Thursday, May 30, 2013

Third Year, Week Six - Flipping the Pages.....

I can't believe that this month is SO close to done!  When I was a kid a month took forever (ask my brother to explain his "Pie Theory" as to why this is so), and May was one of the very very longest. 

The days are long, and the weather (usually) sweet, and we were trapped in school and unable to stay up late and enjoy the long days.  Looking out a window at such beauty makes the day drag so! 

But now it seems that I go to bed on Friday and wake up on Monday morning and wonder what on earth happened to the time in between.  I know I'm busy, but I do my best to enjoy each moment I'm in. But they rush by with blinding speed, and memories seem like eye-blinks instead of hours or days.

I'll pray for all of us that this weekend, time slows and we enjoy each other and the beauty that is early June, since I apparently missed most of May!


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Planting for the Future......

We planted our vegetable garden yesterday.

When life tosses nothing but chaos your way, keeping perspective becomes a moment-by-moment adventure.  Planning ahead for events such as camping, vacations, and even dental visits becomes as predictable as shooting craps.  Sometimes you win, usually you lose.  Flexibility is the only gift you're given to turn a loss into a win. 

Beans, peas, carrots, radishes, tomatoes, lettuce.

Babygirl is scheduled to see the dentist today.  Keeping up with this, and thereby preventing dental infections, is very important for transplant patients.  I came home yesterday and listened to phone messages, and there was the reminder.  Her appointment is at noon.  She needs to take antibiotics to protect the new kidney an hour before her appointment.  And she's feeling well enough to go to school.

Babygirl planted all the herb plants herself.

Dental appointments are Hubby's job.  And Hubby is in Florida tending to his sister, as he should be.  And I, keeper of the Master Calendar, did NOT have this appointment in my book (although to be completely truthful, I didn't even LOOK at my calendar until I got the phone message).  I don't have her antibiotics on hand.  And even if I cancelled an hours' worth of patients, I'd still have to figure out how to get those called in, picked up, and inside of Babygirl by 11 AM.  And then I'd have to figure out how to get from one end of town after her appointment to the other end for MY appointment with my neurologist, Mom's appointment with the pacemaker clinic, and Mom's appointment with her doctor.

We're trying broccoli this year.

Looking at an already close-to-impossible scedule, and considering adding another three places I'd need to be for that one extra?  No can do. 

Peppers.  Zuchini.  Summer squash.

I figure if I've only dropped one ball out of that massive juggle I'm doing okay.  But the cause of the missed appointment is that someone far away broke a leg.  How do we explain that? 

We planted marigolds to help keep the bunnies away.

There is no real way to plan for any future event.  We can only keep moving and hope that things run as smoothly as possible.

We still have a little space.  Maybe one more tomato plant?

Gardens and life are the same.  You plant, you plan, you work and weed and you hope that in the end you have something to show for your troubles.  You never know about rain, and hail;  you can't predict pests and weeds.  You just have to take it on faith that despite the storms, something beautiful is coming.  There's nothing better than a salad from the garden even if the bunny runs off with some of the produce.  And there's nothing better than my family, even if illness and pain sneak away with some of our moments.

We still have more space.  More room to plant and grow.  And time to weed out the things that crowd us,  time to deal with the things that plague us.  Gardens remind us that not everything has instant results, that some of our best gifts take time, and that we need to adjust our expectations to allow for bad weather. 


Sunday, May 26, 2013

The Old Hometown....

Babygirl and I took a walking tour of the tiny Main Street of my hometown.  She got to see just how little there is on such a street compared to the small city we live in.  She was stunned to see how little there is to do.  The movie theater has only one screen, and one movie each week.  There's one bowling alley.  A couple of restaurants, a furniture store, Christian bookstore, jewelry store, gas station. 

We drove out to my old home, my old schools, and the local parks.  Along the way, I pointed out the homes where my friends and classmates lived - nearly every other one on some streets.

