So it goes.

On behalf of the entire family, thank you for being here today as we celebrate the life of our Mother.

Let’s start with a little word association – when you think of Mom, what is the first word that pops into your mind?

Anybody come up with “Tough”? Mom could be characterized as fun-loving, adventurous, generous, tenacious, big-hearted… So many words… But it seems I’m not the only one who thinks of her as ‘tough’.

The scientific definition of toughness is “Strength and Ductility”. Resistance to fracture while stressed… The ability to absorb energy, take repeated blows, without failure.

Tough as nails… One tough cookie…. Built Ford tough…

That was Mom.

We learned pretty early that she was a strong woman. Stick your tongue out in our household? Be prepared to wear a clothespin on it! Bite your sister? Be prepared to have Mom bite you back. Oh, and like Ralphie in “A Christmas Story”, we were all connoisseurs of a variety of fine soaps. She maintained order and kept us all in line.

When facing heart bypass surgery in 2008, Mom was informed by her surgeon that if she continued to smoke, her chances of survival would be cut in half. On the spot, she decided that after 65 years of smoking, she should quit. And she did. Cold turkey, that very day.

While collecting information to settle Mom’s estate last night, I looked at one of her checkbooks to make sure I had the right one. Knowing that she would likely be going to the hospital on Monday, she paid her bills on Sunday. She wasn’t able to see well, write well, or even breathe easily… But she paid her bills.

Mom was an incredibly strong woman.

To complement her strength, she was also agile – able to adapt, improvise and overcome.

Fiercely independent, she was at first reluctant to let Dad into her life. He said he could remember the moment he knew he was in love with her – they were at the market, shopping for a block of Swiss cheese. She spent a great deal of time going through the individually weighed packages, trying to find the block with the fewest holes, because she wanted to get the most for her money. He was smitten! She wasn’t quite so sure…

She eventually accepted his proposal, and left the city for the suburbs. Neither she, nor Dad, knew the first thing about home ownership, maintenance, or gardening. She didn’t have a driver’s license. But she adapted, and together they created a garden, became neighbors, joined this congregation, learned how to camp, and raised a family…

Having given up her profession as a nurse to stay home with her children, and later to provide care for her oldest granddaughter she started back to school in her 50’s to brush up her skills. Returning to nursing, she quickly settled into a leadership role on the psychiatric ward at the county hospital – saying she felt right at home there…

She’d be unhappy at this point if i failed to mention that she was a straight-A student…

She was a devoted Mother, Grandmother and Great-Grandmother. Perhaps her greatest gift was her ability to understand each of us as unique individuals – she knew that one size didn’t fit all in her clan. She could coach and mentor us, knowing our capabilities, knowing our limits, and knowing when it was important to push them…

This combination of strength and ductility – her toughness – was apparent through the difficulty of the past week. There was never a doubt in our mind that she was calling the shots – even at the very end of her life. We have been fortunate that Mom’s oldest granddaughter, DQ, and her husband, BJ, have been able to care for her. She waited until they were by her side before she allowed herself to rest…

So we thank you again for coming together with us today to celebrate her life.

Life is short. Death is forever. Go joyfully! Nothing left undone!

MommaThis is the eulogy i delivered yesterday at her funeral… It’s been a pretty rotten couple of weeks, but it seems the worst is behind us.  She turned 86 on Friday, and died two days later… Not a bad run…

End of the Season

At the end of the season, our communal pool is opened up for a Doggie Splash Day.  Residents can bring their pups and they get to fart around in the pool before the final cleaning before closure for the winter months.

This has been one of Mr. Pickles favorite things – and this is a dog whose favorite thing is generally whatever he is doing at the moment.  Today was a storybook perfect early autumn day – blue sky, wispy clouds, and warm, dry air.

Because of other commitments, i took a few hours off work today to make sure he had a chance to enjoy it.  Arriving promptly at 4:00pm, he wasted no time jumping in to steal a toy from another dog, Morgan – an elderly Chesapeake Bay Retriever.  This has become something of an annual tradition.

