Thursday, September 29, 2016

School Pics

I'm fairly certain none of the relatives that are receiving these for Christmas, will see these.  
How handsome are these boys?!

Christopher's 5th Grade picture

Sam's 2nd grade picture. 
2/3 High Ability

Jacob's 3 year old Preschool Picture.
It wouldn't be Jacob without a giant welt on his head. 

Special thanks to Eric who got all the kids dressed for Picture Day in their First Day of School shirts, while I was gone to Ohio.  He did a Great Job!

Spirit Week

It is Time to blog again. I've been getting out of the groove.  My favorite subject to talk about, of course, is the boys.  This week, Chris and Sam had a good week for their school.  It was Spirit Week, officially to celebrate College Go! week.   Whatever,  I will call it Spirit Week.

Monday was 'Dress for Success' day.  
They dressed up like the jobs they want when they grow up. 
Sam is a Scientist, and Chris wants to be a Teacher.

Sam is totally carrying his microscope and goggles.  Now of course, I know that he wouldn't be allowed to wear shorts in any lab, but that's ok.  We couldn't find the goggles either, until it was too late.  I later found them in the garage on the toys shelf.  Meanwhile, it's clear Chris needs to upgrade his size of pants.  He's showing a little too much ankle for my liking.  But he cleans up pretty good.

Tuesday was College Bound day. 
Can you guess where we would choose?  
All Bulldogs, all the time! 
Mommy's gotta show her school spirit too.  

On Wednesday, the theme was Education is your Super Power, dress as your favorite super hero.
Christopher's teacher challenged them to create their own Super Hero.  Chris chose Super Karate.  That was the superhero that he made up when he used to play with his old bff Claudia.  I think the mask and cape really make the look, don't you agree?!   Meanwhile, Sam is consistently awesome with his Green Lantern.   

Thursday, it was Hats off for Graduation. 
They look pretty adorable in their hats. 
Every morning they insist on getting their scooters out and riding while they wait for the bus.  
I love watching them play happily together, it makes up for the other times. 

For Friday, I completely flaked taking their picture.  They were supposed to be dressed in their Purple Bulldog gear for Brown Elementary or Brownsburg High School whichever.  They did, I don't have a Brownsburg shirt, but I put purple on too.  We're lucky that we have such a great school.  Our school just won an award for being a National Blue Ribbon School for 2016.  We were the only local elementary to win, among 279 throughout the country.  Yes, in case you were wondering, our school rocks!

It is Done

I had a follow up appointment with my doc Tuesday morning.   My 6 week post op check, though technically today was the 6 week day.  It felt good to go get all checked out.  My scars are healing nicely, there's just one place where it's not quite healing like I would wish.

On Tuesday when I went to my doctor's appointment, morning came too early.  I basically had to run Jake to school, and keep going.  I'm reminded of the line from the movie Airplane, "He never has a second cup of coffee at home."  Well, sometimes Yes I do.  I didn't today though.  I took my last Ningxia Nitro for the road.   This is such good stuff, lots of antioxidants and vitamin goodness, and the green tea extract gives me a tiny punch of caffeine.  
When I went in to the doctor, she liked the look of my scars.  The last bit is healing.  I've been putting on topical antibiotic in the spots where the wound is open, but I use my Essential Oils around the edges.   I created a roller with Sandlewood, Lavender, Helichrysum, and Myrrh.  My skin loves it.  I have to leave the stitchy areas alone because I just want to keep picking at them. I'm wise enough to stay away from the open areas.  It's not bleeding, it's just weepy, just enough to be annoying.  I used up all my boob pads, and actually had to go out last week and pick up more gauze pads after using up all of Christopher's.  It's still a bit scabby for my comfort.  One just covered over this weekend, so that's a good sign.  I just hope they clear up before we go to Great Wolf with my Mom and the girls next weekend.  The doc says it should.  I need to be able to Swim! She also doesn't want to see me again until next year, woohoo!  It was a brief appointment, just quick enough for her to take a look and ask how I was feeling.  She says I've got the OK to exercise too.  Excellent. I'd been pushing my walking limits a bit too, we hit the Children's Museum.   But now I'm pretty much done with my post op, and as soon as that last bit closes up, I'll be all set. 
I chatted with Lisa on the drive north, and afterwards gave her a call.  We agreed to meet for lunch.  

