We are at the “bare walls” stage…

We have been in a packing frenzy.  Our walls are bare (for the most part…I’d say there are four things we need to address to be completely naked in that department), and our cupboards are starting to look like it’s time to buy plastic cups.  There are more things in boxes than there are out of boxes…

J is enjoying the process.  This is surprising.  The only thing he has objected to is seeing his TV room throw pillows put in a box.  His train/Lego village is disassembled, and only the Legos remain on shelves waiting to be packed.

We are well on our way to being done.  We are also exhausted, achy, and ready for this to be over.  We have pared down to the things we really want and need.  We have made sure that TGG and his family get all the other stuff that no longer fits our three-person household.  I’ve packed and sorted through all of TGG’s childhood photos and given them to his wife.  I know he probably thinks we’re erasing him (we’re not…there are so many mementos of TGG, photos, school projects…all over the place), but the fact is that I have very few pictures and things from my childhood, and I’ve always wished I had them around.  Once in a while a relative or classmate would post old photos on Facebook, and I would copy them so I could show my beloved Dada “look, that’s me when I was a kid.”  Dada has an unending stream of family photos that chronicle his life from then to now, and I have snippets here and there.  I want TGG to be able to show “hey, this was me…and this was me with so-and-so, and when I went here, or there…”

I have copies of everything.  He is in multiple frames, on shelves, boards…he’s everywhere.  I want his kids to see that he had a life before them, and that his parents were proud and happy to document it.

So we are slowly reaching the end of the preparation to move on…and we are ready to move on.  There isn’t any bittersweetness…it’s all sweet.  We are looking forward to it all.  J is too…he is happy.  He is enthused.  He is excited.  He won’t yet relinquish his pillows, but he will by next Tuesday.  It’ll all be good by then.

Just a little more Tiger Balm, a little more Tylenol Arthritis, and we’ll be golden…

 

There MUST be an end to the packing…

Right?????

It feels like we have been packing for weeks, and we have made something of a dent on the many things we have to pack, but…

Why is it that it never seems like one owns THAT MUCH STUFF until one has to pack THAT MUCH STUFF???

I tried the Higitus Figitus…it looked NOTHING like this:

It looked more like this: images

We’ll figure it out…I think.  We have to…basically.  J is happy in the TV room watching the pile of boxes with red tape (his TV room’s assigned color) growing with each passing day.

As for us, well, we are almost on a first-name basis with the good people at the local Lowe’s.  “Still packing????”  “Whatcha packing now???”  “Aren’t you guys done yet????”

The house no longer looks like home.  It looks like it was, and it’s slowly being dismantled to be conveyed elsewhere.

And that’s fine…

And it’s good…

And we’re excited…

And feel harried…

And it’s going to be alright…

Right?

🙂

It’s almost like that last scene in Raiders here…

We are pretty sure that the boxes are humming at us.  Not just ONE box…all of them.  Either that, or we have this ringing in our ears that is interfering with everything.  It comes from the house slowly being disassembled, packed, and lined up for the movers to take away.

We are currently at the stage where we pack, and discover we’ve left a mess in our wake.  From that we gather those things that are still viable for packing, and then we are left with all sorts of flotsam and jetsam that is, basically, of the “what IS this?  Why do we HAVE this?  Oh, this was from THIS, and we don’t have that anymore!” variety.

The one good thing about moving is that you discover that there are things you no longer need, want, care about, have a use for, and you send them along to a more productive life elsewhere, or you discard those things that cannot possibly be of any use because they are broken, spent, outdated…

The moving company we decided to go with came today for the estimate.  (Long story short, the other company dithered to the degree where the dates got really murky, and we cannot do murky.)  The bulk of our move is books, and J’s stuff.  He has calmly and happily allowed me to cull some of his belongings to pass on to his nephews and nieces, and that is lightening the load somewhat, but there remains the question (not a trivial one either) of how to pack up all the train tracks, the Legos that go in his village, and all the “vegetation” that grows in the wilderness bordering the village.  The balls from the ball pit have been taken care of, and his craft closet is almost entirely packed.  There remain the boxes of extra Lego pieces sorted by color, and -because Wednesdays are Lego Days – those will remain as they are until the day before the movers come.

J’s room will be the last thing packed and loaded on the truck, and he is seeing the house slowly being disassembled but feels safe in his cocoon because we remind him every single day that he will “lose” his stuff last, and “get it back” first.

