Wednesday, January 30, 2013

And Hello...

This is Lily (or is it Lilly or Lilli?):

She likes playing with plastic bags.

She is the fat cat of the family.

She is starting to get used to our family.  

We picked her up on Sunday morning.  Most of that day she stayed in Michael's room, just sleeping.  She is slowly coming out of her shell, although I haven't seen her interact with Kif or Gabby that much yet...mainly some hisses (by her) and some trepidation (by them).  But.  She has started to eat and use the litter box.  (Much better than our closet!)  And aside from peeing on some of our clean clothes earlier this week, she seems to be doing pretty good.

She loves to be brushed a lot, which calms her down.



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Friday, January 25, 2013

Good Byes

We took the day off to say good bye to Paul today.

It was a typical wake/funeral.  Happy to see old friends at an awful time, awkwardness at relatives (some who had not seen him in many years), talk of how/why it happened, and people going up to the closed coffin to say good bye.

I came up during this time and stood next to the coffin and said what I wanted to, then spent the time meeting people and going to the corner comfortable chairs with Willow to answer her questions about life and death. She was really well behaved and when Paul's sister told us that she had seen pictures of Willow at his house (that she will return to us), it made our decision to bring her feel more right.

As it was getting time to go to the grave site, the funeral director asked people to please come up (if they wanted to) to say good bye one last time before it was put into the hearse.

I asked Willow if she wanted to say good bye.  And she did.  So, she and I went up together.  I had avoided the kneeling podium before, mainly because I feel that is for the religious amongst us.  But she went up and knelt.  I knew she wanted to do what she had seen other people had been doing.  So, I knelt next to her and showed her how to put her hands together in prayer.  Then I told her that we could say good bye.  She repeated what I said in farewell.  Then she added: "Paul, I know your body doesn't work anymore, but I hope I will see you soon again."

The ride to the grave site was a disaster (see, typical wake/funeral--something has to go wrong!), with the funeral line getting cut off by a school bus...we missed the small service at the gravesite.  Luckily, it was not as important as saying good bye at the funeral home.  And later, we had the uncomfortable luncheon out with family/friends who have nothing common except the person that is missing.

Tomorrow...we say Hello.  To Lilly.  One of Paul's cats will be joining our family.




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Monday, January 21, 2013

Stunned

Throughout my day today, there were times when I could not believe that he wasn't here in the world.  It just is so typical of death...you know, to point out how quickly one could be...and then not be.

I think this is the first death of a friend close to my age for me.  Well, at least close to my middle age to me.

Death is never fun at any age, but I guess when I was younger, when a friend died...it was tragic and almost sensational.  I was young and young people feel so immortal.  It is a rarity. I want to say it was easier to move on, but I don't know if that is what I mean...maybe I just think it was easier to move on because I am so far removed from those deaths now.

Our friend was not that much older than us.  And being in the middle of life...well, it definitely makes the "coulda been me"s more easier to see.  I guess that is part of it.  Although I think most of it is...he was here.and now he is gone.

It was too quick.  Too sudden.  And I think we are in shock still.  He is really.gone.

Tonight, we had a couple of friends over and we gave a toast to him.  With our kids there, because he was a part of their lives too.  (Willow was so Anya like...and also liked to keep doing toasts....)

We talked about his passing, what little we know...we discussed what will happen to his cats and his radio controlled planes...but mainly, mainly we were silent.  It was too soon to discuss memories of him, because he should be here.

Like he has been many other times.




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Sunday, January 20, 2013

Explaining Death to my daughter...

It has happened.  Someone close to us has died and I had to explain death to my 4 1/2 year old.

My grandmother died a couple years ago, but to be honest, she lived 800 miles away and I hadn't seen her in years.  I felt sad when she died, but she was old, she was tired and sick.  I had spoken to her a few times before she died...I had closure.  And Willow did not need to really know much more about it.  I mentioned the passing in an abstraction and she went back to playing.

Today, we found out a good friend, a friend who came by our house often enough and spent time with Willow often enough...well, he died suddenly last week, and we just found out.

And I had to explain death to her.  Finally.  I could not put it off.  Not being religious, I have to be careful not to couch things in too stark of terms...life cycles seem to work well.  All I know is that she said "I want _____ back."  Me too, hon.  Me too.



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Saturday, January 19, 2013

Trying to get back to "normal" with obstacles...

Since Thanksgiving, things have not really been back to the "normal" routines in this household.  We keep trying to, but then something else causes change.  My gallbladder issues took three weeks out of our normalcy.  While I was in the hospital, btw, my husband got laid off from his job.  Oh, and then three of us were sick during Christmas (Willow was lucky not to get sick, although we suspect she/daycare was the reason we got the nurovirus).

