Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Keeping it in Perspective

So, our friend, liz, and I were taking Rojo to yogurt Monday after school. liz says to Rojo, "Rojo, isn't it exciting that your mom wrote a book about you and it's coming out soon?"

Rojo says, "Well, I have news, too! Wednesday is a Thursday schedule, and Thursday is a Wednesday schedule."

Hard to beat that!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Papa


Donald Edward Link
11/19/25 - 10/29/12

Heaven has a new angel, and his name is Papa. We lost STM's dad yesterday after a wild 18-day ride through ER, the hospital, rehab, ICU, and finally Hospice. Throughout the ordeal there has been more blessings than battles, more tenderness than toughness, and more love than loss.

The above picture was taken the day after Rojo was born - the three Link men. They had much in common, stubbornness being right at the top of the list. STM and I were joking about that several days ago, and he said, "The only other person on par with Papa for stubbornness, is Rojo." 

I asked, "What about YOU?" 

"They are 6A and I'm only 4A. True, I'm All-State 4A, but they are in a whole different league."

Papa's stubbornness got him through a horrible childhood - and instead of turning angry and having a victim mentality, he decided he'd be a whole different type of father and husband. And he was.

He lived on his terms and he died on his terms, full of gratitude, humor and thoughtfulness to the very end. Lying in ER after being put through the wringer, we asked how he was doing. "Doing OK, some people have it a lot worse." That was so Papa.

Once he was in the hospital on "the floor," he was in such pain, but always aware of and thinking about his wife of 60 years. "Can I get you anything, Dode?" he asked in his semi-conscious state. 

She joked back, "Yea, you can hop up and hang up my raincoat!" 

"If you're OK, I think I'll just rest," he said, before drifting out of consciousness.

One of the last "conversations" STM had with him, Papa said, "Now don't get all carried away."

"What do you mean?" STM asked.

"You know what I mean," he said.

Papa was practical. Papa was frugal. Papa was kind, loving, funny, and could fix anything, but he couldn't fix his worn out body, one more time.

We know what you mean, Papa. We won't get all carried away. But we will hold you in our hearts forever.


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Light 'em Up



Please light the Marys and hold our family in prayer. We have a loved one in the hospital and need your good ju-ju for one and all.

Thank you!


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Ex Factor

Bear with me, I am typing this on Roho's iPad, and I am a far cry from proficient with the "keyboard." Just had to share with you that last night STM and I went to an Estate Planning/Special Needs Trust info. thingy. A law firm and bank were presenting, and it was very informative, very comprehensive, and very overwhelming, despite the fact I knew a lot of the information already. We thought for sure we'd pursue guardianship, and that there would be no end to doctors, tests, case managers, etc. that would support the fact that Rojo will be "incompetent" as an adult when it comes to making his own health care and financial decisions (not to mention that he can't brush his own teeth or tie his shoes). Last night we got sold on the idea of having Rojo sign over a number of Powers of Attorney to us, upon turning 18. Apparently, that requires a whole lot less hoopla and expense, both initially, and forever more.

Rojo would need to be able to sign his name and agree that yes, we as his parents could help him as an adult. The attorney and notary present would have to decide that he was not under duress to agree. A "yea" would suffice, and a "signature" could be his all-printt, all-cap, giant handwriting that would never in a million years fit upon a signature line. We thought we had that one in the bag. When we got home from the meeting STM in a very round-about way asked Rojo if we could help him when he turns 18. Thinking for sure he would say yes, he surprised us by saying, emphatically, "No! You can't help me! I don't need any help! I will be married! My wife, my ex-wife and my kids will help me!

Where do I begin? With the ex-wife? With his adamant intention to have children? With his idea that his kids will help him, not the other way around? STM assures me that when the time comes, we can get him to jump through the hoops. I am not so sure.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Grateful

I've been 100% obsessed with the book, the book, the BOOK! I know how annoying it can get when authors go on and on about their books, so I am trying to spare you from all that. But let it be known, I have very little else to talk about. "We" and by "we" I mean Greg Koorhan, Toeless' husband, fixed the dpi problem, and whoever guessed that meant dots per inch, was right. It's just a really good thing I didn't know all that was involved before I started out, or I probably never would have done this thing. Now I'm too far gone to turn back. Of course there are already a million things I wish I'd done differently, and I'm sure there are books galore out there that tell you how to do this, none of which, of course, I bothered to read.

Anyway. We weren't going to talk about the book, but see? I can hardly help myself!

What I was going to tell you was about my friend calling, and us getting caught up after way too many months of being out-of-touch. We were best friends in high school, roommates in college and after, at the births of each other's children. All of that. I have known her and her family for 35 years. Turns out her mom has advanced Alzheimer's disease. Her mom still knows her husband and children but has them displaced in time. She doesn't think her home is her home, she thinks she's a guest. At one point her daughter found a note taped to the bathroom mirror, "Thank you for letting me stay here. Please let me know how much I owe you."

What has struck my friend and her siblings (7!) is that throughout this whole ordeal, their mother has never lost her sense of gratitude. She knows she has Alzheimer's. She knows where this is going - her father had it. She also knows that no matter what, there is much to be grateful for.




Tuesday, October 9, 2012

My Head is Swimming

We are getting close to the big reveal of the book! Thank God for Laurie Harper, who has held my hand throughout this entire journey. Were it not for her, I would have bailed on this a long time ago. If you're a writer that needs help, really, on anything whatsoever, I would highly recommend you consult with Laurie. She is invaluable!

