Sunday, July 5, 2009
The full moon rises over Ramshorn Peak, well south of it. Grandpa Stan and Howie are playing a game of casino at the kitchen counter while having our ice cream dessert. Grandpa wants a rematch, "Winner deals." he says. Fireworks crackle.
I'm sitting at the kitchen table, it's already 10:30 pm. Another full day. I wake up every morning before 8 no matter how late I go to bed. This morning I went downstairs and found my dad up and moving around, unpacking his bag, couldn't find the shirt he was wearing on the plane, I found it in his luggage. I got on the bike and watched Wimbledon, Roddick vs. Federer. I get tired after riding the bike for 20 minutes, these guys are insanely competitive. Then I walked the dogs, and by the time I got back it was almost 10. Jackie had called. Dad spoke to her for a couple of minutes. I was planning on calling her anyway when I got back from my walk so we're thinking alike. We talked for over an hour, she wanted me to hear the night noises of rural Khwisero. She told me that there is always the sound of people wailing. There are numerous funerals every day. I told her about my life she told me about hers. At first she sounded a little annoyed, but that was because of the delay on the cell phone call - one needs to adjust and wait for long pauses if you want to respond. It was all good, today she went to church and handwashed all their clothes with a local mom. Everyone calls her Mother Jackie, even the college kids from MSU, everything is slow, life moves slow, Andrew had a weird day, he went to town with Sawyer and they lost 1,000 shillings somehow and had to walk back because they didn't have money for the bus. She talked, then I talked - about how Howie gave grandpa a big hug at the fireworks when he saw him, about the party at the Monroe's on Friday night, about the store being the store, about how Howie is good and Murray's nose has healed and on and on back and forth. About the news of the world, Sarah Palin's resignation, about Wimbledon. We have always loved talking to each other and have done it for many years non stop, we never run out of things to talk about. I talked to Andrew for a little while before I think their phone went dead. Andrew sounded good. Sawyer is doing well. So I spoke to my Kenya today. Towards the end of the conversation I remembered Roddick vs. Federer and put the t.v. on thinking it was long over and there they were still playing tied at 2 sets apiece and tied in the 5th set at 9 -9. Crazy. I left for work when it was 13-13
Yes, I worked the lunch rush today, feeling guilty about missing it yesterday. Today was not so bad, but having me around I'm sure made it bit easier. Dad tells me I need to go in and supervise and socialize. The customers want to see me. Lots of familiar faces came in, and were happy to see me, people know my name. And it actually can be fun to work, I talked about the tennis which I found out on the computer had ended with Federer winning 16-14, most of the customers who were coming in had been watching. And then slowly it got busier, but never unmanageable. I left around 1:45, then returned with Dad and Howie for a late lunch around 2:30 and as we tried to order, the late rush began, so I helped take orders, and then when the rush was over Dad and I shared a sandwich. Howie got his order in as soon as we arrived so he was finished. We sat outside and ate. It was cloudy and looked like rain. We headed over to the Crail Creek Cabin for music and crafts. When we got there the music was packing up as the storm really did look like it was coming in. A crack of thunder and I had to get the dogs back in the car. Murray gets scared, and Buddy is just a general pain in the ass pulling on his leash and tripping up people. Then I tried to look around at the crafts, but really it was just super social, introducing my Dad who most people have met before. Patty was there and we repeated the Andrew and Sawyer story together to my Dad. She repeated it, "so I asked Andrew, Did you bite him and he said, 'I did.' Why did you? I asked and Andrew said, 'because I didn't like him.'"
There were lots of people there I knew, Carol Collins, Jill Zeidler, Carol Barmore, Barb Dylan, Dick and Kate Evans, John Bauchman, Stephanie (Andrew's Florida Girl)'s mother, it was fun, but the weather was bad - windy and rainy - people were getting nervous and taking their tents down. Dad found a beautiful necklace to buy for Helena, it was a nautical design, copper and silver, with a small red ruby in the center and looked like a jewish star. I helped Jill hold up her tent until the storm passed, it didn't really rain and the wind died down. So I visited Carol, told her about Jackie, pretty much everywhere I go I tell people about Jackie's blog and write down the ridiculously long name with a misspelled word in it because no one says they'll be able to remember it, but I tell them just google, Andrew, Sawyer and Kenya. How do you spell Sawyer? Soya!
The rain did start to come down and we drove home skipping our plan to show Grandpa all of Howie's skateboard moves. On the way home we saw that the fireworks booth was open and Denise with 4 kids: Jackson Nicky, Jeffery and Alex were manning the booth so I pulled over and in the pouring rain Howie and I stopped to say hello. "Uhmmm, today's July 5th, " I say like a smart aleck and Denise replies, "yes, but we have a lot more to sell."
"So big discounts?"
