Posted in Family, Me

The Sandwich Generation

Life in Coronaville continues. Jim is still employed, I’m still mostly not (before I worked 20 hours per week. Last two weeks I worked five hours total). Still, we do not NEED my salary, so I can continue to be thankful for that mercy as well.

In the midst of everything, my sister and I find ourselves starting to need to step up with our parents. My brother lives many hours away (HOURS AND HOURS), where my sister and I live about 10-15 minutes each from our parents.

My dad is 88 and my mom is 87. They have been blessed, for the most part, with good physical and mental health. A few years ago my dad had a kidney removed and he never really went back to his “old self”. Last year my mother had a hip replacement. and that took quite a toll on her as well. My sister is a few years older than me and all four of her children are grown and out of the house. She’s even a grandmother to one adorable grandson and one unknown-gender-grandchild on the way. I, obviously, am at quite a different stage of life with four still at home, although two in college this fall and another one fall of 2021. So much change coming, but not here yet.

My mother has asthma to the extent that she uses nebulizer-infused medication three to four times each day. She has not left their yard since mid-March. My father, while increasingly frail, has an independent streak a mile long, but is currently experiencing issues with his eyesight. Which necessitates my sister and me being more involved than we had been. And seeing more clearly what has changed.

As of now, I’m doing the grocery side of things–taking my dad out to their main store (he refuses to let me do it for him outright), and running to get things from other stores if they want. My sister is doing the medical stuff–taking Dad to his eye doctor appointments–even into Wills Eye in Philadelphia, which for Dad was a BIG DEAL.

A few things we’ve noticed: 1. Their world has shrunk. Philadelphia may have well been the moon for all he felt comfortable going there. Even before Corona, they mostly stay within their town and the route to and from church. That’s it. My sister lives literally SEVEN miles away (I’m six) and they feel like visiting her is kind of difficult. To get to my house from theirs they mostly stay on the same road, with just a couple of turns, so they are more willing to come my way.

2. Housekeeping is falling by the wayside. Like A LOT. They just don’t SEE the dirt (or smell it) anymore. We went over a couple of weeks ago and worked on a few main areas that they hang out in and will need to go back and help. We are working up to the idea of talking Dad into a weekly or bi-weekly cleaning service.

3. For a long time they’ve been fairly stable. They’ve had surgeries and issues over the years, but they were dips in the road. The road is starting to head downward now. They are forgetting things–mom will tell me the same story twice in one conversation. Dad will swear something happened or didn’t happen, but just not remember. A few months ago, when I went over to drive him to the store for the first time and noticed that he wasn’t just older, he was old. He looked frail. It was hard to see.

I finally called their pastor of more than 30 years. We spoke for a good bit, and he has been experiencing the same thing with his wife’s parents. He has been seeing the same things that we are seeing, although obviously not recently because of Corona. He encouraged me, which was needed, and I brought him into the loop of everything, which was also needed.

So I’m left with the question: How does one parent the parent when the parent doesn’t want or see the need for it?

Posted in Corona, Family

Waving From Quarantine

Hi to all my people! A “I hope you are staying healthy and sane” welcome to my little corner of the internet.

We’re….doing ok. Bennett works at Wawa, which is a convenience store/gas station and is considered essential-to-life. So he goes out many times per week and works many hours, interacting with his co-workers and strangers. I feel like if any of us is going to get it, it will be him.

Ethan has literally not left our home since March 13th. We’ve had a lot of yucky weather, and even on the nice days he isn’t the kind of kid that just wants to sit outside. But the next time we have a nice day, which please God be soon, I am forcing him outside to take a short walk and get some natural vitamin D! His teacher emails him lessons each day and he listens to the occasional zoom room lesson on social skills.

Laura and Catie are both doing virtual school. Laura has her college bedroom all set up in the basement. If the door is closed school is in session and we are to leave her alone. So far, it’s mostly working. Catie’s 3rd marking period ends tomorrow. And her school is still having spring break, which I SO DO NOT UNDERSTAND.

Jim is working from home full time. He has his office in the garage and we’ve mostly gotten used to it.

I’m…home. *shrug*. I check my work email because I can, and respond where I need to. I’ve gone in once to place some orders (only seeing my boss and one other coworker and we kept well away from each other). I’m not going in this week at all. I grocery shop, and drive Bennett to work, and have been to my allergist appointments (weekly) and to Home Depot a couple of times. I’m going a little stir crazy from bingeing NCIS again and playing computer games and reading, but I’m good. It’s good. We’re good.

Mostly.

Our dearest friends from our old neighborhood lost the husband’s father today from Coronavirus. That’s the first death that’s actually touched someone I know. This virus has been so removed from our everyday lives–we don’t see the deaths (or even really hear about them). This family can’t have much of a funeral, or a memorial service. They have to wait to have their closure.

Please stay safe and healthy. Wash your hands, practice physical distancing and pray. Pray hard.

Posted in Christian, Corona, Family, Money

Timing is Everything

Point A) My husband’s company gives out bonuses. Sometimes more, sometimes less, but each of the six years he’s been there he’s received something. This year was a good year.

Point B) As a family we have chosen to tithe. Sometimes it’s been hard–sometimes it’s not happened, but overall we give back to the Lord as He has blessed us. And as much as we argue about all sorts of different stupid things, we pretty much agree about our giving amounts.

Point C) We are tithing on the bonus, but weren’t sure where it should go to. God usually–not ALWAYS–but usually makes it apparent where our gift should go, so we decided to wait and see.

Point D) Laura originally had planned on doing a summer mission trip with Campus Crusade for Christ (now called Cru) and that’s what we were kind of thinking, but then their whole summer missions program got canceled this year due to Corona.