And she got it, a little.  In a small town, every other house has a friend, a teacher, a pastor.  A memory. 

When we were done she decided she likes our small city better.  Why wouldn't she?  It's HER hometown.  Someday she'll take her children around (God willing) and show them where she used to hang out and where her friends lived.

But for today she has a vision that life can be different.  There are woods to be walked.  Small quiet streets to explore.  Handmade pizza to try, and back roads to drive.

It's been a good day.


Saturday, May 25, 2013

Shadows on a Sunny Day......

Babygirl and I hit the road at about 11 this morning.  I wasted an hour before that trying to use my Power of Attorney to get my name on my Mom's bank account.  You see, Powers of Attorney expire when the person who granted them expires.  So if Mom dies, I won't be able to use funds in her bank account to pay her bills until after her will hits probate, which can be months.  If my name is on her account, I can continue to write checks and taking care of business.  Interestingly enough our POA may not have been set up on the current legal form, so the bank is investigating whether or not they'll do it based on that form.  Ugh.

So we packed up, and left, stopping halfway for lunch.  About 45 minutes ahead of our arrival, we stopped in a tiny town and explored.  We circled a lovely lake and admired lake houses.  We toured a cheese shop and bought treats for the evening.  We investigated a barn full of junk and antiques and added a little to my cobalt glass collection.  We visited a Seneca Nation Reservation and discussed whether or not we were truly still in the United States while standing on 'the res.'  And we drove up the mountain and went trespassing so she could see the hunting cabin her Grampa built with his own hands (even though he no longer owns it).  We had Panda Paws ice cream cones.  We got so engrossed in a conversation about the recent tornado that I missed our exit and had to backtrack.  We ate our favorite local pizza and hot wings for dinner, caught up on the internet and watched TV with Grampa and Gramma Sharon.  Altogether, it was a lovely, cool sunny day.

But the transplant makes things interesting.  The instructions to waitresses.  The concern that there might be too much mold and mildew in that barn to make it safe for her to go in.  Limiting 'taste testing' in the cheese shop due to safety concerns.  Debating whether fresh cheese curds are allowed at THIS point since her counts are good......

It's always in the background.  Always in my mind.  Always, always a concern. 


Thursday, May 23, 2013

Third Year, Week Five - Managing Time.....

It's trash day.  Trash, recycling and miscellaneous out to the curb no later than 7 AM or we'll miss the pick-up, and that, I can assure you, would not be a good thing.

It's pool season, or it will be next week.  The pool needs to be cleaned, pH balanced, and backwashed.

It's almost summer.  The lawn needs mowing and the yard and porch furniture needs to come out.

It's Memorial Day weekend.  We usually go camping, set up things for friends and family, and generally plan a good time.

It's time to plant the vegetable garden.  Ordinarily that would have been done last weekend.

I obviously have a few obligations:  A chronically ill child, a mom with dementia, a home, and a job that tends to use up all of my free time.  Hubby made an unexpected trip to Florida to help his older sister, who fell and broke her leg.  He's been gone nearly a week and has a week to go.

Every single thing on the above list except the garden usually falls into the "honey do"  category.  He is the trash man, the pool guy, and the camp packer.  I'm the cleaner, pet-carer, gardener and dementia-problem solver.  This week, needless to say, has had its special challenges.  In order to take a weekend off I need to find someone to check in on Mom at least twice daily, someone to take care of the pets, and a campsite and all the stuff needed to make a camping weekend work.  In order to not be inundated by trash, I have to remember when to put it out and still find time to be the one who collects the trash on the inside of the house.  And in order to keep the pool on its spring-clean schedule, I have to try to remember all that Hubby tried to teach me in three minutes about how to run the pool filter.  And then there's work, job, friends, church and grandchildren.

I've pared my life back quite a bit.  No extra work hours.  No choir.  Very few obligations outside of my home that I can't cancel at the last minute if need be.  But these extra little kinks just keep rolling in.