Lisa suggested the Thai place just off Main St in Carmel.  It was a gorgeous day, so we opted to sit outside.  Though it must've been a good 15 degrees cooler in the shade. I got downright chilly.  So I tried some Chrysanthemum Tea.  It's a lightly flowery tea, but heavy on the honey.  I love it!  I drank a pot and a half. Lisa wouldn't let me take her picture though, so no sister selfies on this day.  Still, I like to remember when we get the opportunity to get together, especially when I'm child free.  She was borrowing a friend's little girl, but that was much easier to handle one than um, 5, like usually happens when we get together.   It was good to sit and chat over tea and noodles.  I can't wait until we go on vacation over Fall Break together.  It should be a lot of fun! 

So now that I've graduated from the doc, yesterday, I went to kick it up at the Y.  I hadn't been in so long.  I felt like it was finally safe enough that I got the OK to exercise.  

Day 1, week 1 Couch 2 5K. Done!
Check it out: I can see my feet when I run!  This is new. 
This never happened with my old boobs. ;) 

And I broke a sweat.  
It felt good.  
Time to get back to getting serious. Sick and tired of being sick and tired.
I am determined to get healthy again! 

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Striving for a new day

 I have fallen off the wagon lately.  I haven't blogged much, I have been feeling in a funk.  This week, I tried to get out if it.  I got out for a Girls Night, I finally got myself some new clothes.  I kept meaning to go get myself something new, and I finally did.  A friend starts selling LulaRoe clothing, it's really soft.  

I never would have dreamed I'd put myself into leggings on purpose.  I'm reminded of that line from Steel Magnolias, "It's like two pigs fighting under a blanket.". Some things don't need to be seen.  I keep feeling shame for my body. I have spent most of my life hiding my bosom, and wearing things that hide me.  But I've come a long way, not as far as I wanted to be by now, in fact, I've grown kind of stagnant in my weight loss.  Time to kick it up a notch, but that's another story.  However, it got me thinking, Why should I wait any longer to celebrate the small steps I have made?  I decided not to.  If I want to look better in leggings, I can work on that too.  But really, they look pretty good on me now. 

Eric is getting out too.  He has joined the Team for a Via de Cristo weekend, which will be second weekend of October.  He's helping out in the Kitchen.  But he gets to zip away to Serve, get closer to God, and stuff.  And I get a chance to try to hold down the fort, something new considering the last couple months.  Today, I took all three boys to Sam's gymnastics.  

Jacob did well as long as there was a screen. 
He's happy to watch Yo Gabba Gabba or Superwhy.  Early in the day, he's easy to ply.  He's even figured out the preschooler Lego Games and Where's My Water games on my ipad.  He's a maniac!

Sam is the turquoise shirted youngster climbing up the wall, while big brother stalks and watches from the upper right.  Well done sir!  I can already see that in the last 4 weeks that Sam has been doing gymastics at Interactive Academy that he is already making huge progress.  He isn't the slowest one on the team when they do laps.  He's rolling faster, climbing faster.  He's getting stronger.  I am so Proud of him!  He knew that he wanted to do this sport, and he's going for it!  Chris loved watching him, he did a couple laps himself and reported back he wouldn't mind doing gymnastics here too.  High Praise!  Heck, so would I.  This place is Fabulous!  Expensive, but Fabulous!

This sweetboy is good at keeping me company.  

We've been running hot and cold of late, sometimes we get along so swimmingly, he thrills me with his maturity, and then he'll lose it over something minor, and it takes me too long to bring him back, or I have to take screens or ground him to get his attention.  It's been hard. Even just this morning, he wanted to stay home instead of load up, but I can't leave him alone for 2 hours yet.  He hasn't earned that much trust.  He objected.  Highly.  I am pretty sure it's just part of the process, normal stuff for a kid in his shoes, just his reactions prove that all those letters the docs diagnosed him with years ago were spot on.  

Still, then there are moments like this, where for a moment, I forget all the crap, and get to just enjoy their smiles and hugs.  Those good moments get me through all the bad. Someday we'll get more of them.  I look forward to more days like this, where I'm healthier, where they are all healthier, stronger, and happier.  

Thursday, September 22, 2016

6 weeks out

Now it's my turn, Mama is gonna blog a bit.  It's been a very Go Go Go couple of weeks, and I am grateful to just sit and chill a bit.

