That End Up

I don't know where I'm going but I can't wait to get there.

April 24, 2013

Filed under: Daily — Karli @ 4:16 pm

I was writing this in my head today and I thought that I’d start with “I hate Parkinson’s”.  But that’s a wasted sentiment.  If you know Parkinson’s, then you hate it.  You are horrified by what has done to your loved one, your friend or yourself.  And I want to tell you right now that I’m sorry that you know what I’m talking about.  It’s not fair.  I wish that I could you look you in the eyes right now and give you a giant hug.  We know what this means.  We hate Parkinson’s.

But I don’t really want to write about that.  I want to write about my dad and I’d like most of it to be about him and not his disease.  He’s a frustrating guy right now.  If you knew him when he was well I’m guessing that “frustrating” isn’t the first word that you would have used to describe him.  Or maybe you would, this is his daughter writing.  He could have been horrible when he was healthy but I just can never see that.  Anyway, he’s headache-inducing now.  Isn’t that a horrible thing to write about anyone?  Especially someone you love?  It’s true though.  His personality has been forever marred by Parkinson’s.  His hobbies have been stripped from him as it progresses.  His ability to communicate with others has gradually eroded to the point where his own daughters find it almost impossible to spend an hour in his company without checking the clock.  Constantly.  I hate Parkinson’s.

There I go again.  What I really want to tell you is that I love my dad.  I’m proud of him.  He is the most positive person I’ve ever met.  He has a passion for music and travel that has become a huge part of who I am.  He enjoys pretty much every person he’s ever met and he would be the first person to encourage you to just “pick up the phone, do it!”  He remembers the last time he saw you and the first time you met.  And if you’ve forgotten he is likely to tell you of it.  He loves stories as a form of communication and this is something else I’ve picked up.  He is determined, he is honorable, he is generous and he is brave.  I love him.  And I really hate Parkinson’s.

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Still Blogging… July 1, 2011

Filed under: Family — Karli @ 3:26 pm

If you were reading this blog, I want you to know that I’m still writing.  I started a new blog about a trip the Mister and I are taking.  Well, it’s actually more about me researching stuff that has something (no matter how stretched that definition is) to do with our trip.  The truth is that writing about your family is hard when there is so much that you can’t say.  There is always going to be bunch that needs to be left unsaid on the internets because it’s private.  It began to feel like writing with a harness on.  This last year has been a sad one so it also felt like a bunch of what I’d have to say on any given topic would be from the view point of someone who lost her mother.  That’s definitely who I am these days but it’s not all that I am.

So now I’m over at http://tripahoy.wordpress.com and I’d love it if you dropped by.  It’s a project that I’m trying to stick with so that I’ll be prepared for our travel but also because I’ve just had an amazing time researching.  The amount of time I’ve spent at the library alone has shocked me.  If I don’t find a way to compile it all then it will likely get jumbled or lost.  I’ve also really enjoyed writing stuff to share with you.  Even if you don’t plan a trip there might be something there to keep you interested. 

I hope to come back to this blog some day.  I’ve got a story to finish and I think with time it will become more appropriate for me to do so.  Heck, maybe I’ll write a book.  In the meantime, drop on over to the new place if you’re interested.  Either way, my best to you and yours.

 

A Very Special Day May 8, 2011

Filed under: Family — Karli @ 12:06 pm

“Wow Mom This Mothers’ Day!”, “Show Mom You Care” and my personal favorite, “Don’t Forget Mom!”.  All highly unfortunate subject lines from emails I’ve been receiving in the last few weeks.  Of course, these emails are generated by a computer on the off chance that I’d like to buy personalized chopsticks or gift certificates for a foot massage.  They don’t know that our mom is gone.  It’s nothing personal.

And that’s how I’m trying to think of today, our first Mothers’ Day without Mom.  The TV ads, the window displays and radio haven’t forgotten that this is a bit of a sore spot for me.  They never knew.  Last night Garrison Keillor read off hellos during his Prairie Home Companion broadcast and that stung.  I had to turn the channel because it’s hard to hear people talk with so much love about their moms right now.  Especially today.  A client sent me an email that said “Happy Mother’s Day to you and yours” and I had to remind myself to take it in the spirit it was said.  It would probably be bad form to write something back like “get bent” or “eat my head”.

