Sunday, June 29, 2008

Weekend fun!

Well, the weekend started Thursday for John and me with a trip to his boat in the morning. Jeff and Sophia each took a night with Mom (thanks again guys!).
After an hour or so of prep work on the boat (for John; well, someone had to drink the beer...), we headed out for a day of sailing across the Chesapeake to Dunn's Cove. Stopped on the way for a nice swim behind the boat. I was in the water about 30 minutes. John, however, was paddling about an hour or so as neither of us noticed that the sail ropes were trailing in the water when we started the engine up to catch the wind. Whoops. Got a bunch of ropes wrapped around the propeller thingee (I'm still learning the technical terms). Anyway, 30 minutes of diving under the boat for John resulted in a proper untangling. Me? I was drinking beer. Now, I did have a job - it was making sure he came up each time he dove under!

We got to the cove which, quite sadly, we had to share with about 8 other sailboats, but it was still gorgeous. We sat on the bow of the boat with coffee (for future reference, if you've ever got coffee beans and find yourself in the situation of not having a grinder, a fire extinguisher works well as a crusher...). Sat and watched the sun go down for an hour or so. Great sights - wonderful time.

Friday saw us cutting across Naps Narrows to get back quicker to the marina as we had an agenda (Victoria's house for crabs!). Cut off about 2.5 hours of sailing by cutting through the narrows, but, man, it was NARROW! Fun to watch the draw bridge open for us though as I'm usually the one in the car, tapping inpatiently as I watch a gorgeous boat pass underneath.

Once we made it through, I took the wheel and sailed the boat most of the way across the bay - great fun although sailing is work!

We docked, got the boat basically cleaned up and headed down in the convertible to Victoria's house. Now, THIS is living! She lives on a creek off the Patuxent down in Lusby, Maryland. John and I arrived pretty grungy from being on the boat. A shower followed by a power nap left us in fine spirits and ready for the Mai Tai cocktails awaiting our arrival at the Tiki Bar on Solomon's Island. Victoria was tied up in a business meeting (for those of you office types: don't hold meetings on Friday afternoons - really bad idea). Anyway, Vic met up with us there for just 'one more cocktail'.

An hour later, we were on her paddle boat heading to the little sandy beach with 'one more cocktail' for a few hours. Her paddle boat has a small electric engine and is just ideal for tooling around the creek, exploring small coves, etc. Lots of fun was had by all. Vic deemed John the 'barnacle' as he was riding beside us on a big tube and thereby slowing our progress. He took it in good stride. (Much like waking up the next morning with his toenails paints - Note to all: Never, evah (!) fall asleep before Vic and me....).

Dinner was 7 gorgeous crabs caught in her crab pots and 2 rather large steaks caught somewhere off a cow...yum. As is our normal practice, we saved the claws for Mom (she's a bit spoiled when it comes to picking crabs). She just had them tonight as part of her dinner. The woman can really pick a claw clean...

Sunday, John and I got up early and headed off in the paddle boat with coffee to just hang out. Saw a lot of Great Blue Herons. These birds, btw, don't appear to have much of a sense of humor as, every time we approached for a picture, they'd bitch up a storm before taking flight.

Came home yesterday to the cool pool and warm hot tub. John made a perfect summer dinner - cucumber sandwiches (which mom totally devoured) and gazpacho. Too good. It was great to be me for the last 3 days! Although, truth is, it's always good to be me!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

On Butterflys and Flutterbys

Well, worked my magic and finally got Mom out and about today. She's on a new pain patch for arthritis, and it seems to be making her a bit peppier. Should be as it's a narcotic. I try to rub shoulders (where the patch currently resides) with her often...

Anyway, Jeff and I took her to Brookside Gardens in Silver Spring where there is a wonderful butterfly exhibit. All different types, shapes, sizes and colors. Just magnificent. Mom has a butterfly clip that she wears in her hair. At one point, I saw a small child pointing to it and being just delighted to see it. Cute.

We spent a fair amount of time in the exhibit trying to coax butterflies to land on Mom but, alas, to no avail. Guess she's not as sweet as we thought she was.

Did a quick roll through some of the gorgeous gardens but it was really too hot to stay out in the sun too long. Will return there this fall though as the gardens really are just fantastic. Brookside has a beautiful display of Christmas lights during the season also so would love to become a frequent visitor.

