Sunday, January 17, 2010

Today was a good day. After our morning walk, Grandpa opted out from going to the beach, so Howie and I went alone and had a great time mostly playing football. I sat and read the paper for a bit while Howie dug in the sand, but then we started playing football, making believe we were playing against a defense and drawing offensive plays in the sand. Howie has an amazing ability to throw a spiral, plus he's a southpaw. Then he started building small sand hills and turning them into football tees and practiced kicking field goals. Interestingly enough he is right footed, lefty thrower, righty kicker...

When we got to the beach it was cool and cloudy (see first photo), but soon enough the sun burned through the clouds, and we had our first (and last) sunny day in Naples. We stayed at the beach for over 3 hours heading home around 4pm. When we got back we went straight to the pool - Grandpa complained the last time we went to the beach that we got too much sand in the house, so this time we went straight to the pool and went swimming. And the water was actually warm. Howie and I played football. First I did a few handoffs to Howie under my legs, then we played catch. 17 straight, then 88 straight then 162 straight catches back and forth. By then Howie was shivering, so we got out and headed home. Dad and Helena wanted to go to Roy's for dinner (Jack and Carol's favorite restaurant which we were talking about the night before), which is a higher end chain restaurant - Hawaiian, asian fusion. So I called and made a 6:15 reservation. We watched the first half of the Jets - Chargers game, and then headed out, just missing the sunset. We had a really nice meal at Roy's. Exceptional attentive service, the waiter invited Howie to meet the chef in the kitchen, and then took our picture on our way out. We were about to leave when I walked by the bar and noticed that the Jets were beating the Chargers 17-14 with only 2 minutes left so I went and got Dad and Helena before they left and we sat at the bar and sipped some Bailey's on the rocks and watched the Jets win! Dad was excited because he had a dollar bet going with his buddy Bob and Bob picked the Chargers so Dad had the Jets!

It was a fun evening. I really liked our bus girl who asked for permission every time she cleared a plate or a glass from the table. Or maybe it was the special martini and the glass of Pinot and then of course the Bailey's. Or maybe it was the special attention they gave Howie. Dad had his hearing aids in, but really the world always seems to be passing him by, unless the world is in front of his face with high volume like the t.v. is - he sits right in front of it so he can see and hear...

I had the butterfish because Howie wanted to taste it - He tried it and said it was so so which he says with his hands, moving them up and down. They gave him a coloring book which kept him busy most of the meal. I also had a sushi appetizer and Helena tried it - her very first time ever having sushi! It was a very special evening (probably because we all pretty much did our own things today and just met up for dinner). It was a great way to spend our last evening together... and tomorrow afternoon Howie and I head back to Big Sky.

The laughing hyena

A man who only understands Yiddish and a friend go to the zoo. The zookeeper explains in English, "this is the laughing hyena, the laughing hyena only drinks twice a day." “Vas, Vas?” he asks his friend who understands English and Yiddish. His friend tells him, the laughing hyena only drinks twice a day. And the zookeeper continues, “and the laughing hyena only goes to the bathroom once every 2 days.” “Vas? Vas?” he asks his friend anxiously. And his friend tells him, "the laughing hyena only goes to the bathroom once every 2 days. The zookeeper then tells them,” the laughing hyena only has sex twice a year.” “Vas? Vas?” the man asks his friend, and he tells him the laughing hyena only has sex twice a year. And the man says, “Then why is he laughing?”

Dad tried telling us this joke, but it’s really a joke meant to be told in Yiddish. Helena was trying to tell him not to tell it in front of Howie, but I waved her off.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

What did the monkey say when they cut off his tail?
It won't be long now....

That's what Dad told me as we started our walk this morning.

He gets talkative on his walks. His walks make him feel better. He likes to take his walks, and I think he prefers walking by himself, he puts his head down and walks, which is a little scary with the Florida style of driving...

Right now, I'm sitting at the kitchen table with Dad and Helena, I'm writing they're talking. Football game is on in the background. Howie is doing his math homework, we are going to go to dinner at Grandpa Jack's in about half an hour.
"There's something wrong with my hearing aid, it goes in and out." "This Morgan Stanley statement goes to Harold."