My older brother generously offered to come for a weekend and help with Mom.  I asked if he could come Memorial Day so we could go camping and not worry.  Well.....since then he did make a trip up here, the weekend Mom moved.  He discovered that his awesome electric car takes 12 hours (driving plus recharging) to travel the 3 1/2 hr trip.  He's likely thinking that he won't be coming up too often. 

Things get done.  Not always efficiently, not always in as timely a fashion as usual, but they get done.  Mom's good friend has volunteered to stay with her this weekend and mind the pets.  Babygirl has agreed that camping can wait for another weekend, and we're going to go visit Grampa.  Paperwork is done, the house looks reasonably tidy especially since Babygirl has taken up some extra household slack this week.  We'll leave Saturday instead of Friday.  We'll maybe shop for plants tonight and see about garden layout and seeding as time permits.  I'll maybe vacuum the pool on Saturday morning in the cool of the day.  The porch has an umbrella and some chairs, and the rest can wait.  The laundry is done.

I've joked about "mindfulness" in the past, but it is a good discipline.  Keeping my mind from leaping like a cricket from on item on the to-do list to another is a skill I am finally beginning to master.  Making the to-do list is actually part of the process.  Listing what needs doing, setting priorities and following those priorities is a good stress reliever.  I don't need to deal with the garden until I've managed the paperwork.  I don't need to do the paperwork until I've confirmed that someone is coming to take care of Mom this weekend. I don't need to rush and leave on Friday if it gives me more freedom from stress to cross off a few more things.  I don't need to deal with the 10th thing on the list until I've handled the 9th.  Focusing fully on the task at hand takes off most of the pressure.  Sure, sometimes I feel like mindfulness is just a way of slamming the lid on Pandora's box.  Absolutely, that cricket in my head just keeps hopping some days. 

Today is not one of those days.  I am at rest.


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Playing Cards.....

My mom can no longer play a card game.

My mom is a card sharp.  She's one of those people who can count cards, know what you're likely to be collecting, knows fifteen different versions of rummy, and takes winning with all the serious intensity of champion chess players.  She has quick hands and very dangerous fingernails.  She plots the downfall of her opponents as craftily as a general planning to storm the beaches of a foreign country.  She once read a book entitled Chess for Fun and Blood.  My dad began to refuse to play chess with her.

Last night I invited her to play Phase Ten (for those of you who don't spend your evenings devising ways to beat the crap out of your kids, it's a rummy-like game).  Each player completes simple hands:  2 sets of three, a set of 3 and a run of 4 etc. with a card in front of each listing what is needed for each phase.  Mom couldn't do it.

Quite aside from the difficulty her arthritic hands had with holding her cards, she couldn't remember what phase she was on (okay, not unexpected).  But more alarming was the fact that she couldn't grasp the difference between 'set' and 'run'.  The card colors confused her.  By the end of the game she was starting to need fewer prompts, but we were both to tired to try a second hand.

Less than two years ago she was still able to learn to play a new game.  Now, she is losing her ability to play the old ones. 

There is a memoir written by a local author called The House on Beartown Road.  The author is simultaneously caring for her infant daughter and her declining father.  It is a poignant tale observing both ends of life meeting and passing each other:  Baby learning to talk, Dad forgetting how.  Each noticeable loss comes with a pang of grief.

I won't ask her to play again.  It's too hard on her to struggle, and too hard for me to watch.


Monday, May 20, 2013

A Quiet Heart.....