Turns out I need one company to do the e-book, and another to do the print version. Now I've got e-mails back and forth to both places and I don't know if I'm coming or going. So, obviously, the thing to do is fold laundry, type a blog post, have a snack, brush the dog, and in all ways avoid making important decisions. For instance, what do I want the cover to look like? How am I going to make the photo "pop?" What about the font? How many colors do I want? Do I want the title in a different color from the subtitle? My photo only has 200 dpi and it needs 300 dpi. HOW and WHERE do I get 100 extra dpi? And, more importantly, WHAT is a dpi? Now we can't have that quote on the front, but if we take it off it screws up all the ones in the back. But do we have to resubmit the whole thing? Can't we just tweak one little page?

Kathleen says it's like planning a wedding, a million details to anguish over, and in the end nobody is going to notice or care, they are just going to see two happy people getting married and have a nice time.

May this book live happily every after, too.


Sunday, October 7, 2012

There is Frugal...


and then there is CHEAP! Check out the armpits of my favorite "pajama" top. Got the T-shirt at Old Navy two million years ago (obviously). Probably paid $5.00 for it. CANNOT throw it away. WHAT is wrong with me. Never mind. Don't answer that.

Instead, look at Flicka's new friend, Layla:


Could she BE any cuter? She is Nancy's "granddaughter." We got to puppy sit part of yesterday (Rojo and I) when Layla's family all went down for the Duck game. See that afghan Flicka is lying on? Underneath are two pieces of an old foam pad we used to use for camping. (See? CHEAP! Why buy a dog bed when you have an ancient foam pad just sitting in the basement getting dusty?) I was at the kitchen sink and thought Layla was just lying there chewing on her toy, but she had gotten up and was trying to chew up Flicka's "bed." Flicka came and got me. Either she was pissed, or she was worried that Layla might ingest 100-year-old foam. I'm not sure which, but good ol' Flicka saved the day.

STM was gone this weekend, so Rojo and I were on our own. We had a lot of fun. Today we went to Walgreens to buy two of his friends birthday gifts. He labored over the cards, finally selecting two perfect ones (the Simpsons and Snoopy). For Rosie he picked shampoo (and not just Sauve, he isn't CHEAP like his mom), two bottles of nail polish and gum. For the male friend he picked out mints, and because the card he selected was a money holder one, we argued over how much money to put in there. He wanted $100 because, "Care, he's a good friend." We settled on 1/10 of that.

Came home and quickly wrote out the card for Rosie because we were picking her up in 10 minutes to have her help Rojo pick out a Halloween costume. She helped us last year, so now it's tradition. If there's one thing we do well around here, it's carve things in stone.

Inside the card he wrote, "I love you like a super star." I love Rosie like a super star, too. Because she is.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Keepin' it Clean

We have a pre-occupation with scents going on over here. It started with shampoo. Every time we'd go to any store that sold shampoo (ANY store), we'd have to take the lids off each and every one of the "flavored" ones and give them a good long sniff. We'd stand in the aisles of Safeway, Bi-Mart, Target, Walgreens, you-name-it, and just smell, smell, smell. Having trouble deciding on just one "flavor" we'd often end up with two or three. Our shower is fully occupied by all the various shampoos in all their stages of use.

Now he's added liquid soap to the drill. We have cucumber in the bathroom, vanilla upstairs and shea butter in the kitchen. He's got me making soap runs after school so he can buy them for gifts. "Care, Grandma really, really needs some soap." Apparently, Grandma did. She sent him a thank you note in the mail a couple days after I dropped it off, so touched was she that he would think of her in such a sweet way, and remember that her favorite fragrance was lavender. He bought one for his other grandmother, too, as well as both his primary teachers.

On Sunday we dragged Nancy on our hamburgers/frozen yogurt/soap shopping run. "It's like the shampoo," she said, having been dragged on more than one shampoo sniffing expedition, as well. We also picked out treats for his teachers, Hot Tamales for one (because she loves cinnamon) and gum for the other, because he swears she loves gum.

Got home and were getting everything in his backpack to take to school the next day, and the Hot Tamales had gone all Don Wilson on us (for those of you that are unfamiliar with that phenomenon, it's when things simply vanish from our house, usually showing up in an obvious place, way, way later). We looked in the car. We looked in the take-your-own-reusable-save-the-earth-bag. We looked in my purse. That box was goners.

Rojo obsessed over the candy for the rest of the evening to the point where I finally said, "Get your shoes on, let's go get her a new box." I suggested we go to a closer, easier, more convenient store than the one where we'd originally gone, but that was not flying. I think he thought the Hot Tamales might still be sitting at the self-check, all those hours later, just waiting for us. Frankly, I'm kind of surprised they weren't.

Off we went back to the store. Grabbed a new box of Hot Tamales and were heading to the self-check again when he said, "Let's just go look at the soap really fast." While he was sniffing and debating whether or not we also needed raspberry in the mix, I texted Nancy. "Guess where I am and what I'm doing," I wrote, "smelling soap."

I wouldn't have it any other way.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Oh, Were it All That Simple

So Rojo has a retreat today at school - gone all day. One of those challenge courses, "Dress in layers, and wear closed-toed shoes," the directions say. Yesterday it was almost 80 degrees, today it's in the low 60's. I convince him to wear jeans. I convince him to wear a long-sleeved T-shirt. I convince him to wear a zip-up hoody. I cannot convince him to also wear his jacket on top, and then shove it in his backpack should he get too warm later in the day.

No. Way.

We step outside to get into the car. It's freezing outside. I try one last time, "Rojo, you're going to be cold in just a T-shirt and sweatshirt, take the coat, don't wear it if you don't want to, just take the coat," I plead.

"Care! Stop worrying about me! I am sixteen years old! I'm not a kid!"