Hey, also, a word to the wise: If you are getting a new phone, get a PDA with a camera. I forgot my Sony Cybershot camera today and took these pics with my Blackberry. Not too bad, considering. You never know when you need a camera! And, the PDA is also a fantastic investment. I don't find myself to be a Crackberry head but it's just nice to have an organization tool around - next step is learning to use it...well, Rome wasn't built in a day...

After the butterfly event, came home and let Mom nap while Jeff and I went off in search of a cool drink (which we found) and Thai food (also accomplished). Spent the evening on the porch out back with 5 dogs, Mom and Jeff - nice night.

I've managed to finally reserve an RV for the end of July so Mom, my dear friend Sharyn and I will be hitting the road for a week. Thought better of being on the road with a 91 year old for 2 weeks - afraid she's going to be wanting her bed! So, a week it will be but we're already anticipating a fantastic time. I got a small unit (23-25 feet) so figure we can drive it almost anywhere (without damage) except down small crowded streets. Sleeps 4 which is perfect. And, dogs are welcome although I think the furbuddies will remain with John at the Mansion East.

Mom, Sharyn and I are going to try and come up with a destination (we're thinking Cape Cod) and kind of work backward to find campgrounds, places to see, etc. Of course, we won't be too remote as I want to stay within reasonable distance of medical facilities, civilization, etc. But, a good time is coming up!

Speaking of which, I'm off tonight to spend the night on John's boat on the Chesapeake. Jeff has kindly offered (well, I 'offered' him...) to stay with Mom. Sophia is on call for tomorrow as John and I will be at dear Victoria's drinking Mai Tais and eating fresh crabs (Vic and I will at least - John's a weeny and doesn't like crabs....shame really...seems like such a nice boy...).

Monday, June 23, 2008

Well, here we sit...again

Gorgeous day out today. But, I believe I was overly optimistic about getting dear Gert unrooted from her easy chair in the livingroom every few days. Trying again for manicure/pedicure at 2 so we'll see. But, she's content to sit and read the paper daily and interact in the evenings with whomever drops by the Mansion East. All in all, not too bad a gig.

Had friends over for a nice dinner last night - the official inauguration of the new grill. Marinated herb ribs, grilled veggies, Sophia's rice with bok choy and a peanut butter/chocolate cake made from scratch (yes, I've become Lori Stewart over here)... I'm heading out later in the week for a few days away so will stock the house with oatmeal/raisin cookies for mom and my friends who will be staying with her.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Tale of the folks marriage

My friend, Judy, asked me in an early comment to this blog, to document the tale of my folks marriage. I sat down this morning with the computer and just typed the words that mom said when I asked her to tell me the story. Here are her words - note; sorry about the quality of the pictures - I didn't want to take them out of the frames and just took pictures of the pictures):

My brother, Al, introduced us when Joe needed a date for a hayride on a Sunday. My brother said ‘My sister is coming in Sunday to visit me. You might ask her.’

Joe said ‘Is she cute?’

Al replied ‘Hell no she’s not cute. But you’ll have a good time with her’ and we’ve had a good time ever since.

We dated 5 years and it was dating, nothing more. I told him I either want to get married or I was going to visit my sister in Seattle where she had plans for me. She was probably going to introduce me to someone to marry because she was an orthodox jew. She was going to be a Yenta.

In the spring, I told him I was leaving shortly for Seattle, Washington. He said he was coming to Kansas City that night to see me, and he took the next train out from Witchita, Kansas where he lived at the time. He said he didn’t want to lose me and let’s get married.

We married June 15, 1941 in the synagogue. It was a Jewish custom back then to borrow a ring for the marriage because no one had any money to buy a ring. I was married with my mother-in-laws ring. Joe bought it from her for, I think, $1.

My mother-in-law made supper for us after the wedding for just the family.

We honeymooned at Excelsior Springs in North Kansas City (45 minutes away from the house). We borrowed my father-in-laws car as we didn’t have one. I was 25, Joe was 24.

Joe’s folks didn’t want him to get married as he would be marrying before his older sisters and, in those days, that was a no-no.

So, those are Gert’s words of the start of her marriage. Here’s mine:

An interesting side line of the story is that my Uncle Al, who introduced them, moved to California while my folks settled in DC. Traveling back and forth across the country just didn’t happen back in those days so my folks and Uncle Al didn’t see each other until the folks flew to California on the way to Hawaii to celebrate their 25th anniversary.
Uncle Al met them at the airport with the now famous line of ‘Man, Joe, you hold a grudge!’

My parents enjoyed 65 and 1/2 years of the most wonderful marriage I’ve ever seen or heard of. They were (and still are) ‘Gertie and Joe.’ Although Dad is now physically gone, they are still one entity.

