Of Flooding and Exploding Blow Dryers

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We’ve all heard the expression “When it rains, it pours.”  January was a monsoon for me.

It actually started mid-December with the news of my mother-in-law’s stage IV stomach cancer diagnosis.  With a six-month timeline, Elke* has opted to receive hospice care.  All her life she’s dealt with cancer.  It started in her late 20s, returned in her 40s, again in her late 60s, and with this last bit of news, she said she’s done.  Prognosis was not good to begin with, and she just didn’t want to go through the “cure” again.  Her husband, John*, has been displaying signs of dementia/Alzheimer’s Disease.  He had to be reminded who we were, and yet, most cruel, he’s aware of it right now.  They live in Texas, three and a half states over, and timing was not good.  But it had to be done.

The journey back to Texas was odd.  Any road trip I’ve taken before has always been a good thing.  My husband and I made the most of it, since it was three days hard travel.  My sister, who lives in Bakersfield, was gracious enough to let us use her place as flop house.  We literally spent less than 15 minutes talking to her before we headed for bed, and then in the morning, we hugged one and another and moved on, both going and coming back.  The second day out, I wrote some errant thoughts.  Those long drives gives a person way too much time to think.

January 4, 2017, Wednesday

When the sun is rising, the errant contrail casts a shadow on the higher clouds

Driving east along Interstate 10 to Texas

Don’t know how to feel

Sedimentary, layered mountains Las Cruces

Texas landscape out of El Paso flat

Scrub brush

Minimal traffic

Can use cruise control – indefinitely

Occasional butte, rolling hills

Road stretches out in front of you in gentle, undulating waves

Cerulean sky, painted with high altitude stratus clouds

Harmless, no rain

When sun is setting, the color of the western sky shifts from blue to lavender, then gradually to a dusky plum, all but obscuring the horizon, then gradually, deep purple to the black of night.

Headlights

On the third morning of our visit, I was drying my hair, when my blow-dryer of at least 10 years decides to go out with a bang.  Sparks flew and I had to unplug it to stop the sparks from turning into flames.  The acrid smell of burnt electronics filled our hotel room for at least a day.  I felt it was appropriate, somehow, that it should happen at that time; however, I had spent the night before crying, so it was possible I was just upset.  Saying good bye to something else, even something as replaceable as a minor appliance, really set me off.

When driving back, we ran into the storms in Northern California that we’d been monitoring even before we left.  It was an eye-opener to see the areas around Sacramento, flooded by water that had overrun the bank of the Cosumnes River.  Sacramento has the American and the Sacramento Rivers to deal with and the levies around the city are monitored more closely.  What I photographed was the Cosumnes River gone a bit wild, just south of Elk Grove, a suburb of SacTown.  And then from Highway 99 North to I80 East, up around Applegate, the trucks were pulled over because the road over Donner Pass was closed due to snow.

I was so grateful to be home…because our garage was flooding.  We got some more sandbags (don’t ask) and cleaned up what we could.  Thanks goodness the foundation is concrete, and no real damage was done.

On a lesser, but more immediate note, my husband’s car has stopped running.  The money we would have used to fix that was spent visiting his mother.  It sits in the front of the house, ads running on Facebook, Letgo and Craigslist with no results.  I guess no one wants a mechanic’s project at this time.

There is more to the story, but I will leave it.  Sometimes it’s good not to tell so much, and this is one of those instances.

*names changed for privacy

Advertisements

Departures

I have an adult daughter who lives with us.

She is my only child.

Yes, I’m sure she’s spoiled and she knows it.

For the last five years she’s been saving money from her work to go to Europe.  I’ve never known a person to work so hard and be so dedicated to her craft.  Really.  Every bit of extra money has been squirreled away at the expense of the small luxuries most of us in America appreciate.  Only recently, with her tickets purchased, has she allowed herself to deviate from her strict budget and spend a weekend with friends at the beach, throw a really big party in honor of her aunt, and eat out at a restaurant or two.

Rachel’s original plan had been to stay where she could work for her lodgings and some meals with the intent of spending her hard-earned Rachel 09-04-2016cash on being a tourist during her time off.  There are many places that offer that arrangement.  She would probably have been there for months, if not a year or more.  But things change.  Several months ago, she was offered a position at a local business that she felt she couldn’t refuse.  Well, let’s modify that.  She did refuse the position, but was pursued until she accepted.  *proud mother*  So, from a wandering vagabond freestyle kind of plan, she goes to a tightly scheduled and regimented tour of a month.  She’s still excited though.  She leaves tomorrow.  And I look at her from across our rusty outdoor mesh tabletop and see how she’s just waiting…and I’m trying my damnedest not to think of hydraulic failure, terrorism, theft, military coups, getting stranded – even bad restaurant service.

*sigh*

And I’m Still Not Done

My Thanksgiving was unexpectedly small, but relaxing.  We hadn’t planned for a gigantic gala to begin with, but my daughter opted to dine with friends and my husband got called in for work, so with only two of us in attendance for this annual pig-out, I was able to streamline the menu and relax, unlike most other years.  Instead of cooking a whole turkey, I got a breast and threw it in the crock pot with some chicken broth and seasonings, believing this would alleviate the inherent dryness.  I’m sure if I’d been a little more diligent that it would have turned out fine; however, I learned that yes, you can still overcook in a slow cooker.  *sigh*  Everything else turned out fine and my mother and I were able to gobble away.

As for making all of my Christmas gifts before Black Friday, somehow, I’ve managed not to even after getting a head start in September.  It’s not that they’re incredibly complex, it’s just that there were other obligations, life got busy and here we are.  I have only to finish one more hat that’s about halfway done, but it’s been lying neglected in one of my many project bags, just waiting for me to pick it up again.  I imagine having company doesn’t help.  After my mother had been here for a few days she asked me, “Do you ever not knit or crochet?”  I took this as a sign that she wanted me to pay more attention to her.  So the unfinished hat remains…just that.

My mom should have been a concert pianist...really.

My mom should have been a concert pianist…really.

Since we both can't hear, if we're in a noisy environment, we text each other!

Since we both can’t hear, if we’re in a noisy environment, we text each other!

I have also discovered that if I take my Foxy Hooded Cowl to consignment shops, they sell.  They don’t sell on Etsy, but they sell locally.  Good enough.  I closed the account anyway.  So, any of you crocheters who want a little extra cash this season, you may have a little cash cow pattern here.

Aside from being derailed on my Christmas gifts schedule, it’s all been good.  How was your turkey day?