Thursday, September 6, 2012

Labor Day + 2 = Half Way Through This Week

In case you're wondering where things stand with:

1. Roofer has checked out the roof and it's fine.

2. Pest control guy confirmed there has not been any rodent activity in my attics since last December.

3. Crawlspace inspector certified that there is nothing structurally wrong with my foundation. Some cosmetics were recommended to cover up shrinkage cracks and non-alarming holes. Still wondering who I'm supposed to hire to do this type of work.

4. Drain guy came and tried to sell me a "Plumbing Club" card (buy into the club for $100 and get 10% off your plumbing costs FOR LIFE!) I said no. I only needed him to clean out ONE clogged perimeter drain. (As per my inspector's recommendations.) (He couldn't do that. He needed to check the crawlspace first. And then he needed to do a perimeter inspection, with his camera, which would cost $475. And then he needed to clean ALL the drains. And after awhile I had a feeling he was going to recommend I replace all my toilets. And sinks. And switch over from standard copper pipe to something gold plated.) His final recommendation, after cleaning out all the downspout drains and commenting that 'this is something that should be done every year, they were filthy ... he recommended, that because my house (and every house in M'ville) is built on clay - he'd like to just go ahead and rip up the sidewalk and change the drainage system. Could I just sign here? Again I said no. I had a nap after he left. He wore me out.

5. I had a showing on Monday and have two more coming up. I still have dust issues.

6. My house is still listed, but I'm thinking I may pause this procedure. I don't know. I'm tired of this game. What am I learning? That I suck as a homeowner. That houses cost alot of money in maintenance. That I'm mostly OK with dust. That 2800 square feet is more than one person needs. That if a people doesn't use a room, spiders will take it over.

1. He doesn't take apart his wheelchair anymore. And other than checking to see if it's still there - he seems to have made peace with his seatbelt.

2. He calls his room at the Lodge, "home". If I'm out walking/pushing him around, and he says, "take me home" - he's referring to his room.

3. He's cut way back on his food intake. It's it's not sweet, he's not interested in it. Thank goodness for chocolate and strawberry Ensure.

4. His legs and upper body are strong. Amazingly. Walking seems to be outside of his reach though. He will remain wheelchair bound. And getting to the toilet is also a thing of the past. Or so it would seem. His favorite place (in this small world of his) is his bed. "Put me to bed", he often asks.

5. He's always known who I am - until yesterday when, after hanging out with him for an hour (and him not saying anything to me) I asked him what my name was, and he just shrugged his shoulders. An hour after that, he looked at me and exclaimed, "You're Jane! My oldest daughter!"

6. For his 65th birthday, we had a surprise party for him. We have a DVD of him greeting everyone after he arrived. Him and I watched it together this evening and I couldn't stop crying while watching him greet, with a huge smile, everyone at that party. He was so happy to see friends, co-workers, family ... everyone got a hug, handshake or kiss. And his smile was huge all night long. 65 year old Pete was in his prime. (Two weeks after this party had taken place, a surprise 40th for me had been arranged. I, unlike my dad, did not go around and hug and kiss everyone. I was awkward and unsure and wished I wasn't the center of attention. He and I? Not so much alike.)

While watching the DVD, dad names everyone he recognizes; Bert Krause. Elsie. Hank Giesbrecht. Ellen. There's Jack Friesen. Marianne. Lena baby. The Peters. That's you. George Krahn. Hildegard. Johnny Kuebler. Agatha. There's Abe. There's Abe. That's Abe. Butch Penner. Dorothy. That's you. Jim. Jacquie. There's Julie.

(The first fifteen minutes are of people mingling, waiting for my dad and mom (and Drew) to arrive.)
Then, when dad watches himself arrive on the screen, he comments; "I still have that vest. When I was a younger man, I could wear jeans. (For ease in caring for him, we've got him in track pants these days. He really misses his jeans.) I have a watch on. I like that vest. I still have it. There are my keys." (Dangling from his belt loop.)

I just kept holding his hand as we watched and he commented and I cried.
He has lost so much due to dementia and the stroke.

