The Daily EO: July 13th, 2013

You know, I try to remember there are all kinds and it takes all kinds.  But I have packed and moved a lot.  A Lot.  So, when I am involved in a move, I get a little smug about it.  I’ve learned some things:

1.  Get proper packing materials – boxes, packing paper, sharpies, wardrobe boxes, packing tape, etc
2.  Accept that moving day is going to suck – work from dawn to dusk and get it all done in one day.  Trust me – it sucks, get it over with, do not spread it over several days.
3.  Moving Day is called Moving Day not Packing Day.  You don’t pack on Moving Day or Move on Packing Days.
4.  Lifting heavy furniture and other items is for suckers and students.  Hire people who have the proper equipment and experience
5.  Label your boxes – you will not remember where you packed the egg beater

So, given that I know all of this, I am not the best person to invite to a move – unless I was involved in the packing.  And you have listened to the above rules.  No packing in garbage bags, no wrapping up things in newspaper, no asking me to lift your fridge down the stairs.

Fortunately when we moved my grandma today, I had been involved in the packing.  As had my mother – who is even more smug and fastidious (if that is possible) – about packing than I am.

That didn’t make the day at good one, but it certainly made it easier.  The movers were fantastic, the boxes were in and out quickly and she had a working suite by 6 pm that night.

July 13th, 2013 Extra-Ordinary:  From time of call of the suite availability until completely moved in = 37 days.  (including the gnashing of the teeth about deciding to move)

The Daily EO: April 19th, 2013

I’ve touring retirement residences with my grandma and aunt of late.  My grandma is going through a 3 year journey where she is recognizing the increasing problems walking are not likely to change.  She has lived with the hope that her problems in her legs were strictly due to a lupus flare-up and would improve with time.  Nobody – including me – was to keen on telling her that although the lupus causes some problems but it was more likely due to a combination of age and lupus and was not going to get better.

She’s leaned on my aunt’s arm and life for almost 3 years now, struggling to accept that grocery shopping, taking care of everything herself and walks on her beloved quay boardwalk are no longer easy or always pleasant tasks.

So, when she had a bit of a melt down with me one day during the simple discussion of a birthday present, I knew something else was really the root cause of her upset.  When she told me “that we don’t do things like that in our side of the family” – excluding me from my her and my dad’s side – I knew she was fighting anger and frustration and sadness and despair in the realization that things were not going to get much better.

Fortunately, I recognized that instead of her meaning that I was out of the family – she really needed direction on how to start considering other living arrangements.  And being the direct type that I am – I told her that it is time for fact-finding – not decisions – just facts.  Then she could start crystallizing things in her head.  As I always say – “Have a plan – you’ll feel better.”

So, we toured two places – Thornebridge and Mullberry – both within 15 minutes of where she is living now to see their offerings.  The first day was quite emotional for her and “simply overwhelming”.  But she was “impressed”.   The second tour was less emotional, and different and “closer to her doctor” of whom she doesn’t like much (Um?  Okay Grandma).

When I called her today to see how she was doing, she was fixated on whether the first place has window coverings included in part of the rent – as they can be “quite dear”.  And also working on cleaning out her filing cabinet because its “much too big to take”.  This is a step forward from pondering how it could be possible to get her bed out of her condo as it was so big “it was terrible to get in”.

And each time I call her, she is deep into lists and and thinking things through, trying to figure out the best way to make her decision.  She asked me “What do you think of the second place?  But don’t you tell me what do to!”  Really, all things being equal for the most part (price, location, service comparison, etc), I thought the food and the servers at the second one was, well, wretched.  Well, the food was wretched, the server was okay.  My grandma said she didn’t like the server or food too much either, she thought the server at first place was much friendlier and better.  And just in case I didn’t know, she told me it doesn’t matter to her about “ethics”.  Which I took to mean that she believes all people – including those of different ETHNIC backgrounds – are created equal (both servers were of asian descent).

April 19th, 2013 Extra-Ordinary:  Grandma is finding her facts, and is doing much better thanks to having a plan.  And I’m back in the family.

 

The Daily EO: April 8th, 2013

She looked forlorn sitting quietly amongst the busy area.  An old woman unnoticed by others moving through urgent and mundane tasks of the day.  She was shrunken and grey and unfocused.  Uncertain and worrying.

