Gardens, Solstice and Father’s Day

On Thursday, District O.N.E. had a garden project in back of the high school. They got help from a bunch of people attending a music festival called Sonic Bloom. A big four day event up at Humming Bird Ranch, where Battlemoor is also held. Lots of sun, 30-40 workers and lots of work to do. We got some stuff accomplished, but people got distracted.

Then on Saturday, Dan and I worked on the yard. He mowed. I weeded. Together we tackled weeds, trees and a chunk of old pipe. We were really exhausted when we finished.

Today, Solstice, we got up early and headed down to Trinidad, and to Bob & Earl’s, our favourite greasy spoon, for breakfast. then we took a trip out HWY 10. Both were things that Dad loved to do. It was fitting. 🙂

Time to begin a new chapter

In that crazy thing called life. Eight weeks ago, life went to hell in a handbasket. Every time something happened, I thought… “It can’t get any crazier, complicated, worse.” Well, it did. It’s been two weeks since Dad died. We had all the family here that weekend. Aunt Toni and her son Kris, Lori and Bill, Jill and Daniel. It was hectic, sad, wonderful and productive.

While so much of the family was here, we went through a lot of Dad’s stuff. We sorted out clothes, backpacks, drawers full of stuff and even set some aside to look at later. We also moved Dan and I into the bedroom that had been my parents computer room. A door to slam at last. 🙂 First pics are with Daniel and Mom and how the room looked. The next three are how it changed. It was a lot of work. Thank goodness for Bill, Lori and Daniel’s help!

The last of the company left on Monday, and Tuesday we were heading up to take a bunch of stuff to the ARC and then buy some groceries. Just as we were getting ready to leave, the phone rang. It was Tara! She and Celestial had driven all the way from Kentucky to see GiGi (my mom, Great Grandma). So, we had a whirlwind 3 day visit. It was wonderful.

They left on Thursday, and it was time to try and get back into the swing of things. Meetings, work and gardening. More on that later.

A Pause, A Breathe, and Waiting

We finished moving into my mom’s house. 90% of our stuff is in storage. The rest is in nooks and crannies in my mom’s house. Brandy is learning to live in the back yard, and we are getting use to living with mom. It’s a good thing that my mom is a good friend as well as my parent. As time passes, we will adjust. We are doing our best to leave a lot of the hurt behind us and work on the positive things.

One of the last things I did was dig up my garden. We brought it over to my mom’s and spent a day digging and transplanting. I shared the rest of the irises I didn’t plant with three friends.

This last week we have caught up on sleep, email, meetings and life in general. I cleaned house and did laundry. It hasn’t been easy, but we are taking those deep breaths. We are pausing and trying to smell the breeze that carries the hint of spring.

Today we went shopping in Pueblo for the first time in weeks. After we did our shopping, we ate lunch at Romero’s. Then we went to visit Dad. Over the last week or so, he declined rapidly. They moved him into hospice on Tuesday night. In some ways, it was a relief not to visit him at the mental unit. The hospice is very nice. It had a good feel to it and the staff was pleasant. A friend of our had been in hospice and that place had not been nice. It looked alright, but had an ick to it. This place did not. (phew!)

We went in to see Dad and then let Mom have time alone with him. We chatted with the nurse, and she talked about how he was doing. She said he was restless, which to them means that it won’t be long. This matches with what my mom felt. We were originally going to visit on Friday, but she had this feeling that it had to be today. I’m glad we went up. He didn’t wake when we were there, or when we talked to him. Mom has his wedding ring now. We said our goodbyes and headed home. We may go up on Friday.

Mom has made all the arrangements with the local funeral home where our cousin works. In her own way, she’s getting her ‘ducks in a row’. Dan and I are doing our best to keep things running smoothly. And it is the little things that help so much. A dear friend sent us a lovely package full of treats. 🙂 It even had twiglets in it! Others have sent good wishes, hugs and energies for an easy transition for Dad.

Where to start?

When last I was here, my aunt had just passed and my mom had returned home. Then all hell broke loose.

