Saturday, December 3, 2011

It was my 50th birthday celebration last Wednesday on my birthday... and here I am fifty and fabulous with my friends.  I had an awesome birthday. Yoga class with Debby in which I did a headstand and held it as everyone sang me happy birthday! After yoga I had a massage with Sarah which was just awesome, and then lunch with Jackie and Dad and Patty.  And then hung out at home with Micah and Howie.  Debby and Josh came over for cocktails and then it was off to the new old First Place for a super sweet party. Jackie surprised me with a book she put together, 50 years of Mark, The 50 things we love about Mark. Jackie had secretly written to family and friends and had been compiling the "book" over the last month or so. Jackie read a some of the entries at the party, some of which were very funny... At the party I read a few poems, but the big surprise to me was that Lauren, who is my number one at the moose came and sang 2 very special songs for me. Killing Me Softly which I had heard her sing before and she knew was one of my favorite songs, and then she also learned I Don't Know Why, a song by Sean Colvin which I have always loved.  She sang them both so beautifully and I was just so touched by the thoughtfulness, the effort, and the love from the music, from my friends, from my life partner, from my dad.  The entire day was like an out of body experience.  I was simply floating on air all day long...


On thursday morning, after getting the boys off to school and the dog walked, I got back into bed and decided to take a second day off from work for my birthday.  So Jackie and I hung out, getting a very slow start, then hit the mountain for our first day of skiing this season, and it was a second awesome day, which made the day before even better.  Friday was back to work.

I haven't been writing much which is a shame, but I guess I have been busy, either working or having fun. I see my last blog is from early October, so almost 2 months ago, so what have I been doing? Going to kids football games, well those ended by mid October. Taking care of Stan. Jackie and I did go on a vacation to San Francisco, the northern coast of California and wine country. And then it was back to Stan and the store and the kids and now skiing.... Winter is here for sure with cold and starting to get snowy.

Dad has definitely been keeping me busy, spending lots of time at his place and quite a few nights. But he appears to be doing quite better the past week or so. He came to my birthday party and hung out for quite awhile and just looked super!

Tonight, before coming home from his place he got into bed talking about the music of the 60's and was telling me he didn't know the music from the sixties probably because he was busy having kids and working two jobs.  There is a new movie theater in Big Sky and Howie and I had just gotten back from going to the movies and I was telling Dad he would like the new theater, but I guess that even a 7 pm show was too late for him.  He said to me that he would save it up for a good one, basically saying that to go to a movie that late at night he would have to work up his strength to be able to go.  He liked the new marquis for the theater which just went up today, so when the right movie came along he would go.  He just gets so tired, everything wears him out...

I have lots of pictures from the last couple of months, maybe I should look for a few and highlight the last couple of months.... the things that were keeping me busy....

                  Our staff at our company retreat in early November... moving the moose forward....

          Micah, after running back a kickoff during the Big Horn's playoff game in Denton.
   Andrew visiting in early October, at Micah's last home game...

                        Thanksgiving with Andrew and his college roommate and Grandpa Stan!

Pics from Our Vacation....

Sunday, October 9, 2011

A year ago I had a very reflective Yom Kippur, going to synagogue for Kol Nidre, with Jackie and the boys and Stan and staying over in Bozeman at our friend’s apartment .  Going to services again in the morning and then again for the memorial service and the break the fast in the early evening.  My blog entry for that day received the most views of any of my blog entries
… and all of what I wrote that day still rings true.  This year we were unable to go to services at all.  We were planning on going, but as Stan often says, “We plan and G!d laughs….”

 10/7/11, 8:45pm, Friday night

Yom Kippur Eve

I’m at Dad’s
Stan in bed.

I tape his protective eye patch
over his right eye.
He turns onto his side,
he always sleeps on his side.
“I lean on you too much.”

Better me than anyone else,” I reply

last words, “maybe I’ll die in my sleep.”

“you probably will die in your sleep, but not tonight.
I love you, Dad, call me if you want to get up,
make sure you yell for me.”

“Where’s my cane?

“It’s right here by the door jam
you want it by your bed?
on your cart?”

“No, leave it there.
How ‘bout my radio?’

“You want it on?”

“Let me hear what’s on, that doesn’t sound like anything.
No, turn it off.”

“I’ll have the ballgame on .
I’ll make it loud.,
you just like the noise.”

“O.K., Goodnight.”

I kiss him on the forehead.
“Love you, Dad”

*            *            *            *            *

And now for the way that day began…

At 9:55 Friday morning my cell phone rings.
It’s Patty.