Here’s one of the stories I told in the eulogy I gave for my dad – it’s one of my favorite memories of my two ‘twins.’

I remember one time, I was visiting them in Arizona, lying in the back bedroom about to go to bed. Dad was watching the news on the big tv in the living room, Mom went into their bedroom to watch another channel. I heard Dad turn off his tv and go into the bedroom. Then, I heard the sound of – what’s this? – arguing! I thought ‘Hot diggity! A heated argument! Better listen in!’ I hardly ever heard them bicker. This ‘argument’ though was amazing to hear. Dad had turned off the tv in the living room and gone into the bedroom where Mom switched channels to what he had been watching. He was arguing with her about her turning the channel to what he wanted to see! He said that she should watch what she wanted. She said she didn’t care - they’d watch what he wanted. They were arguing about who was the less selfish.

That was the story of their life – he thought about her first and foremost, and, in turn, she thought about him first and foremost. That was one secret to their 65 1/2 year happy marriage.
Their love was based on respect, honor, and gratitude that they had each other in their lives. Dad had bypass surgery when he was 65. The doctors estimated his life span at another 10 years. He lived another very full 24 years, and I have no doubt at all that he lived those years due to the love he shared with my darling mother.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

On grilling and such

Well, got my birthday present from Mom delivered yesterday - a totally kick-ass grill! OMG! This thing is just amazing. I have to get my propane tank updated to handle the additional power it requires but, man o' man, that sucker turns out some hot dogs! More on dinner later.

Jeff, Mom and I took John's dog, Matee, to the vet over in Laurel yesterday. Pretty funny as it took 3 adults to handle a 13.6 lb pug but, trust me here, it did! She climbed up my shoulder, grabbed my neck with 2 paws and would not let go. Mom, Jeff and I tried to soothe her but she was not having it. Mom left the room at one point and returned with a new chew toy which had a softening effect on her but she was still very wary of where she was. Funny dog.

Stopped by Town Hall on the way home to say hi to brother Ron and get a pretty hefty liquor order for the Mansion East and Mansion West. Bought nice bottles of Scotch and Bourbon which John and I enjoyed later in the hot tub - something tells me those bottles won't see the Mansion West.

Evening time found us breaking in the new grill. Sophia, John, Jeff, Mom and I had an impromptu barbeque with hot dogs (Nathan's by request), grilled asparagus and red onions, and grilled potatoes on that spankin' new grill.

At one point, I was standing in front of the grill and watched a hot dog roll around under its own power - just rolling to and fro. Fairly strange occurrence until it dawned on me what was happening - I just knew it was Dad moving that dog around as he was a total hot dog man. After I'd make dinner on the charcoal grill at the cabin, he'd always say:

'You know what would be good on those coals now?'

Of course, I knew the answer but, with a slight grin, a twinkling blue eye and askance in his voice, he'd say:

'A hot dog?'

Of course, I'd always make him one or two for 'dessert' and he would just lick his lips as they were sizzling on the fire. I never saw him enjoy eating more than when he was chewing on a grilled hot dog - although, he definitely perked up every time he saw Sophia arrive toting homemade chinese food (Mom and Dad both said that Sophia ruined dining out at Chinese restaurants for them - no one makes chinese like dear Sophia!).

Anyway, I definitely felt Joey standing behind me last night, looking over my shoulder at that grill as that hot dog moved around under its own power. Mom and I shared a few smiles over that. His physical presence is well missed but he's always right here with us. Mom and I speak of him frequently, bringing John up to speed about who Joe was. Mom and I both feel him here with us. That's nice.
I had a request to impart to the blog readers a story of how the folks met. I plan on getting the details from Mom today and posting tomorrow (although I know the story by heart myself, I'll type what she says). She's such a gem.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

June 15 post

Lazy day. John and I went out early 'down to town' to get coffee and run a few errands. Made a huge score by finding the Washington Post paper for Mom - generally, I can only find the local Hagerstown Gazette which, although sweet, neglects to report on anything outside a 50 mile radius of its own city. Mom loves reading the paper every day and reads the entire thing, cover to cover every single day. I’ve started reading it also so that we can discuss the stories, but she’s always ahead of me. Her memory is fairly amazing still. We were sitting at the cabin, and I picked up some paper to give her. She was reading it, put it down and said ‘I wondered why this sounded so familiar. You gave me the March 3rd paper!’ Cracked me up. She still remembered the stories! I couldn’t even remember the date!