On Monday, Bryan came by to let me know that he’d bought the house from Stefan. He wanted to let us know that he planned to move in and that we’d have to stuff everything in storage and/or the Wendy House and live there. We tried to explain that this just wasn’t viable. We wasted our breath. Shock. Horror. Disbelief. A week later, we were told we had to totally leave the property. Leave the Wendy House…

While we were reeling from this, my Dad had a major ‘sundowners’ moment. Yelling, screaming, threatening people, etc. We called the police and the EMT’s. When all the dust settled, Dad was in hospital in Pueblo. In the mental unit. Meanwhile, we moved in with my mom, as she was very upset and didn’t want to be alone.

We have been up to see Dad. He’s been diagnosed with moderate to severe dementia and psychosis. From what the doctor and nurses said, he’s been bipolar all of his life, but could deal with it. The dementia robbed him of the control to cope. When my sister and I talked, we could see it looking back. My dad has always ‘escaped to the mountains’, and we figured he just didn’t like living in the city. Now we see it was his way of coping. Now we are working on Medicaid paperwork and other bits. It has been a crazy time.

And… in the mean time, we’ve been packing. It’s very hard to leave our home of 10 years. Hard to leave behind all the work we did on the Wendy House. We are doing our best to keep positive. It’s just tough.  Brandy isn’t doing too badly. She has a new yard to explore and we hope to build her a dog house soon.

Taking a deep breath

We headed to Denver in snowy weather the last week of February, on our way to a CASB conference. (Colorado Association of School Boards) Two days of Legislative Updates on what our local state politicians are up to. It was a pretty good conference, and we had a lovely hotel. Of course, there was about 10 inches of snow that fell while we were there. Thursday night we went to a meeting which was different.

Friday, Dan went off to get the car so we could head home. What should have taken 15 minutes took forever. The doorman at the Brown Palace heard that there had been a couple of accidents because of the snow, and of course I panicked a bit. My phone was in the car, so I finally borrowed a phone to call Dan. He was alright, just. He had literally bounced from one accident to another. We finally headed out of Denver about 90 minutes later.

On the way home, the “fun” started. Dan was feeling worse and worse. By the time we got home, he was ill. We thought he’d eaten something bad. Nope. A very Nasty Virus. And of course, two days later, I got it. Ugh! I haven’t been ill like that in 15 years. All we did for the next week was sleep. I did everything possible via phone or email.

My first outing was a Celtic Music Festival meeting. Dan drove. I spent most of Sunday and Monday trying to recover and get back on my feet. I survived the school board meeting on Tuesday, shopping with my mom, and the Tech committee meeting on Wednesday.

In the middle of that meeting, I got a call from my mom. My Aunt Debbie had a stroke. Thursday was crazy. A new washer for my parents, my dad having a bad Alzheimer’s day and waiting to hear about my aunt. They did a lot of tests, and the decision was made to take her off of all the machinery today. If she lasts the night, they will move her to hospice. I know it may sound rather cold hearted, but I truly hope that she passes quickly. My mom went up with my sister Jill this afternoon to be with my cousin and sister. Dan and I are staying here to take care of Dad. Plus, Morgan is due home from college for Spring Break today. Oh, and one of my favourite authors passed away. RIP Terry Pratchett.

What a exhausting couple of weeks.

A snowy morning

The sun is out at last. School is canceled. Yet we need to dig out and visit a computer client and check on my parents. What a storm. I love all the snow and took pics as Brandy barked at the birds and I shoveled a path to the main house. With all this snow, 12-13 inches, we might get an inch of moisture.

Waiting is…

We are under a Winter Storm Warning. One that had people scrambling for groceries, firewood, batteries, etc. It even canceled our SCA event, Corazon. I took my mom to the grocery for a few things and then for a bit of a drive. It was crazy. Oh, and 62F was our high temp today.

When I got home, I made bread, a plum cake and then a casserole. While it was baking, I helped Dan with the firewood. We heat with it, and we’ve been whittling down a ‘hedge’ of pine. Today, we cleared the last of it. What wasn’t chopped, split, or stacked went into the compost bin. It was so strange to see the yard clear. By the time we came in, it was 38. We now have a bunch of firewood. 🙂

Since I posted last, we’ve had a bit of snow. Nothing like my friend Kirsty, who has 7 feet in her front yard. She lives in Massachusetts.