It's been 6 weeks since my surgery.   I can't believe.  It has really flown by since the third week.  I guess I've been feeling good enough to finally get out and Do Things!  Hooray for finally getting out of the house!

Lisa gave me this shirt a couple years ago, I was nursing Jacob and it didn't go over my boobs at all.  I kept thinking, it will eventually fit when I stop nursing.  Nope.   
But today is a Beautiful day, nice and warm, the First Day of Fall.  

So the  First Day of Fall calls for a Drinkie!   
A Pumpkin Macchiato.  
I didn't know we could do that, a carmel macchiato with pumpkin. Yowza!  

And it's a Good Time to go see Friends!  

I got to hold little Alexis Jane, John John's little sister.   
She sat up pretty well, so it didn't hurt me much to hold her!  
It felt pretty good to hold a baby again.  It feels a lot different with my new chest, like there are less places for a baby to snuggle into.  

I was talking to my sister, and she suggested I take a bra picture with one of my old bras, to give an indication of what my bra size Used to be.  It used to be so big, that not only did many of my cute shirts not fit, but big enough that my family members would put a cup on their head like a hat.  Yeah, not only were my boobs bigger than my baby's head, but bigger than my own!  Lisa double dog dared me to do it to myself, to compare contrast the old bras with the new.  So I debated it, but have decided to go ahead and share it here with just you guys.   Enjoy the Laugh!  

Thursday, September 15, 2016

The Wall

It's been 5 weeks since my Surgery.  I meant to take a picture of myself on the 11th, one month since my surgery.  But instead, we were in Ohio for my Uncle's funeral.  No good opportunity for pictures.

And that's OK.  This pic was last Thursday.  I don't have any other pictures of me from my 1 month Boobiversary.  I'm behind the camera usually, not in front of it.  I'd gotten home from my first run to Ohio late Wednesday night.   My Mother and other Uncle and Sister were getting sick by Thursday.  I loaded up on all my Immune System boosters, particularly my last bottle of Ningxia Red.  I do not want to get sick!  I've been loading up in Inner Defense and drinking my Ningxia, and blasting Thieves.  I feel like I've spent the last month entirely out of commission.  Useless.  I don't want to be Useless anymore.
I have only so much energy.  It's become a Choice.  Do I want to do the dishes or go to the store?  I have to choose.  Doing both doesn't work.  I hate that I'm good at this sort of prioritization.   I got a lot of Experience at this when I was on bedrest for 5 months.
Meanwhile, in other news of my recovery.  My gaps are finally beginning to close.  I've spent the last two weeks slathering on oils.  I made a Fantastic blend of Helichrysum, Myrrh, Lavender, and Sandlewood with a splash of Young Living's V6 carrier oil blend.  This Scar Prevention Blend is Awesome.  Totally Expensive, like 3 top the most expensive side of things, but oh man, my skin just sucks it up, like a sponge.   And this week it started to get itchy, scabs had formed.  This is a good sign!
I am getting a bit more stamina, enough to think I can do things, like go to the store. I can do a few more things, I keep trying.  But I have to be careful with my arms, like if I reach up for a grab, but no elbows.  I reach out with my whole arm and that activates the areas underneath, and that hurts.  So  I have tiny T-rex arms. I can't reach across the table without stabbing pain underneath my armpits. I can feel the scar tissue thickening around the scars, and I just keep pushing.  I keep pushing until I hit the Wall.  The Wall is where my body tells me I'm Done.  I went to Kroger this week, by myself, for the first time in over a month.  "Heavy labor like shopping".  Pushing that full car the last couple rows, and to the car was a lot.  I got home, unloaded, and I was done.  I couldn't move any more.  I shut down.  I had enough energy to grab Jacob, come home, and nap with him.  Good thing, he's so compliant on napping with me during the week. On the weekends, I make sure Daddy is around to make sure he doesn't get into trouble while I sleep.  Otherwise he naps with me.  He's so good to me, he makes my recovery easier.  And I am getting better, slowly but surely.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

A Whirlwind Funeral

What a Whirlwind! 
Last weekend, we went to Ohio for Uncle Ron's Funeral.   
We weren't there for very long, and the trip out wasn't too long.  It actually was easier on my chest to travel on the highway than on the country backroads that I'd taken with my Mom, just more Road Construction.   The boys behaved well, and really, that's all I ask for.  It helped that we were listening to Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief the audiobook all the way there and back again.  