All the administrative layers of complexity involved in this relocation are being addressed in stages.  The utilities will be last, of course, because the house is still being occupied by the seller.  The first appointment with a new psychiatrist has been scheduled, and I’ve had a conversation with the court regarding transferring guardianship from one state to another.

And therein is the sticking point, my friends…

I have read the laws regarding guardianship in our state, and I’ve contacted the court.  I’ve contacted the court in our new location, and they’ve told me how the process works.  The problem is that our current state doesn’t have provisions for transferring the guardianship even though there is reciprocity between this state and the one we’re moving to…you read right: the law say nothing about transferring guardianship between states.  There are no forms, no lists, no contacts, no FAQ, nothing.  Tomorrow I am calling the court in our soon-to-be new state and asking them about the viability of starting the process all over again from scratch over there.

SO…word to the wise, if you’re planning on relocating across state lines, don’t just take “reciprocity” at face value.  Dig a little deeper, and try to figure out how the issue works in one state and another.  For all intents and purposes, our current state seems to operate under the premise that a family who has guardianship of a disabled adult will never want to leave here…

Yeah…

That’s the scoop for this evening.  Now I’m off to make tomorrow’s to-do list, fill out some paper for the new psych, and ponder the alternatives we have for dealing with this guardianship transfer issue…

 

Notes from a house not-yet-full-to-the-brim with boxes…

We went on our trip, and we bought a house.  Yes.  You read right.  We found a house we love, we saw there was competition (and we can’t blame the worthy opponents because it’s a WONDERFUL house), and we threw all caution to the wind and our hat into the ring.  J is ecstatic.  Dada is ecstatic.  I am packing…ecstatically.

Things are moving rather fast.  We close on the second week of August, and the movers are supposed to come on the first week of August.  While dealing with all the transactions pertaining to purchasing a home (which we’d never done and, let’s face it, it strikes us as a Tolstoy-based process), we’ve also been trying to figure out how to pack our lives in an efficient and organized manner.  I will now give you a moment to laugh at our naïveté…

……….

Done?  Good.

So our books are boxed up…all 2000-plus of them.  I’ve decided, in my infinite wisdom (naïveté), to color-code the move.  That is: each area of the house has been assigned a color, and the boxes, packages, furniture, etc. are being labeled with said colors…  I will now give you another moment to laugh…

………

Done?  Good.

I have high hopes (no laughing while I’m telling you stuff…save it for the breaks) that this will make matters easier, but I am leaving plenty of room for error.  I have pasted samples of each color (in each of the materials being used) to small poster boards we’re going to put in the doorway leading to each area in the house.  I have made a quick reference list for the movers, for us, and for any person that comes into the house and accidentally stands next to a box and a roll of tape with a “helpful” look on their face.

Things are going more slowly than I had anticipated.  Well, no…that’s not exactly true.  Things are going as slowly as they go when you’re past the age of fifty, your joints hurt, you have galloping anemia, and you own over 2000 books.  That I somehow managed to create for myself, in the midst of a very romantic viewing of a house we fell in love with (I swear to you, I could hear Bach’s cello concertos playing in my mind, and I could smell fresh brewed coffee and fresh home-made bread), that I was the animated equivalent of Bewitched’s Samantha Stephens in that crossover episode where she and Darrin move next door to The Flintstones…  Or that I was like Merlin in The Sword in the Stone, and by singing “Higitus Figitus” our stuff would be reduced in size and packed away neatly in ONE CONTAINER.

Obviously, none of that is happening.  We have to do this ourselves, and it is backbreaking work.  It is worth it.  The house is worth it.  J’s joy at knowing he can choose a bedroom, and there is a bonus room for him (that is, pardon my French, totally KICKASS!!!!) is a sight to behold.  The boxes are not causing anxiety, and he stops to look at the pictures we put on a USB (for motivation, people…this is why we’re moving…this is why we’ve made a mess in my otherwise usually neat home) when they are on the TV screen upstairs.  The backyard is gorgeous, and big, and there is a perfect spot where we will be putting J’s new swing chair when we get there.  And there is a koi pond…which we’re sure will be a foot bath for J until he realizes that the koi will approach his feet…

So…there you go…

Naïve?  Yes.  Excited?  Yes.  Exhausted?  Indubitably.  Overworked?  Uh-huh!  With a load of things still to get done before the movers come????  YOU BETCHA!

But it’s all good.  J will be happy in his new house.  J will have space, and a fenced backyard with NO DOGS TO TAUNT HIM!!!  How awesome is that????