An old friend posted this on Facebook this morning:
""I know of a great simplifier for all of life. Whatever happens is assigned...Are some things, then out of the control of the Almighty? Every assignment is measured and controlled for my eternal good. As I accept the given portion other options are canceled. Decisions become much easier, directions clearer, and hence my heart becomes inexpressibly quiet...A quiet heart is content with what God gives." Elisabeth Elliot, "Keep a Quiet Heart" Or as Jill Kelly says, whatever happens to us is "Father filtered" - it has to pass through Him first - and He's got it all under control!"
My response:
"I respectfully disagree. While I DO firmly believe that "God can work all things together for good" when we trust him to do so, the free will he gave us and our fellow man means that some troubles befall us based on choices others make. For example, God does not 'assign' a person to get drunk, drive and kill your beloved child. That person CHOOSES, and then God helps you work through it if you trust Him.  I cannot, must not, WILL not believe that God "assigned" my 11 year old daughter kidney failure, dialysis, transplantation and daily struggles with chronic pain and illness. If he did, I cannot, must not, WILL not trust him; for if he is hurting an innocent child for my "eternal good" then I am already damned. But I can believe that her illness is a part of the inheritance of Adam, a result of choices made by others long before her birth. And while I cannot hope to understand the "why," I can trust God to hold us both in the palm of His loving hand and see us through."

It's a hot-button issue with me, the thought that God is the Grand Puppeteer.  Either we truly have free will, and God helps us deal with the consequences of all the choices made over time, or we do not have free will and God and Hitler are the same person:  A cosmic sadist who randomly and/or purposefully visits evil and chaos on those trapped within His creation.  And if THAT is true, then all I ever was taught about the love of God is nonsense.  After all, I rather doubt that Hitler had the "eternal good" of the Jews in mind.

But despite everything I see in the world around me, I have no trouble at all believing in a loving, forgiving God.  I sometimes see Him, in my imagination, palm to face - laughing.  All of the joy, humor, beauty, honesty, loyalty and love of our world springs from His eternally enormous heart.  And when we put our trust in His great support, we find that He CAN work whatever evil has befallen us for good.  That doesn't mean the process isn't painful.  It certainly doesn't mean that once we trust Him with THIS pain that there will never be any OTHER pain.  After all, the world keeps spinning, no?

But it does mean that I can have a 'quiet heart.'  I can rest, and be at peace, knowing that no matter what I or my fellow man have chosen, God will control the outcome for my soul if I let Him.  It is, ultimately, the choice that is given to all of us.


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Third Year, Week Four - Finishing Stuff.....

My Hubby is a wonderful guy.  He has tons of skills - he's a great Dad, a great Grampa, and a loving husband.  He can fix almost anything, put together a functioning computer from a pile of junk, and cook an amazing dinner.  He can do plumbing, drywall, electrical wiring and supervise a team of inexperienced teens while they put up a roof.  He has Skills.

But everybody has an Achilles  Heel.  His?  Finishing stuff.  And I confess, I have the same fault.

This building has 18 rooms and four baths.  We've been working on improvements for, oh, about 10 years give or take a couple.  It goes in fits and starts, and definitely progresses better under the pressure of a deadline. 

But of those 18 rooms, seven are 'done'.  And by 'done' I mean painted, with clean floors, all outlets and switches covered and electrically up to code, closets sanded and painted. Most of them could still use professional floor refinishing.  Of the four bathrooms, two are done.  They have been remodeled, tiled, plumbed, wired, and they have toilet paper and towel racks installed.

As far as the other rooms go?  To finish two of them I need to screw on switch plate and outlet covers.  Four need the floors 'unpainted' and cleaned.  One bath only needs a toilet paper holder and towel ring. The other hasn't even been started.  Mom's kitchen needs a new floor (paint?  linoleum?) and a hand crafted cupboard. Mine needs a stove hood/microwave and a sink light. Two rooms need plaster repair/finishing and paint.  I need to finish painting the stairs on our side.

Most of this is ridiculously do-able.

In the two weeks before Mom moved in we pushed ourselves HARD and did SO much.  But it cost us.  We were exhausted, and general housework fell by the wayside.  And since I've trained myself to actually notice the dust, I'm noticing the damned dust. 

It's incredibly frustrating.  I look around and see that things are so MUCH better, but I'm a bit tired of 'almost' done.  And I've truly been too tired to do much about it this week.