I miss her every day.  I know that Dad and Kristin do, too.  These days leading up to Mothers’ Day just made me feel like a walking bruise when I thought that I was making some progress.  It seems hardest not to have a mom when everyone else is celebrating theirs.  I hear them talk about shopping that needs to be done or plans that have been made.  I wish that I could so casually do that kind of thing now.

And let me be honest with you.  I was never great with Mothers’ Day when Mom was alive.  I’d either overcompensate for not being in town by buying $100 FTD messes or procrastinate until I just plain forgot and then called to say that I’d bring something when I visited, which I usually did, but I’m sure she knew that I was being lame.  And I always thought, and I pray that this is true, that she knew that I might be crap at certain holidays but I never loved her any less than the kids who got their moms well thought out gifts. 

I feel very lucky that Mom was my mom.  Kristin and I have always been very proud of the parents we were assigned.  Nothing that has happened in the last few years has changed that, which is no surprise.  Not everyone has this in their lives and I’m reminded quite often of just how good I have it.  I just wish she was here, that’s all.  I do think that it’s good that we all think about our moms today, wherever she may be.  That’s why “the kids” are buying me dinner tonight.  They’d make it for me but picking fur out of my spaghetti was never my favorite so this is just as good.

Oh, and happy Mothers’ Day to you and yours.

 

We Join This Life Already in Progress March 26, 2011

Filed under: Daily,Family — Karli @ 11:10 am

Where have I been, huh?  My last post here was over six months ago and told you very little about what’s my life is like.  The truth is that I’ve been avoiding you.  We’ll get to why in a little bit but first let me get you up to date.  Six months is kind of a long time.

After Mom passed away, Kristin and The Bear split up.  That is their story and definitely not something I’ll go into detail about here.  This is the kind of thing that made me not want to write here.  It felt like if I couldn’t tell you that my insides felt beat up over this, that maybe you didn’t need to see pictures of my cats or hear about how good “The Picture of Dorian Gray” was (<< very, very good).

Kristin then moved in with Dad, losing both her partner in crime and her home.  Though they sounded a bit like the Odd Couple somehow they made it work.  My sister put her life on hold and Dad slowly started to see what a world without Mom was like.  This living arrangement went on for as long as it could and then quite a bit longer.  Thanks to some huge-hearted relatives with mad packing skills, Kristin helped Dad move into assisted living.  It was hard.  These things pretty much always are.

Before Momo, our Mom’s mom, passed away she told me something.  She had just handed me a necklace that I likely responded to in a lukewarm way.  You know, because I have limited social skills.  She said “If you don’t like that then you go ahead and give it away, too.  Don’t hold on to it.  When people are gone you keep all their stuff.”  Momo and I never talked about feelings.  Unless these feelings involved temperature or hunger.  This being so out of the norm, it has stuck with me.  I remembered it as we packed up the home that Mom and Dad had shared.  If you’ve ever lost anyone you know that their belongings become sacred.  I’ll admit to grabbing a few pairs of Mom’s pajamas for myself though I knew that I wasn’t going to wear them, simply because they were hers.

Kristin wasn’t off the hook when Dad moved.  She still found herself feeling that she should be spending every moment with him.  He’d lost a lot and somehow I think she thought she could make up for it.  She knew better but that doesn’t stop you from trying.  If it did I don’t think that I’d have spent as much money on therapy.  I’m not kidding.  She couldn’t stop him from falling though.  Parkinson’s is a wicked and horrible disease, don’t let Michael J. Fox tell you otherwise.  Dad took one too many tumbles and he was no longer safe in assisted living.  His residence said that they would need him to move to basic care.  For those of you following along at home, this means the nursing home.

Nursing homes have definitely changed since my grandparents spent time in them but they are still places that few genuinely want to be.  When you look around and realize that this room is the last stop on your journey the walls get very close and the days get very long.  Dad continues to impress me with how optimistic he can be but this isn’t how I want the world for him.  His wife is gone, his mobility is curtailed and he can’t even burn his own food anymore.

Life has been good to me.  I don’t have anything to complain about but I have still stumbled.  The emails, phone calls and letters that go unanswered are testament to this.  Depression and anxiety have followed me all my life.  They are the legacy of the brave women who went before me and I’m trying my hardest to make a life for myself for which they would be proud.  I have never blamed Mom or Momo for the trouble I have getting up the hill.  In fact, their examples told me that there is definitely a point in trying.  And I’m trying.

