Friday, May 28, 2010

My sweet Papa has gone to heaven

Got word this morning that my father was taken to the hospital after falling at home trying to go to the bathroom. A few hours later he was gone. His candle was slowly going out lately, and this morning he developed pneumonia/bronchitis, ran a high fever, was delirious.

After a few hours at the hospital Mom and my sister went downstairs for a little break, while the staff could clean him up and change him and move him to a private room. A nurse came to get them, and by the time they reached his room he was gone.

We all expected my father to leave this earth for the past few months now as he kept becoming quieter, lost interest in things. It always comes as a surprise, you're just not prepared for it.
I had not seen him in two years, be we spoke on the phone every week. The last time being Sunday. I never knew how big of an effort it was for him to psyche himself up to come to the phone and try to sound like his old jolly self. Mom told me he would be exhausted afterward.

We are so grateful he did not suffer, or linger with tubes and needles and whatnot.

What a way to go, and what a life.

I am glad I spoke with him past Sunday.

Good night papa.

Here is a piece I initially wrote a few years ago, and then repeated it again last year.

Well, here it is, one more time:

My very earliest memories of my father was when I was about 4 or 5. We were visiting old friends of mom and dad's, and their children (I vaguely remember there being two girls, older than myself) were playing some sort of new board game with my father. When he lost, I felt horrible for him. Not really embarrassed, but just felt he should have won from these girls. After all, my father was God in my eyes, he could do anything!

Most of my childhood's memories are to be found in the many photo albums I have laying around.And lately, I often I sit and visit these albums. I use a magnifying glass, as the old pictures are very tiny, and I've discovered that when you use a magnifying glass, you can see the facial expressions and other goodies otherwise not visible.I also found that if you concentrated on those pictures long enough your memories would come flooding back.True! Try it sometimes!We had a pretty extensive family. Both on my mother's side, and on my father's side. There were tons of cousins, aunts, uncles, no grandmas, but two grandpas. Many family visits, birthday celebrations, and yes, funerals, of course.My brothers, sister and I had a very happy and carefree childhood.

My parents were the perfect couple, devout Catholics, mom was the homemaker, papa was the breadwinner.Simple as that.And they adored each other, they still do.I can't speak for my siblings, but I never in my entire life saw or heard them fight, or squabble.They did not curse, they did not raise their voices.

Mom kept the house in spic-span shape, papa made sure things got fixed, and together they raised the four of us, seemingly effortless.The four of us were allowed to be children, we wore great clothes (for a great deal made by mom, she was a terrific seamstress), always looked clean and fresh (she used hair gel on the boys, which made them look a tad starched, but VERY tidy)She had her cleaning/housekeeping ritual, which in later years made me rebel and drive me insane! *S*

But I digress...In his younger days my father was a very handsome fellow. (He still is of course) He was strong, he was athletic, he was very good looking, had pitch black wavy hair, and he drove a huge motor bike for his job.He wore a funny looking hat/helmet and a long black leather coat and had huge leather mittens.He was a telephone repair person in the days when telephones were still a luxury, and not everyone had one.He was always involved in sports. Gave swimming lessons, coached and played soccer (he was a goalie), sailed, walked the "Vierdaagse" a few times.check it out if you're interested:

Besides his job, he was the quintessential "daddy knows best." He knew how to fix anything. His motto was: if I can't fix it, it can't be fixed." He built toys for us, sturdy ones, from solid wood, I mean, some of the trucks he made for the boys could do some damage IF you had been able to actually pick it up and throw it through the room!He was extremely artistic as well. Could draw a portrait with a pencil made to look like the actual photograph.

He was also very musical. He taught me how to play the guitar, and gave me the gift of love for classical music, albeit operetta and cowboy music, it was a start. He still hauls out his harmonica every chance he gets and serenades everyone who will stand still long enough.