After 0ur walk we headed over to my father-in-laws where Howie spent the night. Jack had the pool in the driveway ready to go. Howie was still asleep, but by noon we were on the road to the city dock to go boating. It was very windy at the dock. We put the boat in the water and I held next to the dock while Jack went to park the car and trailer. While I was trying to help my Dad get into the boat and then put on his sweat shirt, the boat seemed to float backwards and the motor was hitting the concrete a little bit. Jack came back from the car, coached me on raising the motor and then we pushed the boat away from the dock and were able to pull away. It was pretty windy, but after we got out into the channels a bit the wind calmed down and the sun came out. We went out to the edge of the gulf, but the gulf was rough. We found a nice channel to anchor and have lunch and fish. After lunch I picked up the rod and brought in the line and what do you know we had a snook on the line.

We fished for awhile hung out. We spotted some dolphins. Dad got excited when he saw them swimming with us on the side of the boat. "They were only 10 feet away from the boat! They were swimming right alongside the boat! They were half way out of the water!"

It was really a nice mellow fun day on the boat. We took a detour through the docks checking out the big yachts and the restaurants near the docks...

Friday, January 15, 2010

Back from dinner

We picked up Bob and Mary and we all squeezed into my little toyota corolla, and drove over to the Silver Spoon. Someone was pulling out of a primo parking space so I waited and then pulled up, but let everyone out of the car before I pulled into the space so there would be room to open the doors to get out. While I am sitting there in the middle of the parking lot, with someone waiting for me to move to back out of their space (even though I wasn't even close to them) and another person waiting for them to back out so she could get by, Dad basically stood in the middle of the parking lot with the car door open for some reason slowly taking off his jacket, which he suddenly decided he didn't want or need. Bob, moved him away from the traffic, closed the car door and then after I parked put Dad's coat into the car.

Then it was onward to the Silver Spoon, where cars waited patiently for Mary, Helena and Dad to cross the crossing path, Bob and I waved a car along and then crossed. It's Florida.

The Silver Spoon was crowded, there was a fifteen minute wait, this was at 6:00 pm, and when we left it was still hopping. We walked around the mall where there was some live music and some scattered scultpures. Very colorful fun sculptures with happy interesting captions. I walked around the mall quickly while the rest of my party headed back to the restaurant to make sure we didn't miss our turn and sure enough as soon as I joined them we got seated. We all got happy hour drinks, Mary had a great looking bloody mary, we had buffalo wing appetizers, and we all had great meals. The ladies had chicken pot pie, the silver spoon specialty. Then it was back to Bob and Mary's for cherry pie and ice cream.

Right now, Dad and Helena are sitting in the living room as I am writing. Dad is obsessedly worried about having to sign the deed, have it notarized and mailing it back. He will have anxiety about this for the next 5 days. I explained to him about 3 times so far what he will need to do once it arrives. So... he says to me... maybe we can do it in the morning. Dad, we don't have the deed yet. Oh. So now I tell him, this is what you will do... you will receive the deed in the mail, you will take it to Pack n Ship, you will open the envelope there. You will have your driver's license with you. You will sign the deed. You will ask them to notarize it for you. You will put it in the return envelope and have pack n ship send it back for you. You will pay them for their help.

Helena responds, thats if they are a notary.

I will go there tomorrow and ask them if they are a notary.

You can call them.

I will call them, Dad says. But first I need the deed in my hand....

I am trying to remember what we talked about at dinner, but my mind has gone blank, and I think I will let it be blank. Bob was a little disappointed we didn't make it to the beach today as he had bought Howie a nerf football, which he gave me to bring home to him. Bob and Mary had also bought Dad a glow in the dark wand, blue light, flashlight, whistle. Dad loves it.

5 pm, getting ready to go out to dinner with Dad and Helena's friends, Bob and Mary. Grandpa Jack just picked up Howie to take over to his house. So it's just me and old folk for tonight. I'm sitting at the kitchen table, trying to relax, get my thoughts in order. Dad just walked by in his bathrobe and let go a nice loud one, without even a blink, now he's stumbling his way into Helena's room with his shoes? They are all showered and getting ready for their big date.

Today's been a bit of a day. I think me being in town exasperates Dad and Helena's relationship which is definitely strained and me being here, Dad shuts off more than he's already shut off, becomes more non-responsive and in his own world which rightfully drives Helena a little bit crazy. Howie and I were at the pool alone for an hour or so this afternoon and I asked him if he thought Dad and Helena fought a lot and he said yes. I asked him if he thought Jackie and I fought a lot and he said no.

