I had written a poignant entry, full of wistful reminiscences about life with my parents pre-divorce; questions about God and why things happen to good people; nostalgia for a time gone by and absent doggies.
Then the Holiday Inn Express Sycamore lost its internet connection and I lost the whole damn thing, so I figured screw it and stayed off my laptop from last Wednesday until now.
First, let's finish off the trip to Dekalb. Dad never really improved, although his eye stopped watering and his face looked less slack. We had arranged to take Vickie, Mary and Jean out to dinner our last night there, to thank them for feeding us with food and emotional nourishment on our last trip; but we hadn't told Dad about these plans, because we couldn't include him, and we knew he would feel bad and act out toward Jean, if not the rest of us. So: not very noble of us towards him, but we need to consider Jean as well. She is very fragile. She was telling me about the financial arrangements, and about Dad's repeated demands that she show him his checkbook so he can see "his" money is all OK, and she started to cry saying "I'm doing the best I can." And so she is -- she is doing all any of us can do, short of robbing a bank or winning a lottery. But Dad can't understand any of that; trying to make him see the reality of his situation solves nothing. I hate lying to him, it's beneath us and it betrays his dignity; but he cannot accept or understand. And so he takes his frustration out on Jean, who deserves so much better.
A moment of grace: investigating Mary's church, a little country church in the middle of corn fields. I'd tithe to these people; they're just worried about keeping the lights on. Another moment of grace (and good cheer): dining out at Johnny's Charhouse in Sycamore, right across from our hotel. It was fine-ish, suburban dining prices for the same old fried shrimp (in my case; UO really liked his steak); and their wine list was quite fine. I sat across from Vickie and next to Mary and we had a fine old time; Vickie and I had a conversation long overdue, about other conversations long overdue. UO repeated Dad's comment from last year, that V/M are "fine, family-oriented people, in their way," (I still can't believe he said this, and he doesn't even drink), but this turned out to be a good thing, since it spurred my convo with V. Turns out lots of people haven't said lots of things to other people, that should be said; and may have been said by now; or not, as the case may be. I feel for V&M, who can't be themselves in their own home; but bless them, they have told Jean they want her to stay with them, so they are willing to make the sacrifice for her well-being. At least V&M know there is no issue on our side; and I should tell her that anything I can do to ease things with Jean (assuming I can do such a thing) I am willing to do.
But anyway: that dinner was a lovely moment of grace, and I can't tell you how much better I felt after it. God, or Gods, or gods, have been very kind to us, to put us next to Vickie and Mary.
So home we drove on Friday, making pretty good time; missing the snow (that's really not accurate; there wasn't any snow our way this time across the mountains), and on Saturday The Littlest Offering and I got up early-ish to go retrieve the doggusses and Cream. And we brought all three home, except...
Cream kind of didn't wake up Saturday morning. She wasn't quite gone, but she was never going to revive. We took her home and Offering Boy mourned, but with dignity; and we buried her, reminding each other why we loved her so.
Not that we weren't happy to see the doggusses, but their joy paled next to Cream's situation. And then Kate ate my Mom shoe which pissed me off. But that enabled me to take a picture of said shoe with my new phone, a neat segue into the next entry, Phone Bling.
Phone Bling. I did it. The Bostonian is spinning in her grave; or she would be, if we'd buried her. "Oh, My Gahd," she say. All I can say is, 1) TOUCH SCREEN, BABY; 2) an iPhone is still $100 bucks more, even with the price drop; 3) VZ Navigator for $9.99/month is still cheaper than a Garmin, and the Voyager screen is only slightly smaller.
Listen, I'm not into cars. I'm not into houses (or at least, not when kids are still at home and I have to clean it myself). I'm too fat for tres chic clothing. But... I have a COOL PHONE. I can die happy.
Earlier, I asked you all to keep Friend B in your thoughts, if you are so inclined because he got some rotten health news. The news is still bad -- and "Friend B" is none other than Pineapple Bruce, my goldsmith bro-in-law. The diagnosis is confirmed: aggressive lung cancer, 9 months to a year. Please, please, if you pray or meditate, ask your God/Gods/gods to pass some healing grace to Bruce Holmgrain, who has a family who loves him and two kids who need him. I don't know if God is listening, and I don't know why God would take Bruce while leaving some piece of human trash, but I pray for a miracle, not just for strength or patience or understanding of the unknowable and unfathomable; I pray for Bruce to win, to beat it, because someone has to, dammit. So please join me and perhaps we can move a mountain.