John headed out early, leaving Bobbi, Mom and me to commence decksitting - it's a tough job but someone has to do it. Which we did. We’re champion deck sitters. Sat and talked for a few hours which was fun. Mom is not at all like being around a 91 year old – she fits in wherever she goes. She’s just like talking to any of my other friends. Everyone adores her.

Bobbi left early afternoon, bringing our canine count down to 5. John came up for a quick dinner and to gather Barley and Matee before heading back to his house in Berkeley Springs for the night. Canine count - 3; Human count - 2. Quiet. Seems like there’s almost no one here now!

Mom and I rounded out the evening by more deck sitting. I hung up a hummingbird feeder and we watch them feed. Bobbi's scared of birds so it's better that they're out when she's in. Almost doesn’t get better than this.

More cabin tales

Bobbi and her two dogs came up to sit a spell (that’s West Virginia-ese for an overnighter). Anyway, that brought our grand total to 4 people and 7 dogs. Fun. Everyone (including the dogs) got along swimmingly well.

Bobbi and Mom wanted naps so John and I headed down to the river again for more rock sitting. Still beautiful down there.

Made a wonderful dinner of Copper River salmon, mashed potatoes and broccoli. For those of you who can find the stuff, never pass up Copper River salmon. It’s the most amazing fish. It’s a salmon which only feeds on shrimp and crab during it’s lifetime so the flavor of the fish is just something you’ll never taste anywhere else. I put it in foil with just some salt/pepper and butter and threw it on the grill for 8 minutes. OMG. My mouth is still watering.

Decided to try a game of Trivial Pursuit after dinner and Mom surprised us all (including herself) by answering some pretty obscure questions. We’d say something like ‘how do you know that?’ and she’d giggle and say something to the effect of ‘Hell if I know.’ Nice, easy cabin night.

More tales from Mom

Got Mom up and at em fairly early this morning – out of the cabin door around 11:30 and off and running to Hagerstown (the ‘big’ city) to do some errands. Decided to wander a back road instead of the highway and had a very nice cruise down – gorgeous scenery – lots of older houses, some with outhouses still evident.

Mom told me more tales of which I tried to take mental notes to jot down in the blog. One of the nice side effects of blogging is that I seem to pay more attention to the stories Mom tells me so I can document them. I ask more questions and just find out a lot of information. We have some great conversations.

For example, here’s one of my favorite stories of the day.

Mom grew up in St. Joe, Mo. There was a neighbor, Mrs. Brown, who kind of took a shine to Mom - I have some very nice dishes still that she gave to Mom. Anyway, as the tale goes, one day, Mrs. Brown came running over to my Zadie (that’s Yiddish for Grandfather – Mom’s Dad) and yelled that her husband had suffered an attack in the backyard of their house and to come quick. Zadie took off running but Mr. Brown had already died by the time he got there – Mom says she remembers this as she was close on Zadie’s heels. I asked her why she was there and she said that she always had her nose stuck in everything those days. A bit of a busybody I suppose. She sure isn’t now! Anyway, Zadie yelled for Bubie (my grandmother) to get him a feather. Now, when mom is telling me this, my first thought is ‘gee, I wonder if he could tickle him alive…’ Anyway, I had to ask what the feather was for. In the old days, they’d hold a feather under someone’s nose – if the feather moved, they were still kicking. Well, you work with what you have, I suppose.

Came back to the cabin to a nice steady rain after 3 hours out. Mom laid down for a nap while John and I headed down to the river to do some rock sitting in the rain. River was amazing. Almost looked like a Disney movie, it was so gorgeous. Stayed around an hour and headed back to the house to throw some fillets on the grill. Great dinner. Nice evening too.

Cabin weekend

So, after packing up the car and 2 dogs, we hit the road to the cabin. Make great time until…

About 45 minutes into the trip, traffic comes to a halt – road work. Now, it’s 95 degrees out, it’s 11 am on a Thursday and they’re painting and paving 70W? What the…. ? Anyway, turns out that it’s another opportunity for Gert to impart to me a life lesson.

We’re just chatting about this and that. Then she asks me:

‘Did I ever tell you the story about Dad and the road paint?’

‘Nooooooo’ was my hesitant reply. This brought on a slight giggle from her and then she started in.

Turns out that, one time, they were on the road going somewhere (details become less important as we age). There was a sign that said ‘Fresh paint, do not cross.’ Dad obeyed but, as was his wont, at some point, he wanted to get into another lane (probably to pass someone who was only doing 90)…anyway, I digress.