Mom booked us a room at the Country Inn and Suites by Carlson.  Mommy wanted to make sure we had plenty of Room, so she Hooked Us Up!  She really did a great job too.  Our Suite was Sweet!  The big boys had their own room, with TV, and Mommy and Daddy had queen size beds to themselves (well, with Jacob) and a sliding pocket door.  So it was easy to watch tv later in the evening after they went to bed.   They Loved It!  It was much more kid friendly (family of 5 friendly) than the Hilton Garden Inn Ma and I had stayed at the week before. 

We went to the Beer Barrel Pizza place for dinner with Li and the girls next door.  
It was a nice evening to walk there, we even got to sit outside.  And since we walked, there was Beer.
That took some of the stressors away. 

Aunt Lisa had some Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans in her purse (she always likes to keep a bit of candy there).   And the kids were getting antsy while we waited.  They were Fast with the Beer, notsomuch with Food.  The kids were crazy.  Aunt Lisa has no fear of bribery.  She gave him one that "looked like pear".  It was not pear.  She gave my poor baby a Booger flavored jelly bean.  Meanest Aunt Ever!!  And amazingly, Jacob, being a Superchamp, didn't spit it out. He reluctantly chewed it up and ate it.   But, oh the faces this kid makes!

We found a wide open field next to the hotel for the kids to play in.  Let them get some energy out! 

After supper at the Brewery, the kids all wanted to go swimming.  
Mommy isn't allowed to Swim, so I watched a sad documentary on September 11, while they swam.
Aunt Lisa took pictures of Uncle Eric with all 5 yahoos in the pool. 

It's not so bad, since 4 out of 5 of them are less likely to drown now.  
Since swim class this summer, Chris and Sam do well keeping their heads above water.  But I'm not allowed to go swimming until my scars and stitching heal up.  No submersion for me.  Honestly, I missed it, I love a nice relaxing evening swim after a long day's travel.   But I did not miss feeling freezing cold as we get back to the hotel room.  

The big boys crashed hard.  
Chris forgot his stuffy.  Aunt Lisa saved him from a meltdown by McGyvering a washcloth and a hair doodley, but it didn't matter, he found something/someone else to give him comfort.   I snapped this pic when I was checking on them before I went to bed.  They were enchanting.  

All 5 great-grandkids together saying Goodbye to Uncle Ron. 
I don't normally post pictures of my family members after they've passed.  I do take them sometimes, but never post them.  Though, you can't see much here.  This was the moment we arrived, we had come in a caravan from the hotel, and the kids were the first ones into the room.   It was almost sweet.  Bringing them to funerals reminds me of the Circle of Life, and it brings me Joy among the Sorrow.  

All 5 curl up to watch the Ipad, or ipady as the girls call it.  

I have to take flower pictures.  
We asked Uncle Ron last week what his favorite color was, he'd gone to Michigan State, so I thought it would've been green, but his whole house was bedecked in blue.   He surprised us all by answering my question, Red.   Uncle Richard joked, Red was the only color he didn't see on a regular basis.  So for his Farewell, Mom ordered a Red and White casket spray.  It was very pretty.  

This was from one of the bouquets where U Ro used to Volunteer, the Senior Cafe.  

Kids keep occupied with the ipad.  I'm so glad I brought it.  5 on 1 screen is hard, but they did a good job, held up like champs.  The viewing was for 2 1/2 hours prior to the service.  And Uncle Ron was Blessed with a lot of friends and neighbors who came by.  The comments were all the same, How did this happen?  It was so fast?   He never even said he was sick.   
He didn't know.  

With all the insanity, I'd forgotten one tiny thing.  Just the one!  I had picked out a bouquet of flowers to order on Friday, and left the page open Saturday for Eric to double check and ok where the funds were going to come from, because this wasn't the time of the month where we had a lot available, and before I dip into his account I like to touch base with him on these things.  In theory we budget for gifts, but it needed to be moved around, blah blah.  Anyway, I forgot to order... until we walked in at 9:30 Monday morning. Crap! 
I called the Florist, same one I'd picked out.  And I begged them to pull something together.  They did just so happen to have something they could do.  Wonder of wonders, They Did It!  I had flowers with our name on it in 15 minutes, before friends started arriving!  I called them our 'Pulling a Miracle out of our A$$' bouquet.   I wouldn't recommend doing it that way all the time.  I'd wanted purple irises and red things, but in a pinch, this bright bouquet was perfect.   I tell you, if you're ever in Findlay, check out Sink's Florist!  