1. Clint is still living in Vancouver, in a basement suite, by himself. He'd love to move to another situation with, possibly, a house full of co-renters. He and his business partners, Jon and Adam, have secured office space at 4th and Columbia in Vancouver and love working in a shared environment, as opposed to each of them working in their own living rooms. Check out their portfolio here.
He's also back at SFU, working towards getting a BA in International Development.

2. Max is still living in a penthouse in New West at the Quay with four roommates. He's working in downtown Vancouver, on the tower that accompanies the newly renovated Georgian Court Hotel (that coincidentally, Maureen and I toured last year.) He is being increasingly urbanized, as he commutes via skytrain into and out of Vancouver's downtown core daily. Max is still my most social son, so working with, as well as living amongst his friends, is his sweet spot.

3. Drew is still working at the local golf course, washing, refueling and parking the golf cart fleet. He enjoys the work, and, like Max, is finding that spending his shifts with friends makes it all that much more fun. One perk that he's embraced is the 'free golf' option. He's discovered that he loves the game.
He moved out the weekend we got robbed/he graduated and is living at his dad's house.

Three FIVE Things I'm Thankful For:

1. Friends who inspire me. On Tuesday (first day of school for students and teachers), Karm suggested that we get together to acknowledge this day. It's the first time, for both of us, in twenty years, that we have not had a child frantically need school supplies after twenty minutes of school. We could celebrate, or mourn, this passage of time. We did both, over coffee, at Starbuck, for FOUR HOURS. She shared with me her passion to help eradicate human trafficking, and how she could contribute to the fight. Oh. My. Goodness. She's not just talking about it. She's willing to make some major changes/sacrifices towards those ends. I sat there in awe of someone who's not winding down. She's ramping up, determined to make her life count.

And then today? Heather invited me to hang out with her at "her" beach. Her mom's funeral is on Saturday, I joined her as we stopped at the florists, the church, her dad's place ... and she shared with me "the" secret garden in her parent's neighbourhood. It's reclaimed green space that a group of neighours beautified. Someone had a vision, and was able to gather a team, and with a plan and hard work, created a space of tranquillity and peace.

I loved walking through that unexpected oasis. It reminded me of a story of a young woman who lived on a mountainside. Every year she'd plant, like, 250 tulips. After a life time of planting, thousands and thousands of tulips brightened that mountainside every Spring, bringing joy to everyone who saw them. It was her 'gift' to her world - a splash of color and beauty where otherwise there would be none. 

Whoever thought of creating that secret garden has done the same. 

It was magical. 

And then we went for a walk on 'her' beach, (Boundary Bay) and brought along a garbage bag. "It's just the right thing to do," she says, as we walk, talk, pick up shells, take pics and gather garbage. She's right. It's just the right thing to do. 

(More secret garden pics are here. Facebook album.)

2. I'm thankful for a week of blue skies ahead.

3. I'm thankful that sin is sin to God. That when I get panicked about, say, something bad that someone I love has done, I realize that God just sighs. He doesn't wail and say, "OH NO! He did THAT? Gahhh, now he'll never get into heaven!" The whole grace thing is a wonderful mystery to me. So thankful that He forgives, regardless of what it was. Because each generation deals with its own sins, no? And my sins do not look at all like my kids' sins. So I'm thankful that God doesn't get all jumpy with surprise when a new way to disobey Him emerges. He's got that one covered too.

4. I am thankful that I have a private, sunny backyard. I love sitting back there, reading. LOVE sitting back there. 

5. I am thankful for summer. And sunshine. And the color blue. And yellow flowers. 

6. And I'm thankful that the tension knot of pain behind my knee has dissipated. And my canker sore is GONE. And that my swollen gland is not swollen. I can walk again without limping. I can eat again without cringe-ing. And I can move my neck without feeling like I have a Frankenstein screw holding my head in place. Let's celebrate. Cupcakes for everyone. 


Oh, it's been awhile. Should we try to memorize the last of those 50 verses?
Were you giving it a shot, with me, this summer?

How about if we ease back into it with an easy one? It's the one that I've been pondering these past few days...

Romans 3:23
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

Romans 3:23
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

Romans 3:23
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

Romans 3:23
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

Romans 3:23
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

The end.

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