Posts Tagged ‘family’

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Took the day off from work, but still woke up at 5:30 this morning.  Got up, fed the cats, ate breakfast.  At 7am, I decided to go back to bed to try and get more sleep.  I tried until 8:30.  Gave up and got up.  had to go into work because someone scheduled me for an installation at 8am tomorrow morning.  I had to get the parts I’d need.

After coming back home, I loaded up the van with stuff for Salvation Army.  Drove to the nearest store, and they refused to take the load because they didn’t have a way to accept big donations.  The manager suggested I try a larger store about 10 miles away.  OK — I’d pass the U-Haul place on the way to and from, and could return the van on the way back.

My daughter stopped by.  Her grandma was taking her out for lunch to celebrate her high school graduation.  We all went to lunch.  I showed my daughter how to get into the storage unit where I’ll be keeping some of her stuff with mine until she gets her own place.  Then she went home.

Her grandma and I loaded up goodies from the apartment (mirrors, a hutch, a bookshelf) into her car, and then she followed me to Salvation Army.  She was planning to give me a ride home after I’d dropped of the van.  Unfortunately, that store wouldn’t take some of my stuff (christmas tree, VHS tapes, computer software), so we had to come back to the apartment to unload it, set aside for the junk truck this coming weekend.  She was nice enough to follow me back to U-Haul and give me a ride back home before going home, herself.

I had to figure out what to do about my TV, since it used to sit on the hutch I’d given away.  Amazingly, I had two containers of VHS tapes I could stack up, which would place the TV high enough to be out of kitties’ reach.

Now I have to prepare for tomorrow’s job.

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Today is my sister’s birthday.  My life was never the same after she came along….  🙂

Time Flies!

Posted: December 11, 2016 in Random Thoughts
Tags: , , , , , ,

Six months since my last blog entry — guess I just haven’t been in the mood.  Since June, I’ve taken a long vacation and a mini-vacation.

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Caprock, UT

In August, I used up just about the last of my perk points with the airlines, hotels and rental cars, flew to Salt Lake City, Utah and drove to Lubbock, Texas.

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Monument Valley AZ

I’ve always liked southwestern United States, and have visited a few times for work and play.  Figuring this would probably be my last chance to visit again, since I’m no longer traveling for work, I decided to try and see some sights I’ve missed in the past, and end up in Roswell, New Mexico to see the UFO center of the universe.

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My Flat Stanley at the UFO museum in Roswell, NM

From there, I had to get to the nearest big-city airport, which was in Lubbock, Texas.  Had no particular sights I wanted to see there, but I did find a good barbecue place for lunch before my flight left town.

In October, I took my daughter up to Iowa to visit family.  My aunt expressed a desire to see the Grotto of the Redemption, so we hopped in the car one day to check it out.

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Grotto of the Redemption, IA

And that’s all the sightseeing I’ve done during the last six months.

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My dad died two weeks ago.  I went to work the next day, as usual.  I’ve wondered why my dad’s death hasn’t bothered me as much as I thought it would — all I can come up with is that while I was growing up, my dad was a mean cuss.  I watched him beat my stepmother in a drunken rage, when I was 14.  I watched him smack my sister in the mouth for talking back to my stepmom.  I watched him hit my stepbrother several times.  He came after me once when he was drunk, but I was quick and stayed out of his reach.  I spent my high school years staying out of my dad’s reach.

I remember the time he told me he couldn’t wait until we kids turned 18, so he could get rid of us.  I left home when I was 17, joining the Navy, and distanced myself from my dad for good.  For about 35 years, we would go for months without talking to each other, and spend our short phone conversations talking about the weather and what we were watching on TV.  When we actually visited each other, I was always reminded we had very little in common.  My dad and I had become strangers.  Dad changed in the last few years of his life.  He seemed to have mellowed and wanted to hear from me more often, but the distance between us was always there.

When I went back home in June, I was struck by how different my dad had become.  He was having memory problems.  I bought him a tablet to use for using Facebook so he could keep in touch with the family, but I had to explain to him many times just how to unlock the tablet (just place your fingertip in the circle and slide it to the side).  I read him some messages he’d received on Facebook, and he chatted with his brother for a few minutes.  He really liked that, but I knew as soon as I’d left, he would never use the tablet again.  And he didn’t.

A month ago, I received a phone call from dad’s current wife, Barbara, who told me he was in the hospital, close to death.  My sister pretty much said the same thing, so I cancelled my work trip and drove back home as fast as I could.  He was alive when I arrived two days later.  When I talked to the nurse about him, they said he’d had a fall and had pneumonia.  I’d received a different report from my sister, but he seemed to be unconscious, which fit what my sister’d said.  So, I pulled up a chair and sat with him for a while.  He seemed to have lost a lot of weight in the month since I’d last seen him, but I figured it was because of his illness.  Then he stirred and noticed me, and began talking.  I moved over to his bedside and began talking with him.  Some of the things he talked about didn’t make sense, and something just didn’t seem right.  His nose looked different.  I went outside to the nurses and told them I didn’t think that person was my dad.