I’d like to use today’s post as a small, late but heartfelt apology to those I haven’t contacted.  I realize it’s frustrating for you.  I wish that I was currently holding up better but I do see that there is hope.  Part of what has made it so hard to reach out is that I’m completely out of practice.  The guilt of disconnection makes it tougher to cross that bridge. 

There are happy things going on in my life.  Before I could start telling you the good I had to be honest about the bad.  I just wasn’t ready to do that yet.  I’m still not sure how much of what I’ve written here really belongs on my blog but I need to start sharing again.  I wanted you to know.

 

Quandary! September 17, 2010

Filed under: Daily — Karli @ 11:55 am

Miss Manners

  

I don’t want to sound like I’m bragging but I have compared my social skills with a new acquaintance.  It would seem that this guy is not even going to qualify to race with me and here I thought I wouldn’t even see the podium.  In the interest of fairness, I should let you judge.  My comparing skills might be off, right?  Granted this person is male and may not know all the ins and outs of talking with the ladies.  Maybe that’s it.  Below I’ve listed a bunch of scenarios with both the behavior that I exhibited and that of my new “friend”.  All information shared below is correct to my knowledge and hasn’t been edited for entertainment value (mostly because it didn’t need it).  Here we go!  

A female friend has a birthday and you join her for lunch.  You ask her how old she is and when she tells you it’s 31, you reply without irony:  

  1. “Happy birthday!  Order what you want, birthday girl.”  Congratulate yourself on being a burger enabler.
  2. “I thought you were older than that.”  Congratulate yourself on being close to her real age while still going over.

    

The same friend tells a story about a wedding she attended where the guests all received tea cups that the couple had bought at garage sales.   Each guest received a unique tea cup at their seat.  My friend brought in the three she had from the reception to share, you comment:  

  1. By saying nothing and turning the tea cups over to see what company made them.  You are unimpressed but no one can tell, probably.
  2. “That’s a really fun idea.  They’re pretty!”  Walk back to your desk and marvel that people still get married.

   

Two friends allow you to sit in during a phone call for a project they are working on.  They’ll want you to start helping with this kind of thing at some point so they thought it would be helpful for you to hear how it’s being handled now.  To show your appreciation you:  

  1. Listen and take notes to review later.  They’ve been doing this longer than you and though you know you’ll be good at there is still plenty for you to learn.  You’ll probably never see these notes again but you looked good and productive.
  2. Listen and take notes to review later.  They’ve been doing this longer than you and you have lots of feedback for ways that they can improve.  When the phone call is finished, make sure to share your notes in detail.

   

You join some female friends at a restaurant when the talk turns to a woman who isn’t present.  The clothes she wears to work are sometimes low cut and distracting.  You think she looks great.  You say:  

  1. “You all dress too conservatively where you work.  Where I work there’s always cleavage.  I like it.  You should have more cleavage here.”  You do like cleavage.  You’d like to see it now.  Where is the cleavage?
  2. “She’s hot,  too.  I find it distracting and I’m not even a dude.  I can’t imagine what it’s like working around that when someone puts them on a tray.”  Make sure that your own boobs are not popping out of your shirt at the moment.  They are not.  (probably gave that one away if you know that I’m not a dude, huh?) 

   

The conversation stays on work for a little longer.  Somehow the topic of locking your computer to protect millions of dollars of information comes up.  You:  

  1. Smile smugly.  You are proud in the knowledge that you lock your computer if you so much as stand up to stretch.  It is not unlike your habit of turning on your blinker in a parking lot.  Totally overkill and a joy for all humanity.
  2. Smile smugly.  You know that locking your computer is pointless.  You think that the emails that co-workers send from your desk with your signature are pretty funny.  You will buy lunch for the department someday.  They’re just being picky.  The confidentiality agreements you signed when you started your job were just a way of making noisy clients a little less noisy.  You still intend to bill them for everything.  There you just thought of a client right now.  That’s billable.

   

While visiting a Ruby Tuesday you order a seafood dish.  You know you are in the Midwest.  You can even find it on the map being that you are from the Midwest originally.  When the food comes your order isn’t what you expected.  You:  

  1. Are slightly disappointed that you received green beans instead of the snap peas you ordered… until you realize that they are snap peas.  You would have eaten them either way without complaint as there are seven of you at the table and the guy has refilled your ice tea three times without you having to say squat.
  2. Ask to speak to the manager about your crab cake.  It is not as good as the ones you have at home in Maryland.  You feel you have every right to expect the same quality of seafood from a Ruby Tuesday in a city with “Prairie” in the name.  Make sure that the waiter knows you are from Maryland.  Make sure that the table knows you are from Maryland.  Maryland, Maryland, Maryland.

