Monday, December 22, 2008

Another day

Today marks day 4 of no school - even though there should be! They have already cancelled school for tomorrow. Now we will have 5 more days to make up...and we're already making up days due to the beginning of the year teacher's strike. Let me give you a quick recap of the last week.

Wednesday: School was closed in "anticipation of the impending storm", which did not happen on Wednesday. Granted Wednesday was only a half day, but I still hadn't planned on a day o'kids (and I had to call in 'absent' to work).

Thursday: We woke to snow. Mason was scheduled for surgery, so that meant numerous calls to Children's; last minute planning; and leaving as soon as we were given the "come now" call.

Friday: Came home from Children's in the snow. Played in the snow.

Saturday: More of the same.

Sunday: More of the same.
Monday: More of the same - as we woke to 4 more inches. Luckily, I was scheduled to work & the office had "adverse condition hours". This meant we were open from 10-3:30. So, I had Mark take me to the Factoria office so I could work there. Hallelujah! He picked me up at 1:30 as I had a 2:00 appointment with a hand specialist to evaluate "a tumor". It's some sort of "mass" on my left hand. Tonight Mason spilled his juice all over the kitchen floor. That required major mopping and cleaning. I guess I should be thankful for that, as the floors are disgusting - courtesy of the snow!

Tuesday: So, tomorrow, the excitement will Then an MRI of "the tumor". But, at least it gets me away from everyone for awhile.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Oh the weather outside...

is frightful, but the fire is so delightful. And, since we've no place to go...DON'T SAY IT! It's been cold and snowy for over a week now. Last Monday was Grandpa's memorial service. We stood outside (undercover) at the cemetary in well-below-freezing temperatures with snow on the ground. The only day the snow decreased was on Wednesday when schools were closed "in anticipation of the impending storm" (THAT WASN'T).

But, the storm came on Thursday. It's been snowing on and off since then. Luckily, the 70+ MPH wind they forecasted did not come. So, thankfully we have power. I LOVE the snow. I truly do! It is beautiful. But, I much prefer "building" snow, not just dry snow. By my measurements, we've had 11 inches of snow - I measured tonight! Our little lights which are on stakes to line the driveway are completely covered. And, the news is calling for 3-6 more inches of snow.

Thanks to an SUV and paved roads in Bellevue, we have made it out and about. Today we went to my parent's for lunch and to see the cousins. After lunch, it was back home since it was snowing again. We were supposed to celebrate Grandma's 85th birthday today, but due to the weather, the restaurant cancelled.

The kids LOVE the snow almost as much as I do. And, Maggie, the dog loves it even more! So, tomorrow, there is no school AGAIN. Which means, (I assume) we'll need to make up at least 4-5 more days of school somewhere. Oh well.

In September when the schools were on strike, I made TONS of raspberry freezer jam to give to friends, family, and teachers (p.s. friends, if you are reading this...yes you're getting freezer jam). A few weeks ago I purchased the gift bags. Last week I cut out fabric and covered the lids. While Mason was having surgery on Thursday, I made gift tags. So, in all the snow, I learned a lesson. The lesson is this: If I get ALL the teacher Christmas gifts (a.k.a. holiday gifts) prepared in advance there won't be snow! Hmmmm, I'll have to think about that for next year.

The other lesson, is that Maggie CAN indeed stay inside by herself and not destroy or urinate all over everything - even if we're gone for a few hours!!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Are you kidding me?!

Email I received from Lauren's school this morning: School has been cancelled today (Wednesday, 12/17) because of the impending storm.

From the school district website: Bellevue Schools are closed today, December 17, because of uncertain weather forecast and safety concerns for students and staff.

If you've lived in Washington for more than a few days, there is one fact we know for certain. Weather forecasters are wrong! Now, I'm not saying the "big storm" may not come today. But, I am saying that historically, the forecasters are wrong. Take yesterday for example. We were supposed to get 2-6 inches overnight. As I look outside, we have no more snow today than we did yesterday. Roads are still fine. Take earlier in the week, they forecasted our high in Bellevue would not be above 22. Well, it was.

But, the "thoughtful" school district decides to close school (on a half-day no less) just in case it does snow. Hmmm. If it does snow later today, that would most likely mean school will be closed on Thursday too. So, why not on Friday also? WHY in the world would administration decide to close school IN CASE of a storm? I understand kids safety, transportation, and all the rest. But, truly to close on the chance that there will be snow? Perhaps they should invoke a rule where kids cannot attend IF they might become ill during school hours too!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Don't you go dying on me

(picture from 9/08)To quote one of my favorite lines from the movie Dumb and Dumber...."Seniore citizens, although slow and dangerous behing the wheel, can still serve a purpose....Don't you go dying on me".