Turned out, it wasn’t.  My dad had been moved into the room next door.  I glanced into that room while talking to the nurse, and recognized my dad right away.  He was awake, pleading with anyone who would listen.  He was in a lot of pain and wanted pain medication.  I went into his room and talked with him, but all he had on his mind was his pain.  I asked if he’d like me to hold his hand for a while, and he said yes.  After a short time, he looked at me at then changed his grip to shake my hand.  This was when I was sure he realized who I was, because we always shook hands when we got together.  But, as soon as we shook hands, his mind was consumed with his pain again, and that’s the last time my dad even knew I was there.  I visited him four more times before I had to return home and go back to work, and he was never again awake while I was there.  I took four days to drive home, and was home for four days before receiving the call he’d passed away.  Hearing the news was like hearing a distant relative had died.

And I went to work the next day, like usual.

I’ve always wondered why I don’t cry and gnash my teeth when learning about the deaths of people I know.  Maybe it has to do with losing my mom when I was 8.  Maybe it doesn’t.  She was the last person I ever cried for.  I think I’ve purposefully kept people at a distance ever since.

When my wife of 24 years (someone I dearly loved) said she wanted a divorce, I didn’t cry.  Apparently I kept a distance from her, too.

I’m not a mourning person.

And yet, I say that knowing I cried like a baby when my dog, Doogie died and when my cat, Mouse passed away.

Today Barbara called and told me she’d interred his ashes at a veterans cemetery and had given him an Air Force military funeral.  I talked with her for about a half-hour.  I can tell she really misses him, and sometimes I wish I missed him more.

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First Day of Vacation:  Did a little sightseeing near home.

First Day of Vacation: Did a little sightseeing near home.

Most people want to go somewhere warm and exotic for spring break, or some decide to hit the slopes for some last skiing.  Where did I go this year?  Iowa.  For the second or third or fourth year in a row (I don’t remember).  I use spring break to take my daughter to visit relatives.

But I digress.  I need to talk about my last work rotation, which started in Garden City, Kansas and ended up in Texas.  I flew from Garden City to Corpus Christi, spent a couple of days there, then drove to Hebbronville, then to Roma.  After finishing up in Roma, I drove back to Corpus Christi via Harlingen.  The weather in Garden City sucked (12 degrees and snowing sideways when I left).  The weather in Texas was awesome (50’s and 60’s and mostly sunny).  If I hadn’t been working, Texas would have been a great spring break.  I ate at three barbecue restaurants.  Two were good (Miller’s and Rudy’s) and one was so-so (Bill Miller).  I ate at a restaurant in Hebbronville called Peppers, which had awesome pork chops and served so much food on the plate, I couldn’t even eat half of when they gave me.  I felt so inadequate.  The night before leaving Texas, I got to visit with my uncles and aunt who winter down there, and I got o meet a friendly little Yorkie named Dexter.

Kayla and Her Lucky Dad

Kayla and Her Lucky Dad

Now, about spring break —— Took my daughter Kayla to Iowa.  She spent the first night with her grandma and the second with her sister.  The next day, we got together with my cousin Kim and her family for pictures.  the day after that, Saint Patrick’s Day, we didn’t wear green, and we went to the movies and walked around a mall (I found a place that sold second-hand clothes, selling Hawaiian shirts for $6 — kinda wish I still wore them).  Kayla and I returned home on Tuesday.  We’ve hung out at my apartment for the rest of the week, until today when I took her back to her mom’s house.  During our spring break, it snowed three times (not much accumulation, though).  We saw two movies at the theater and a whole slew on Netflix.  We walked around a retail mall and an antique mall.  We went to church.  We ate out 14 or 15 times.  Since I started traveling for work, I haven’t been stocking food in my apartment, and yet we managed to go to Hy-Vee and Wal-Mart about a half-dozen times.  Well, maybe we ate out less often than I thought.  I managed to work out a few times (but not enough).  And I slept in every morning.  And Kayla got up earlier than usual so she could message her friends on Facebook before noon.

Now Kayla’s back at the house.  She goes back to school tomorrow morning.  But I still have two more days of vacation left.  I’m going to sleep in until I go back to work.  I’ll go see the new Muppet movie.  I’ll do laundry.

I’ve already found out I’m scheduled to be working in Oklahoma on April 1st, so I’m hoping my entire next rotation will be there.  I like Oklahoma — I’ve eaten at a few good barbecue places and diners there.