Devil DogMr. P, having more heart than brains, threw himself into the water with reckless joy.  He’s not always cognizant of where the steps are, so this meant i had to throw myself into the water to guide him back to safety on a few occasions.

He played.  And he played some more.  Other residents – even those without dogs – were entertained by his spirit.  After about 40 minutes, he was getting tired, and i repeatedly had to shepherd him to the steps to rest, but he would have none of that.  i very nearly had to carry him home, because…. well…. DOGS!  WATER!  BALLS!

It was hard to leave, but i was worried about him.  He’d jump in, completely submerge, pop to the surface and snag the tennis ball – but he was starting to gasp to catch his breath.  There is a fine line.  He might push himself too far… But, he’s thirteen years old.  It’s entirely possible that he won’t be alive next year for the Doggie Splash Day.

As i was walking him home, i got a text from my niece, DQ.  Mom has been feeling pretty rotten this week, and has been mostly bedridden with fatigue.  Earlier this week, she told my brother-in-law “I’ve lived a good, long life.  It may be my time…”

When i talked to her last night, her mind was firing on all cylinders, and she was ready to give up.  Given her symptoms, i was pretty sure it was an infection of some sort, and encouraged her to let DQ get some blood work done… Maybe even go to the emergency room if necessary to get checked out.

The text message from DQ was to let me know that Mom has been admitted for pneumonia, which is generally treatable.  She’ll also have to have fluid drained from her lungs – the last time this happened was in early July.  It has come back just a few months later.  Untreated, it will kill her.

Another fine line.

Ultimately, it is Mom’s decision.  i am hopeful that 24 hours of antibiotics will have her feeling less miserable, and perhaps in a better position to sort out her chosen path forward.  i will support it, whatever she decides.

Fingers crossed that she still has some enjoyable days ahead, even if the longer term prognosis sucks.

Happy Pup

Sugar Granny

Putting my brain on hold, i packed up Mom and Studley, and we headed out to the wedding celebration for my brother, T, and his new wife. As you may recall, my sister S had decided this would be the perfect opportunity to introduce T to a half-brother he’d not known about, and had taken the liberty to invite this half-brother to the wedding reception.

As we were driving toward The Park, Mom was reminiscing about what a complete asshole her second husband had been…

Mom: Cletus was married once before me. They had a child together and then he went off into the Army.  Well, his wife took up with another man while Cletus was gone, and had another baby – that was Dave. When Cletus got back, he never acknowledged that Dave was his son…

daisyfae: Wait… What? You mean the newly discovered half-brother may not, in fact, be related to S and T at all?

Mom: Cletus never treated Dave like his own son, and never took any responsibility for him. Cletus had two sisters who disowned Dave, too.

daisyfae: Can…. Did…. Anyone in the family actually do the math? Has there ever been genetic testing done?

Mom: Well, S says he looks just like Cletus.

daisfae: [white-knuckle grip on steering wheel, head explodes] GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!