I’ll post pictures if we really get the snow they say we will.

Same weather, different Month.

It’s February! Wheee! Tomorrow is Groundhog’s day, and if he says another 6 weeks of winter, I may scream. Or cry. Or whimper. We did have a few glorious days where the weather got up to 65F for one day and others in the 50’s, but today we are back to snow, cold, 29F weather. Brrr! At least most of the storm yesterday was rain and it didn’t turn to snow until late last night.

That was appreciated, as we were chopping firewood. Our friend Mark stopped by and gave us a small load of wood. He said that the ‘wood fairy’ had told him were were short of wood. He was right. I was so stiff this morning, that the prospect of getting up was daunting! No choice though, as it was a Bob & Earl morning. Bob & Earl’s is a little greasy spoon cafe in Trinidad. My parents found it and fell in love with it. Now that we are their designated drivers, we take them to breakfast about three times a month. If the weather is good. Luckily, it wasn’t too bad today. On our way down, we saw a bald eagle sitting on a fence post. In fact, he was still there when we drove home.

B & E’s is sort of the Cheer’s of the cafe world. Everyone knows you. We were an hour later than usual, and when we walked in, Holly the waitress looked at us and smiled as she said, “You’re Late!”. We all laughed. As she brought us our drinks, she took our order. “Now let’s see… Jon, you want a Mexican biscuit and two links. Carolyn, waffles or an egg with bacon, and sourdough toast? Right. You (Dan) want a Mexican biscuit, no onion, but extra cheese, and you want a breakfast burrito, no cheese.” Then she walks off.

Breakfast arrived 20 minutes later. Ahhh heaven. After breakfast, we dropped my parents off, got some groceries and then headed home. I’m updating blogs while trying to resist curling up for a nap.

Other highlights… We had a couple of ice storms. Slippery, nasty things! Beautiful for pictures, but dangerous.

We took Morgan up to CSU, Ft. Collins, and she is doing well.

I’ve been making hats for the Clothing bank at our school, and helping clean up Washington school so that the community and the school district can use it more.

The district’s finance manager retired. This has thrown the district into a tizzy, but we will survive. We’ve had a bunch of meetings as of late as well. A BOCES retreat, workshops and lots of committee work.

We’ve also been doing a lot of clean up around the house and yard, getting ready for SPRING! (ie, the warmer snow season) We cut down a tree out front that was just so scraggly and stacked the wood to burn next year. We are planning a greenhouse as well.

Last but not least… We have an SCA day in 3 weeks. I’m considering a new outfit. I have the fabric, but not sure if I have the time to complete it. We shall see.

Okay, it’s been like FOREVER since I last posted.

It’s been busy. Never Ever let anyone tell you that taking care of your elderly parents is easier than babies. Nope. Not even gonna believe that. It’s been three months of adjustment and reorganizing. Between shopping, drives, housecleaning and just everyday things, my life has been HECTIC.

Plus, it’s been busy. Usually our lives slow down around the end of the Celtic Music Festival. Not this year! Our one client in Denver moved, and we’ve been doing a lot of work getting their new home tech ready. On top of that, having new admin in the school district has been interesting. We’ve gotten more done in the last few months than we have in the last few years. Oh, and Morgan goes off to College in January.

So, now for some highlights.

Sunday Drives. In trying to meld my parent’s schedule in with ours means that we try to take Sunday drives. We saw some brilliant aspen in October. November and December brought sunny but cold days with snow. We also try and have breakfast at this little diner in Trinidad, called Bob and Earl’s. It’s the kind of place you walk into and everyone knows each other. Good food too.

Along with this is the Wednesday shopping in Pueblo which has been fun and yet eaten my life!

The Spanish Peaks Community Foundation Gala.  A night to dress up and honor people in the community. It was a very nice evening and lovely to dress up!

Skunked! We were woken up out of a dead sleep around 3am. Our dog Brandy got skunked on the front porch of the Wendy House. We had to open all the doors and windows, and I sat up until nearly 6am, trying to breathe. Ugh…

So, instead of working on some of our various projects, we will be washing Brandy and her area along with bedding, curtains, etc. I hate skunks.