   

Check your answers!  (So exciting, OMG!)  

Mine: 1, 2, 1, 2, 1, 1  

Other guy: 2, 1, 2, 1, 2, 2  

So whaddaya think?  Am I Miss Manners or are you siding with this chucklehead?  (Sorry.  That was kind of taking sides, wasn’t it?)  The world wants to know.

 

For Aunty Sue August 11, 2010

Filed under: Family — Karli @ 11:16 pm

I am a motherless child.  But that’s also totally wrong.  To say that I’m “motherless” is supposed to mean that I am without a mother but that also totally discredits the Mom who was and will always be.  I needed Mom today so I wore that Viking boat necklace to work again.  And I’m not sure what I mean when I say that I needed Mom.  I guess it boils down to me wishing that she was with us still.  That we’d have a few more moments and stories to save for always and ever.  The thing is I won’t know all about Mom ever.  As she lay dying someone would always reveal a new side of Mom that I hadn’t seen.  That lady has a lot of sides!

Kristin is fighting the tough fight in Bismarck so I have trouble saying that I’m having… trouble.  But there it is.  I am finding it hard to get up and get going.  It is hard to return to the Karli that I used to be because… well, I ain’t.  I’m not who I was before Mom got sick.  And it’s a profoundly good thing.  It’s also sometimes hard to breathe.  There are days when things strike me as hard and sad.  There are times when I cannot help but kick myself for being down because I’m so terribly lucky.  I know that even when I find that I’ve forgotten it.

And for those of you who like rambling, random tangents and a misplaced moral to the story…

Tonight I was in Uptown running an errand and I saw a bunny out of place.  He was maybe inches from the grass that he belonged to and the brick that stood in his way surely wouldn’t be an issue for long.  And because when your life it tipped, turned upside down you are looking for meaning in EVERYTHING I thought “hey, bunneh!  I know what the deal is!  You’ll find where you need to be.  Just chill and hang in there and it’s going to be fine.  Me, too.  I’ll hang in there and deal with the challenge ahead but I’ll make it.  Also, bunneh?  You should let me help you back up there because then you’d basically get to skip a lot of self development.  But I know… you gotta get there on your own, huh?”

And I’m sure that there were homeless people worrying about my mental health but that bunny?  That bunny hippity-ed and and then hoppity-ed… then paused and looked at me.  Then he looked at the grass from whence he came.  Then at me.  Then he hopped away.  I think that he knew where he was going.  And even if that was only away from me that’s still better than he was seconds ago, right?  I certainly don’t know.  But that is – in case you were wondering – the point.  Right now I don’t know how I will heal from Mom’s death just that I will.  I don’t need to know the way in which I’ll get the skip back in my shuffle.  If I just keep trying and trying then it will happen.  Others have suffered worse than this and gone on to be beautiful souls that kind of shine when you see them*.  I don’t even have to aim for that.  I’m just going to try to leave the house with manageable hair occasionally.  Small and careful steps, my friends.

* And if I didn’t point this out to you, then you’d never figure it out.  That’s the part that makes it about you, Aunty Sue.  Thank you for being a life raft today and many other days besides.

 

Karli Don’t Take No Mess July 22, 2010

Filed under: Daily — Karli @ 10:43 am

Now that I’m back at home and at work, I’m working to get my sea legs back under me.  As an adult I don’t think that you typically get two months away from your job.  My first few days back in the saddle (three sentences in and I’m already mixing metaphors like a pro!) were a little odd.  I still have to dig through my desk drawers to find things because I’ve been gone so long that I’m unsure of where stuff is.  It was funny to me that the first morning I was here I rolled open a drawer, grabbed my Chapstick, used it and put it back and then later that day couldn’t find it because it was in the same place.  I think that boils down to it being a bad idea for me to concentrate.  So, yeah.  Stay off the road during my commute. 

