Wednesday, June 29, 2011

62-- If You Say It Fast, It's Not So Bad!

Hi, I've always been an optimistic, cup half-full person,but this aging thing has been trying me. I won't give in though, promise! I have too much to look forward to from this point. Stephen King and I are easing into retirement and being together much more than we have for 25 years. He is attempting to make it easy for me to get settled into our new lifestyle, but I sometimes get into his routine and mess up his schedule. ie: cleaning up after meals, his 4 pm TV watching.  He is a man of strong habits and has his method cut in stone, and I sometimes don't fit into my place! I can see him stop, process what is happening, try to adjust, and bend with the wind! Such a giant step for a man accustomed to having things his way! I think we will get along fine, even if the family has bets on how long before one of us moves out! hehehe.
As of now, Monday morning, we are leaving for Cape San Blas on Friday morning at 8:00. Nothing packed yet, we don't possess vaca clothes per se, just wear our regular things with the exception of swimsuits. We will include them, but it remains to be seen if they are worn. I'm a night time pool person and Stephen King doesn't care for pools or oceans, so they probably will not get out of the suitase. I did buy 2 pair of shorts for beach walking, my capris always end up wet. I am daring enough to take some tank tops and expose my fishbelly upper arms to the sun. Bystanders will be encouraged to look away! Between his white legs and my white arms, others may suffer blindness if they look directly at us! We love roadtrips and since he hasn't been to the area, Stephen King is anxious to get started. He told Stephen we would leave them behind if they weren't up and ready when we take off. Luckily we have hotel reservatons for Friday night and the kids can travel at their own speed. We like to stop and look around small towns along the way, something the kids usually don't do on the way down. It is more of a challenge to round up 3 or 4 kids and get back on the road than it is 2 old geezers! And the kiddos are seldom interested in antique shops or historical markers.
 Of course our garden is just coming on as we leave. Nina and Trent are put on harvest duty, I hope to have some green beans left to enjoy. The tomatoes, corn and peppers will be later so we will still have good stuff for August. This has proven to be a good garden season with all the rain and heat. Cabbage, broccoli and squash have tasted so good and fresh. I can give up meat during the summer without a doubt. Stephen King fried rabbit livers for his supper last night, I was happy with mashed potatoes and fresh garden cucumbers. Really, rabbit liver. Domestic bunnies, at that, as in Bugs Bunny and Peter Cottontail.  Kinda like eating Hank or the cat twins, Hunk n Zeke. But that's just me. :-)
Heard from two of my Gaggle this week, Jill is retiring!!! I hope to spend some time in roadtrip adventureland with her. Alison is experiencing another annoying health issue! Doctors assure her it is common and easily dealt with, but poor Al has heard that before. I wish for an overnight with my girls to talk and laugh and cry this stuff out. Maybe later in July. Take care, Alison, we all love you. 
Courtney has tested as a possible match for Mackenzie's transplant, but until the appointment on July 19 we won't really know the criteria for a match. Mack doesn't want to talk about it over vacation, so we won't. We are going to relax, laugh, swim, eat, shop, walk and see the sights. No serious, worrisome thoughts will be allowed. Sure it is denial, but what is wrong with that? We deal with issues and fears and threats everyday, we can take a couple of weeks off. I recommend it for everyone. Lighten up and live. Life is for our enjoyment and so much of our lives we do not take the time and conscious effort to enjoy it. God gave us the ability to experience joy, failing to do so is a shame. He wants His children to be happy. Enjoyment is not a sin. I want my kids and grandkids to remember the wonderful times we spent together, not how hard we worked.
Thursday is filled with appointments from the 7:30 AM dentist to the 9:45 doctor to the 2:00 haircut. I may be worn out on Friday morning, but I'll have teeth and good hair! I cannot tell you how much I enjoy a roadtrip. I can never sleep the night before. More than once, we have taken off in the middle of the night and driven straight through to our destination, unable to sleep, we might as well drive! Those days are in the past, now we leave a little later, stop often and get a room half way there. But the excitement of travel still remains.
I'll check in from the beach, Ladies. Wish you were here! Love