Halloween. Dan and I handed out candy on my parent’s front porch. We must have seen over 300 kids. It was a lot of fun, and the weather was so nice!

Outlander Yes, I’m a fan. The series was fantastic. And… All the costume work. So much of it that a group formed on Facebook with all sorts of knitting, sewing, crocheting, etc. I have knitted two shawls and a cowl. 🙂 One man put out a survivor’s guide.

School stuff Our new superintendent is great. We’ve worked out a lot of the issues that the district has had problems with in the last 6 months. We have a lot of new staff as well, and it seems to be going well. Plus, we took a big chance. We bought iPads for every student in the district. It’s been interesting. We’ve also started a clothing bank. Too many kids without coats or basics. We are running out of a class room. 🙂 I went to the CASB Winter Conference at the beginning of December as well. It was a really good conference. Lots of info, ideas and connections.

We’ve had a Veteran’s Day celebration which honored Vets from our community, and local nursing home, and some creative literary nights. Night at the Museum was a lot of fun. The One Room Schoolhouse was great too. We also had a holiday dinner at La Plaza. More dressing up. 🙂

Weather November had some bitter cold and snow. Brrr! December has had it’s surprises as well. We are having a white Christmas as there was about 6 inches of snow on the 22nd. Oh, and it’s going to snow on Boxing Day as well. (26th) Lots of deer in the yard too, eating everything.

The Wendy House. We painted! We trimmed! We built another raised bed and oh have we gathered, chopped, split and burned firewood! We got permission to trim up two dead trees and were given two loads of wood. Wow. Morgan teased us that we love Halloween so much that we live in a pumpkin. Oh, and we got a bathtub and on demand water heater for the bathroom! 

Family. My Great Uncle Richard Ridge passed away on Halloween. He was 91. My Great Aunt Ann Sudar had her 100th birthday on December 13th. That was a wonderful party with 75 friends and family present. I got to see a lot of Sudars I hadn’t seen in years.

The Great Experiment Dan and I have been looking into hydroponics and aquaponics. So, we tried a small inside experiment. There will be more on that on this blog. We learned some lessons and will be trying it again in the spring.

Thanksgiving. My sister and her family, my aunt and her family, my parents and my family all got together for Thanksgiving dinner. Eleven people for three days. Wow! It was really nice.

And now for some pictures. 🙂

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Rain, rain, rain, oh, and More Rain.

It started yesterday. Just a wee mist of rain. My mom and I were running errands, and I swear that every time we got out of the car, it rained harder. By the time I got home around 4pm, it was cold, wet and miserable. The alley was dumping mud out onto the street like it did this summer. Our front porch leaked more and my sewing area was getting soaked. The wind did more damage to the roof than we’d realized. All the rain also meant that Dan and our friend Mark were not going to cut firewood.

So, today between taking my parents to the library and for a drive, I started moving my sewing room into the living room. I had to change how the room worked. I knew where I wanted my sewing stuff. That was the easy part. The difficulty started when I wanted to move my white cutting table in and place the tubbies of fabric. Keep in mind that all of the stuff which I’d been storing in Morgan’s room is now in the living room. Once I got to a certain point, I asked Dan for help.

Do you know what happens when you get one person with great spatial relations and an engineer in the same room trying to rearrange it? Chaos. 🙂 At one point, he tried to put a coffee table, a cedar chest, a lamp table and the rocking chair in the same 6 x 8ft space. It took a few hours, me landing on my arse at one point and a lot of furniture shuffling, but we figured it out.

As I was trying to figure out what to do with all the little knick knacks, I realized that Halloween/Samhain and my birthday were less than a month away. So, I had Dan get out the box of decorations and I decorated. 🙂 This is my favourite time of year.

Now we only have a small pile of stuff in front of the fireplace to find a new home before it gets too cold. (oh wait… it nearly is!) That and figure out what to do with the dining room table which is still living on the front porch.

Oh, there was one family member who wasn’t happy with the new arrangement. RedTom. He keeps waiting for the stuffed cat to jump him, and he just can’t get comfy.

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