 

 

 

 

Relocation and transition blues…all sorts of hues…

You know those moments when the future looks bright and you’re really enthused about what’s coming?  Yeah…we’re past that…

Dada has been home for a month, and we have learned a lot about tweaking J’s schedule around that.  At first he was confused, then he was annoyed, and now he’s taking it for granted that Dada will ALWAYS be home…so we have to work on conditioning him in the opposite direction.

We have had good days, bad days, and days we’d rather not talk about, but J has figured out that he likes Dada’s company.  He also has figured out that he doesn’t mind that Dada and I are both at home at the same time, but he’s not thrilled about us spending too much time just the two of us together.

So we’ve had to insert family activities into everything.  We’re watching a movie…INTERMISSION!  Time for a craft with J.  We’re reading on the couch together…INTERMISSION!  Time for a puzzle with J.  We are about to have a cup of coffee while chatting on the balcony…INTERMISSION!  Time for a chore with J.  If we get too involved with each other J observes us closely…if it goes on for too long, J interferes.

We are often reminded of the fact that J is the third occupant of a home that harbors a couple.  He is also the only young person in the household, and that, my friends, is a slippery slope right there.  His hours and our hours don’t match.  He is up early, and he goes to bed late…  He is ready and rarin’ to go…we are ready for a nap.  He wants to bounce and jump, and we are ready for our glucosamine and some Tiger Balm.

Bette Davis once said “old age ain’t no place for sissies”.  She wasn’t lying.  That is not to say that we are old (we sort of are, and progressing quickly), or that we are not sissies.  We are learning to be less sissy-like as we get more old-like; J has yet to figure out that we can’t keep up with him, even as he helps me get up from the floor when I’ve made the mistake of sitting there crosslegged, or when we groan as we sit up in bed when he comes to wake us just as the sun is rising…

We are alive, well, and a little less rosy-eyed than we were at the end of May.  We are also more ready to move, and looking forward to the next stage of our life as a family.  On Thursday, with a little luck, we’ll be touring two houses we’re interested in, and on Friday, with a lot of luck, Dada’s job interview will be successful and we will have a more solid footing to stand on when we move.

So…time to pack the puzzles, the crayons, the Legos, the story books, the suits and ties, the comfy walking shoes, and all the other accouterments required by this expedition.

I will update you from the road (and I’ve been remiss, I know I know I know).  We are reducing our footprint by about a thousand square feet.  How’s that for downsizing?

 

A lot is said about bringing “sexy” back, but maybe that’s not the problem…

I think I’ve seen just about every female celebrity twerking, or flashing her toned ass online.  I’ve seen, regrettably, Heidi Klum boasting about her love for nudity.  I have seen Emily Ratawhatever in every degree of nakedness known to mankind.  I’ve run into Kim Kardashian’s sizable rump, Khloe Kardashian’s nipples peering through a sheer blouse, and Kourtney Kardashian embracing her son with her nearly naked derriere pointing towards the camera.  Mothers cannot seem to embrace their toddlers without showing their cleavage (even breastfeeding has been elevated to “I am strong, I am invincible, I am woman…” in a way that, quite frankly, I don’t get.  I breastfed for FOUR YEARS, and no one ever really noticed when I did it in a public place…because no one likes being stared at while they eat.  That was my logic anyway.  I don’t think it deflated my powers as a breastfeeding woman to be discrete, but what do I -a currently middle-aged prude- know about that, right?) There is also the long list of young girls with pierced nipples, pouting lips, toned tummies.  It’s all empowering, supposedly.  It’s everywhere.  The little girl from Modern Family posed on the beach with her bikini bottom so low-slung that it looked like we’d be able to confirm how well she waxes her nether regions.  No one seems to own a bathing suit that covers anything more than the crack of their butt.  I suppose that fixes the issue with sand in your pants, but it really is getting tiresome seeing women of all ages trying to prove that their bodies are worth a view.

If that is sexy, we have more of it than we really need.  I say let’s call a moratorium on it, and let’s bring something else back…being actually nice to each other.

I am about to say some really trite things, and I hope you will bear with me…  I don’t want you to think that I’ve become some sort of spineless creature, but I am really sick and tired of the meanness that I see (yes, see…and hear) everywhere.

