Sunday, January 31, 2010

Snow! And. . .snot.

Well, we finally got a snow day even though it came on an early Saturday morning. It's an icy, crusty snow- - -perfect for sliding down the hill in the backyard at top speed and making your mother nearly faint while she watches from the window. Visions of crashing into the back fence and a trip to the ER on icy roads flash before me---I can't help it. It's how I roll.

It's all lovely to look at, but I also woke up on Saturday with the worst head cold of my forties (okay I just turned forty in September but TRUST me, it's bad). Mark and the kids are hustling in and out, alternately piling on layers and peeling them off at the back door.

Lord, but I love watching the kids play in the snow. It's amazing to watch our Liv, with all her usual bossiness towards her little brother, turn into his faithful servant out there. She gleefully pulls him around on our little plastic sled while he beams and holds on with white knuckles.
We've also witnessed her tighten the velcro on his hat's chin strap so it fits more snugly, and help him up after he's sprawled like an overturned box turtle after snow angel making.

I'm getting a little stir crazy already but I have to admit since I'm sick it would be sooo nice if my office was closed tomorrow. The kids' school is almost guaranteed to close since there's no way the buses are gonna be able to get down some of our more rural roads in the morning. Gotta love a southern school district.

I've checked on my dad and Jimmy assured me they're fine. I brought over some groceries on Friday and Jimmy also made a last-minute run Friday night while Sherwin stayed with my dad. It's good to know that even though he might be confused and a little grumpy, at least he's safe and warm and has all the Fil-Am specialties he can eat. That's Jimmy's term for Filipino-American food---apparently my dad's new fave. :)

Saturday, January 9, 2010

And so 2010 begins. . .

Today I found myself in a strange, yet wonderful place. My dad is now in a one-bedroom apartment close to my house, after finishing up his rehab at the skilled nursing center.
My family, Jimmy and I all decided this was the best solution for now since my dad becomes so agitated in facilities surrounded by other residents and often there just isn't enough staff to ensure that he won't fall nearly every dadgum day.

So, last week I took a couple days off and had his furniture moved from a storage room at his former assisted living center to the new digs. Jimmy and three to four other caregivers will be caring for my dad around the clock in shifts. Today, Jimmy was there with Sherwin, a young CNA graduate, also from the Phillipines, who is Jimmy's apprentice of sorts. Sherwin has also worked with my dad at the skilled nursing center as well as at Sunrise, but this will be his first time working with a patient in a private home.

Today the kids and I stopped by to drop off some prescriptions and groceries and check in with Dad. Nate was still in his Tae Kwon Do uniform after his Saturday morning class and he proudly showed Sherwin some of his "moves." Turns out Sherwin knows a little karate, and within minutes, the two of them were playfully wrestling around, with Nate laughing so hard his face turned bright red. Guys just don't need ice breakers, I guess.

Meanwhile Liv chatted with my dad a bit, who was looking rather spiffy in one of Mark's old Nautica sweaters. I peeled a tangerine for him and he nibbled it while he calmly watched the kids play. Jimmy had some soup cooking on the stove and it smelled delicious; he told me it was mostly cabbage, with some carrot, onion and a bit of pork for seasoning. Maybe it was the pork, but it smelled pretty much like anything else my grandmother would've boiled on the stove.
I made a sandwich for the kids and Dad and while they ate Jimmy served up a bowl of the soup and put it alongside Dad's sandwich. He then slowly and deliberately ate every bite.

I watched this scene with a mixture of awe and amusement. Here was my dad, who in years past would never even touch Chinese food, now eating a Filipino-inspired dish with his peanut-butter and jelly sandwich in a little kitchen in Charlotte. Meanwhile, my kids were sprawled on the floor watching "I Robot" with Will Smith, with their new long-lost friend Sherwin, 20 years their senior and from an island 2,000 miles away.

Sometimes it just blows me away, the places life takes us. I mean, it really blows my freakin' mind. I'm feeling hopeful about this change, but as always, I have my fingers crossed. Always.