As always the day started off slowly, I've had this slight cold which really bothers me in the morning, but seems to disappear during the rest of the day. I head out to Starbucks and get coffees for Howie and I, a New York Times, and a crossiant. 11.18/day - Back home, trying to open the door, I almost dropped my coffee, spilled a little bit of it, ironic as the guy ahead of me in line at Starbucks practically did the same thing.

When I walked in the door, first thing out of Dad is "I broke a bowl." "Do I have something on my foot?" I looked at it, "it looks like a scab," I told him. "O.K. good." That satisfied him. I asked Helena where he broke the bowl and she told me in the sink. So I swept up the kitchen and told Dad not to worry about it, you broke it in the sink, that's a good place to break something.

They all had breakfast while I was out getting my coffee so I sat at the table and read the paper and drank my coffee. Howie was playing computer games. Dad was sitting on the couch. Helena was doing a crossword, wondering what we were going to do today. It was warm, but the clouds were already filling up the sky. There was talk about going to the beach, but Stan was not in a hurry to do anything. Helena, frustrated, got up and said O.K., call me if you do anything I'm going for a walk. As soon as she did that, Dad started to get up and put on his walking shoes. Helena left and took a walk by herself and about 15 minutes later after a couple of phone calls, Dad, Howie and I went out for a walk and as we started walking Dad said, let's go all the way around - that's 3 miles. Dad was a little obsessed about Howie, telling me that I'm responsible for him, but then continously asking me where he was and telling me he would prefer Howie to walk ahead of us, but Howie was being a good boy and listened to me everytime a car came by. And so we did, single file whenever a car came by, Howie playing with the round auto rewind yo-yo grandpa bought him yesterday the entire time. Dad talked and walked and it was good.

After we got back from the walk which took at least an hour, I had a chore I needed to do for brother Ben regarding the house - I needed to fax him something, so went to the Pack and Ship place and faxed to Ben,

Dad's sitting down with me, putting on his hearing aids to go out tonight. He wants me to look at his Merryl Lynch account, all his stocks are doing well and he's asking me questions about IBM, and I tell him I don't pay attention. "I know you don't," he replies, "I do."

As Dad and I went to do our chore, Helena prepared lunch and we had a very nice lunch when we got back. After lunch Helena went to the pool and I asked Howie if he wanted to go to the beach or the pool as Dad already said he didn't want to go to the beach, we should go without him and Howie said, the pool. So again about 15 minutes after Helena we wandered over to the pool again answering the phone and helping Ben with some odds and ends with the house sale.

The pool was very pleasant. Helena was sitting with friends and we joined them. Howie went swimming even though the water was only 65 degrees. He went in and had fun, dried himself off, continued to play with his yo-yo, then went swimming again with lots of comments from the friends sitting around the pool...

From the pictures you can see yesterday we did make it to the beach, sun didn't last long yesterday either, but we sat there, Howie digging in the sand, took walks, and watched the pelicans...

Today's image that I told Jackie on the phone an hour or so ago is me leashed to my dad who is leashed to a porcelain toilet walking through the world together, what a trio!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

No pictures today. Today was a day of doing a whole lot of nothing. Still cold - I think the high for the day was about 60, but that was when the sun was out and it was hardly out today, lots of clouds. I did my starbucks routine this morning, heading out for coffee, the new york times and a croissant. Dad, Helena and Howie were having cereal when I got back. I joined them and then after breakfast I tightened Howie's head gear and changed grandpa's hearing aid batteries and then we took a walk to the Publix mall, stopped at the hearing aid store to see if they got the special battery arms Dad ordered (special order has not arrived yet) met up with Bob and Mary at Beale's Department store where Mary and Helena shopped and the guys sat around and talked football, then onto Target to get golf balls for Bob, who outside gave one to Howie who proceeded to bounce the golf ball, then onto Publix where we got a bread for dinner and some sliced turkey for lunch, Howie continued to bounce his golf ball around until it shot loose and hit the deli case head on. Miraculously there was no broken glass. While we were at Target Ben called with the news that house upstate is now under contract with a big earnest money check, and a closing date of January 22nd. So it's official. We waited outside of Publix and waited for Bob and Mary. We called Jackie and Howie talked to his mom for awhile. Then we started walking back to the house. Then we had some lunch and Howie, Grandpa and I went to see The Alvin and the Chipmunks Squeakle Movie, Dad slept on and off for most of the movie, but he was smiling during the happy ending. Of course he complained that the theater was too cold.