Point E) As of today, the governor closed all businesses that weren’t “life sustaining” (Jim’s job is part of that type of company, so we are good). People are going to really start struggling.

As I sat at my desk just now, a thought popped into my head that I knew immediately was the right choice. “Hey Jim! How about we give our tithe to the Chester County Food Bank?” He agreed right away.

Timing is everything.

Posted in Corona, Family, Job, School

Getting Whiplash Over Here

So, unless you’ve been living under a rock, or maybe on a spiritual retreat in the deepest part of the Amazon, you’ve heard of Coronavirus. In fact, if you are anything like me, you’re probably UP TO HERE with hearing about it! Like many, many families, we have been impacted by it.

  1. Laura is home from West Chester University. She came home for her scheduled spring break and then they extended it until March 30, when she will restart all her classes, except everything will be cyber. You know, like the past 6 years of her schooling.
  2. Jim’s company is doing mandatory work-from-home Fridays, except his boss warned him that he might not be working in the building as of Monday either. Thankfully, Jim’s job is one that can be done from home (unlike mine).
  3. Our area stores are out of TP. And water. And OJ. It’s stupid, y’all.

So, yeah. Wash your hands (sing the Happy Birthday song 2x and you’ll be good) and stay sane! And healthy.

Posted in Change, Family, Job, Me

The End of the Year of Change…or is it?

364 days ago I posted that 2019 was going to beĀ The Year of Change. I was so nervous, which was completely understandable. Standing on the other side of 2019, though, it’s been a crazy roller coaster like I thought it would be, but man, was it a good year!

I took a class on restarting my career

One of the girls did an intensive counseling day program followed by a less-intensive group program.

Laura was diagnosed with Generalized Epilepsy and had three seizures.

Laura and Bennett graduated high school

Ethan did a one week at camp and a three week summer program, all away from home

Catie worked a summer job every day

Catie applied for and got into CPFA, which cemented her career plan to become an actor.

Bennett got his first job and works full time now at Wawa (a regional convenience store)

Laura moved out into my sister’s house and attended her first semester at college, which went better than any of us could have hoped for. She also (ahem, ahem) made DEANS LIST!

I went to counseling for myself, which definitely helped with addiction and other things.

I got a part time job after 18 years away from the corporate world

I started going back to church and am going to attend a “welcome new people, find out more about us” dinner in January with the idea of becoming a member of this church.

Jim and I did marriage counseling, which we are now finishing up. It was tremendous and I highly recommend it.

Jim is changing positions within his company after being in the same department for three years. It will start in January.

Whew! That’s so much change in one year! Especially for me!

But you know what? It really has been SO GOOD! (well, except for the epilepsy!)

As I look into 2020, there’s so much more change ahead–Bennett going to college, Ethan attending the “school to work” program at Overbrook where he’ll leave our house on Monday morning and come home Friday afternoon. Catie being a senior and doing the whole college search and application rigamarole. But where I faced 2019 with fear and trepidation, I am embracing 2020 with wide open arms. I hope you can face your uncertainties the same way!

Joyous New Year, Dear Readers! See you on the flip side!

Posted in Christian, Family, Health, Money

Where Things Stand

I’ve done this off and on over the years and thought it was time for another:

Health: It’s an uphill battle to getting healthy, but I’m working on it. After my last visit to the endocrinologist, whereby she read me the riot act in a polite way, I’ve been eating better and taking my medication again. I get bloodwork in mid-November and see her the week after, so we’ll see if there’s any improvement. Also, I scheduled my first colonoscopy today (November 15th) and got my umpteenth allergy shot, still continuing weekly. Both boys are getting plastic surgery this month to fix some stuff leftover from when they were tiny babies. Hoping for good outcomes for both.

Education: Laura is thriving at college, Catie is slogging through 11th grade much the same way Bennett and Laura did. Ethan is enjoying senior year. Only one IEP this year, and that’s in December. At this stage I’m not fighting about homework anymore, which is a wonderful thing.

Finances: August and September stunk as usual. October is good and November will be even better. My part time job helped pay for the lawyer’s services this month (special needs paperwork/ HIPAA etc signed by the triplets).

Spirit: I’m feeling friendly towards the Holy Spirit these days. Other than a few days ago, I’ve been to church each Sunday since I started back (and that’s going by myself!). I’m thoroughly enjoying it–the music, the messages, seeing Laura and my sister there….I just need to make some friends, which is a little challenging right now. I’m having a hard time keeping up with my existing ones as it is!

Family: Things are pretty good! Jim and have been doing marriage counseling for awhile now, which has been great. Figuring out how to do things differently has been wonderful for us. Catie is settling into CPFA (fine arts school) and is taking choir, acting, ceramics and piano. In other words, utterly different from the plan that Laura followed. I love how different my girls are from each other, but they are both so talented! Ethan still has a special friend.

All in all, things are actually going well for now. I’m continuing to adjust to working part time–figuring out grocery shopping and doing things around work hours instead of during.

Posted in Family

This Week

Besides the regular driving kids to and from school (with or without snow delays)

Monday: L counseling, L annual ophthalmology.

Tuesday: Me “Relaunching Your Career” class, Me counseling first appointment.

Wednesday: Normally scheduled stuff

Thursday: Me help organize a friend’s dining room/school room so both uses can work, C tour of L’s school, Center for Performing and Fine Arts, because she is applying to get in.

Friday: L her Bureau of Blind and Vision Services coordinator comes out to discuss this year and how services will change once she graduates.

Saturday: B SAT, C Aurora concert in Philly

Sunday: E The Song that Never Ends performance in Philly.

Guys, I know in 5 years things will be drastically different, but I can’t imagine what life will look like when I’m not scurrying around like a chicken with my head cut off.