Another thing that I’ve been doing is looking at my bills instead of just paying them.  While I’d been in Bismarck I would just look at the bill, pay the specified amount and cry “Next!” so that I could get through them.  Now that I have a little more free time I actually looked at my bills and boy, am I glad that I did.  My credit card bill was a little higher than I anticipated.  Yes, that’s somewhat normal because don’t things just sneak on there and then disappear from your radar?  Isn’t that what the credit card companies hope and pray for when they give you that piece of plastic in the first place?  I mean, maybe they hope that we enter a Zen state and don’t remember using the card EVER and set it on auto pay so that when we finally do notice all the crud we’ve purchased it’s too late and they have funded a new banking center with gold-plated toilets.

The culprit on my particular statement was a charge for $109.  The Mister and I had taken respite at a hotel for a night in Bismarck.  The Mister had suggested that I might need a change of scenery during the hospice care and he was right, per his usual.  So I booked a room with some travel site and we stayed.  Now I saw that the travel site AND the hotel had billed me for the room.  If we had felt a little extravagant paying for a hotel room we were definitely going to feel ludicrous if we paid for it twice.  And I’m using “ludicrous” here in a negative way because I’m all for it, typically.

So I called up the people from the deal site and everything was fine with them.  They decided to check with the hotel while I was on the call.  That’s when the hotel told them that they hadn’t charged for a stay.  Oh, no.  These people charged me for having an animal in the room.  I told the site person that this was wrong.  Wronger than wrong.  She enthusiastically explained that I must have forgotten my animal but that’s what the charge was for.  And this is when my temper started to work.  The site person then did a conference call with the hotel and the hotel lady said that the assistant manager had seen me with an animal and had added the charge.  Really?  Because the last time I checked The Mister does not look remotely like a canine.  The hotel lady then tried to pass me on to her manager but he didn’t want to talk to me before he researched the charge.  The hotel lady read off a phone number and asked me to confirm it with her but it was the wrong phone number completely.  Not even the same area code.  Suspicious much?

I was so ticked that I was shaking.  Typically when I get this angry the emotion is too much and it all comes out with tears.  Crying may seem like a good strategy to some of you but it’s just doesn’t work for me.  It was good that the manager had to call me back because it gave me time to talk to The Mister and to have him reassure me that I was in the right, that he supported me and gave me some good zingers should the manager put up too much resistance.  When I finally did have my little powwow with the manager (three turns of phone tag later) he basically spilled gas on my anger fire.

He explained to me that two rooms – one below and one directly next to our room – had come to the front desk in the morning and complained that they couldn’t sleep the night before due to our dog.  So his story was different than the hotel lady.  Now we went from visual identification of an imaginary dog to auditory confirmation.  Which means either these people heard an awful lot about our imaginary dog or they were lying.  We all know which horse I’m backing.  And that’s when the guy goes into his rationalization for $109 in bogus charges.  He tells me that his hotel takes their pet rule very seriously because people have allergies.  And I told him that I seriously do not have a dog.  He then countered by saying that I had not stopped at the front desk on my way out to verify the charges to our room.  I told him that we had a card on file for any incentals but as we had not utilized any of them then we had enjoyed the convenience of walking out the door without checking for fake dog fines.  Then I went on to tell him why The Mister and I were in Bismarck on the night in question and why his charge struck me as truly reprehensible.  I didn’t want to use the hospice card but I was emotional and this guy wanted to charge me for Spot the Inviso-Dog so I pulled no punches. 

That’s when the guy works around again to the seriousness of their no pet policy and the deep cleaning that breaking this rule might involve.  And I said I understood that and he said thank you and then he told me he would credit the charge.  And I think that I was supposed to start being a nice guy then but I don’t let my face get beet red for nothing.  No, I asked this guy to give me an apology.  And you know what he said?  He said “I apologize that you weren’t aware of this charge”.  And I realized that this guy had many, many more problems than me and since he would give me my money back I would hopefully never have to hear his voice again.  That something in the way he completely missed the point with me told me that obviously he’d lost that loving feeling.  I was still mad.  It actually took about 30 more minutes to calm the heck down but I felt better about everything because this guy hadn’t won.  He still had to manage that hotel with, what I’m guessing, was a rotting soul.  I may not have a dog but I do know that this guy does not know how to wag his tail. 

As long as I see a credit sometime in the near future we’ll call this a win for Karli.  If not, I think I might actually enjoy calling this guy back and letting him hear some more of my strongly-worded insight on his hotel’s fee structure.  In other words, GAME ON.