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


We received the phone call tonight that we have been expecting for 8 years; Mackenzie's kidney function has fallen to a critical range and the transplant procedure begins. Her kidneys are only functioning at 11%, much worse than we thought from her lab work. She is upset, angry, scared, mostly scared. Mack has very rare blood type, B-, only 3% of the population has this. But the donor doesn't necessarily need to have B-, just negative. That makes the odds of a match within the family better. I cannot donate because of the Lupus, Stephen King and her other grandmother are borderline too old and her other papaw has only one kidney, he donated the other to his younger brother years ago. Odd to have two people in the family needing transplants, but her uncle's disease was not the same as the Weggners which struck Mack. We all feel that Courtney will be the match and she is being tested today in OZ. The doctor thinks if we find a family donor, the surgery can take place in 2-3 months, so Mack could be recovering by the Holidays. A much better Holiday than last with Madeleine having her heart surgery in early December and both girls in Rileys for the whole Christmas break. We are blessed they had such good results then, but Christmas in a hospital stinks!
We were all at Stephen and Shawn's tonight for Caleb's 8th birthday party. The phone call put a damper on the festivities for a brief time, but we all knew we had to celebrate this sweet boy. He has been so excited about his big day that I took him to WalMart, yes me in that place, two weeks ago to pick out his gifts. He chose them, I purchased them, we took them home to a closet for safe keeping and he got them out tonight to open! He was so afraid that I wouldnt go back to WalMart, we had to get them then! He knows G-ma too well.
Our niece went into labor tonight with her 5th child, yes Elaine 5th, she has two biological children and two adopted from the Congo. This little one was a surprise. Their kids are 11, 8, 3 and 2. There is so much love in that home you can feel it from the street! We know little Owen will fit right in. They were hoping for a girl, but Liv will be the lone sister among those 4 boys. She thinks that's OK, it is good to be the only princess in the land.
Only 9 days left before we leave on vacation. After tonight, we are all even more excited about going. We relax and pretend the world isn't out there waiting while we laugh  and play and eat and swim and enjoy the company of our family. I am so relieved to know that we have those 2 weeks to prepare ourselves for the next few months, they will be a challenge to all of us. Most of all our Mackenzie Rose. Please, pray for strength and grace to bless us. Talk to me. Love

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Hi Ladies, another Saturday almost over. The weekends fly by, don't they? Our guys are building decks today around the pools at each house. Stephen King tries to keep up with his sons as they both try to stay a step ahead of the old man. It is heart-warming to watch them all look out for each other. Shawn and I took the littles to see KungFoo Panda, another 3D adventure. They aren't made for adults, my eyes feel pulled out of socket watching through those glasses and my stomach turns with each scene change. I don't think the rocking chair in the theater helps either. G-ma loves a rocker, but really now in a theater?
Our Jill lost her mother again this week. I say again because the loss came a few years ago when Alzheimers struck this lively lady. I remember Jill talking about the changes she was seeing, the confusion, the crankiness, the strange person showing up in her mom's place. I remember thinking that they were losing her a little each day. The last year has been very difficult for Jill, her sister and father, as their loved one has been replaced by someone who doesn't recognise them or even herself.
 My dad had several strokes in the years before he left us, and I thought then that my dad  was not my dad anymore. So much that made him unique was taken with each incident, by the time he suffered the big stroke which would take his life, there was . I supposed Jill felt the same about her mom. My mother has early onset Alzheimers now, good days and bad days, you never know what you are getting. Mom is pretty good most days, cannot remember the day before, but ready for a new one. But somedays she sits on the couch in her pajamas and stares. She refuses to do anything, fussing when you attempt to make her eat or move. She seems to be lost, looking inside for something she had, but has misplaced. I wonder if she is looking for Dad or herself, maybe. Oh, she loses things, too; jewelry, purses, books, hearing aides and the notebook we check-in on as we visit her. This was to help her keep track of who had been there. It has been in the exact same spot for nearly 2 years, but it is gone. We checked everywhere in the house, garage, yes, even the trash. No sign of the notebook. She swept her 3 day old hearing aid off the breakfast table with the toast crumbs, into her napkin, and shook it into the garbage disposal one morning this week. Mom has always been tidy to the point of washing your cup with your lips still drinking from it. Tidyness cooked her goose this time. My daughter-in-law picked the aid from the disposal in tiny pieces after Mom complained of a noise in it. We are losing Mom but cherish each minute with her now. Jill reminds us to do that.
The weather is finally blessing us with real spring days of late. I love 75 and sunny. And that is what we have had this week. Storms brewing tonight and hazy, hot and humid returning for the weekend, but I am grateful for these right now. I've had my first at-home all day day. And I cleaned bookshelves. Now that doesn't sound like much, but you haven't seen my book shelves, probably. Books, mail, cards, fabric, nail polish, meds, pencils, sea shells, stones?, pictures, water glasses, eye glasses, coffee cups. And a few stale Fritos. But how clean and neat they are now. why at this rate my entire house will be clean before I turn 75. How do we amass so much? Paper, paper everywhere,  I hate it. I think I will stop the mail delivery to our home, just cut it off before it gets here. Nip it in the bud! I read on a Kindle now, but still have books and more books, I overcame my magazine addiction(somewhat), but still they sneak in. I'm way behind in sending birthday cards, yet my sweet friends still honor me with their good wishes from Hallmark. We pay our bills online, still the utility companies send paper statements. Junk mail is trashed without opening, and the offers for weird items still fill our box. Paper, paper everywhere. OK, where was I?
Oh, by the way, it is now Tuesday evening and I have to run to the kitchen and pretend to be slaving over supper for Stephen King. He is at Trent's working on their new pool deck again. It is going to be such a nice addition to their home. He is much more conscientious about the daughters-in- law having finished products than he is for my projects, but that's fine. I am too, only the best for our girls, right?
  Only 16 days until this group heads south and I'm getting antsy, Ladies. Talk to me.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

