Moving

The electricity and air conditioning went out. We called an electrician and he told us we needed to replace a box and our wiring needed to be replaced too. We discussed fixing it sitting in the hot house and after some time decided it made more sense to move. It would be cheaper overall and we would have air conditioning and electricity.

So we found an apartment, packed our stuff and moved.

Moving day, my daughter-in-law and the UHaul.

My moving work clothes. I wore the tshirt 4 days and the jeans 3 days. Be grateful you can’t smell this picture

After moving feast and celebration dinner

My room. We spent 3 days bringing small stuff and 1 day the big stuff

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Reprieve

I paid the taxes on the house, enough to keep it from going to auction this year. So Cho and I won’t be thrown out by sheriff’s deputies with our sad possessions on the street. I’ve read stories about evictions and how brutal it can be. It makes me grateful, for at least a temporary stay.

However I did lose my metal nail file and a fork to security at the courthouse. They found them when I went through the metal detector and told me they could be considered weapons. The TSA let me keep my nail file, I didn’t try taking a fork on the plane but I didn’t mention this. It didn’t seem like a good time.

But when I walked out with the receipt showing “paid” in bright red capital letters I felt a profound sense of relief. I am broke, more broke than usual, but I know Cho Chang and I still have a home. For now.

My day

This was an epic day, in that it was full of extraordinary stuff, journeys and purpose.

It started early this morning. Cho Chang woke me up and I got dressed to do the Saturday training run.Today was 10 miles for full marathon and 5 miles for the half people.

It wasn’t fecking cold like last week but still cold. I followed the instructions from Facebook but still missed the turn, like last week. What was supposed to be 5 miles was a little more. I also lost my car in the huge but empty parking lot, like every time.

Then I went to get a croissant and felt bloated after. I had about an hour to kill til the Womens March. NPR had the best headline I saw,” Still Pretty Damn Mad.” There were more non white women, more kids, dogs and some anxious looking men. I was glad to see lots of other old broads out there too. Before the march kicked off they asked for indigenous women and Dreamers to lead, so I headed up front. I found a friend of mine from an Internet group and asked her to come up too but she has back and pain issues so I went ahead while she waited.

The actual march was short, about 3 blocks with cops escorting us. There were speeches after, t-shirts for sale and lots of groups with sign up sheets. We hung out awhile but the crowd started to thin out. I left, said bye to my friend and her husband and went to get an Indian taco.

I changed my mind about the taco and opted for pashofa and grape dumplings. After the croissant I didn’t feel like much like bread. I inhaled the pashofa and dumplings.

Then I finally conked out, took a nap with Cho and took a shower and washed my hair at last. It’s been a good day to be indigenous.

ANTICIPATION 

I am in a strange state of anticipation. It’s not a good place, anticipating something I want or to earn. Rather I am waiting, monitoring, the health of my mother-in-law and dad. Both are elderly, unhealthy and I am preparing myself for the inevitable. In other words, I am waiting for them to die.

I am not a vulture, ready to inherit money or their possessions. It’s likely I may have to contribute financially, especially for my mother-in-law who has no savings. What my dad leaves will be mostly memories and a lot of junk (sorry, dad) in the garage. I’m not rubbing my hands together in greedy anticipation. There will be stories, memories and pictures, those we will share and carry with us. I know this because I’ve been through this before. With Jerry and before with other relatives, I know what to expect and I want to be prepared, as much as it is possible to prepare.

I don’t mention this, of course. I look at my sisters and wonder what it will do to them when our dad goes. They were young when our mom died and it affected them for years after; they missed her when they graduated and got married, and when my nephew was born. Our dad was able to be there for those occasions at least y u how much longer? I know they think about this too.

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We all had lunch today with our dad; my sisters, their husbands, my nephew and me. It’s a rare thing for us all to be together but they made the effort because we all know our dad has one operating artery and there is nothing else the doctors can do but give him pills. He goes to his cardiologist on a monthly basis. He eats bacon and pork rinds without being scolded. While we were eating he casually mentioned the pastor he wants to do his funeral, he’s already asked him. I just swallowed some Diet Coke and choked a little. I know he’s made his arrangements, a military funeral and burial. I know, we all know, the funeral home handling the arrangements. He did this because he’s trying to be helpful, to make it easier on us when the time comes. My grandpa, my mom’s dad, did the same thing. Truly it did help but there are still details and hard moments, it isn’t easy. Grief is a layered business.

My mother-in-law is a contrast. She’s not planned for anything. Honestly I don’t blame her, denial is a pleasant place. She’s in Florida (God’s Waiting Room, she once called it) I talked to her and she was groggy on painkillers. She has heart problems too, but raises the stakes with a large blood clot in her left leg. She had surgery on her leg, the clot was bigger than they thought and now she’s recovering in a rehab facility. My brother-in-law is helpless and frankly useless. I ask him how she is, what the doctors said, what about her meds and treatment and he says she’s not good but that’s all the info he has. He’s never had to deal with stuff like this, I know he loves his mom but he isn’t a good advocate. Jerry did all that for them both, he was the steady and responsible one, taking care of them both from an early age. He’s not here now and neither of them seems to know how to cope, Ruth because she’s sick and weak and Mike because he never learned. Most of my info comes from Bear, who takes his dad’s role as protector seriously even when he’s 10,000 miles away. I dread getting a phone call from Bear about his grandma. I hope that when the time comes she isn’t hurting or alone and I hope someone is with my brother-in-law too. I am concerned that I may have to go to Florida, she once told us she was paying on a funeral plan with a funeral home but not sure she kept making payments and I don’t know its name.