I was the opposite in my new glorious and flowered pumps and vivid pink shirt – but I wonder if it was youth (in comparison) and confidence in my body, limbs, and mind?

We visited and talked and considered the future together.  She was expecting release soon based blood test and x-rays.  Besides her knees – swollen from a lupus flare up – she was doing okay.

April 8th, 2013 Extra-Ordinary:  Where will I be at 93?

 

The Daily EO: March 31st, 2013

We sat and ate French Toast and sausages with my grandpa at his retirement residence.  The room was filled with nice touches like Happy Easter place mats, tulips, and decorative little chicks (not chicks, but baby chickens).  During dessert, the staff started to gather up the daffodils from the tables.  We thought this was strange because there was still a second seating at 1 pm.  When we asked, the woman told me that there was complaints that they were too big.  Imagine!  Complaining about Daffodils in the Spring!  A little crotchety in the place today.

Look at how those daffodils mess up the place!
Look at how those daffodils mess up the place!

Then it was off to grandma’s house who was feeling a crotchety herself.  Her knees were aching and she – well, frankly was feeling sorry for herself.  I guess I would too if the signals that I sent from my brain to my legs were ignored.  Fortunately, a walk on the boardroom cheered her up – and there was no complaining about daffodils.

Strolling the Boardroom in New Westminster
Strolling the Boardroom in New Westminster

Emile disappeared to play with depth of field and perfect lighting.

March 31st, 2013 Extra-Ordinary:  Flowers make us all feel something!

The Daily EO: November 18th, 2012

Emile and I had sushi with my grandma today.  I worked all day to catch up on some work, and we went over to her house after that.

It doesn’t matter what I tell her, she cannot understand why the company is making me work on a Sunday.  That’s awful.  Do I have to work every Sunday?  Did I have to work a shift Monday through Friday and still have to work Sunday?  Is it always going to be like this?  Can’t they let you have time off?  Are you going to get paid extra?  Does everyone have to work Sunday?

November 18th, 2012 Extra-Ordinary:  My grandma thinks the management at my company are terribly rude – she doesn’t get that I am part of that management team.

The Daily EO: September 22nd, 2012

It’s Saturday night in my new urban city of residence and what do we do?  We head to Grandma’s house for dinner.  Part of the reason we moved to Vancouver was to be closer to family – well, my side of the family as we are now much further from Emile’s side.  So, I thought having dinner with Grandma would be a good idea.  She’s older now, and uses her walker quite a bit.  She also has lupus and that can cause good and bad days.  So, to avoid dragging her out and about on what could be a bad day, I said we’d bring dinner.

What would be a good take out meal?  I did actually spend a bit of time thinking this through.  Seriously, I am in the Western sushi capital of the world and I am married to the sushi captain himself.  Why would I bring something else?

My grandma is proud that she “likes everything except dill”, so I thought she must like sushi.  But I checked in to confirm.  She said “I’ve never had sushi.  There is something about raw fish that puts me off.  But I’ll try if you think I should.”  Of course, I think she should!

So, sushi it is.  We determined that we should take a variety of items for taste tasting, and of course, we had to take the non-seafood items for me.  Yes, I was raised in BC and I don’t like seafood or fish.  Get over it.

Emile spent some time with the menu and I put the order in.  We stopped to pick up dinner and it wasn’t quite ready yet.  We waited a couple of minutes and soon an 18″ platter and a large plastic bag was handed to us.  With 6 sets of chopsticks and multiple packs of soy sauce provided, I came to the realization that perhaps the amount of food we ordered was above average for 3 people (and only 2 eating the real sushi).

We burst into Grandma’s place and started up the chaos.  She tried some of everything – Tuna, Salmon, BC, Cucumber, Crunch, Dynamite, Hot Night, Teriyaki Chicken and California Rolls; edamame; tempura veggies; Agedashi tofu; and miso soup.

And you know what?  Grandma likes sushi – even the raw fish.  In fact, she wants to do sushi night again (despite having to put up with her “miserable grandchildren’s company”).

We rolled out with the leftovers – like there wasn’t going to be any – and left her licking her lips considering tomorrow’s lunch care package.

September 22nd, 2012 Extra-Ordinary:   Even if the thought of raw fish turns your stomach, try it.  You might hate it (me), you might like it (grandma), but at least you know.  And knowing is important.