It has been a while since I've been able to dedicate as much energy to writing this blog as I would like. I've reached a place where "life" has been getting in my way. Now that it's summer, I would like to think I'll have more time, but somehow, with everything that's going on I doubt it. Maybe I should just close it down under the circumstances, but I don't want to do that. Sometimes writing this blog feels like my lifeline. So, for the time being, I will just go along as often and as well as I can and hope that you will stick with me.
Here's what's happening here and now.
Both of our little princesses played soccer this spring. They played in a YMCA league and in their very young age groups, they didn't keep score. Both girls did very well. Ezra took to soccer much better than I thought she would and kept a smile on her face the whole time she was on the field. She had a great coach who gave lots of positive feedback to everyone and made sure every child played and had a good experience. We need more youth coaches like him. June was really good at soccer. She's very well coordinated for a four-year-old. She scored several goals in every game. Her coach was a little less organized, although I appreciate her efforts. Trying to coach a group of four year old kids is like herding cats. At best, it's organized chaos. We made a trip up specifically to see them play and we were able to catch another game when we had to go to San Antonio for a business dinner.
Last weekend I went to San Antonio for Ezra's first dance recital. While I really enjoyed it, it was really long. We sat through 28 performances of ballet, tap, tumbling, jazz, hip-hop, and a few other things I don't even know the names of. The performers ranged in age from 2 to approximately 60 (which included some grandmas). Ezra was in the 20th group. It was so long that my knees hurt when I finally stood up.
I think Ezra's favorite part of the whole thing was that she got to wear stage makeup. It was her very first time to ever wear makeup and, as you can see, she was thrilled and cute as a bug. It also didn't hurt that her friend Arabella was right next to her through the entire performance. Arabella's mom, Andi, and Katy were stage moms for their group. As you can see from the group picture, Ezra is the tallest in her group. It's a position she will need to get used to, just as her mom did. I was particularly pleased with her willingness to perform in front of such a large audience. The recital was held in the Lila Cockrell Theater in the San Antonio Convention Center in front of a packed house.
I was very impressed with what a good audience June was. For a 4 year old, she was amazingly well behaved and patient throughout the entire performance. Did I mention it was long?
There were a couple of reasons that Patrick didn't make the quick trip to San Antonio with me. One of the things that has been keeping us busy is his mother. Friday was her 85th birthday. She has been having health problems for a while now. I have not written about them before because she is a very private person and would not want details of her life on the internet. But, the family has given me permission to share at this point.
Mama Ruthie, as I've called her since our marriage almost 40 years ago, has been in frail health for about two years. On Valentine's Day this year she fell in the entry of her house while opening the front door. As a result of the fall, she broke her pelvic bone in three places. After about two weeks in the hospital, she was moved to a nursing home/rehabilitation center near our home. She made very slow progress and since then has only been able to walk with a walker and someone to assist her.
About three weeks ago, an alert nurse noticed that she seemed confused and unresponsive. She contacted Mama Ruthie's doctor on Saturday morning. The doctor immediately had her transported to the hospital emergency room. At the hospital, they confirmed that she'd had a stroke. After about a week she was responding well to treatment and therapy so was transferred to the rehabilitation center of the same hospital. During the transfer, Patrick noticed that the side of her face started to droop again and she exhibited weakness on one side and seemed confused. He called it to the attention of the nurse who immediately called the hospital's crash team. They were able to intervene quickly and prevented more extensive damage. But, back to the hospital room she went.
After a couple of days, they started therapy again. This time she was not cooperative. Some days she would do part of the therapy, but then she would say she was too tired or just say she didn't want to do any more. Eventually, she completely refused to do any more therapy. After she refused therapy four days in a row, they discharged her in accordance with hospital policy. She declined to return to the nursing home/rehab center, so she went home. She is very weak and can not walk nor take care of her personal needs. The two strokes have damaged her short-term memory. She can't remember things like who has visited or when she last ate.
She has two adult daughters and a teenage granddaughter who currently live in her home. They have assumed the role of caretaker. With very few exceptions, since Valentine's Day one or both of us has gone to the hospital or nursing home daily. Now we visit her at home every few days. She is the last of our parents and I can feel her slipping away a little more every time she falls or has a medical incident. This is going to be tough.
The other reason Patrick didn't go to San Antonio for the recital is that he is having knee replacement surgery today. He is actually in surgery right now and I'm writing this from the waiting room outside the OR. He will be in the hospital at least 3 days and then he will start daily therapy. I will have to drive him to therapy and take care of everything at home. We have told his family that we are out of taking care of his mom for the foreseeable future. I expect that he will be able to return to work in about a month. I really hope that nothing more happens to his mom while he is recovering.
We are also dealing with some issues with our home. When our drought finally broke earlier this spring, we had about 3 inches of rain in less than two hours. It was early morning on a work day and we were having coffee in the living room. Patrick got up and went to the kitchen. I heard him ask me if I spilled something. I replied that I had not and got up to check. We quickly realized that water was coming into the house around the baseboards. Fortunately, we were still at home and were able to use towels and mops and keep the flooding somewhat at bay. Also luckily, we do not have any carpet. All our floors are vinyl planks that look like hard wood. Two or three days later, on Friday night, it happened again. Basically, a cloudburst stalled right over our neighborhood. Again, we had 3-4 inches of rain in just a couple of hours and water came in around the foundation. This time the power failed and we were trying to hold the flooding at bay in the dark. This time every room in the house had water except for the front bedroom.
Last summer, when Patrick lost his job, we seriously considered dropping our FEMA flood insurance. The policy came due right in the middle of his unemployment and it was seriously on the table. We've lived in this house for 30 years and never had any problems with flooding, so we didn't think it would be much of a risk. I feel so lucky that we didn't drop it. Who could have known that we would have so much rain so fast so many times this year? We have not yet received our settlement, but the preliminary paperwork shows that it will pay an amount adequate to replace all the floors. We feel very blessed.
After the second big rainfall, we had a french drain system installed all around the back yard. Again last Friday we had almost 4 inches of rain in under two hours. The drain system worked well except for one drain which was too high. As you can see in the photos below, that one drain allowed water to pool on the patio. We have since had it lowered so it should work in the future. It didn't quite keep up last Friday, but it kept up well enough that we did not get water in the house.
Later this summer, Katy and I will go shopping for new flooring. After Patrick recuperates adequately from his knee replacement, we'll be getting new floors.
So, please forgive me if I don't post more often. As I think you can see, my plate is full. I really enjoy blogging and love hearing from all of you. Please stay in touch. I will do my best to keep you up to date.
NOTE: I just spoke with Patrick's doctor. The surgery took exactly as long as expected and went well. There was much less damage to the knee than he expected. He'll be in recovery for a while yet, then moving to a room. He will be in the hospital until at least Saturday.