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I don’t look forward to making arrangements, calling people, deciding whether to put it on Facebook (probably will for my dad), finding something to wear and dealing with the condolences, among other things. Been there, done that, don’t want to do it again but I know better.

Bear messaged me and said he is thinking of visiting soon. His wife’s Visa is still being processed and they don’t know when it will be ready. He says he might come anyway. He says he misses Fall but we both know the real reason; he wants to see them both and say goodbye.

Getting ready 

I’m flying to Saigon in 2 days. I’ve planned for this, had those plans changed, thwarted and planned again. 

I’ve learned how much can be stuffed into a suitcase and been amazed. I learned that suitcase is heavy as heck and might need to be emptied a little so I can move it. The wheel really is the greatest human invention, especially those tiny ones. It’s up there with spandex. 

I’m going to see my son and attend his wedding. There’s a lot of emotion in that sentence. I know his dad would be proud and thrilled and anxious. Bear admitted he can hear his dad’s voice in his head sometimes, and remembers little things he used to say. He also admitted he doesn’t think about his dad every day like he used to, but he misses him especially now.

I’m bringing stuff from home, things Bear can’t find in Vietnam. Most of the stuff he asked for is American food like grits and my suitcase has a substantial grocery section. 

Family members are sending gifts, small ones fortunately. I’m also taking a few presents for my future in-laws. I was able to tuck most of them into the suitcase and make it fit somehow; it looks like Tetris.

My clothes and personal stuff are in the 2 carryons. It’s interesting how a pair of jeans can fold down to a tight little cube. Also how that cube can explode and nearly hit you in the eye when you open that bag to stuff in a pair of socks.

Since most of this stuff is staying there I’ll have room for souvenirs. A couple of co-workers collect shot glasses and I promised to bring some back. But the main space is going to be full of strawberry, blueberry and coconut oreos. 

There are a few things to do before I leave. I still have a load of laundry, a trip to the bank to let them know any charges coming from Vietnam will be legit and to let them go through. I also need to have at least one more diet cherry limeade from Sonic. My sister is going to look after Porkchop and the house, because Porkchop can’t open cans. Yet. 

Another thing I’m taking with me is family pictures, old ones I’ve found in photo albums and saved on my phone and a USB. 

Dead mouse update

The mouse is still dead, that hasn’t changed.

The stench is still strong too. I sprayed air freshener and burned candles to cancel the smell but Dead Rodent defeated my best efforts. I decided I would wait it out, after a little while it would go away and I could forget I was sitting on a dead mouse somewhere in my couch. That was my plan.

What happened was I gave in, and the couch is now gone. The smell was the motivator but truly the couch needed to go before a spiteful mouse crawled inside and gave up the ghost. The back had broken pieces, the left back leg was coming loose and the middle section sagged almost to the floor when anyone but my 4 year old nephew sat there. A piece of wooden trim had come off.

It was in sad shape and I admit I pretended it wasn’t so bad. I was attached to that old couch. It was my bed for over a year after Jerry died, when I couldn’t sleep on the bed. I slept on it after I moved, out of necessity and it gave me some comfort too. Lying against the back felt normal, the support was almost like being next to Jerry lying on his side. I could fall asleep this way. I often woke up around 2am most nights and lay awake awhile before I could go back to sleep, this went on for a year, over a year. It’s only been about 3 months I’ve been able to sleep through the night but I still wake up sometimes.

Big Dump Day was coming up and decided I would put it out if the smell was still too strong Tuesday. It was. So I moved the few pieces of furniture I needed to clear a path to the door. I pushed the couch to the door, no problem. Then I got to the door and remembered the trouble the movers had getting it inside.

It was too wide. I managed to tip it on its side without it falling completely over. Fortunately it wasn’t too heavy and I carefully nudged it along from outside. It finally cleared the door and I felt a big relief. There was more pushing, this time from the back and I managed to get it across the lawn. I did this all before the sun was up and the only witnesses to this little spectacle were a few birds. Porkchop observed from a distance but soon returned to his breakfast. I got the couch to the edge of the lawn or what seemed the edge and flipped it back up. The cushions had fallen so I went back for those and the little trim piece. The whole enterprise took about 10 minutes. 10 rather long minutes that seemed a lot longer. But considering I was doing it by myself I thought “not too bad for an old broad.” I counted it as my cardio and weight training for the day.

The couch is still out there. No one has hauled it away and I’m glad, that it won’t stink up someone else’s house. Tomorrow is the official Big Dump Day, the couch will probably be gone by the time I come home. I am a little sorry to see it outside but its time to go had come, perhaps not the way I would have expected but in an unavoidable way.

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The Mouse Assassin

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Couch dragging site

 

Mawwage 

Last night about 11 pm local time my son called to tell me he was married. He and his fiancee signed the official papers at a government office about an hour ago and were now legally husband and wife.

I was expecting the call and even though I was still stunned hearing him say the words. He told me it was low-key, they were at her dad’s house and after eating lunch would be going back to Saigon. He to his apartment and she to her aunt’s house. They hadn’t told family because they didn’t want any fuss (translation:people in their business ). I told him his dad would be thrilled and happy for him. He didn’t say anything but he did send me a few pictures.

Government office where they signed the marriage papers. He said an official gave Oanh a hard time when he saw she was older than Bear, by 6 months, and that they might not be able to get married. Seriously, not kidding or joking. She gave him the stink eye and they both signed. So there.

Wedding rings. 

Bear’s father-in-law, with chicken. Chicken was lunch.