I’m on the store phone
it’s not an important call
I put them on hold
and answer the phone

“Something’s wrong with Stan,” Patty’s crying.
“I think he had a stroke.
I can’t wake him up.”
I tell her to stay with him
I will call 911 and I’ll be right over

I call 911
I’m having trouble describing the address
but I get it done

I run over to Stan’s
He’s sitting in his cart/chair, asleep
She’s still crying
He’s not responsive
but he’s breathing
“Dad, Dad,” No response
he has that frown, that droopy face
what I think of as his Parkinson’s face

I run over to the fire station
it’s all locked up, I can hear a voice over the radio
“Lone  Peak Townhouse #11.”
but there’s no one there
all the doors are locked and there’s no one there

I run back to Stan’s
on the way back
I remember I have one of the emt’s cell number
on my phone – I call him
he say’s he’llbe right there

I call Jackie and tell her what’s going on

I go back to check on Dad
Patty’s still holding his head up
he looks the same
still not responsive
but I get him to blink
he opens his eyes for a second
but he’s still out of it

I go back outside
Seth, the emt has arrived
and so has the ambulance
Seth wakes Dad up –
he’s definitely out if it,
but he’s more responsive

he shows Seth his teeth
he shrugs his shoulders
he smiles
slowly he seems to come back to life
as they put him on the stretcher
I gather up all his meds
they move him through the house
on the stretcher
as they leave thru the front door
Jackie shows up
he recognizes her right away
he’s talking
he’s coming back to life

as if from a deep sleep

and so I go in the ambulance
I’m in the passenger’s seat
Stan keeps asking for me
Dan, the ambulance emt, keeps asking him questions
he stabilizes Stan, evaluates him
it appears that he fainted, passed out

Stan woke up, took a shower,
shaved, then for some reason sat down in his cart
he doesn’t remember

Patty found him passed out
sitting in his cart, naked
his head against the wall
breathing irregularly,
he looked gone

We don’t know what happened

on the way to the hospital
he begins to complain
of a very bad headache

at the emergency room
he continues to complain
it’s the worst headache he’s ever had
and he doesn’t usually get headaches

the nurse comes in with
a needle full of morphine
Stan and I both tell her – no morphine –
“he’ll get ‘daylights’ ,” I tell her
She doesn’t understand me,
“like nightmares, but awake.”

“Oh, he’ll get loopy. How about a couple of Tylenol.”

“Yes,” we tell her

They take him for a cat scan of his brain.
It shows nothing, but they still want to admit him,
give him an MRI and take spinal fluid.
“Whoa, have you talked to his neurologist yet?”

“I don’t think we want to admit him,” I tell the doctor.
“We think he’d be better off back at home.”

He’s feeling pretty weak, but he hasn’t eaten a thing yet today.

Patty arrives, we get him some oatmeal,
We get him out of bed
he walks around with his cart.
Jackie arrives
We get him dressed
It’s after 4 already
We get him out of there
and back home

and watch baseball
and keep an eye on him
and give him his eye drops
and get him some dinner
and keep him occupied
and he goes to sleep around 8:30 pm.

10/8/11 Yom Kippur, 8:35am

12 years ago Stan sat by the bed
holding Mom’s hand
when a bright light appeared
and Pearl flew away

this morning I heard a loud cough
and ran downstairs
“I’ve been in bed long enough, 13 hours,
I want to get out of bed
I had a bad dream
take this thing off” Dad tells me
pointing to his protective eye patch

I take it off standing by his bed.
“What did you dream?”

“I was in trouble, I visited the Schultz’s, Carl, Della and Joshua was there,
but I wasn’t welcome, I wasn’t invited and
you don’t just show up uninvited.
I’m having trouble remembering.
How many teams are left? 2? 4?”

I tell him, “there are 4 teams left, 2 national league
and 2 american league.”

“St Louis – Milwaukee,” he says curling his lip, thinking hard,
“don’t help me. there’s something wrong with my memory, don’t help me.”

I say, “Yeah, there’s something going on with your short term memory.”

He scratches his head, “Tigers – Rangers,“ he says.

“You got it.”

“I don’t know if I want to take a shower.”

I tell him, “I’ll watch you. You don’t have to take a long hot shower
like your grandson, Howie.”

Stan smiles, “Like Howie?”

“Yes, Howie. He just stands in the shower, just stands there,
Hot water running over him, doesn’t wash himself, just stands there.”

Stan gets out of bed, “First I make my bed. I don’t know if I can make my bed.” 
we make his bed.
he walks into the kitchen
takes his morning sinemet
and a full glass of water

we head back to his bathroom
“and there was a man in the bathroom,”
he tells me, “a man with a hat.”