Studley: [laughing maniacally from backseat]

~~~~~~~~~~~

Despite my exploded head, we arrived at the party. Wheeling Mom up to a table, we joined my sister, S, along with her possibly half-brother, Dave, and his wife, Pam. There was another woman at the table, who was introduced as Imogene, Pam’s mother. When joining any table, i do a quick triage on seating – trying to optimize conversation for all, with the least amount of annoyance for me. Studley quickly worked the same social math, and had perched his arse on the back of an adjacent sofa, claiming the prime vantage point to watch the fireworks, without getting hit by shrapnel.

i placed Mom’s wheelchair next to S, who was sitting next to Dave and Pam. i dropped into the seat between Mom and Imogene, who proceeded to tell me her life story. A charming woman, Imogene had just turned 91 years old. Full of spark and playfulness, she wasted no time in sharing her annoyance at being dragged to a party where she didn’t know anyone, as well as pulling out pictures of her dead husband.  i was able to get her chatting with Mom, and made a break to inhale a vodka tonic grab a bite to eat.

Studley found me by the barbeque meatballs, shaking his head in astonishment. “Wow.”  My brother, T, and his wife, K, were having a grand time, making the rounds and introducing family and friends. They’d stop briefly to chat, then move on to the next group. A nice collection of humans gathered to celebrate a wedding…

Eventually i returned to the table, and Imogene got going again. Very sweet, very funny, and inquisitive.  She wanted to be introduced to Studley, thinking he was my husband.

daisyfae: No, we are a couple, but not likely to ever marry. We’ve both done that, and are pretty happy as we are…

Imogene: Well, he’s a handsome man, and a real sweetheart! You better hang onto him before he gets away.

Mom: I’ve been telling her the same thing.

Studley: [smiles, raises eyebrow, posts his trademark ‘hey, baby’ look]

~~~~~~~~~~~

Two days later, Studley and i were floating in my pool… doing retirement financial planning – sorting out whether i’ll have sufficient resources to retire early and move the fuck overseas to get as far away from The Park as possible. He has repeatedly assured me that i have more than enough to live such a life, and should really stop worrying about it.

We also did the “after action report” on the previous weekend, which is partly why i needed to go over the retirement financials again. As an afterthought, i reminded him of how much those senior ladies adore him…

daisyfae: You can write your own ticket with the old broads! Between Imogene, and those ladies at the women’s league luncheons, you oughta find yourself an old bat with a lot of cash. Get yourself a Sugar Granny…

Studley: [grinning] What makes you think I haven’t? [dives for safety]Gimme some sugarThis babe found here…

Excavations

Mom is moved back into her home, and even though it took far too long, it is absolutely perfect for her needs.  When we first began excavations, we had to go through a seemingly insurmountable mess – decades of ‘stuff’ that she simply couldn’t part with…

We used four categories:  “Keep” (put in storage during renovations), “Donate”,  “Garage Sale”, and “Pitch”.  The “Donate” pile was substantial, and Mom’s church had a great inventory that year.  The “Garage Sale” items were parked in her back yard shed for future disposition.

This week, my niece, DQ began rooting through some of those items, and has been working on a family garage sale.  i was surprised to get the following picture via text message last night.

glass shit“Another Box Full of Glass Shit”

DQ:  I’m going to assume you’ve been through this box before?

daisyfae:  YES!  Definitely my handwriting!

Blasting Your Past

The message from my brother, T, last April wasn’t a tremendous surprise.  He’d gotten married.  What surprised me was that he’d not married the woman he’d been dating for a year, but had met someone new two weeks prior, and found himself completely smitten – head over heels in love, as he’d never loved anyone before.  And they had just eloped.

One of the reasons i can never give up on my brother is that despite things going rather horribly wrong with his first three marriages, he still genuinely and truly believes in the magic and mystery of love.  Most people would be a little bit crunchy and bitter after all he’s experienced, but not T.  At 60 years old, he has found “the one”, and i’m happy for him.

Perhaps a bit skeptical, but hoping for the best, anyway.

Since they’d not had a proper wedding, T and his new bride, K, decided to throw a party this month to celebrate, and bring the families together.  He is in the process of selling his home, and moving in with her, so the location will be near K’s home – conveniently located about halfway between where i live, and The Park.

Mom really wanted to go, so plans were made for my sister, S, to bring her to the event, which is being held this coming Saturday evening.  Last week, i got a call from S.

S:  I have already RSVP’d to a wedding that night, so I won’t be able to stay.  Is there a chance you can bring Mom home afterward?

daisyfae: Sure.  i had tentative plans for later in the evening, but can adjust.

S: I need to go to a wedding at 6, but can then stop by and pick Mom up to bring her to T’s party.  Maybe stay an hour or so, but I really need to get to the reception for the wedding I said I was going to…

daisyfae: i’ll tweak my plans a bit, the party i was going to will likely run late, so i can drop in later.

