us to our theater. It was empty and the show started in about 10 minutes. I remembered looking at the seating chart, and was able to find our seats without help. A few other patrons wandered in behind us with the waiters. Every thing was black except for the table lamps between pairs of seats. The seats were fully reclining leather like lounge chairs- automatic, too. There was a little bottom lighted table tray between the seats to rest your food on and a lamp. The arm of the chair had a cup holder. The waiters were dressed in inconspicuous black and took your order quietly as people wandered into the room. There was a menu and drink list on the table tray- we looked.
Eduard and I decided that we would order some outrageous coffee drinks if the waiter made it up to the last row before the movie started. Fortunately, he did not. Then a group of children and a couple of parents clambered loudly into the section next to us- one of the young ones wanted the sushi and the parents ordered it. I took out my knitting for comfort.
As the house lights dimmed just a bit, the waiters delivered the food to the comfortable guests and the "previews of coming attractions" filled the screen- for 30 minutes. Too dark to knit, too weird to get comfortable, too light for the main movie, too loud to chat. I realized that this additional time would stretch my bladder but I didn't have time to go before the show- damn!
When the show ended, we exited last and climbed the stairs to the restrooms. I was really glad that I had not ordered that coffee drink. The upper floor was fully dressed with seating in clear plastic tables and chairs to a view over the railing- glass wall construction. Down below, the afternoon crowd was filling the bar with a big screen tv above showing previews, bites of sports, and some of the latest fashion. In between bites, there were little commercials about the grand theater company and how they loved their audience.
Eduard- we are not in Kansas anymore.