Wednesday, December 31, 2008

spilled milk

Oh, yeah....Mom was walking around the house in a dazed sort of way saying nothing, until I fumbled a full jug of milk up to the counter and spilled some of it--very nearly a catastrophic accident. Then she looked at me and laughed. Thanks, Mom!


Yes, Mom has spoken a few sentences! I had my doubts when I heard she had asked her brother Fred if he wanted to stay the night when he visited this week, but it was confirmed by both Fred and Grandpa, so I guess it's so! I was amazed. Since Chad and his family are out of town, my kids and I spent last night with Mom and Dad and I left this afternoon. It was cold, but not too windy, and the sun was shining with no clouds to block it, so I went with Mom on her walk to the corner and back. We had their two dogs and my two dogs I had brought for the overnight stay. Out of the blue Mom said, "I haven't taken these dogs on a walk before." I was stunned. At the first sound I started reading her lips, willing for the sentence to go on and on. Every sentence is a surprise gift to be enjoyed. You can't coax her to say more, or to speak at all, but sometimes she just does. So we enjoy the moment and go on. When we go to the corner I said, "Do you want to walk up the road or back up through the pasture?" not expecting an answer, but she said, "Go up the road." Twice she got onto the dog with a "Get back here, Addy." I willed the dog to roam more just to hear her speak. And halfway up the dirt road she said, "Carl picks me up here sometimes." It was such a surprise after so many days of "nothing." And what she said was accurate and made sense. Great day!!

Sunday, December 28, 2008


The day was nice and warm, a good day to be out and about. Mom, Dad, Chad's parents, and all of our children made a total of 13 for Christmas dinner at my house. Allen wasn't able to make it, but we still had a full house and that was nice. My folks were here for about 2 hours and Mom only went out a couple of times, which was quite unusual. At my house, she only goes in the yard, thankfully, and there were plenty of kids to keep tabs on her whereabouts. For the second year in a row we did not exchange gifts, which made the holidays much less stressful for Dad (and everybody), and no less enjoyable. Dad enjoyed visiting with Chad's dad---they are two of a kind. Mom's appetite remains good. I cut her turkey up pretty small and she had no problems eating, helping herself to a second serving of chocolate pie afterwards. (Mom and Dad eating dessert--the table really was full before this was taken!)

At Mom and Dad's house, Christine ignored Dad's request that they ignore the holidays all-together, and she, Devri, and Eric went to a tree farm and drug home a tree for them. They put it up in the dining room and spent the day at their house decorating, stringing popcorn, drinking hot tea, and merry-making.

So, Christmas came and went without event, which a blessing--one more Christmas with my parents 'round the table! We are indeed thankful.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

He delivers!

Nice day today---warm and good for getting out in the fresh air. Dad decided to cut a little wood and Mom went with him. She was walking around in the field, as usual....nothing really to hurt her, if you keep in mind the vicinity she is in. When she was done walking aroung, she headed back to the house via the dirt road. Well, it just so happened that the mail was coming through about that time, so the carrier picked up Grandma and brought her and some Christmas cards to the front door. Not finding Dad at home, he drove up in the field to find him and say that she had been delivered. I'm telling you---we get full service from our postman!

One of Mom's very favorite tales was when one day she was standing up at the mailbox with a chicken she was getting ready to butcher....(I have no idea why she was doing this), but along came Rick the mail carrier and said, "Let me show you how to do it." He stepped out of the car and wrung that poor chicken's neck in a split second. She was so impressed. She said, "I've never seen anything like it, just 'boop' and it was done!" She told me a million times, "Yeah, one time I was standing up at the mailbox with this chicken, and Rick came by with the mail......" We-uns are easily impressed.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

even in the dark

The neighbor, Bobby Morris, came to visit Dad the other day after dark and Dad said to himself, "She won't go out because it's dark outside" and left the door unlocked. Needless to say, in 15 minutes he ended up driving search and rescue where he found her already heading back from her walk to Magnus's. She had her gloves and jacket, but was not a good thing. I didn't jump Dad's case too much, though, because if I did he'd never tell me anything. Plus, he felt bad about it. I am having a very hard time getting Dad to believe that Mom is beyond reason now and just because she hasn't done something before doesn't mean she won't do it today. Dad gained some insight, though. He now knows to lock the door whether night or day and even if he plans to go back out in five minutes.