This really wasn’t a big deal, just a little extra driving.  It was the next bit that scrambled my circuits…

My oldest sister, S, and brother, T, are technically my half-sister, and half-brother, although none of us really think of it that way.  Mom was married twice before she met Dad, and S and T had a different father.  A man who abandoned them, and Mom, when they were small.  There were some rotten things that happened along the way.  Their father was later murdered, and neither of them has much memory of him.

S has been curious about her biological family, and has reached out to a few biological aunts and uncles to better understand his story.  T, on the other hand, has had absolutely no interest in digging into the past, and has made it clear to S that it is not something he cares to discuss.

Last winter, through a genealogy website, my niece discovered that S and T had two half-brothers through their father.  S was able to connect with the wife of one newly discovered half-brother, Dave, and was invited to attend his surprise 70th birthday party.  You would think that meeting a half-sister you didn’t know existed might be a hell of a shock to a 70 year old heart, it apparently went well, and S has maintained this connection.

As i spoke with S last week regarding logistics for T’s wedding reception, i was stunned to find that she’d invited her half-brother, and his wife, to T’s party.

S: I appreciate that you can get Mom home Saturday!  There’s even more complications though… Dave and his wife are coming down to meet T, too…

daisyfae:  Ummmm….  Did you ask T?  Do they realize that this is essentially T’s wedding reception and that he won’t have a lot of time to talk?

S:  I was going to have it be a surprise, but Mom thought I should tell T first.  They know he’ll be busy, but they really want to meet him.  I need to call them tonight.  T really doesn’t want to talk much about the past, either, and said he really wouldn’t be able to sit and chat with them.  Dave had a lot of history he wanted to tell me, but when I told T I’d invited them, he said he really didn’t want to talk about the past at all…

daisyfae:  It really is T’s wedding reception.  Sure, fourth time’s the charm and all that, but it might not be the best time to meet a half-brother you didn’t know you had…

S: Well, they really want to come…  I’ll have to tell them that I won’t be able to stay too long either.  I might show them a picture of you, since you’ll be there with Mom.  Not that I expect you to babysit them or anything…

daisyfae:   Ummm…. maybe you could suggest there might be a better time for them to come down to meet him?

S:  They’ve got their hearts set on it.

daisyfae: …..

wedding crashers

 

Not going to look it in the mouth…

“There’s a delivery for you!”

“Ummm… i don’t think i ordered anything….”

Tim has been delivering mail in my building for nearly all of the 30+ years i’ve been working there. He had the right name, and the right office, but i absolutely had no idea what could be in the small box he put in my hand.

“It’s from Amazon? i have that stuff sent home… Someone must have made a mistake, or sent me something?”

Tim stuck around to find out if he would need to re-deliver, or return, the box. i cut open the tape, and pulled out a wrapped gift.

“Well, someone sent you a present! Guess the mystery is solved!”

“Not entirely… i have no idea who would send me a gift at work!”

He started to move on to his next stop, but at this point was just as curious as i was regarding the contents of the mysterious gift box.

“Stick around! Let’s get to the bottom of this!”

Reading the Amazon gift tag, i quickly determined the source…

“Dear Daisyfae,

Hope this note holder comes handy when you need it. Thank you very much for your reference. I cannot begin to thank you enough.

From, Wei”

A few weeks earlier, i had received a request for a reference letter… A young scientist, fairly recently earning his PhD, was working through the arduous process to establish permanent residency in the U.S. It helps to have professional references included in the package.

If i know the work of an individual, i can often pull together a pretty good reference letter. It’s a small thing, and generally doesn’t take me a tremendous amount of time. i was familiar with Wei’s research area, and his work, and managed to knock out a good letter in about fifteen minutes.

Explaining this quickly to Tim, i unwrapped the paper around the box.