Yesterday at the department store... I was looking at this lavender jump suit and jokingly said, Jackie would look good in that, and Helena said, "Jackie would look good in a paper bag."

And yesterday when Jack told us about the Haiti earthquake just happening, Dad said, I think I heard about that yesterday...And I said, then let me know what stocks I should buy...

After the movie I noticed a message from Ben who I called back, who is very excited about the sale of the house. He should be happy and proud - he did a great job, now it's all physical logistics of emptying out the house, which he is leaving rightfully so to the rest of us...I'm thinking I should go in and help pack up and say goodbye...

So after the movie I drove back home and we've been hanging out since, on the computer, doing crosswords, Howie did his math homework and continues to plow through the sudoku, though we are stuck on today's, just can't get the next number. Helena and I worked on the crossword, Dad talked about the house a lot, figuring out what he wanted out of there and wondering what the buyers thought about and I kept cutting him off and telling him, Dad they signed a contract with NO Contingencies!

Helena had taken some frozen homemade meatballs out of the freezer earlier in the day and she warmed up dinner and I think we are now going to play some scrabble...

Dad loves to walk by and pass gas...
Howie just brought me today's sudoku and I get dizzy looking at it...

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

First Day in Naples

It was our first full day in Naples today. Howie and I woke up around 9:30 am. We took a shower. We went outside and tested the temperature and decided to wear shorts and sandles even though it was probably only around 50 degrees out. We hung around the house working on a Sudoku from the Naples Daily News. Howie is really good at them and loves doing them. Helena was working on a crossword, I worked on the Jumble and Howie worked on his Sudoku all on the same page at the same time. When Dad was ready we went out for breakfast to Skittles a very nice breakfast place. Got there around 11:30. Howie had a tall frosted glass of chocolate milk and 2 large chocolate chip pancakes which he ate most of one.

After breakfast we headed over to Target to buy Howie a new bathing suit, and Dad a new pair of jeans and maybe some frames for the pictures of the boys. Then we went to Publix to buy a few things, milk, cereal, ice cream, orange juice. Dad and Helena bought 2 giant bottles of mouthwash with coupons. Enough mouthwash for a year, yet 6 more weeks. We went on the 10 items or less line. The man in front of us in his Ohio baseball cap looked at us and said, this is the 10 or less line! Howie started counting how many items we had, Ten items, he said proudly. Is this one or two he asked showing me the two bottles of mouthwash attached to each other. That's one, I told him. Then we only have Nine! he said proudly to me and the man ahead of us. The woman ahead of the man and his wife gave them a very dirty look, mumbling to them she asked me to come to this aisle and she hugged her plastic shopping bags and walked away in a huff. The cashier rang him up and he told me about his grandson playing football for Ohio State and the fact that he was retired for over 20 years and outlived both his doctors who told him he better retire or he will die.

Then it was back to the condo to put the ice cream away and try on the new pants and try to go to the potty and then off to visit Bob and Mary. Helena was getting impatient as she had told Bob and Mary on her cell phone at the grocery store that we would stop on their way home, but we had ice cream to put away and Dad needed to make a pit stop so it took longer than it should have, but doesn't everything in Florida?

We visited with Bob and Mary for I think almost 2 hours just sitting in their living room and telling stories. Dad told his story about eating lunch with Mom at P&S Stationery when this guy walks in and says, "Give me all your money." Dad's first reply is "I don't have any money." Then Dad asks, "Where is your gun?" Then this woman comes up to the counter with her magazines and candy pushes the would be robber aside and asks for a pack of cigarettes. The man flabbergasts runs out of the store. Dad calls the police and follows him outside trying to see the getaway car? Dad says the man kept going down Broadway, robbing another store, the cleaners and then was caught robbing a liquor store. Dad had to go down to the police station and pick him out of a police line-up and he was also questioned in front of the Grand Jury and says he had the Grand Jury laughing as he told his story.

After Bob and Mary we went back to Target and returned Dad's Levi's which were way to big baggy - Dad's got no butt. We also found frames for the pictures - we measured back home, and Howie found a pair of Wranglers 34/29's which were perfect. Dad tried them on when we got back home, and he loves them.