As the story goes, he turns to Mom and says, ‘Huh. Sign says 'Don’t cross paint' – what are they going to do to me?!’ Before Mom has time to reply, he’s across the freshly painted line and moving on his merry way, probably at warp speed (we share this trait). He appeared to be quite proud of himself as he passed the road crew and they didn’t stop him - in fact, they probably were laughing and waving in his direction. I’m sure he was pleased to have gotten one over on the ‘law.’

Mom and Dad drive a bit further before stopping. When they finally get out of the car, the entire side is coated in yellow paint. She looked at Dad and said: ‘THAT’S what they can do to you.’

As they say in West Virginia: See-me-like the moral of the story is:

Don’t worry about what ‘they’ can do to you. Worry about sabotaging yourself.

I believe this applies to all walks of life.

Mom and I rounded the evening out by sitting on the deck during the evening, hoping to watch the bats eat the moths which are attracted to a light out front of the cabin. Interestingly, bats weren’t flying but the moths were still pretty amazing to watch. Mom thought they looked like fireworks, I thought they looked like long worms. At any rate, it was a pretty spectacular show. I tried to get some pictures but these digital cameras definitely fall down in some categories – taking night pictures of moths appears to be one such category. I suppose there’s not really much of a call for this sort of thing anyway. But, here in W Virginia, it’s what we call entertainment.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Well, had a nice leisurely breakfast and then both of us showered and dressed and took off for Mom's facial appointment with our friend, Jenny (another amazing entity in our lives). I dropped Mom off at 12:30 and then ran some errands before returning in an hour to collect my charge. What a stunning woman I saw when I arrived (well, Jenny is always pretty but I mean dear Gert here...). She looked so relaxed and at least 10 years younger; had herself a nice nap too. Took the picture on my blackberry so it probably won't print out too well.

Headed home where part 2 of the nap ensued (after her requisite afternoon cheese and cracker snack shared with the 5 dogs). I sometimes wonder who gets more snack - Mom or any of the 5 individual dogs. Pavlov's response dictates that they all start drooling the minute she comes down the steps in the morning. All are eagerly anticipating her arrival...I can almost hear Killian say 'let's get this party started!'

I've got a pot of Aunt Mildred's recipe of spaghetti sauce on for dinner tonight with Bobbi and Sophia who will be here after work - Sophia loves spaghetti, and this is the best sauce I think I've ever run across. A bit of a pain to make though - especially when startled by a dog and dropping the spoon down the formerly white cabinets.

Mom and I are collecting items to take to the cabin tomorrow. It seems that, no matter how much stuff we tote up there with the idea of 'stocking up, ' we seem to eat/drink it all anyway and have to start all over the next time we visit the hills. But, regardless, heading up tomorrow morning for a change of scenery. John took Barley, Marguerita, and Matee so the house feels empty with just Killian and Hops floating around (although, I believe, Killian is secretly relieved).

On Sunday, John and I are hoping to take Mom to Winchester, VA to a great bar/restaurant we found while wandering the area one day. I know she'll love it - very quaint, beautiful place with a very friendly staff. And, Sunday (Father's Day) would have been the folks 67th anniversary so we'd like to get her out and about for a bit. Amazing to think that they shared 65.5 years together. Truly amazing. I was very lucky to share 48 with him and luckier still to have her here with me. We have a great time together. Nice benefit when your mother is one of your best friends!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Off to the mall and a Ladies lunch...

Well, we made it out of the house today, finally! Headed to the mall for a battery for Mom's watch and looked for a replacement butterfly clip for her hair (her existing clip is just wearing out after being in her hair for the last 3 years - she loves the thing). Didn't find her hair clip but I bought two stunning hair pins for myself....

Next stop was Bed, Bath and Beyond where Mom wanted a new set of sheets for her bed. Found them and, along with her sheets, I bought a new set of sheets and a feather bed for my bed (I'm seeing a trend here).

Then, lunch at a local favorite Mexican restaurant that Mom loves. A tamale for her, 2 margueritas for me...


Nap for her, longer nap for me.

We got up and sat on the balcony out front to watch a great storm roll through. All was fine until a rather large, thunderous clap occurred somewhere very close by. Mom and I didn't even look at each other; we both got up and beat feet (me, not her) for the door. As I passed her (I'm no hero), I hear her mutter:

Tuchas, move it!

Of course, I collapsed and she beat me to the door anyway.

So ends Day 2 of 'retirement.'