“You saw him or you dreamt that?”

“I don’t know, maybe it was a dream.”

Stan takes his shower.
I sit in the bathroom and watch him
as he goes through his routine.
He’s doing well, doesn’t need any help

Out of the shower, drying himself off
he tells me,  he’s O.K. I don’t have to stay and watch him.
I tell him, “Your stuck with me today.  The doctor said someone has to stay with you
for at least the next 48 hours. What can I tell you. You’ll just have to pay me double.”
He walks naked to his closet and gets a pair of underwear and a t-shirt
At the side of his bed he puts on his underwear standing up,
“I don’t know what happened yesterday…”

He puts on his t-shirt and heads over to his cart with his pants.

I suggest to him that maybe yesterday he was already a little befuddled,
confused, didn’t feel right
and walked over to his cart, sat down and passed out
head stretched backwards against the wall awkwardly

“Who knows? We’ll never know,” I tell him.
He tries to get his pants on,
but he’s having trouble so I help him
I tell him, “It’s O.K., you don’t have to pay me extra”

“We used to pay you in the store,” he tells me

and I tell him, “Yes, $1/week, then $2/week, then $10, then $20, but if  I had a paper route I didn’t get paid.”

He laughs, “You remember. We did O.K. Pearl and Stan. We raised 4 good sons.
You guys would sit at the end of the counter, I remember Harold sitting there reading comic books. Pearl would make him French fries in the pizza oven and then customers would want the same thing. What I hated the most was eating at the end of the counter and then a customer would come in and sit right next to me and say, “You eat here, too?!”

Dad makes his oatmeal
It’s too hot to carry
I carry it to the table for him
He eats his breakfast
and studies his morning pills
“No Sinemet,” he says. “No Sinemet,” I reply.

“What’s this one?” he asks

“That’s the baby aspirin. That’s a new one, the doctor wants you to take one a day, now that you are off the Coumadin , it’s a blood thinner.”

“I hate to take that pill,” he says.


“Because Bayer killed all those Jews.”

“O.K.,” I say, “I will buy a big bottle of generic baby aspirin, but for now that’s all we have, that’s all I sell at the store….”

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Saturday, 10/1/2011
and what a day it was!  The Lone Peak Big Horns played 6 man football today against their "crosstown" rivals the West Yellowstone Wolverines in their first historic matchup and it was definitely the beginning of a rivalry for the ages.  At the end of regulation the score was 19 - 19.  The Big Horns had 2 touchdowns, with a one point and a two point conversion and a field goal.  The Wolverines had 3 touchdowns with one successful one point conversion.  6 man football is a super fun game with special rules, a kicked extra point is worth 2 points, while if you run it in it's 1 point.  Field goals are worth 4 points.  The Big Horns were winning 7 - 6 at the half, went ahead 11 - 6 in the 3rd quarter, were losing 12 - 11, then 19 - 11 and then with less than 2 minutes left in the game tied it up with a touchdown and a kicked 2 point conversion.  Then with seconds left in the game attempted a field goal which fell short and wide.  Then Overtime!  In overtime the Big Horn's scored easily and then the Wolverines after crazy penalties called on both teams in a crazy finish fell just a few yards short for an amazing and exciting Big Horn win.

I was running the scoreboard, which means mostly running the time clock, and keeping score, and letting the fans know the down and the yards to go.  Of course during the overtime the clock decided to lose power, but I was able to reboot and get it back on pretty quickly and in overtime there was no running clock so it was hardly noticed.  It was such an exciting game and the kids were thrilled with their victory.  Another great community event.

At the start of the second half my cell phone rang.  It was the store.  I wasn't able to answer it.  Then I received 2 texts.  The grease trap was backed up and overflowing and flooding and stinking up the store. Nice.  At one point I called the store and told them I couldn't help them as I was on the scoreboard and couldn't even talk.  About 5 minutes after the game ended the phone rang, it was the store telling me that they couldn't get it fixed and they were calling a plumber.  Remember, this is a Saturday, and by now it's after 5 pm.  So what to do?  Stan was at the game and I needed to take him home.  My buddy Dan told me he would help me, he had an idea what was wrong, so he headed down to the store, I took Stan home and then met him at the store.  I told Dad what was going on and he quoted Grandpa B ( my mom's dad who owned a bakery), "it wouldn't happen in a jewelry store."  So I got Dad situated at home, got the baseball playoffs on his television and went to the store.

