Tuesday, September 25, 2007

MN visit - part III

I need to sum up some stuff pronto, to get back into something other than a travelogue that no one wants to read!

Let's see. We had dinner with Drummer and Bro's step-sister and her husband. No, she isn't really a step-sister. But what do you call someone when her mother married the brothers' dad late in life? Anyway... we got together to discuss our feelings and options, where the parents are concerned. Step-mom was recently diagnosed with congestive heart failure and had a pacemaker implanted just after we met for dinner. Both parents have trusts, and have provided us with copies of those (finally!). They are keeping their funds separate, mingling enough for living expenses. Drummer's dad has Alzheimer's and dad's wife is insistent on caring for him herself, at home (they live in the Phoenix area). Dad's been in a home which cares for patients with his status while his wife is recuperating - step-mom wants to bring him home as soon as possible, and she is now recovering strength, so it is probably going to happen.

We had agreed on a Plan B action (getting them both to Wisconsin, near family and possible intervention/care when needed). This is probably not going to happen, now that step-mom is feeling better. But I think it is a good option that we can leave open. It was good to meet one of her daughters - we had previously met one of her sons - and to get the "skinny" on step-mom's sense of obligation for caring for family members over the decades. One determined lady, with a strong history of doing this sort of thing.

Finally squeezed in a few hours at one of long-time girlfriends (guess that would qualify for a BFF, in text-messaging jargon) on Saturday afternoon. And saw Drummer's long-time friend Billy (he of the professional musician's lifestyle, and doing well financially). And then we headed up to Duluth on Sunday.

Strange to be "up north" and NOT be staying in the home I grew up in. I didn't even drive by the ol' homestead. Mom closed on the house in June and is temporarily staying with my sis. She'll be moving into the senior apts in my li'l hometown in about a week. Both she AND my sis are so ready to NOT be living together any longer. Sis did a good job of gritting her teeth through these co-living months - and I know it was not easy for Mom, either. They will both be happier in probably 7 days or less.

I tried to help in ways that I could. I cooked a meal that MOST of us liked - sorry, sis, about the mushrooms! But at least they were big enough for you to pick out. For some reason, Mom does not want to use sis's washer/drier, so Mom asked me to do a load of laundry for her. Sis and I have discussed why Mom will NOT do laundry at her house - and came up with the only logical response: damned if WE know why!

Friday one of sis's cats had to be put to sleep. She was 16 and had just recently started having "accidents". And sis said she was down to about 5 pounds, from 10. Sis left work early and I went with her to the vet's clinic. The guy was really nice and basically said that Puff was was in kidney failure. So sis decided to have her euthanized. Poor kitty. She was the one that the family referred to as the "lap slut" - she's go to anyone who would pet her. With this current visit, I was always available and the little beggar knew it, too. Sad to have to have this done - but sis had noticed that she had recently not been eating, also, and it was the humane choice. But still hard, especially when she has been a family member for so many years.

Mom turned 80 on 15 Sept. She only wanted to go out to a local restaurant, which was within walking distance of my sister's house. So that's what we did. My sister's oldest son was up from the Cities with his wife and 2 boys, and he picked up the tab. Thanks, nephew! Sis provided the recipe for a cake and icing, which I made for Mom. When we got back to the house, we lit one candle and Mom blew it out - twice. I had to have a re-enactment, for my photo. My Duluth cousins sent a lovely bouquet to her, and nephew and wife gave her a nice gift, too. Sis and I decided to give her cash toward things for her new home. Mom was pretty content with the whole "fuss" and then Drummer and I headed to Hinckley for lodging. Nephew and his family "bumped" us from our free lodging (offspring outranks siblings - and I do understand), so we went to Hinckley for Friday and Saturday.

We said our good-byes, since we were hitting the road early on Sunday morning for our return to Houston. And by late afternoon on Monday after 2 more days of driving, we were home again, home again. Nothin' left to show for it all except laundry, bills, some digital photos and a few extra pounds.

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