“i have no idea what this is… Don’t leave yet, Tim! i might need a witness!”

We both cracked up laughing as i pulled the note holder from the box. It was absolutely adorable!

the most beautiful gift ever“Bulldogs? How perfect! And Wei doesn’t even know me all that well…”

It is one of the most beautiful gifts i’ve ever received…

The Perfect Day

The dog was dying.  His owner decided to give his pet a perfect day.  i’d read this sweet story of how one man prepared for the loss of a beloved companion a few years ago.

Since then, i’ve given this some thought, and have planned to do something similar for my old pup, Mr. Pickles.  Rather than wait, i’ve thrown in elements of ‘perfect days’ for my dog as we go about the business of living – why give him just one?  Three weeks ago on a hot June day, Studley and i decided Mr. P needed to go out for ice cream…

He loved it…

Mr. P gets ice cream

Having a dinner of Mexican food and killer margaritas with my children, Studley, and his daughter, we discussed the elements of Mr. Pickles perfect day.  Discussing all the things he loves, we tried to lay out the things he most loves… Cheese.  Chasing a ball.  Chasing the cat*.  Naps.  Splashing in water.  Riding in the jeep.  Eating his own turds.**

i was interrupted during dinner by a call from my niece, DQ.  Mom had been admitted to the hospital earlier this week with fluid in her lungs.  Stepping out to take the call, i got some fairly grim news.  The lung cancer is probably back, and not treatable.  Mom was feeling rotten, also battling a staph infection in her blood.  We made plans to meet with a counselor from hospice.

Returning to the table, i kept the news to myself for a bit – not wanting to take a steaming shit on a really good time.  i filled my children in on the news from The Park when we got home.

The Boy:  Maybe it’s time to craft a Perfect Day for Granny…

daisyfae:  i’ve already done a bit of that… but yeah, we could do more!

In January, i brought Mom to visit when my sister, T and her partner came to town for a long weekend.  We spoiled Mom with attention, and food and entertainment.  Not to mention blessed quiet, which is in short supply in her current living arrangements.

Last May, i had her up for another fun-filled weekend!  Cooked steaks on the grill on a Friday night, then went to a local women’s league luncheon the next day, where she was showered with attention amidst a great deal of silliness.  Putting on two ridiculous Derby hats that i’d crafted, we went to a bourbon tasting – where she enjoyed a perfect mint julep.  Sunday morning, we brought her to the horse show, where she got to see her “baby” compete in the arena with all the other kids…

The prognosis for Mom isn’t great, but it seems the cancer is slow moving.  She’ll need more in-home skilled nursing care in the future.  But she’s not quite dead yet, and finding ways to give her elements of “The Perfect Day” is deeply embedded in my brain.

Derby Day

 * The Boy thought it would be most fun if we tape the cats back legs together, allowing Mr. Pickles a better chance to “play”.  Although Huey is a team player, i’m not sure i’ll go that far…

** Nope.  Not gonna happen.

You can go home again…

The Boy is home for a couple of weeks. We are awaiting the arrival of The Girl tonight. They haven’t seen each other in about two years, so it’s good that the schedules for their holidays partially aligned, and they will spend a few days together under my roof.

