Weekend update

I spent the weekend in Charlotte, helping my mom take care of my Grumps, who is in a nursing home, and needs to have someone with him 24×7. At this point, he’s disoriented and unhappy enough that the someone needs to be someone in the family. My Aunt Sister (whose real name is Jackie, and who, unsurprisingly is my mother’s sister) has been there for almost a month, staying with Grumps all day and all night, with relief from my mom on the weekends.

I went to Charlotte this weekend to relieve Mom, at least as much as I could. Grumps wanted Mom around at night, so I was there Saturday and Sunday during the day. It was a good thing in many ways (I got to spend some time with Grumps), but it was also really difficult because he’s not well, and he’s not himself (there’s a whole book that could be written here, and perhaps I’ll feel up to it tomorrow, but for now anyone who’s watched a love done get older and less able will understand).

On the positive side, the place he’s staying, Asbury, is really nice. It follows what’s called an Eden Tree philosophy which aims to maximize the “people-ness” of the place and de-emphasize the institutional. There are gardens that the residents can visit whenever they want (freedom of movement), lots of caregivers who seem to really put their heart into it (everyone I spoke with knew my Grumps’ name), real flowers, art therapy and animals. While I was there I met several *very well trained* dogs (washing hands afterwards and having had double-Clarinin’d), one really fat cat and a large cage full of budgies (parakeets? little colorful, chirpy birdies). There was a nest box, and inside the momma (and sometimes the poppa) birds sat on about 6 eggs. This, for whatever reason, made me really happy.

Storm Paranoia, part deux

So there was a big, old and very dead pine tree in my backyard that my roofer was kind enough to point out. In light of the aforementioned storm, it seemed prudent to have it removed. I called around for several estimates, and ended up choosing Big Blue Tree Service. David (Jennings, the owner) did a fabulous job of removing the tree.

He even took down a few more branches and a small dead tree at no additional cost, and left me with a lovely pile of mulch, per my request (and cleaned the rest of the bits up).

He also looked like Robert Redford, but about 20 years younger…

Storm Paranoia

So, having lost power for non-trivial amounts of time[1] three times[2] in the past several years, and now being faced with another natural disaster on its way, I got into a wee bit of a panic yesterday. Jeff and I had been thinking about a generator since the last big storm (Ice Storm 2002), but hadn’t done anything about it yet. Yesterday some calling around revealed that there were no generators in a 75-mile radius around the Triangle, which, of course, caused a panic-reinforcing effect. Further investigation revealed a generator in High Point, and damned if we didn’t haul patooties there last night to get it.

The bonus was that my hairdresser[3] was able to squeeze us in thereby saving us a trip[4]. Wheee!

[1] anything long enough that you’re worried about the food in the fridge spoiling
[2] Fran, Floyd and Ice Storm 2000
[3] who is in Greensboro
[4] we were due to go next Monday anyway

Funny & Frightening

Today I worked from home (not particularly funny or frightening), and around 4pm went out the back door to check the mail (again, not funny nor frightening). As I was reaching for the door handle on my way back inside, something moved (frightening!). I started and immediately ran through my little “do not panic” bit in my head, but when I stopped to more closely examine it, it turned out to be a cute froggie (funny!). Just a’hangin’ out on my back door handle!

Chicago update

Chicago was great fun, tho the weather sucked mightily on Sunday/Monday — gak! — cold *and* wet! In August! (ok, and the first day of September… but still!). Luckily on Sunday we mostly were at the Shedd Aquarium (of course, so were approximately 14 million families with their requisite two-year old children). But the aquarium was nice & we saw many pretty fishies.

Friday I was on my own (Jeff was working) and I spent it tooling around on Michigan Ave., hitting most of the big mall-things and bunches of the stores. I didn’t do nearly the damage I could’ve, as I really only bought one big thing, a really swell sweater. It was warm and sunny, and a lovely day to be out and about.

Friday night we met up with some of Jeff’s friends at a bar called Kasey’s on Printers’ Row. Many beers were had. At one point I felt obligated to demonstrate that I could still make those little origami folded-fortune-telling things, so I did, using a piece of paper from my bag. Unfortunately, as I discovered the next morning, the piece of paper I chose to use was my shopping map (thanks to Lucky Magazine) for Bucktown & Wicker Park. Oops. Turns out that Jeff’s friend Dan (whom I refer to as Frick, since Jeff always referred to him in tandem with his friend, Tack, who, somewhat unsuprsingly, I call Frack) looks like Harrison Ford. Really. (Pictures from the trip posted soon, I hope).

On Saturdy Jeff & I took the train (Blue line?) to Wicker Park / Bucktown (I’m not sure which of the two we really were in). We went to Orange Skin (which was full of things that I wanted, but that wouldn’t fit in my carryon) and a bunch of little boutique-y places on that same street. Brunch was had at Earwax, and was really good, despite the revolting name. After going back to the hotel to change and rest, we headed out for a wonderful* dinner pre-Cirque at Zelaous, which was pleasantly fussy but not pretentious. Cirque was great — my favorite act of this show was the one that Jeff and I ended up calling the Butt Jugglers. Basically, there were guys laying on their backs on chairs so that their heads were where your knees would be and their feet stuck up where your head would be. Then these other guys *sat* on the upturned feel of the first guys and did backflips, with the bottom guy helping to spin them around. Ok, that was really complicated, but suffice it to say that this was a really amazing thing to see. Much danger for squishing. We wondered about “cups” (“And this ain’t no Dixie cup, and you don’t wanna be drinkin’ out of it”).

Sunday was Shedd’s, as I mentioned above, and dinner after at a little coffeehouse (again on Printers’ Row). Unfortunately, by the time we were done with dinner it was cold and wet and we were *tired* so we just went to the hotel and crashed. Sunday we made a cursory trip down Michigan Ave. to kill the small amount of time we had before leaving for the airport. (Where my flights were again delayed. I think I forgot to mention I was delayed an hour on the way *to* Chicago…)

And I read the *worst book* while waiting. (more on that later)