Went with my sisters over to work on Mom and Dad’s house Saturday. We really didn’t get much done; we spent most of our time walking from room to room being sad and playing “Do you remember when?” Losing Mom seems to have made all of us feel like we’ve lost Dad all over again, too. At least we came up with a plan for what to do next time we’re there.
We were supposed to do it last weekend, but I came down with the flu on New Year’s Eve and I’m still not feeling that great. I’ve never had a flu last this long. It’s very demoralizing. I have a friend who I love, but she has some weird ideas. She thinks that flu vaccinations are a government conspiracy. A conspiracy to what she can’t tell me. I think it’s a conspiracy to keep workers at work and out of emergency rooms.
We wandered around the rooms saying “Do you want this? Do you want that? You said you wanted it.” I, between still not feeling good and being sad about losing Mom, just couldn’t be bothered. Youngest sister wisely said “We’ll decide later. You might regret any decision you make right now.” And even though I just don’t want to deal with these things, I feel like she’s probably right.
So instead I been taking my “I don’t want to have to deal with it” out on things at home. The plastic tub I tried to grow a cat lawn in but instead my cat used it for a cat box. Out it went, dirt and all. One of the big green containers I got to hold potting soil, but never used, away with it. Next will be the big thing we put an old umbrella on. I’m going to take it apart and see if I can get the Spouse to make it go away. I just don’t want to have to deal with it.
So we started off on Christmas Eve morning and headed straight for the coast. We hadn’t been driving too long when this came by:
By the time we caught up to them there was around a hundred of them.
I thought it was an auspicious beginning for a holiday road trip.
We started at Balboa Island. Quite some time ago we went to an olive oil tasting and a talk on the Mediterranean diet. They had a shop on Balboa and the Spouse had kept the flyer, wanting to go there someday. The store was still there, so we went in. The guy who’d given the talk was there. He talked us into some oil and we left happy.
It had been a very long time since I’d been there. We stayed on the island a few times when we were kids. The population was a little more diverse, but it seemed otherwise unchanged from when I went there as a kid.
From there we went south along the coast, heading inland only when we had to.
We’re going to go out of town for Christmas this year. The first year without Mom. I’m both really sad and really excited. The family’s only down one member, but she was a large presence in the family and she was pretty much in charge of Christmas. And we’ve done the same thing every Christmas for the past fifty years. This year I just want to do something else, to be someplace else. I don’t want to get stuck trying to make things the same as they were like my mom did. It was just sad. We have a chance to do something different. With no guilt. The Wonderful Spouse is doing the planning. It’s a first.
Didn’t go anywhere for the 4th at all. The usual family thing is to go to Mom’s, swim in the neighbor’s pool, barbecue hamburgers and hot dogs a let off a box of “safe and sane” fireworks in the front yard. This year youngest sister’s kids had their own thing to do and middle sister just had back surgery. Youngest sister and I had lunch with Mom; I cooked steaks. Mom ate more steak than anyone. Success! Note to self: stick with the simple stuff. The fancy stuff looks like it might be fun to try, but too many things can go wrong.
So on the 4th, we did go anywhere. I made another rock for the front yard. It was a bit more difficult than the first one. The egg shape sheds water downward, making the lower part mushy and prone to collapse. I had to make the mixture much drier to compensate. I tried to make a pot. It was not a success and I just didn’t have the energy at that point to continue working until it was. Today my back is sore and I still have cement under my fingernails. I didn’t plan for sweat to be a major component of my cement, but it is.
The rest of the day was very quiet. Mostly me laying around trying to recover from rock building. The Wonderful Spouse made dinner, yay! Then we watched a couple of episodes of . Gibbering gonzo, that show has a major dose of weird. Not as weird as American Gods, which we are also watching, but weird. That seems to be the flavor of the month. Overmanipulated, hypersaturated colors in the video and improbable mythology.
The things we did, or didn’t, were good, but at the end of the day I found myself missing the tiny, underwhelming family holiday.
Somebody asked when I got to work this morning if I did anything wild over the weekend. As for me a wild weekend is going to a plant sale, I just laughed. Then, I thought about it, and yeah, I sort of did have a wild weekend, if you count smuggling alcohol in to my mom. Her caregiver disapproves of alcohol and frowns on it if she has a glass. My sister told me she’d mentioned that she’d like a glass. Mom has been feeling out of control and anxious lately and thought a glass of wine might help her unwind a little. So I decided to pick up a bottle and take it with lunch on Sunday. I was all prepared to talk her into it. Turned out there was no coercion necessary. Preparation in the form of a corkscrew would have been a little more useful. I ended up pushing the cork in with a screwdriver. Such sophistication.
My sister texted me Sunday afternoon to tell me about something she saw on television. That’s not a usual thing. We might talk about things we watch in person, but nothing else. But this was pretty weird. She was watching a show and graffiti in the background was my name plus my husband’s name. It wouldn’t be so strange, except that my first name is pretty unusual. I’ve run into people with my name two or three times, but never seen it anywhere else. To see it in conjunction with my husband’s name kind of freaked me out.
What little time I spent in the yard this weekend I mostly spent admiring the flowers. Most of the spring flowers are at peak bloom right now.
I’d be happier if I saw more bees. Between the drought and the decision by most cities not to water the landscape, the bee population is greatly reduced. Good intentions with unintended consequences. My front yard is covered with flowers right now. This weekend I went out there and there were two bees. Two. I don’t think anyone is going to be able to convince me that the problem is not not enough water, but too many humans.
I drive by a primary school on the way to work. I often see kids walking to school with their parents. Recently I’ve noticed one dad and daughter. The dad looks like he hasn’t quite made the transition from college kid to adult (not that he has to.) He’s a bit round, with a beard and a leather hat, backpack and hiking boots. The daughter is an original, too. She was wearing a very colorful stripped shirt and similarly colorful polka dotted leggings. You can tell by the way the dad walks that he’s proud of his daughter and proud of being a good dad and walking his kid to work every day. Go dad!