The first few days with The Boy have been entertaining. A few snippets from his return.

~~~~~~

Fortunately my fleet is now operational. There will be a full week with both spawn under roof, and they will likely both want to go in different directions. i also have a pesky day job, and will need to be somewhere else. We had to craft a plan of attack for vehicular assignments…

daisyfae: The Girl hasn’t driven a car in two years. She’s going to have the Civic. That was her car, she’s comfortable driving it, and probably the safest option. i’m going to have to get you checked out on the Jeep.

The Boy: I could just drive the Jag.

daisyfae: Ummm…. No. Let’s get you checked out on the Jeep. You’ll have to be gentle – new transmission isn’t really broken in yet.

So i took him out in the neighborhood for a practice run. He knows how to drive a standard transmission, but it’s not the same as driving the Jeep. Sure, he’s now qualified to drive a variety of military vehicles, HMMVs, troop carriers and the like…. But not my Jeep.

He hopped in, as excited as the day he got to drive the lawn tractor for the first time. For the first time? i got in the right seat. No one else drives my Jeep. Just hasn’t happened. A few scoots around the neighborhood, and some test runs in the cemetery to practice stops, tight turns, and hills. He chirped the tires, damn near ran us into a maintenance shed, but got the hang of it pretty quickly. i turned him loose. He was ready to solo.

i was a fucking wreck after he tooled down the street – off to the skate park to play skateboards.

Going on about my business, i went on with my plans for the evening. Happy to see the Jeep safely home when i returned. Checked in with him the next morning…

The Boy: It was really fun, but that’s the hardest thing I’ve ever had to drive.

daisyfae: You can do it, but just be careful. You know how i feel about that one…

The Boy: Yeah, it was a helluva lot easier to drive after you got out.

~~~~~~

This morning, we were sorting logistics for retrieving The Girl from the airport.

The Boy: I figure we can pick her up in the Jag, no?

daisyfae: No. She’ll have luggage, and probably want the front seat, which means you get shoe-horned in the back.

The Boy: Whatever. I’m good with any means of transportation.

daisyfae: No smoking in the Jag, either.

The Boy: Obviously! I’m not dumb!

daisyfae: Just making sure. You have always had a bit of ‘law scholar’ in you – and if not expressly prohibited…

The Boy: I do have a degree in Drunkard Pro Se Law from the University of Phoenix.

together we win

He is physically fit – working out is a critical part of his job. He was pretty solid when i saw him at his graduation in March, but he’s stronger now. When Studley showed up at my place to say ‘hello’…

The Boy: My boobs are pecs now! Want to feel them?

Studley: No, not really. I prefer boobs to pecs, but thanks anyway.

Un-fucking Myself – 2nd Quarter Update

A very busy summer is underway.  There’s no grass growing under my feet, or any other part of my body, for that matter…

Time for the second quarterly report regarding my on-going quest to un-fuck myself (my battle cry from January). In April, i reported my progress after the first quarter of the year, and am dutifully reporting the latest update as the second quarter comes to a close.

The good news?  i’ve stayed with the fitness quest.  As of today, i’ve lost a total of 25 pounds since January.  Had hoped to see 30 pounds vaporized, but i’m good with what i’ve done so far.  Would like to double that for the year-end report…  Many happy miles on the bicycle, regular gym habits, and an accountability buddy have been critical.

Not such a good report on the ‘de-cluttering’.  Wanted to see another three or four trips to the thrift store, and a few more full-dumpsters during the quarter, but that was not to be….  Many hours on the bicycle, when i should have been excavating, perhaps….

During the month of June, the mechanical shit in my world was breaking as fast as i could fix it — and i was fixing it like a motherfucking ninja!  Mostly, the category of “things with wheels” was vexing — having an abundance of ‘wheeled’ things, it goes with the turf, but damned if it wasn’t aggravating.

Jeep was stonecolddead, and i couldn’t get it to hold charge, so it went sailing away on a flatbed at the beginning of the month.  The day it returned?  The Jag overheated when i got to work the next day.  i poked around and identified that problem as a slow leak in the coolant resovoir, and topped it off during my lunch hour.

Glorious weather on the next day got me on the motorcycle – which led me to the next headache:  Weirdness and overheating as i got the bike home that night.

Decided that rather than put myself at the mercy of the Motorcycle Repair Mafia, i was going to dig in myself — and i did.  Drained, flushed and filled coolant, replaced a thermostat, and did an oil change.  The service manual and a bunch of crazy old coots who post repair videos on youtube were my best friends for a few days.  For extra support, i joined an online forum – and promptly realized that i had, in fact, repaired something that wasn’t broken*.  But it did it myself, damn it… and the bike is operational.