We went to the graveside for the interrment, and the kids thought it was beautiful out there in the country.  Ron did too.  Each boy picked a flower from his casket at the end.  <3

It's a nice spot.  Apparently, there are a number of Postmen out here on this corner of the Van Horn Cemetery to keep him company.  It's a nice spot.  So by the end we were all pretty content.  

My family puts the Fun in Dysfunctional.  And I'd been dreading what would happen after the service.  But we were able to go to a luncheon at Steve's Dakota Grill and take over a room in the back.   We slugged back a few, giving a "medicinal wine from a teaspoon, then beer from a bottle" toast to Uncle Ron.  Music Man was his Favorite.   And we laughed a bit.   Not like the old days, but still pretty good.  We headed out straight from lunch, and drove home.   It wasn't a bad ride, but it was a crazy few days, and I was relieved it was done.  I got a lot of comfort from being surrounded by my crazy boys.  I love them so, and I'm so glad they have each other.  It's such a Blessing to have family around when the Stuff hits the fan.  

It may be the last time we all get together for a while.  At least, I hope it is.  It's been a rough 15 months for my Mom, losing two brothers and her Mom.  I hope we're done for a fat long time.   

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

A Findlay Story

My Uncle Ron passed away today.
And a lot of stuff happened and I cried all the way home.

It had been 2 weeks to the day that my Mom talked to him, and he mentioned going in, because he'd been having some shortness of breath, and some dizziness.  He was going to hold out until Friday because he had an appointment at the doctor.  But Thursday night, about midnight, a friend of his wrote my Mom.  She was supposed to take him to the doc (dizziness + driving = Bad), but he had cancelled, telling her that he was a little wobbly on his feet, and he'd just call an ambulance.  And then she couldn't get a hold of him.  No answering phone, no responding to IMs.   She was freaking out.  And when they called the hospital, he wasn't there either.   They opted to wait until morning, and send the friend over in person.  As it turned out, at 8:30 the next morning, as she stood on his porch, his friend decided to call the ER one more time before breaking into his house.  As it just so happened, he had gone to bed, before calling for an ambulance to go to the ER.   He wanted a 'good night sleep' at home first.   Later, this became a sign to us that he suspected something wasn't right.  I think he waited to go in, because deep down he knew it was going to be a while before he got home.  A long while.  
Testing that first week revealed Advanced Bile Duct Cancer, with metastases; he had a grapefruit size tumor on his liver, and bubbly tumors in his lungs.  That first weekend they pulled 7 Liters of Liquid off his abdomen, which immediately made him feel better, but still super weak, and he a partial obstruction in his colon.  He was too weak to withstand Surgery or Chemo.   But at this advanced stage (Stage 4), those steps only prolong life, not cure.  So he chose Hospice.  A week after admission he was moved to hospice.  My mother came home right after they moved him.  She was home for one night, and then she and I turned around and went to Ohio together to be with him.  
He was my Godfather, my beloved Uncle, and I wanted to be there over Labor Day weekend.  Eric made the comment, I'd let you go if you could go by yourself.  So I did.  Well, I went with Mom.  We had no idea how long we'd be gone.  At least until Tuesday or Wednesday when we took off, because we had some business to conduct.  

This was the sunset our first evening.  
It was kind of beautiful.  
We were staked out at the Hilton Garden Inn in Findlay.  Uncle Richard is a Hilton frequent flyer and he hooked us up.  Our room was very nice, and the staff very kind to us.  Sure, it was because we were related to him.  But still, it felt good that all the staff recognized us and Mommy when we came in, they even gave Mom a care package... with wine and snacks!  Nice.  

Turns out Findlay is a Nice Town.  I had low expectations, partly because I knew it was a small town.  The intersection 'downtown' is called Main St. and Main Cross.  Wow.  Low Expecations.   But the hospital was nice.  The hospice section was very nice.  The staff was attentive, and very kind.  I think I liked it best that the place didn't smell.  I've worked in hospital, been in them a lot.   And this place didn't smell like a hospital.  They had a family room, with tv, beverages, the coffee was constant.   It was Nice.  And that made me feel better.   I knew my Uncle was being well taken care of when we weren't there.  And that made it possible for us to get a lot done.  