I don’t really know where it started.  We can go back to shock comedians who spoke their mind; we can take it to Lenny Bruce, George Carlin, Don Rickles…and we can say “that’s where it stared.”  The thing is this: those guys were smart, and they were direct, but they were not mean.  Maybe I’m wrong about this, but none of them (or their humor) inspired me to be crass and inconsiderate.  Blunt?  Maybe.  Mean?  No, not really.

Why am I saying this?  Yesterday was rough.  Many websites (supposed “news” websites) kept flashing pictures and videos of Kathy Griffin’s and Tyler Shields’ stunt with a supposed Donald Trump “severed head.”  It was unpleasant.  It was unnecessary.  It was shocking and, quite honestly, it made me feel bad.

Furthermore, I had to actually turn off the computer because if I tried to check the news, there it was, and I didn’t want J to see it.  I didn’t want to see it either, but between the stunt, the apology, and the backlash it was (until I said “no more”) hard to escape.

We see, more often than we should, videos of people beating each other up, attacking each other, bullying each other, throwing public tantrums.  Then we witness the comments: people insult each other with either “libtard” or “Trumpster”, and that’s just the kinder sliver of invective.  It gets worse.  The anonymity of the internet allows for all sorts of shameless abuse that feels liberating to those issuing it.

There was a time when our society was angry and proactive.  There was a purpose to the anger.  Now we’re just angry, and we take it out on each other.  We feel outraged by anyone who doesn’t agree with us, and the response is usually potent, concentrated, vicious.  The same reckless abandon that is displayed in exposing bodies left and right and calling it “empowerment” is applied to expressing opinions with no filter or consideration and calling “freedom of speech.”

I am all for both, but I am also for taking a step back and asking “is this the way to do it?”

Dada’s job search has taught us a lot about the way the world is now as opposed to the way it was six years ago.  Yes, a lot has changed.  We didn’t realize how much, but it has.  There are job boards all over the internet, and it is “easy” to apply for jobs there.  You basically upload your resume and then you re-enter all the information into the forms that each employer uses.  Your information then disappears into some sort of limbo where, if you don’t strictly represent very specific parameters, it will never be looked at by another human pair of eyes.

I don’t say this out of bitterness.  Dada has had a fairly good response from people (actual humans) who reviewed his qualifications.  But all the electronic layers of filters and sieves will overlook the human behind the verbiage.  And this is, sadly, everywhere…

Have you noticed that more stores have self-checkouts now?  You don’t have to interact with a cashier if you don’t want to.  Have you seen how many flavors of pre-packaged chips there are?  We counted six or seven when we were growing up, and now the chip aisle is as long as our kitchen, and multilayered. You can also have your own Keurig or Nespresso machine at home so you can have your latte, but never encounter a barista ever again.  Never mind that it doesn’t taste the same, or that actual coffee bean bags are being replaced by those little cups at the store…you can have that at home, and not interact with humans.

I am not a fan of people.  That is: I am introverted and have trouble behaving in a way that isn’t awkward when in social situations, but I still have manners, and I hope others will have manners, too.  My idea of social interaction is not the one that I see out there: you either agree or disagree, and react accordingly, or you “present” like a baboon in heat and expect people to hit “like.”

It seems we have forgotten that we are, essentially, dealing with other people, human beings like us, and that they have fears, concerns, frailties, senses of humor, feelings just like we do.  We seem to have forgotten that we used to live outside of shock value, outside of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter.  We used to all populate an actual plane of reality where our feet touched ground and we had to look each other in the eyes after saying or doing the mean thing.

Can we please bring that back?  Can we stop worrying about freeing the nipple, and start worrying about whether we just scared a kid who is not as sophisticated as we think all kids are?  (Barron Trump, it has been reported, was scared by the image of what appeared to be his father’s severed head.  People doubt this.  People assume being eleven is tantamount to being a world-weary fan of Tarantino who has seen it all and feels nothing.  This, I think, needs to stop…eleven year-olds should be allowed to be as naive as eleven year-olds are.  Otherwise, let’s just start handing condoms, Hustler, Jim Beam and unfiltered Camels to all nine year-olds so they are ready when “being eleven” rolls around.)

So that’s today’s rant.  I apologize if you disagree, but that’s the way I’m feeling today…after skulking back online trying to dodge video of the latest “graphic video” that has replaced the last “graphic photoshoot” that made me cringe.

No,  I know I don’t “HAVE” to look, but…does that mean that you have to hide if you want to live in a kinder world?