A friend once told me that he never finishes projects either.  He's a perfectionist, and if you finish, you have to accept the flaws.  He called it ADD - Attention to Detail Disorder.  I laughed, but it resonated with me. 

I took a radical step this week.  I advertised for someone to help me clean.  I figure that if someone comes in on Saturday morning for four hours and we work together, we can kick this stuff.  It will help keep me motivated and on track, and it might actually help with the things that fall into the 'my job' category.  I positively stink at plaster, but I rock at painting and I'm certainly capable of hanging a towel rack!  If the weight of cleaning all 18 rooms to transplant standards lifts a bit, I'll have more time to accomplish the 'honey-do' list. 

So, what do you think?  I want to be DONE by the end of summer with all the leftover detail crap.  DONE, I tell you.



Monday, May 13, 2013

Growing Pains......

We are never too old to feel the sting of growing pains.  In fact, adults feel them all the time.  From the moment I first realized, at age 21, that I would never have an entire summer off for school break (or an Easter Break or a Christmas Break!) I've had many such 'growing pains' moments.  We all see them - those moments when we are forcibly reminded that childhood is long over and we have become, irrevocably, grown-ups.

Each of us can easily make a list:
    First grey hair.
    Birth of first child.
    Child going to kindergarten.
    First major injury.
    Difficulty getting up off the floor.
    Child graduating high school/college.
    Realizing that ladders are much higher than they used to be.
    Caring for a chronically ill child.
    Noticing that new lack of agility.
    Moving an aging parent home with you.
    Burying a parent.
These things can range from the sublime to the rediculous, but each one reminds us of our advancing committment to adulthood and aging.

Hubby and I both had one such moment at the Post Office on Saturday.  We filled out our passport applications, submitted them, and drove home.

On the way home, Hubby said, "So, what did YOU put down under 'hair color'?

AHAHAHAHAHAHA!  We both had to admit that we'd written "Grey."  We kinda had to match the pictures, you know? 


Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day Sandwich.......

Hubby works on Sundays, and Babygirl is not confident with the stove, so no breakfast in bed for me!  I'm sure someone has done it in the past, probably more than once, but I clearly remember only one time:  A plate of scrambled eggs, toast and bacon arranged to look like a big smiley face.  And it was edible!

Mother's Day at our house is usually haunted by loss.  Birthmothers, dead, living or status unknown hover around my children in my imagination at least.  The girls rarely say anything, but I know that they contemplate what is versus what might have been at least sometimes.

And today I have been contemplating that, too.  What is versus what might have been.

I might have opted not to have the one baby I had.  I might have never opened my life and heart to any child.  I might have, in the past two years, watched my youngest die.  I might have, in the past two months, watched my mother die.

I cannot contemplate any of those 'might have beens' without weeping.  Each and every child in my life has been an unspeakable blessing. My mother has been my support and help for my whole life.  The thought of not having known, or having lost, ANY of them brings me to my knees in gratitude for all I have been given. 

We who are in the Sandwich Generation, caring for both the generations before and after us, have many challenges.  Making ends meet in terms of time and energy is not the least of these.  But we who are in this situation also realize that we are intensely blessed.  We have, in our day-to-day lives, the joys and benefits of both generations. 

We are sandwiched between obligations, duties, stresses and strains.  But more than this, we are sandwiched by love.


PS  Check your car.  If you have both a walker AND a carseat for a grandchild, you can add one more layer to your sandwich.  The Club Sandwich Generation?

Saturday, May 11, 2013


Babygirl, Hubby and I went to the post office today to submit our applications for passports!  We were met there by our Make-A-Wish Wish Granters who came along to pay the bill.  They were totally impressed by how "organized" we were.  That's because, of course, they weren't here at home Thursday evening as Hubby and I ransacked the house to assemble the appropriate paperwork!