The 'New House'.  
Uncle Ron had moved to Findlay 38 years ago, when he got Transferred there with Marathon.  I remember playing in the backyard at his old house, in IL, but I'd never been to this house. He always made a point to come to us. I knew he loved it, took excellent care of his yard. His flower bulbs were constantly a joy and sign of season changing.  He was on top of leaf removal every fall. And his neighbors were his closest friends.  My other uncle called them nosy.  But considering as family we had never been invited over, his neighbors were the ones that were there.  They leapt in with offers of getting mail, and taking care of the lawn.  They wanted desperately to come see him.  But he declared he didn't want visitors.  I think that hurt them.   It was so surprising, the whole thing was happening so fast.  
Meanwhile, we had some paperwork to rustle up for the lawyers, so Mom and I went over to Uncle Ron's house the first day.   I'd never been there, as I said.  And I loved it.  The trees were so tall.  No wonder he felt like this was an oasis.  It wasn't very kid friendly.  No wonder my brood of insanity was never invited. 

This antenna.  
It's a 30 foot tall radio antenna.  
My Uncle built it!  
He is/was a ham radio operator, having built his first ham radio in high school.  He had a wall of cards from his contacts in the basement.   He had a spare bedroom full of ham radio equipment.  It was amazing to behold.  He was a handy man of many talents.  And the fact, he built this was mind boggling.  He 

This is my Great Grandmother's Radio.  
One of these hundred year old antique jobbies
Oh, and I should mention it still works.  
Of course it did.  I should have known.   He fixed it up to work.  He even told Mom he's got extra bulbs for it in the closet.  Of course he does.  
The man could fix anything.  
When my car died when he went camping, he pulled all the tools to fix it out of his minivan. 
It prompted the new camping game, "What's in Ron's Car?"
He had everything.  

He saved everything.  
There were files for every email, he'd print them off and file them, filed by year, filed by person. This organization of this man was Impressive.  I could believe it.  He saved everything.  The important stuff.  I found cards from ages ago, with pictures of Lisa and I.   This is 1981.  I was in 1st grade, and Lisa in Preschool.  She was a thumbsucker, but would pick at scabs with her index finger, but only in the circle of influence within her thumb in her mouth.  She had scabs until like 2nd grade. I was cute though.  I still have that dress.  It's currently being worn by my Hattie Furskin doll.  I was in a commercial back in 1981, for the Indianapolis Public Library on like Channel 4.  The guy making the commercial knew Daddy and was lamenting how tough it was to find a cute 6 year old.  Daddy knew one. ;)  So I wore that dress.  It was on TV.  But this was back in the day before VCRs.  I have one friend with a copy of that commercial, they'd recorded it on Laserdisk!  I think she still has it.  But I was cute.  I seriously felt like I was stepping back in time in his home.  There was some awesome 80s, but also vintage classic 70s awesome.  Shag carpet in the office.  Baby blue toilets.  Vintage Awesomeness.  If I could pick up this house and plop it in Indy I'd bring it all home. 

This was 'The Mess'. 
He apologized to Mommy, I'm sorry for the mess. 
He apparently used to do bills at the dining room table.   
There were 3 dishes in the sink.  I had to laugh.  You should see my living room right now.  

The Mess. 
Ha.  I loved how nicely organized his closets were.  Not stuffed to the gills.
So Organized! And the color coordination! Blue had to be his favorite color.  
Blue was everywhere!

His closet.   He didn't have every square inch of rack covered.  
There was a ton of space.  
We even found his Scout Shirt.  I had to take a picture.  

All the flannels.  Man, I loved this sight.  
This was what finally brought me to tears as we were picking things out.  
He had his Original Teddy Bear from when he was a kid.  
He had Grandpa's old hat from Germany, and a box full of film negatives.  
He saved everything, especially the important stuff. I have stuff like that saved at my house too.

This made Mommy and I just stand there and cry.  

This is his backyard.   
Does this give you a better perspective of the Awesomeness of The Antenna?!
Nice looking backyard too, huh?