"No, it's a fundraiser for the ski team." Which I already knew, but was just having fun, so I let the kids sell me some fireworks, figuring we will have a fireworks night when Jackie has her mini college reunion at the end of July. The kids are cute and are pushing all kinds of fireworks on me. In the meantime I see that the dogs are out of the car and getting soaking wet. My cell phone rings, it's my father-in-law, so we talk for awhile, letting him know that Jackie and Andrew are doing well, and checking in on him. It is really pouring out and Buddy is soaked to the bone and now suddenly as I try to do business with the boys is running towards the highway. "Howie go get Buddy! BUDDY! BUDDY! GET OVER HERE!" Buddy was off chasing a motorcycle, somehow didn't get killed and somehow ran back to us when we screamed. And so disaster averted we bought the fireworks and headed home. Denise invited us to join her at the rodeo at the 320 ranch, but we decided to pass on that.
When we got home I showed Dad Jackie and Andrew's blog. I showed him all the pictures and I read him out loud all the blog entries and the article in the Chronicle. The weather turned gorgeous, super sunny blue sky, Dad and Howie were watching baseball on t.v. I asked Howie if he wanted to join me and the dogs down to the river to fish. He didn't want to go so I went by myself with the dogs. I took Buddy on the leash until we crossed the highway and got to the main path down to the river. Buddy did really well, stuck by me most of the time. I got skunked fishing, but it was beautiful down there.
When I got back from fishing Howie helped me give Buddy a bath. He was so filthy. Howie did a really good job, I started to get mad at him when he dumped some water outside the tub, mostly on me, but I calmed myself down and said, it's no big deal, but lets learn from that and try not to miss the tub again. And he didn't and I continuously praised him for doing such a good job.
After Buddy's bath I made Grandpa a welcome to Big Sky dinner, steak salad and corn, a glass of red wine. Grandpa and Howie helped set the table.
Yesterday I was listening to Howie and Hannah talk and I heard Howie say, "I am disinclined" to do something, and I was amazed. I wasn't even sure disinclined was a word, but he obviously knew it was a word and knew what it meant at 9 years old. At the store earlier I was talking to Constance about Howie being the perfect eyes for Grandpa Stan and she remarked that yes of course he is especially with his extensive vocabulary.
They are still playing Casino. I probably need to wrap them up and get both of them into bed, it's going on 11:30 already! Dad's been complaining to me that it's cold downstairs, he wants me to put the heat on for him, but he doesn't want the heat on all night. I gave him an extra blanket and told him he should wear some jammies. We'll see how he does tonight. It seems silly to turn on the heat in July, when really you want to open some windows so the house can cool down at night.
Big Sky is unbelievably green. The path down to the river is hard to find, it's too green around it. There were tons of bugs down there, but none of the flies I used got the attention of any fish. Maybe the earlier storm had them laying low, or it was suddenly too hot, or the change in weather. Actually the best time to fish is dusk. Maybe tomorrow.
Tonight at dinner and as things go with me and my Dad I realize I need to breathe, stay calm, and be helpful. He looks absolutely great. I actually felt myself let go... He moves slow and -
Another big hug from Howie to Grandpa. Grandpa won the rematch and now they are going to bed. Grandpa to Howie, "you need to talk a little louder, Howie."
"Grandpa doesn't here that well," I chime in.
"Tomorrow we play the Dodgers," Dad says, "Oh it's dark."
"Howie, can you help Grandpa head downstairs. I am coming down right behind you."
So I just put Howie and Grandpa to bed. So as I was saying, I need to be nice and patient, and loving and understanding and slow down to his pace, especially when we're together. At the Crail Creek Cabin event - I went to put the dogs in the car, when I got back Howie and Grandpa stood in the middle of nowhere just waiting for me to return, they didn't go look at the crafts, they just stood there. My poor father can't really see - he's not blind, he can see things, but practically speaking he's blind. He needs to be told what he's looking at, he needs to be read out loud to, he needs to be stimulated. Today while I worked, Howie and Grandpa watched the entire Mets game together. The Mets lost another one, this one 2 -0. You can't win if you don't score any runs.
Dad mentioned again that he wants to go to Vegas. Should I indulge him? Why does he want to go to Vegas. He can't see, I would have to be his eyes. He wants to shoot craps, but I would have to know what to do. I guess I'll look into it. We could do 2 nights in Vegas next week, middle of the week. I think there are cheap flights out of Bozeman. Call a travel agent. I would just go as his chaperone and try not to gamble myself.
So Stan has arrived. Had his first full day. When I look at him standing around, he always looks so lost. Mentally he's pretty much there. He remembers things, knows what's going on. Things do connect, but he can't see for himself, so in some ways (and I don't really blame him for this though it is so so so frustrating) he uses that as his excuse for being unable to do pretty much anything.
I fed him ice cream tonight and then after passing gas (which he does often and loudly and long), he says, "Oh I shouldn't have had the ice cream. I can't have anything with milk." I had no idea, so no more ice cream. I tell him, "If you know something isn't going to agree with you, don't eat it." He agrees, says it's not worth it. He's trying, if he's going to stick around for a bit longer he might as well feel good...
And so the first day of 5 weeks of Stan comes to a close with that beautiful full moon rising and heading west across the night sky in and out of scattered clouds. The same full moon that Jackie was looking at when I spoke to her this morning.