 

 

The way we live now…inside and outside of the shell

This is Dada’s last week at his job here in WV, and J is trying to adjust to the new face of our everyday routine.  We worked on that this past Monday (Memorial Day) when Dada was at home.  Instead of treating it like a holiday, we inserted some of J’s regular Monday routine into the mix as well as some fun activities he doesn’t expect to be doing on a weekday.

It sort of worked.  I’m sure that next week will be “interesting” because it’s one thing to pull off a “Dada’s here from work” one day, and it’s harder when it’s a few days in a row without a trip planned.

I have grown used to the horse pills I have to take every night.  I don’t enjoy them, but they have yet to upset my stomach so I’m grateful for that.  Taking that much iron in one fell swoop is something I’d never had to do before, and I’m slowly starting to feel better, but the prospect of attracting the refrigerator magnets is daunting.  It’s nice to not look like death warmed over, but it’s also a revelation to see that not all my physical limitations are the result of galloping anemia.  I am, and this cannot be denied or reversed, definitely getting older, and it shows.  I am, however, also looking forward to having more energy (something the doctor tells me I will work up to as my body restores its iron reserves to a decent level).

J is doing well.  The Risperdal, of course, wreaks havoc on his weight, but that doesn’t stop him from exercising and trying to control the urge to eat us out of house and home.  In recent weeks we have accepted that we need to exchange certain menu items…pasta and pizza on the same day are a no-no, and J now put his pizza on the schedule, put away his pasta (he gets fourteen noodles for a lunch, people, it’s not like he gets an immense amount anyway) and has his yogurt and banana chips for breakfast.  I make him a salad…he eats it with what can be described as resignation, but he eats it.  Today (Pizza Day) is also Fish Day…  Very little impact on his waistline so far, but at least he’s learned to accept that he can’t have it all on the same day.

Now that the weather has improved (although we get rain most days) he is also going for walks.  Once Dada is home until his next job happens we have planned an after-breakfast walk, our mid-morning workout, trips to the pool, and -when weather allows- walks on the track at school.  Lunch will be the biggest meal of the day.  We will do more outside, and we will all get ready for the next stage of our life as a family.

We still don’t know for sure where we’re hanging our hats.  It looked like Atlanta, GA for a while, but the employment market there is extremely tricky.  Lots of jobs, but not a lot of feedback from potential employers.  The state of North Carolina, on the other hand, has surprised us…immediate replies to applications, unexpected calls regarding jobs we didn’t know were out there.  We are actually quite enthused about this prospect; Raleigh is where I lived with the kids (in my sister’s home) after I separated from the children’s father, and that is where Dada came to visit and proposed to me…eighteen years ago.  We’d be coming full circle, and it’s an area that we both find appealing.

With just a few days left for Dada at work, and the prospect of an out-of-state move within the next few weeks we are all getting a little antsy.  I look at the house and see things to pack, throw away, donate.  Dada looks at the house and sees a messy process.  J probably thinks “all my stuff is coming with us, right?”  He has realized that there is a great deal of change in the near future, and it has made his anxiety ebb and flow erratically, but we are working with him to help him cope.

One thing that has thrown him off completely…unexpected, unannounced visitors over the past weekend.  On Friday, as I opened the garage door to air out the space before J got on his elliptical, a truck pulled up and former aides from his school showed up for an impromptu visit.  To be honest, it took me a moment to recognize them…they were so out of context that I had to take a second look.  As they cleaned the classroom (one year later) J’s ceramics assignments and some CDs he had left behind turned up.  Of course, I had to tell J they were here…I couldn’t not let them say hi…it would have probably seemed suspicious to them…  J was thrown by the visitors, and he wanted them (although not in an aggressive or insistent manner) to leave.  I think he worried briefly that he would have to resume his old schedule, and -while it has taken him time and effort to become a man of leisure) to leave.

After they went he was relieved, but he kept going to the door to make sure no one else was showing up.

On Sunday, just as we were getting the last details of dinner ready to go, the doorbell rang.  This time it was a visitor for Dada.  We had run into this person the day before at the bookstore, and he was recognizable to J, but he was also inexplicably here…close to dinnertime.  J was, I must confess, very good about the whole thing.  His main thing was to go back to his schedule board and reiterate that the events, tasks, activities and ideas he had for Monday remained unchanged.  He did this about sixty times…in fifteen minutes.

We eventually found our center.  We eventually sat down to dinner.  And Monday happened in a pleasant way…

We’re getting the hang of it…again.  Another hang of another it…