Monday, January 29, 2007

A little of this, a little of that

I'm finally out of my sugar induced coma which is apparently the Minnesotan way of mourning. I've been to the gym twice. My goal is to lose all the weight I gained in Minnesota before I return to Minnesota in three weeks. And I'm taking my exercise DVD's with me when I return.

I've been cleaning and organizing and all that good stuff. I spent three days looking for sturdy but cheap bookshelves for the kids' room. Then I spent four hours to organize the kids' room. Since when do you need an engineering degree to get a Barbie out of a box. And the Barbie dream castle is so big I'm sticking it out on the back porch and telling Allison it's her new room. Victor got so many legos I'm going to ask him to build another room onto our place. Hey, we're broke, we've got to work with what we have.

Today I listed about 13 books on They were books that I needed for my Ph.D and since I'm not getting that anymore, I don't really need them. I've already sold one of the books. When I'm through selling the books, I'm going to sell the horrible Christmas presents I got. If I can't work, I should make money somehow.

That's it here.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Thank you for your kind words

I am back home. I want to thank everyone for their kind words of sympathy concerning my grandpa. The funeral was a full military funeral and it was beautiful. I cannot say enough about the funeral home that took care of it (It's the only one in the area (five towns) so it's nice that they're good). The casket was amazingly beautiful and on the four corners they had statuettes of American Eagles with the US flag. Each one of my grandpa's children got one and they also gave one to my grandma. The local Legion was there (only 7 men; the area is dying) and two girls from the highschool played taps (the only time I cried). The pastor, who was new and had only met my grandpa after he was in the hospital in a coma, did an amazing job. He talked about how full a life my grandpa led because he chose to live instead of mourning what he had loss. He also found the song my grandma remembered the night my grandpa died. All she had was the words and he found it on CD and played it at the funeral. They gave her a tape of the funeral and she had listened to it three times over the past week. The funeral home also made a remembrance DVD and it was terrific. I'm going to get one. It was nice seeing all my family. We hadn't all been together since my grandpa's 80th birthday. The whole thing was nice, with everyone able to remember the goods times and people were mourning, but also happy that my grandpa is no longer in pain. The only bad thing; it was 6 degrees below zero when we were at the cemetery.

I am very happy to be home though. Grandma had received food from 15 different people and I kid you not, 12 of them were sweets. Chocolate bars, pies, coffee cake, cookies, cake, banana bread, pumpkin bread and it goes on and on. I really wanted to go to the gym today but yesterday as I was running through the Chicago airport (I hate the Chicago airport) to make my next flight (which I did, with three minutes to spare) I pulled a groin muscle and I can barely walk today. I also don't have my luggage. But I should get to talk to my husband today, so that makes up for all of it.

Thank you all again for your support.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Death of a hero

My grandpa died this afternoon. Apparently he went very quickly, within 15 minutes, and I hope he did not suffer any. My grandpa was a great man and a hero to me.

My grandpa volunteered to be in the army during World War II. He claims it was because his older brother had also joined. He trained at Camp Hood in TX. He was sent to Okinawa. He was there for 4 days. He spent the next 13 months in the hospital. He had crawled out of his fox hole to help the medics get one of his wounded friends. He was hit in the back with shrapnel. His spinal cord was completely crushed. He has a hole in his back that you could fit your closed fist into. The doctors gave him 5 years to live and said he would never walk again.

My grandpa taught himself how to walk again. The doctors never figured out how. He lived to have 4 children, 10 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren. He was 84 when he died and he walked until a week ago. He is the most amazing man ever.

I never heard my grandpa complain, although as he got older it was harder for him to hide the severe pain he suffered. He never got angry or depressed about his situation or the fact he would never be the farmer he had always wanted to be. In his eyes, he was not a hero, just an everyday man doing what a man should do.

My grandpa loved corny jokes and telling stories. He enjoyed company, playing cards and an occasional sweet or two. He was an honest man who never said how he felt, but treated people with dignity and respect.

Because his blood runs through me, his stubbornness and perseverance, I feel as if I could also accomplish anything I wanted. When I left UW I felt as if I was letting him down. But I know he was always impressed with my studies and my travels. He had attended technical training and was proud of what I had done. He was always a supporter of whatever I did. He was my hero and he will be missed.

Dilemma solved

To no one's satisfaction though. I will not get to see Wes because the Navy has changed their schedule again. As long as he's home when he's supposed to be, I guess that ok. I'm really in no shape to travel anyway.