Poor Dad. He really wants to believe she knows a little bit about what she's doing, but it just isn't so. He makes his errors, but really he's being quite a trouper. Allen and I always figured Dad should die first because if Mom would die first, he'd be completely incapacitated. But he's fooled us, doing things I've never seen him do before---such as driving to Joplin. He used to say he wouldn't drive to Joplin to see Jesus Christ, himself. Now he hops up here whenever he pleases, completely stress free. There was also a time when Dad hadn't been to Wal-Mart in five he's a super shopper. And have I mentioned he uses the ATM machine?! WOW.

Magnus inquiry

A dedicated reader has inquired as to "Where is the Magnus Corner?" as I had mentioned that's where Mom walks. The Magnus Corner is named for a man, Magnus Barnett, who owned the property when Mom and Dad bought it. (I was a little girl at this time.) We would see Magnus at his house sometimes and I only recall him being a wizened old man who looked to be about 110 and he lived in a very tiny, dark house that had a funky smell to it. I think it's called "old people" smell. Dad says Magnus was so stingy he could squeeze a buffalo nickel until it...well....pottied. [paraphrased] I don't know about that.

Anyway, this property goes from Highway HH south to my parent's house and is 80 acres, I think. It consists of gently rolling giant hills and a bit of woods, both being quite beautiful. In years past, a house made of one of the old barracks from Camp Crowder sat on the corner where Quetzel (the dirt road) and Highway HH intersect. This was "The Magnus House," which we converted to a barn for many years before we had to tear it down for safety reasons. Since it is no longer standing, I refer to this location as the "Magnus Corner," being on the corner of the "Magnus Place"--the acreage. Chad, my husband, thinks it is about a quarter mile to the corner. Mom walks through the fields to this corner where there is a gate she exits through (often leaving open), then loops back towards the house via Quetzel Road. If allowed, she will do this several times/day. In good weather I enjoy walking with her, but right now--not so much. The big fear is that she will cross the highway when she reaches the corner rather than looping back towards the house.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

"master of his domain"

I had the first argument I've ever had with my dad this week and it was a doozy. When I was a kid, he told me that if he ever got old and senile that I should tell him to take a hike (paraphrased). I told him this week, "You're there, Dad." It began with the fact that Mom snuck out of his sight while he was washing dishes this week and was up by the highway when it was 15 degrees outside. Also, she walked across the highway at another time. And that's just two of the times he told me about. No doubt there are others. I said, "The locks are going on the doors, right now." I've been hinting heavily for some time that the doors should have locks, but he was adamantly opposed saying, "I'll do better, it's too much trouble, I'll lock myself out, it's dangerous, it costs too much, I have too many keys already, we need to talk about this later, etc. etc." I said, "No, Dad, we're not waiting and we're not discussing. My handyman-guy is coming down ASAP." He was mad. I was mad, too. So, today the guy came down and put on the locks. They are like deadbolts, but they lock from the inside or outside with a key. One key works on both doors. We also got him big, bright keys---one has Sponge-Bob Squarepants on it, which he thought was funny. I even wrote arrows on the doors pointing the way to turn the key for "lock" and "unlock." I made him practice, practice, practice until he was comfortable. When he saw that he could do it and he wasn't going to lock himself out, he lit up like a Christmas tree and said, "I am master of my domain!" So, we waited to see what Mom would do. She tried the door, but when it wouldn't budge, she just walked away with a "whatever" look on her face. She did not stress, or act in any way frustrated. About every four minutes she'd try the door again and as before, gave it a 'whatever' look and moved on.

The rest of the night was completely at peace. Dad was relaxed and acting cussing in frustration and pulling Mom away from the door. The house stayed warm, too. He quickly called his neighbor to tell what wonderful locks he has on his doors!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

scroll down for new photo added

Also, when Ellie does something stupid, (like losing her balance and falling over), Mom laughs. Thankfully, Ellie does a lot of stupid things and Mom enjoys each one. Of course, hearing Mom laugh makes me laugh. It's great!


Dad and I were trying to get Mom to write something yesterday. I said, "Write what you are thinking." And she did:
what you are thinking
what you are thinking
what you are thinking
and she handed the paper back to me.