For Babygirl we needed her adoption decree, her new American birth certificate and the matching Social Security card..  We weren't sure so we also brought her citizenship notice, her Guatemalan passport (long since expired) and her Guatemalan birth certificate.  They asked if she had any photo ID (not counting the absolutely adorable but hopelessly out-of-date passport picture).  I know I'm not 30 anymore and I may be just a tad out of touch, but where the heck would a 13 year old get an official photo ID?  We were offered the opportunity to purchase a passport card (oh, so THAT'S where a 13 year old gets an official ID!).  I know about enhanced driver's licenses, but I had not heard of passport cards (you need the passport book for overseas travel). 

For Hubby, we needed only his application and his expired passport, plus a peek at his driver's license. 

For me?  Well, I have no idea where my old passport is.  It's clearly expired, and I know where I last saw it, but no idea where it went from there.  So I got to start from scratch, with:

Application, application to replace lost/stolen passport (separate form with same info), birth certificate (I brought two, both certified, and thankfully one of them listed my parents' names, since that was required), proof of name changes (first marriage certificate, divorce decree, second marriage certificate),  my social security card and my driver's license. 

Men have it so much easier LOL.

A quick phone call to our oldest to get her address for an emergency contact, and we were done.  The entire process took nearly an hour, much to the dismay of the kid waiting behind us LOL.  We were grateful to Make-A-Wish for funding this - the total tab was well over $300.

But it's a big step - looking to fulfill Babygirl's Wish in August!


Friday, May 10, 2013

Third Year, Week Three - Running......

It's been a busy week. 

Friday:  Work, grocery shopping, laundry.

Saturday:  Move mom, feed moving team, unpack, feed family, unpack, laundry.

Sunday:  Pack lunches, travel to Dorney Park, travel on to Philly.

Monday:  Downtown Philly to see doctor (should I worry because I haven't heard anything about labs yet?), drive home, unpack unpack.

Tuesday:  Work.  Unpack. 

Wednesday:  Work.  Unpack.  Unpack more.

Thursday:  Clean bathrooms, clean pet cages and litter boxes, laundry, work, take Curlygirl to grocery store, help JuJuBee transport things to new apartment, search for paperwork necessary for passport applications.

Today:  I already have two loads of laundry done with more to go.  I'll head for work in a minute, come home and continue unpacking with my Mom.  But for right now I'll enjoy one more cup of coffee and enjoy watching the dog chasing dream rabbits (Wooof.  Woooofwooooofwooof.) while the fog burns off outside my window. 

It's good, really good, to have an unscheduled moment to listen to the morning birdsong.

There won't be many such moments this weekend either.


Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Aftermath......

Our trashmen came this morning and took away an absolutely enormous pile of boxes broken down and stuffed into more boxes surrounded by bags of wadded-up newspapers and more boxes of boxes.  The pile was 12 feet long, 4 feet wide and about 4 feet tall.

I'm glad our city recycles!

I still have a few more to unpack, but I can finally see most of the top of Mom's table.


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Blue Rain.....

I fell asleep reading.  I like my current read:  The Codex Alera series by Jim Butcher.  He's the same guy who  wrote The Dresden Files, which is an absolutely wonderful good-versus-evil wizard series. 

Usually when I fall asleep reading I stay asleep.  But, as you all know, insomnia has become my buddy lately.  So I'm sitting here drinking tea and contemplating life, and the way I handle life.

I don't know about all of you, but I have a tendency to want to explain things.  I explain to patients why 'cutting down' on smoking is not remotely the same as 'quitting smoking.'  I explain world politics (as I see them) to my kids.  And I want to explain, over and over and over again why I have failed to do all that a I need to do in a day. 

I know that last one is a total waste of my time and energy.  I really have no need to justify to anybody why I can no longer juggle eight balls at a time.  No, wait - let me explain!  I am STILL juggling eight balls, maybe ten, but six or more of them are invisible to everybody else!  Oh, right - no need to explain. 