He made us all bicycles from scratch, would go around on garbage day and haul parts home. He even detailed them with fine gold lines and whirly decorations. They always looked like they came from the regular bike factory. He found old broken clocks and made them new again, TV's, radios, you name it! (However, when he came home once with parts of a baby grand piano, mom drew the line *lol*)When I was 5 or so, he made me a beautiful doll house. It had an electric doorbell, a fireplace that lit up, Mom made little curtains, small rugs, they made furniture, it was a real gem.Unfortunately I was a rather destructive child and this pretty house was destroyed in a matter of days. The empty dollhouse sat on a basement shelf for years after that, they didn't have the heart to throw it away.I don't remember being punished for it, I probably was, but I just don't recall.Of course thinking back now, it brings tears to my eyes, and guilt...SOoooo much guilt!

We went on vacation pretty much every year. In Holland at that time every guild or group of workers would get the same two weeks vacation. All the construction workers went at the same time, etc etc.My parents would rent a bungalow somewhere inland. In the early years we would take a bus. The bus picked up families all over Den Haag and took us all to the location of the Bungalow Park.Our stuff would be transported by truck.

My mom had a wooden crate they used as a trunk. It would have our clothes, linens, food, games, books, and the box of snacks. It took her weeks to fill it up, everything clean and pressed, of course.The weeks out in the woods were always wonderful. Considering the whole country would fit inside the State of Georgia about 13 times, you can imagine we really didn't GO very far, but to us it was like going to the other side of the world.Driving on the freeway alone gave us the thrill of feeling we were going somewhere far far away.

When my dad got his drivers license, we would rent a car for our vacation. He always rented an Opel, four door sedan. Boy, did we feel rich! I was always so damn proud of my dad, he looked SO important (and hot!) driving that big car!!When I became a teenager (I was/am the oldest) my parents ran into some resistance from me.Being the oldest in a catholic household meant you had to "go through" everything first.

And being the rebel I was, it was tough going. I'm talking about non-catholic boyfriends; refusing to go to church, wanting a job instead of finishing high school, etc etc.My father though stayed his calm old self. I could always count on him for support. My mom would just simply freak out *S*

One of my fondest memories of my father was the time that I was going on my very first date.I made a date with a boy I worked with, and became my first really BIG love. We were to meet in Scheveningen, on the Boulevard, and go see the fireworks.I don't remember how I got there, probably took the tram.I walked along the Boulevard a few times, but no boyfriend...nowhere to be seen.Aw nuts!As I walked back and forth I felt someone watching me from the street above. I looked up and there was my father, on his motor bike. With a grin on his face. (He had these lopsided grins)Where are you supposed to meet? he asked...At the Shooting Gallery, I replied.....He laughed!!Well kiddo, you're on the wrong side!!!.......Geesh!I ran towards back to where the Shooting Gallery was and low and behold, there was my boyfriend, on his Puch motor bike. *S*As we walked back together, my dad was still there, grinning from ear to ear, shaking his head.I felt extremely grateful, and so safe. And so relieved.

Not until I had kids of my own did I understand the anxiety you go through as a parent of a teenager. The way they can just scare the daylights out of you, make you worry yourself into a tizzy, hurt you by their selfish and silly acts.I hope my father knows that he did a fabulous job raising us.Even in old age, he never forgets to send us a check around Christmas time (we jokingly call it our "zakgeld"; allowance.

He is still being Papa, he will always be the responsible and loving father.Ever since his health started declining about ten years ago, I've been thinking of what I would say at his funeral.I can never get past the first sentence:"Today we say goodbye to the sweetest man in the world....."I really hope we will have him around for a little while longer, especially now, when we all appreciate and love him so much more....It's really a shame that it sometimes takes a lifetime to understand what your parents meant to you, how well of a job they really did of raising you.Thanks mom and dad!I love you both, very much!


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Long time no see

Wow, has it really been THAT long?

I haven't written since October, well, I have, but I deleted some posts.

So here we are, six months later.

I blame my lack of motivation to doing much of anything on my medication(s)
Ever since I started taking Paxil, it seemed that my urge to write, and do much of anything except what was necessary, just faded away.
With the Paxil, my anxieties, and much of my depression has faded as well. Ya gotta take the good with the bad I guess.
The Paxil has enabled me to cope so much better with life though, and it seems that everyone has benefited from it.