So Dad gave it a try and told her to write something about me. She wrote three words again and again. It said, "I'm (a three syllable unintelligible word), butt"
We tried to decifer the middle word with no luck. It was spelled differently each time, but always had three syllables. She had "greet" in there and "fur" and "gat" and I couldn't make heads or tails of it. So I said, "Ok, let me watch you it slowly." So she wrote carefully and slowly while I read aloud.

"I'm gettfull, ....t ....butt."

I turned ashen and said, "She's writing,'I'm forgetful, but." She nodded yes. I just smiled at her and said, "Yes, you're forgetful, but that's ok." and Dad said, "It sure is." The blood drained from my face and Dad was stunned. It would be better if we thought she had no clue what was going on, but now I think she does at least a very little bit and it makes me sad for her. But I don't know what to do.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


Mom's blood pressure, pulse, and all that stuff are great. She lost 1.5 pounds since last visit, but she could probably drink that much weight in water.

Sunday, December 7, 2008


That's the name for Dad's new bundle of joy. Eric and I took her to Dad on Saturday in a pink bandana and matching collar and lead. He loves her. Christine said he was down on his knees in the living room playing with her today and said, "Everybody should have a puppy." When Mom saw Ellie she chuckled to herself. She's a nice quiet puppy--enjoys rolling around in the floor and taking long naps. She's soft and likes to snuggle and play. Dad likes to walk around behind when she goes through the house just to see what she will do next. Pictures will be forthcoming. My camera bit the dust, so I have to rely on Chris to take the photos and e-mail them to me when she has time. Since it's finals week, it's not really a priority.

Christine brought Mom up tonight to listen to Devri sing in a Christmas concert for the vocal studio. Dad stayed home. He needed a break and this was a good time for it. Again, Mom clapped appropriately and smiled a lot. She nodded that she enjoyed it and was very attentive. Christine had her all decked out with earrings, make-up, and the whole deal. She looked very pretty. She says Mom's losing a lot of hair lately. I don't know what that's about. Christine also reports that she has to all but get in the shower with Mom to get her to wash her hair. She doesn't like water on her ears, so Christine has to go after her with the hand-held. When Christine told me this, Mom chuckled.

Christine has finals tomorrow and then will be off for the holidays, basically. She looks forward to not having to drive to school every day and says she will enjoy her time at home. She enjoys the farm and likes to read in the stove room where it is always nice and toasty. Her presence will give Dad extra support, which is great. She has been a godsend for Allen and I to take on this responsibility---and she really wants to do it. I get off work on the 19th and will be able to stay with them after that, so Christine can have a break, too.

Oh, Eric turned 14 this week. Christine provided a cake for Grandma and Grandpa's house so we sang and ate cake there on Saturday. Mom was doing fine....nothing unusual....appears content and comfortable.

Monday, December 1, 2008


(Mom making a fruit salad.) For the last few years my Mom and Dad have had Thanksgiving together with Chad's parents. This year, Chad's dad (Wayne) and wife (Mary) were hosting the dinner, but I gave Dad my blessing to bow out. It stresses him so much to get Mom ready to go somewhere, that it's not worth it sometimes. After dinner, Mary and I packed up plates of food and cobbler and I took them down for Mom and Dad to eat. Then Sunday evening, Chad and my kids and I made dinner for Mom and Dad at their house. There were a couple of things Mom was not able to do when I asked her to. First, she could not "bring me seven plates." She brought five. And she could not, "Put a knife, fork, and spoon by each plate." Some plates had all spoons and some two forks and a knife, but she did have three utensils by each plate, so that's something. No big deal. We all just sat down and traded back and forth until we got what we needed:) I must say she did make a mean fruit salad. She followed the two step direction of "open the can and drain the juice" followed by "pour it in the bowl." She also "put 1/2 of the whipped topping in the bowl." I thought that was pretty good, really. I wondered if she'd catch the "1/2" part and she did. She also had to take all the stems off the marachino cherries, because I wasn't paying attention when I bought them and got the cherries with stems, rather than without. Everybody is alive and physically healthy, and able to get together for Thanksgiving for hugs, kisses, and two kinds of pie. That is something I really thank God for!! (Eric, Christine, Devri, and Mom enjoying dinner.)