Not so much the Jeep…  Two weeks of joy, and then the transmission took a massive, and noisy shit, the following Friday night.  Executed a nationwide search, and within two days i was able to buy a rebuilt transmission, have it shipped to my repair shop, and have them perform the transplant.  As of today, it is back in my stable.

kardashian headaches

To be sure, i know that these are truly first world problems.  Problems i bring upon myself through the choice to operate a fleet of aging vehicles.  i could be rational and functional, and sell the entire lot, buy myself a nice, dependable new sedan, and avoid the headaches.

Not gonna happen.

The upside?  My mechanical confidence is strong.  i’m ready for what lies ahead.  Rolling into the third quarter of the year, i will press on with the fitness goals – always easier to keep moving in the summer.  The de-cluttering will get an assist, as The Girl will be coming to visit, and i’m going to put her to work going through her abandoned belongings!  She’s been living abroad for 3 years.  If she doesn’t want it, she is going to give it away.

Plenty of other adventures ahead… and a project or two that shall be revisited.  Life is good.  It can all turn in a heartbeat, so i’m going to enjoy the ride while it lasts.  Onward!  Speed ball to the finish line!

~~~~~~~~~~~

*Suzuki VX800 is a weird beast.  Combination of air and water cooling, there is an on-board fan that kicks on in slow traffic, or long idle.  i did not know that.  When the fan kicked on for the first time, i assumed overheating.  The coolant needed a flush anyway…

 

 

 

 

Arrivederci Roma

The kid with the tangled mane of hair sprawled across the worn gray carpet in the living room  She’d spent hours working the music box mechanism.  Winding up the platform, where the wooden boy, arm raised confidently, strode toward the train.

get on the train kid

She played a game.  Trying to wind up the music box just enough so that as it slowed, it would end on the final strains of the tune.  Sometimes cheating a little, pushing in the metal button to stop the music at the right place.

Forty five years later, the kid still has hard to manage hair.  She still doesn’t care much what it looks like most of the time.  She was back in that same living room yesterday, bringing her mother home from an appointment with the cardiologist…

Mom is doing ok as she approaches her 86th birthday.  The lung cancer has apparently been radiated into submission.  A pacemaker keeps her heart ticking along.  She moves slowly, with the assistance of a cane.  Usually out of breath, the cardiologist ran another EKG, and ordered some blood work to check for anemia.  Checked her pulse oxygen, which was a reasonable 93% using the finger cuff.

“I’m just so tired.  Sometimes I just think my heart is going to quit.”

Mom has been working through her estate plans.  She is not confused about what she wants to happen when she dies, and has taken the advice of her attorney to get things sorted.  We’d just returned from another visit to the bank to address some of these issues

Going into Mom’s apartment, she brought me to the dresser where she keeps her important papers.  She was showing me where she keeps stock certificates, and other assorted documents.

i was surprised to see the little guy on the music box, still chasing that train…

At the first strains of the tune, i was right back on that worn gray carpet.  A little dusty, it still worked perfectly…

“Your Dad gave me that years ago…”

“i know, Mom.  i remember this well…”  Still able to wind it up just so… Still able to use the metal button to bring the music to a halt at just the right place…

“Do you want it?  Put your name on the bottom of it.  Or just take it home now…”

“No.  i can’t do that…  You still have it out!  It looks perfect right here…”

“Well, you better mark it if you want it because if you don’t it might disappear after i’m gone…”

We had discussed this over lunch.  It is entirely within the realm of the plausible that anything that could potentially be of monetary value will vaporize as soon as she dies.  “The perils of benefactors, the blessings of parasites.”

i left it there, but the melody has been stuck in my head ever since.  Thinking about my father.  Thinking about the man that devoted his life to caring for her, and her children.  Leaving behind friends and family in the northeast, and starting over in his new role…

arrevederci roma

Get on that train, kid.  Don’t look back…