Yesterday, Good Grandpa did just that. He passed away at 2:30pm on Friday at Evergreen Hospice. He'd been in un-perfect health for a LONG time. He just kept plugging away. He'd been through a quadruple bypass; stents; fainting episodes, a hijacking attempt at Seatac in the '80's. And the list goes on. Ever since Mark & I started dating 1600 years ago (oh, I mean 16), it has always been Grandpa's last Christmas. We've truly joked about that every year. Each year Grandpa was with us, we were very blessed. He made it to both my sister's and my wedding. He was able to meet Lauren, Mason, and both my sister's children. That in and of itself was a HUGE blessing.

On November 14 Grandma awoke and Grandpa seemed unresponsive. 9-1-1 was called and they transported him to Evergreen Hospital. Within a few hours he was transferred to the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit. I arrived mid-day and met Grandma and Dad there. Grandpa was weak, but despite his dementia, he was "with it" enough to make jokes and knew who we all were. His vital signs were crummy (heart rate and blood pressure were very low). He was transferred later to the medical floor. They decided to change some of his medication to hopefully improve his vitals. He was discharged the next week with a catheter to home. The doctors and social work decided to have hospice come to their home and expected he had about 3-6 months left on earth. He spent Thanksgiving at home with Grandma and Uncle Fred & Aunt Faith. He even ate a good dinner. The next day however he was not doing well. The hospice nurse decided to have him transferred to Evergreen Hospice near the hospital. Quickly his condition deteriorated. Within a few days he was no longer opening his eyes, able to eat, or producing any urine.

We arrived home from Maui late Thursday night. Mom and Dad drove me to see Grandpa while Mark drove the kids home and even unpacked all the suitcases (and put the kids clothes away)! Grandpa's lungs were filled with fluid and you could hear him "gurgle" with each breath. Yet, he was peacful. He was obviously in the last stages and was taking LONG pauses between each breath. Mom and Aunt Lynda spent the night there. On Friday morning he was still alive.

After work I drove up to see him again. Uncle Fred and his wife Faith, Aunt Lynda, Uncle Ken and his son Scott, Mom, and Grandma were in Grandpa's room. His breathing was not as labored as the previous night. We were all in his room being just as noisy and obnoxious as always (it's a very noisy family). Just before 2:30 Grandpa opened one eye and started to stir. Next he opened the other eye. We all quickly stood around the bed and were touching him. Grandma stood by him and stroked his head while talking to him. She named everyone in the room. She told him she loved him. She told him we all loved him and what a wonderful husband, father, and grandfather he had been. He looked around the room. He smiled with his mouth wide open then gazed towards the ceiling. Immediately I knew he was leaving the earth. All I could think while watching him smile, was that he was entering Heaven. Slowly his eyes closed. As his breathing became shallow, his coloring changed. I knew (I think before the others) that he was gone. He never gasped. He simply stopped breathing, very peacefully. After a few moments I went to ask the hospice nurse to come in. She confirmed he had passed away.

A short while later the nurses explained that when the family was ready, they would clean him and provide him with a quilt. I stayed while the others left - I didn't want him to be alone, even though I knew he was gone. 4 nurses came in. They respectfully removed the oxgyen and removed his catheter. One brushed his hair. The other put his lower set of dentures in (the uppers were already in). They provided him with a clean sheet and a quilt. The other placed a electric candle in the window (this is their procedure once someone has passed away). They re-situated him in the middle of the bed and folded his hands on top of each other in a peaceful way. He looked just like always and you kept expecting him to take another breath. Everyone came back in when they were finished. We stayed in the room with him and told a few more stories. There were tears, but also many laughs. Shortly before 4:30, my cousin Monica arrived to say goodbye to Grandpa too. Each of us said our final goodbyes to Grandpa around 4:30 and left the hospice facility.

This is my 3rd Grandparent to pass away in the past 8 months. Mark's last remaining Grandma passed away earlier this year too. The deaths of my other two grandparents were not so difficult. We were not very close (by their choice - a long story for another time). But, Grandpa was my favorite Grandpa. He will be greatly missed.
This evening, on the way to my parents house to have dinner with the relatives, Mason commented on Great Grandpa. He said "great Grandpa won't be there. He is in Heaven".


To be continued later....