I did not get the week of Christmas vacation off because I have a new job which is highly stressful. Combined with recovering and sickness--made the holidays go by quickly and strangely.  New Years was healthy, but felt "off" too.

All this stress and change means that we are not eating as healthy or as many home cooked meals as we should.  It is kinda hard to feel motivated to cook when you are tired and stressed, and it is easier to get take out or go to a restaurant.  I think we also tend to eat out more during the winter, too.

And just as I am starting to get back to using the slow cooker and meal planning--then I have a week like this past one.  Due to unforeseen circumstances at work,  I was the only one there besides the boss, so I was doing three people's job.  Which meant I was under even more stress and definitely was not able most nights to leave on time or come home and make a healthy meal...so Chinese, pizza and burgers were had during the week...yeah, not so healthy.  (Luckily, Chewy was able to pick up Willow from childcare each night so that she was not stuck at school later).

My exercise was halted during my gallbladder surgery and recovery.  I have gotten back to most of my routine, but oftentimes other things interrupt my workout and I end up not doing as much as I usually do.  Surprisingly, I think this is one routine I can get back into easily--I just have to get myself up earlier (hmm...maybe that will be hard...)

Next week starts a new change in our "normal".  Trying to save money, Willow will go to school only 3 days a week instead of 5.  Daddy will be taking care of her on Mondays and Fridays.  This will be a rough transition for him more than her.  Scheduling time might help him so that he can juggle spending meaningful time with her and still finding time for job hunting.

I suspect there will be no real "normal" until he gets a new job, but until then, I think we will keep trying to get our routines back to some semblance of order.




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Friday, January 11, 2013

The Kids - Updated

Willow keeps on amazing me with things she does and ways she looks at the world. Not only is it a 4/5 year old perspective, but it is a girl perspective, an individual perspective different than the comfortable perspectives of the others around me (because she is young and “new” to the world).


She has lately had trouble sleeping, occasionally having those nights where she sneaks into our bed in the middle of the night. The other night she had a bout of this and I overheard her say to Chewy: “Daddy, can you make the bad dreams come out of my head so I can sleep?” This morning I found her sleeping sideways in the rocking chair in her room (I have no idea how and why, but there she was, sound asleep).

Willow has also been enjoying school and it has been interesting to see her social network expand. She has a best friend named Kayla. Most days she is happy to go to school and play with her friends, reluctant to leave in the evening pick up.

She has a dance class at school, where she is learning to tap dance (she even got me to buy her tap shoes). We ask her what dances they learned this week, and she goes through the whole routine…it is damned cute. The last couple of weeks she has gone on and on about some cooking class at school. We did not know what she was talking about….seems we had not gotten the notice. Of course, now she is enrolled in the cooking class. Willow’s first “dish” she cooked was a very very very cheesy macaroni that she made sure we had with dinner. I do not generally like Mac N Cheese, and I had some, although it was kinda glue like in its consistency. (Michael needs more help in hiding his expressions of disgust when eating).

The other day we were out to lunch and she started asking out of the blue about how dinosaurs got extinct. We had a big discussion on the meteorite and how they died. We are having more conversations like this, where she asks questions that are more complicated and searching. Soon she will be five. FIVE. [sigh]

Michael is definitely a teenager now. He sulks in a corner or skulks out of the room before you notice. He can be rude and testy. Oftentimes he is reading Cracked (on Dad’s tablet) or Mad magazine. Or playing video games (mostly on the computer, usually obscure or old ones). Even when we want him to stay up (for a movie or a board game) he gets tired and goes to bed (only to wake up way too early for us). Lately, I have noticed him sleeping on car rides, something he usually doesn’t do. That is teenage growth spurts for ya.

I think he is enjoying the little bit of independence caused by walking home from school and often being on his own for a couple (few) hours between when he gets home from school and when I get home from work. Maybe too much. His grades suffered a bit last term. He is working on his time management skills. For example: “When is this project due? THIS Friday (two days from now)? So you need poster board, etc.? When did you know about this project? LAST Friday??”

Sometimes his is so mature; other times he is immature and inappropriate. I cannot always tell if it is his ADHD/Aspergers or his age. When he is not exasperating, he is wonderful and a great big brother and son. What to do for his FOURTEENTH birthday—have no idea.

UPDATE:

When I went to pick up Willow tonight, they had these two pictures of Willow from the cooking class.











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Things I haven't done yet...

Things I haven't had the chance of doing yet or been prevented from doing: See my son's presentation on Rabies for his biology ...