Monday, June 9, 2008

The beginning of a wondrous time

Well, having decided to take the summer off (coincidentally, I gave notice 2 weeks before I got laid off - had to ask in a meeting if I quit or was fired......). Anyway, have decided to take the summer off to devote more time to making some memories with my dear Mother. So, this blog is designed to keep everyone updated on Gertie and our travels as we go about our days.

Just got back from Nassau where bff Bobbi and I kicked the summer (and my 50th birthday) off in fine fashion at a resort smack dab beachfront. Lots of beach sitting, trash talking and drink sipping occurred. Darling boyfriend, John, stayed with Mom while I was gone with periodic visits from Jeff and Sophia who made a chinese dinner feast one night (yes, we're totally blessed by the best friends ever). I was a bit concerned when I left (for John's sake, not for Mom's), but, all went well at the Mansion East while I was gone - thereby proving that I'm not really all that necessary after all. Mom, John, and all 5 dogs survived. Whew!

But, summer is starting off a bit slow around the Mansion East. Have been hoping to get Mom out (moving and shaking) but have been largely unsuccessful as of late. Too much heat (with an advisory for the elderly ) means that we'll stay in the Mansion in the cool. Well, as cool as we can get with window unit air conditioners. But, doesn't mean we won't have fun. Early mornings and late evenings might find us spending a fair amount of time on the balcony watching the cars go by or on the back deck watching the grass grow. Not too bad at all. One thing Mom's taught me this past year is to slow down and look around periodically. One of the many lessons she's quietly (and sometimes, not quite as quietly as I would prefer) taught me.

Bobbi, Sophia, John and I spent the afternoon in the pool yesterday (well, someone has to do it). Gert took a nice nap, along with John's pug, Matee, who tends to curl up with her. Mom credits this dog with her greatly reduced blood pressure at her last doctor visit last week - 120/60. I think her bp is better than mine. Rita (my newest little dog) does not get credited at all - it just figures. Mom's way more attached to the 'rental' dog. At any rate, Mom and Matee are fast friends. Matee has a side job as a Hoover vacuum, cleaning crumbs up from both Mom and the floor so there is a symbiotic relationship going on. Pretty funny to watch. My dogs, on the other hand, are not very amused...especially Australian Shepherd Killian who clearly is concerned that his spot as favorite dog is waning.

Spent yesterday evening playing Wii with Sophia and John. Mom loves watching us play the thing, and it really is a pretty good time. You can actually work up a sweat boxing, bowling or shooting archery. Mom tried the thing a few weeks ago but couldn't quite get the bowling thing down; she kept hitting the audience. We'll try again later.

Having people over keeps Mom more engaged so I try to schedule different folks to drop by periodically. The standards (Bobbi, Sophia, John, Jeff, Joni, and the Davids) are always available on short notice. If I could only keep Mom stocked in oatmeal/raisin cookies - she's a glutton when it comes to those. I make at least a batch a week. Made a full batch yesterday and have an order for more for today. Made her some great English Muffin Bread yesterday which she thinks is just delightful toasted.

Heading to the cabin this coming week for 4 or 5 days in the mountains. John's house is a short 20 minute ride from the cabin so that's nice. Bobbi and her 2 dogs will come up Saturday bringing the grand total to 4 people and 7 dogs in the cabin which is always an interesting time. For Mother's Day, one of Mom's presents was a removal of the old (rather scary) steps and the installation of a new ramp so she doesn't have any steps to maneuver now. She loved it! Next up is finishing the basement. Of course, she hasn't seen the basement as she can't walk the steps but, with the use of a digital camera, she's still calling the shots (pun fully intended). She's very resourceful though and has great ideas that my friends and I would never come up with (like the time we were wallpapering the kitchen in the Mansion East and I had underestimated the size of the room. I had run out of paper save one long strip which just wasn't going to make it. Mom looked at the space that needed papering, looked at the long strip and said 'Hang that sucker up there sideways!' Luckily, because of the random pattern, well, we have some sideways wallpaper up there to this day - totally brilliant move).

Mom's also great at sweet talking the workmen we frequently have around the house. Our handyman extraordinaire, Ben, is in total love with her and never fails to ask me 'How's Mom today.' They were dancing 'separately together' yesterday as Ben was doing a shuffle in the driveway and dear Gert was rockin' and rollin' inside the livingroom. That cracked everyone up. And, it's a good thing she's good with workmen as we've sprung yet another leak (sigh) so there will be another plumber here tomorrow (double sigh).

Ok, enough blogging. I hope to update daily but no guarantees. Life can get busy around here.