A few months ago my doctor put me on blood pressure meds. Beta blockers. It takes a while to get the dosage right, the first try was too high and made me dizzy all the time.
The lower dose did not really do much for me other than making me extremely tired all the time.
I also developed a huge craving of sugars, and for weeks I noshed mainly on caramels, rice crispy treats and ice cream, like being pregnant. I gained 5 pounds.

So the other day he switched me to Lisinopril. He also told me to start taking multi vitamins and vitamin D. Believe it or not, I can already feel the difference. Have more energy, my cravings for sweets way down.

Blood pressure is down, head clearer, way to go!

But enough about me.

Bugs and Boo moved into Philip's mother's house after her lease on the town house ended. They decided to do this mainly to save money. They are now paying Mom's mortgage (which is extremely low) and she pays the utilities. Mom and little brother (7 and not so little though) moved into Philips old room, Boo moved in brother's room and Philip and Bugs took Mom's 'master bedroom'

When they told me about their decision I had to try very hard not to burst out laughing.
I mean, moving into another woman's house? MY Bugs? HA!
But, thanks to the Paxil (I am sure) I was able to keep my trap shut and not say one word.
Something I have been getting very good at lately. Not interfering, no suggestions, just letting her do her thing.
So two months into this new situation and things seem to be working out. The only problem I see are the pets. Boo was bitten by the cat a few months ago. This time I did urge her to call the doctor, to make sure of what she needed to do. (The cat has recently disappeared, on down...)

Then a few weeks ago she was bitten (on the face, no punctures just scratches) by the Blue tick hound dog. Lucy is a very docile sweet dog, but apparently Boo kept bugging her and cornered her and the dog reacted. I was furious, and let both Bugs and Philip know I was.
I took pictures of Boo's face and let the adults know I would not tolerate a second incident.
The dogs are now outside (they say) There is also a pitt mix, and a black mutt.
If it had been the pitt (his name is Blue) I would have called the cops, as he has bitten brother once.
What really pissed me off to no end was the fact that Philip kept blaming Boo instead of the dog.
So I let them both know that I WOULD not tolerate a second incident, involving anyone in that family, especially the kids.

This was really the only time I came out of my Paxil stupor and got really really upset. It did take a few sedatives that day and the next to settle me down.

Bugs still works at the sport bar, mainly bar tending, mainly in the evening/nights. Which works out rather well for everyone. She is home with Boo most of the day, and Boo stays with us overnight when she has to 'close', which is usually 2 or 3 am.

Boo is growing like a bean stalk. Just turned three. Very tall, her hair getting long, her vocabulary amazing.
She hasn't had any colds or breathing problems throughout the winter. Which is a good thing, because when she gets it, we get it as well. Wheelie doesn't fare too well with colds these days.

She is finally potty trained. From one day to the other. Amazing. She now proudly wears her Princess big girl panties.

Wheelie is doing well. His prostate cancer seems to have either disappeared or slowed way down. He still gets his shot every six months.
He got a clean bill of health from his primary the other day. He has been "working out" with some light weight dumbbells and weights on his ankles, and sits outside for his daily dose of vitamin D and K on the patio or the front porch, depending on the wind situation.

My parents are going strong. Well, as strong as they can. I really wish I could go and see them.

My backyard looks like a wilderness. But I am just going to call it the natural look for now. My two rose bushes are blooming. The creeping Jenny once again refused to die throughout the cold winter, the hostas came back with a vengeance. The wild strawberries look kinda cute, and the violets in my big pots out front bloomed throughout the winter.

With my new found surge of energy I decided to organize a neighborhood garage sale. I sent everyone a note about my plan, sighed people up, (5 out of 50 wasn't bad) and made the signs, blew up balloons, placed the ad in the paper.
On Saturday April 17, we were all ready at 8, gorgeous day! The sale was a huge success, and a lot of fun. It got everyone out of their houses at least! At 11 most of us were sold out.We had a lot of stuff, baby stuff, kitchen stuff etc, and we did amazingly well.
Never did get rid of the darn crib though. Perhaps I should just take it apart en keep it.
My goal is to empty my storage unit, thus saving 50 bucks a month. It's almost empty. Just need to get rid of the old wheelchairs and my IMac computer.

So all in all we're doing well. Knock on wood.

More later