A New Beginning

As of yesterday, "I am retired." It feels strange to say that and I imagine come August it will feel stranger not to be among the workforce. Back to school has been such a part of my summers for so long, I wonder how it will be to not return. I hope to enjoy a nice long summer before finding out! I am excited for this summer despite the extreme heat we are experiencing. We have lots of plans for family trips, visits and home improvements. Stephen King is willing to take some short roadtrips with me to places we have visited before and even some new spots we have always wanted to see. Of course, a reduction in gas prices would help those trips  be more frequent, but probably not gonna happen.
Our Mackenzie got the word from her nephrologist that we will be meeeting with the transplant team next visit to Riley Hospital. He assured her that doesn't mean a transplant is imminent, just sometime in the near future. We have all known this was coming, but just like Dr. Draper's "elephant in the room" we don't discuss a timeframe. Mack is showing some anger at this right now. She has handled her illness with dignity and poise for so long, but hasn't decided how to deal with this latest announcement. She is focusing on our Florida trip in July with so much eagerness, it cannot get here soon enough. She will be staying the whole two weeks this year. Last year her family had to leave after 8 days so Mom and Dad could return to work. Mom isn't working now and Dad will go back to Indiana with Stephen King after the first week. Yes, HE has decided he might just come along this time. Of course, that is subject to change!
The kids are doing well overall, the boys are growing into big guys, no sign of babyness left there at all. They are full of themselves; Cabe is such a storyteller, I do believe he will write or be on stage and Gavin is a thinker, a questioner, asking "what if" about everything.  I have always been partial to little boys and these two are no exception. They can just grin at me and I melt. Gavin is taking tennis lessons this month and I'm excited to see how that turns out. I'll be taking him a few days and plan to stay and watch him learn. He is alot like me and his dad, as children we were somewhat awkward physically. Clumsy, maybe in my case. Gavin is long limbed and tall and frequently gets tied up. Tennis will be good for him, I wish we had offered lessons to Trent at his age. Caleb is playing baseball this summer, but spends most of his time talking to his team mates or the fans in the stands. Is there anything cuter than a first grader in a catcher's mask? He has to take it off to talk, it is so big on him. At that age, games are entertainment not competion. I laugh through all 7 innings.
Madeleine is growing up too, she is moody and becoming a preteen. Scary! Her silence is deeper, but not as frequent, she argues now, a new thing for her. And must have the last word, even though it is usually said under her breathe while she glares. Where did sweet Maddie go? I always assumed she would not be as affected by teen angst...wrong, Gma, wrong. She followed her dad up a 35 foot ladder to the roof of their 2 story house last week. Stephen in his work boots, Madd in her flipflops, Stephen wearing safety harness, Madd wearing her glasses! She is so quiet, he had no idea she was behind him until he stepped on the roof and looked around. Smiling her smirky grin, Maddie says, "I'm going to help you, Daddy". Now, our oldest is a big man, 6"7' but he is afraid of heights and chickens (no chickens on the roof, thank goodness) and he about fell off when he saw her standing at the top of that ladder. It ended well with no injuries and was so typical of Maddie. The child has no fear. Heart surgeries, heights, even chickens can't slow her down.
A lot of my time will now be spent with Mom. She is a surprise every day. Some days she answers the phone sounding like Mom, other days she is someone we do not recognise, old, confused and scared. Mostly good days though! My sister and I will divide up duties, as well as spend time together with Mom, the three amigos. We were inseparble when our kids were growing up, doing everything as a group. Our brother, Rob, wa a surprise baby and is only 10 months older than Stephen, so all three of us had kids together. Rob, Stephen, Trent, Josh, Courtney, Stori, Joe and then later Michael. Our sister-in-law, Carol was always there, too with her babes. We were blessed to all be so close. The cousins are more like siblings and continue their relationships as adults. Courtney's move to Australia and Joe's to Chicago have made it a little difficullt, but with email and FaceBook, they chat frequently. They are all parents themselves now, except Court and Michael, the older grandkids babysit for the younger. Family is precious.
My last week of work was strangly surreal - almost as if I were already gone. I just felt tired, not real emotional at all. I'm taking that as a sign I am ready to be done with it. The work, the politics, the complaints, the tears, and the laughs, the inside jokes, the practical jokes, the caring and the kids. I've done my best to help where I could, and offer support, rational thinking and the truth to all I served. I will miss the kids, my co-workers and the everyday routine. But I know I will continue the relationships I have with those who matter most to me.
I do want to make a swing through the noth to see you all in your environment soon. Just give me time to setttle. Talk to me, Ladies.