My Uncle didn't have a will planned out.  
So they had to ask him his Wishes.  He told us he wanted to be at Van Horn Cemetery, or Cremated and Sprinkled in Greers Ferry, Arkansas, where he used to camp with Uncle Rick.  Sounds pretty heavenly to me.   We went to check out Van Horn Cemetery, to check it out for ourselves.  Uncle Ron was a Rural Route Post Office man for a decade or two, as a second career, after Marathon unceremoniously dropped him after almost 30 years of service.  They dumped him so they could save $ by not maxing out his pension.  A$$hats.  Anyway, he knew a number of mailmen buried out here.  It was about 20 minutes outside of town, in the country.  Back there by the trees is the river.  His first Rural Route delivered out here, and he got teary talking about it.  I can see why.  It was Beautiful.  

Meanwhile, this small country Cemetery, was the home to the body of Tell Taylor. 
Who's Tell Taylor you ask? 
Tell Taylor wrote Down by the Old Mill Stream.  And he lived in Findlay.  
The Taylor family has a strip in the Van Horn Cemetery.  And Tell Taylor's grave has the chorus engraved on the stone.  I imagine Uncle Ron would've loved this.  He loved some old classic music.  After all, he played Trombone in the Pitman Band.  "Boys Band"-The Music Man was his favorite musical.  He quote it all the time.  

We went back to his house to find more paper, do a bit of laundry.  
I decided Lisa needed this gold chair.  Our parents used to have a gold chair way back in the day.  So long ago, as we tell the kids that Nana and Opa were married... to eachother!  Lisa loves all that vintage awesomeness.   This was Ron's den, where he'd apparently been sleeping for a couple weeks, on account of not feeling well.  It was pretty dusty upstairs.  

I love that Uncle Ron's car had his ham radio handle as his license plate. 

Mom and Uncle Richard weren't feeling well.  Eating healthy on the road is hard. The stress was weakening their immune systems.  Uncle Richard got sick last week, and Ma got hit as soon as we got home today.  She was starting to feel it a bit yesterday.  So we hit Denny's for dinner last night in favor of their chicken noodle soup.  They were craving it.  There was only enough for one bowl.  So they shared.  Aww, isn't that cute?!

Before I hit the road today, I snapped a few shots of his home before we headed out, as he had it.  

Uncle Ron's office.  Now this was a bit of a mess.  But, I loved the global wallpaper, the gold shag carpet, and it was evident he was trying to get it all organized.   Cool.  

Love this blue carpet.  The formal living room.  I don't think he hung out here as much, but it was where the stereo was, with all his classic music.  

This felt like coming back to my own living room when my parents lived together in early 80s, or my grandparents.  I wished I'd been able to come here more often, or for a better occasion than this.  

So Today.  

This is my last picture of Uncle Ron, as I held his hand.  

The Hospice  called us this morning at 6:30 am to tell his his BP was low, and he wasn't swallowing anymore.  He'd really stopped communicating yesterday.  Monday night, he told us, we could Go, that he wasn't really going to get better.  We only visited once on Tuesday, he wasn't talking.   But he'd wake to look at us, and I gave him a sip of water, he wasn't really sipping, he didn't have strong enough suction.  Ice was good too.  And the staff was on it, giving some ice every time they popped in. My Mom and Uncle didn't want to run down to the hospital from the hotel after that call.  But one of the items on our list for the day was to clear his room of things we wanted to keep.  I didn't figure they'd be any more inclined to go after he was gone.   And he was going.  So I went down. 

It was nice to be there.  I told him all the cliches, to let him know it was all ok.  Go to the Light.  He'd done well.  I told him we had gotten everything done, and that is was OK.  (That was only mostly true, as it turned out.)  He'd been so well organized he made it pretty easy for us, all things considered.  But I hung out with him a while, and the staff kept coming in to check on him.  I knew he wasn't going to be alone if I left. So I left.  It seems like my Family members don't want to die with the family around.  Uncle Bob died after Mom and Dick went home to nap.  Aunt Debbie died when we took Robbie on a sandwich run.  Grandma passed in her sleep.  

Uncle Ron passed away less than an hour after I left.  I'd driven from the hospital to meet up with Mom and Uncle Dick having breakfast.  When we got back upstairs after breakfast, we got The Call.

So we finished our last couple things, had lunch at Ron's house, we didn't want to leave laundry half done, and came home.  I needed to be home with my Love Bugs.   Hugging Sweetboys makes everything else better.