Dan was full on head in the grease trap, plastic garbage bag on the floor beneath him, another one wrapped around his arm as he tried to unstuff the stopped up smelly dirty greasy grease trap.  In minutes I was on the floor and both of our heads were in the grease trap trying to loosen up the stoppage and figure out the answer.  After about 90 minutes of knees on the floor, head and arms in the grease trap working with a shop vac and a water hose and getting nowhere I finally just told the plumber to come up and pay the time and a half.  Dan and I headed to my house finally for a celebration dinner of the big Lone Peak Big Horn victory!

Yesterday, Howie's 6 man middle school team had a game against Lima and they won 40 - 20 in an exiciting fun game which Howie got to play in on offense and defense!  In this game I was on the chain gang moving the down marker on the sidelines and was right there for the action for the crunching of the pads and the players.  Howie was tackled a few times right in front of me, and he miraculously got up each time no problem.  It must be nice to be young and flexible!

Stan in his chair on the sidelines, notice the license plate of the car parked behind him practically on the field. I call it handicapped parking...

A couple of local fans...

The Big Horns come on to the field!



Big Horn Cheerleader Moms!

Statistician, Scoreboard Guy and the Man on the Chains...

Our man on the microphone!

On Friday, Howie heads in with the play...

Howie is #42... Jackie Robin's son, same number as Jackie Robinson!

Howie running the ball! Notice the guy holding the down marker screaming, "Go Howie!"

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Rosh Hashana 2011

Rosh Hashana, 9/28/2011 

Stan looks at the bed,
 “That’s what I sleep on top of?” he asks me

“Yes, Dad, I’ve pulled the other sheet and blankets over,
I’m going to tuck you in. Just like you used to tuck me in,
just like Micah will tuck me in one day .”

I cover him with the sheet and blankets,
kiss him on the forehead
Stan looks up at me with a big silly grin
“I used to come home from work and
lay down on the couch and you used to come over to me
to play doctor, you’d say, “take two cookies and call me in the morning. 
My little Markie.”

He sighs, “I have to get up.
I have to go to the bathroom.”

After a bit I go and check on him.
He’s on his way back to bed.

Stan gets into the bed
the left side of his head on his pillow
in the fetal position
feet falling off the side of the bed
he scoots over bit by bit
until his feet
are pretty much on the bed

I cover him up and tuck him in
“It’s cold in here,
is there another blanket?”

I put another blanket over him.
“How’s that?”
He closes his eyes, falls asleep

Monday, September 26, 2011

Pine Creek to Carter's Bridge

Yesterday, Dan, Christian and I floated the Yellowstone River from Pine Creek to Carter's Bridge in the Paradise Valley.  It was a beautiful warm early day of autumn, the golden leaves blowing off the cottonwood trees imitating rising rainbow trout as I fished crystal clear water from the banks of the river.  Dan rowed, I fished the front of the boat and Christian fished from the back.  An eagle flew overhead and perched on a tree near a good fishing hole.  Towards the end of the float a blue heron or a crane hit the water hard as it accidentally hit a power line.  I caught a few small rainbow trout all on dry flies, Christian caught a couple and Dan rowed. It was a beautiful beautiful day in which we talked about Jackson's new word "smartecules" and I felt extreme gratitude towards Dan and Christian, my friends, my wife, my father, my sons, my family, my employees, my customers, my life. I spent most of the day focused on the ripples in the water, fishing the eddies, waiting for strikes.  What a wonderful day.  It definitely energized me for today and hopefully longer.  It's the fall, the jewish holidays are arriving, Rosh Hashana (the New Year) begins on Wednesday night, it is the fall, it is my annual time for contemplation, reflection, reading and writing.  I was just looking at my Yom Kippur blog entry from last year and it so matches me in the now...

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Dan's view as he rowed and rowed

My view when I turned around

Dan says this should be my screen saver

Micah's shared birthday party with his friend Karlie at the Whitewater Inn on Saturday night was a huge success with almost their entire freshman high school class attending... It was kind of like a retro party, all these kids used to have the same swim party when they were in elementary check out this picture of Micah's 5th birthday party....

ten years later:

a great bunch of kids, there are 7 kids that are in both pics...

The party was just lots of fun.  They swam, they went up and down the slide, all together at the same time, they hot tubbed, they ate pizza, they swam, they went up and down the slide, all together at the same time, they laughed, they ate ice cream cake, they laughed, they played, they had fun:

My 2 favorite photos were some behind the scenes shots of the 2 birthday moms taking the group shots:

Now check out this link to our local Big Sky newspaper and see Micah and his football team practicing and playing in their inaugural season!!!  The game action was from their first win at home...
Lone Peak Big Horn Football Video