So while I was lying on the knife-edge of sleep, the phrase, "Because of the blue rain" appeared in my head. 

"Blue rain?"

The inside of my head is an endlessly entertaining and entirely frightening location.  Clearly my general sense of daughter-guilt has been swirling around in there for some time, begging to be processed.  My mommy- and grandma-guilt have been vying for my attention as well.  Don't even get me started on church- and work-guilt.  There is no end to my feelings of inadequacy LOL.

"Blue rain."

Why can't I take Curlygirl to the doctor today?  Forget that I am on my way with Babygirl to the doctors in Philly.  It's because of the blue rain.  Why did I forget to pick up Babygirl's new dose of headache medications? Is it because I was packing boxes at mom's?  Nah - it was the damned blue rain.  Why can't I drop everything and pick up JuJuBee everytime she needs a ride someplace?  Raining.  Blue.  Why can't I pull together music for church anymore?  Pouring, absolutely pouring blue rain.  Why wasn't I more organized for Mom's move?  Because of the bright blue rain.  Why can't I remember to send Citygirl a text now and then?  Overwhelmed?  Not at all - it's just the drumming of the blue rain.

Somewhere in my subconscious the steady dripping of family stress and sickness has taken on literal color and texture and become rain.  Pretty, blue, soft and steady rain.  There is no logical explanation for why one family of so relatively few people has so much epic, catastrophic adventure.  Nothing that makes any degree of sense.  Some people have some blue rain kinda days. 

We have a blue rain kinda life. 

We cannot stop or control the weather.  And unlike snow, you can't shovel rain out of your way.  The water rises and falls, and the floods come and go, and we are helpless to make the rain go away.  I've compared our life to rowing a leaky boat before.  We keep bailing the boat and rowing as hard as we can.

There is an old maritime prayer:  "Lord, the sea is so big, and my boat is so small." 

Lord, there is so much blue rain.  And I'm tired of rowing.


Sunday, May 5, 2013

Third Year, Week Two - Lost.....

"Where are the cats?"

I spent much of the last month helping my mom pack up her things so she could move into the apartment next door.  We spent all of yesterday carefully loading all of her things into cars, pickups, and a U-Haul truck.

"Make sure you don't put any weight on the front legs of the piano or they'll break!"

The Mission Team from our church accepted the challenge of helping with this move in exchange for a donation.  And while they all understood why I needed to move my mom, they got front row seats on The Dementia Show.

"Where are the cats?"

I was surprised by how much stuff still WASN'T packed.  Mom's best friend had been steadily loading boxes for me to pre-move for weeks.  Load after load of beloved knickknacks, photographs, and history had already made their way over to mom's new place. 

"Make sure you don't put any weight on the front legs of the piano - they'll break!"

I had planned on simply grabbing my mom and taking her to my place so she wouldn't have to see the moving.  But there was still too much to do, so she sat through the majority of the load-up while I kept packing.  And packing.  And packing.

"Where are the cats?"

I got her home, settled her in, and started prepping lunch for twelve while the Team finished up the last of the loading.  I must say that playing Tetris apparently translates into some substantial real-world skills.  There was no wasted space at ALL. 

"Did you tell them to not put any weight on the front legs of the piano?  They'll break if they do."

The Team arrived, lunch was served, and the off-loading began.  It always takes less time to do this part, but it's still so MUCH work.  Thank God for people young enough to lift and haul and repetitively climb stairs!

"Where are the cats?"

The hardest thing about dementia is being so lost.  And the hardest thing so far about dealing with Mom's dementia is doing my best to not point out her 'lostness' to her.  Answering the same question over and over and over again as if it is the first time I've heard the question becomes a struggle after about the third time.  Hoping the poor souls moving the damned piano don't get offended by the implication that they are incapable of remembering to protected the legs of  said instrument. 

And watching my mom, lost and frightened, and not being able to help her find her way home.