My grandpa, well, that situation has gotten more complicated. They put him on fluids in order to keep him alive until the weekend when everyone could say good-bye. Only now, he's strong enough to be off the ventilator and the stomach pump. But he doesn't recognize anyone and if he continues to live, he will have to be in a nursing home. Nothing any of us want for him. Even if he gets "better" the doctor is still only giving him 6 months. I have no desire to see him this way. I would much rather show up for a funeral and to take care of my grandma after everyone leaves. I hate this situation and wish my husband was here to help me through it.

I still can't breathe. Today at the store, I kept hearing this weird noise and finally figured out it was my nose.

I went to Micheals today. They had all their Christmas stuff on sale. I bought Christmas presents for about 6 people for under $35.00. Not bad. Now I hope I don't forget I bought all this stuff.

When I got home, in addition to the two years of Smithsonian magazine I need to read, I had 6 other magazines waiting for me. I finished a couple yesterday and planned on finishing one today and then I went to the mailbox and the stupid postman had brought me ANOTHER stinking magazine. Can I become a professional magazine reader because nothing else is really panning out right now (hi, I need a job but I'll be out of town alot because my grandpa's about to die and my husband wants me to visit him at a moments notice. Can I just call you when I can work?).

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Moral dilemma

This is not really what I had in mind for the new year. I thought I'd get a job, pay off some bills, visit my husband in some far of place, learn a new hobby, connect with friends, old and new, and just generally become a better me. Instead I have to make a very hard choice.

My grandpa is in ICU. The doctor gave him less than a week to live. He is old (84) and feeble which greatly limits what they can do (no surgery, no paddles, and they can't even feed him at this point). I can't actually go visit right now because I have the sinus infection from hell (the dr, looking into my ear, "wow, that must really hurt!"). But hopefully, within a few days, the anti-biotics will kick in. So what's the dilemma?

My husband called today and wants me to fly out to see him. He did call back and say it would be a couple of days before he knew for sure, but if I can, he wants me to leave immediately. See my dilemma? I don't want to miss my grandpa's funeral (yes, I know he's not dead yet, but let's be realistic), but I want to see my husband too. And this would be the only time I could visit my husband while he's gone. My grandma already knows that if something happened to my grandpa I would come out there for about a month to take care of her. And that I could do either way. I'm sure this will work itself out, I just wish it wasn't something I had to worry about now. And if I visit Wes and my grandpa dies, I won't be getting a job anytime soon. But family comes first. It always has and it always will.

Here's hoping that no one else's new year started off this way.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Snow saga

I am finally back at my parent's house in TX. We (my parents, brother, his girlfriend and his son, my sister and her fiance and me) went to visit my aunt in Denver Colorado. My grandma and aunt, uncle, three cousin, one wife and girlfriend were also there. That was a total of 18 people in a three bedroom house. My sister, two cousins, one girlfriend and my sister's fiance and I slept in the basement (non-finished) on air-mattresses. Elise's and mine air mattress leaked. It's not very comfortable sleeping on concrete. We had a very good time, but on Thursday a snow storm came in. Seven in our group were snow-boarding. It should have been an hour and a half trip home. It took my dad 9 hours to get home. Those in his car had to get out and push repeatedly. One time he came within 3 inches of hitting a stuck semi-truck. It took my brother 10 hours to get home. He had to get towed by a wrecker and he burned out his anti-lock brake system trying not to hit anyone. Here's a picture taken three days after the snow storm, just to give you an idea.

While the rest of our family was snow-boarding, we were having fun in the yard.

Friday my brother decided he needed to leave immediately in order to avoid the snow-storm that was predicted for the weekend (up to 30 inches). He left in such a hurry that he didn't check the internet. Big mistake. Turns out almost all the roads were closed. He finally made it to Trinidad CO, 180 miles from where we were. The first night they (him, his girlfriend and his 3 year old son) slept in the car. The next day a couple noticed their TX plates and invited them to spend the day/night with them in their hotel room. The next day it was rumored that the road had opened. It was, in CO, but not in NM. My brother spent another night at the hotel. They finally left the next day. He spent more time in Trinidad than he had with us. Oh well, his loss.

Meanwhile, it was New Year's Eve. As you can see from the picture, it was incredibly fun-filled.

We were going to leave on the 31st, but the roads didn't open until that evening. We decided we would rather wait a day and let the rest of the ice melt and everyone else who had been stuck in Denver to leave first. We left yesterday (the 2nd) and made it home by midnight. We were the last people at the aunt's house. We had a great time, but it's nice to be home (even if it is just my parent's house). I hope everyone else had a great Christmas and New Year's. I can't wait to see what this year has for me!