The Howie, Dad and I went to the Naple's Peer for the sunset. A beautiful Gulf of Mexico sunset, the air cool as soon as the sun went down, Dad totally bundled up, it took me awhile to realize that he had his baseball cap on over his hood. I took a bunch of pictures, Dad makes the funniest faces... Then it was back home to pick up Helena and then we went off to Five Guys for burgers or hot dogs for dinner. My burger was really good, yummy, and fresh. Howie's hot dog was unfortunately split down the middle so he took one little mouse bite and didn't eat it. I forgot that was exactly what happened last year, so he basically didn't have dinner, but I had made him a grilled cheese sandwich before we went off to watch the sunset. After dinner we went to see Grandpa Jack, Carol, Matthew and Marni for dessert and to deliver all their Christmas presents. It was a really nice visit, Matt and Marni are such twins, always seeming to communicate without needing to talk, they all loved their presents, they love their sweatshirts and we made some tentative plans for Howie to sleep over on Friday and hopefully go boating on Saturday...

Now back home, Howie is doing another Sudoku, Helena is sitting in the living room reading, Dad is watching CNN about the terrible terrible terrible earthquake in Haiti. It's not really that far from here. It's awful, awful awful. Sometimes I feel either I don't want to know about it, or I need to do something to help. It's that transition thing I'm going through, if I don't have to work as much, how am I going to make my time more rewarding and more meaningful?

Now the t.v. is off and Grandpa is teaching Howie how to play Gin Rummy. Or basically I am trying to teach Howie through Grandpa if I can get him to understand my questions as he says, "I guess the whole Carribean is going to be underwater by this salami..."

Monday, January 11, 2010

Howie and I have arrived in Naples, Florida at Dad and Helena's safely and soundly after a long day of work and travel. Happily it appears I have an Internet connection from their apartment, so that makes it easy to stay in touch with the universe. Worked this morning, getting payroll submitted, after getting the boys off to school and walking the dogs and trying to spend some time with Jackie. A usual work-a-day morning. Wanted to leave work by 10, ended up getting home a little before 11 am. Woke up a little stressed, traveling day, work day, and Jackie and I are desperate for time together, but our lives keep getting pulled away from each other, but we did talk today and that was really good I think for both of us. Hopefully this will be a mellow week for me in Florida with Grandpa and Howie. Time to think, time to read, time to gather thoughts, time to write, time to spend with my Dad and my youngest son.

Left Big Sky for the airport at around 12:15 pm. Everything went smoothly, checking in, security, boarding. The plane rides both were very easy. Howie and I read books, played cards, casino, war and gin rummy. Howie took a math test and did some Sudoku. I never took my computer out, just read a book, The Zookeepers Wife by Diane Ackerman. It's 1 am here, 2 hours earlier in Montana. Howie and I were standing at the food court at Minneapolis Airport staring at the pizza and this guy comes up to me and says, "here, use these, I can't use them." He looked like an airline employee, handed me 2 $5 food vouchers, so I took them, said thank you and saved $10 on food I would have spent anyway. Got Howie a free slice of pizza and I used mine for one of those Wolfgang Puck Chinese Salads, my dinner staple on travel days... Ended up using the savings to let Howie buy a Sudoku book. He completed the first puzzle while we waited for our second flight and the second as we took off.

My math wizard.

Other thoughts: I haven't been writing consistently at all. I did a bunch of skiing this past week, cross country, skate and downhill. My knee seems to handle it all very well as long as I have the brace on. Feeling stronger, and enjoying the skiing. Our friends Harry and Emannuella from Athens, Greece who we originally met our first winter in Big Sky were in Big Sky for their annual January visit. We skied with them on Friday and Saturday and had them over for dinner on Saturday night. It was really nice as always to see them and catch up and ski! Harry is a very fast skier, but miraculously I attempted to keep up with him and though not totally succeeding did a pretty good job just the same.

Howie has become addicted (obsessed) with making chocolate desserts out of The Golden Book of Chocolate that Micah got for Christmas... so either Micah and Howie or Jackie and Howie have made 3 or 4 different recipes out of the book kind of in the style of Julia and Julia...

And so I have added some pictures, caught myself up and need to go to bed...