Thursday, February 24, 2022

The perils of packing lightly, and other observations

Yep, I'm still in Texas. My stay is no longer indefinite, though; I plan to be home by March 8 at the latest. (Pray that the ewes cross their back legs until then!) That's 'just' two and a half weeks longer than I thought I'd be here. I've always been a relatively light packer, and packed even less than usual for my six-day trip, since I thought I'd mostly be moving stuff out of my parents' house, not visiting the hospital, going to medical appointments, and picking up prescriptions. Oh well; I'm cycling through the same two pairs of jeans and four tops I brought, and supplementing with a vest and a sweater of Mom's. I can pick up additional toiletries. However, Rick has had to Priority Mail me – twice – a prescription I quickly ran out of, and then would've run out of again as I extended my stay. Such is the nature of the state of affairs here.

Speaking of purchases, it is an adjustment of mind and wallet to come to a state with sales tax, as Oregon has none. But at least one thing is cheaper; two scoops of cappuccino chocolate chunk in a dish at Braum's (a regional ice cream and fast food chain) is only $2.15! See, I am taking care of myself. 😁 I'm also walking when it doesn't risk frostbite or hypothermia....

You know the old weather joke, told practically everywhere: "If you don't like the weather, wait a minute." Well, it may take longer than a minute, but the variability here seems exceptionally psychotic. The first week I worked in short sleeves, as the highs reached 70 or more. Then we were waking up to single digits that with any breeze put the "feels like" into the negative double digits, and staying bitterly cold all day. Today started that way, then warmed up into the high 40s. Next week the forecast is for highs up to 80°! But regardless of the temperature, it is D.R.Y. here and nearly always windy. "Yes, Virginia, there really are tumbleweeds." And static electricity strong enough to knock your socks off!

I've caught a couple nice sunsets, though. First one:

Second one:

Back to my initial purpose for this trip: cleaning out my brother's old room and anything else my mom will let me haul out. (They have a big house – and enough stuff to fill three!) Back home so much would be recycled, but here, it all goes to the dump (or the thrift shop); there are NO recycling services. And lots of people have dumpsters, showing just how much trash they generate! SO different from the more environmentally conscious West Coast....

Of course, Dad's hospitalization and diagnosis soon dictated a new purpose for my trip: supporting my parents emotionally and physically. Today Dad had the second of his three radiation treatments, for which he wears a custom fitted mask to hold him absolutely still. Monday he wants me to follow him to the treatment room for his last treatment and get a photo of him wearing it, which I am told I can do.

I've also been able to help them schedule a needed remodel of their master bath area, which will start (and supposedly end!) next week. My so-capable dad, who has been a builder, mechanic, teacher, and logistical engineer in the aerospace industry, had another lifetime of projects he wanted to accomplish; I'm so proud of him for allowing someone else to come in and do what he no longer can.

That's it for now far, far away from . . .


thecrazysheeplady said...

Keep watching for the sunrises and sunsets. {{{hug}}}

Michelle said...

Will do, Sara!

Florida Farm Girl said...

Sounds like you're doing the best you can under the circumstances so just keep on keeping on. I'll still be thinking of you. Hugs to all of you.

A :-) said...

It sounds like you are getting as much done as possible. It always surprises me when people don't recycle. I used to have friends who lived in Missouri and I was visiting and asked where the recycling bag was. The answer: "We don't recycle. It's not our job." I was very surprised. Sales tax . . . oh, my friend . . . the minimum combined sales tax in my county is 10.25%. If you're at the airport here, it's 12%. Hang in. I think you're getting a lot accomplished there even though I'm guessing you must be very sad.

marlane said...

That static electricity is thing here too, one of the down sides of for me living in a dry climate.

Retired Knitter said...

Glad you are still putting one foot in front of the other! That is how I got through 8 years of elder care. Looking back I don’t know how I did it, but it really was - take a step, then the next step, and so on.

Hoping your sheep hold off producing as well.

Jeanne said...

Oh, Michelle, I know what you mean about not packing enough stuff! I stayed in Idaho with my younger daughter's family. Had thought I'd be there two weeks, but they wanted me to stay longer - it turned out to be six weeks - from just before Thanksgiving till after the New Year rolled in! I ran out of prescriptions too, and had to have more sent to me. The clothes thing wasn't a problem - after I learned how to use my granddaughter's fancy washer and dryer! Live and learn! Such fun!

Your sunset pictures are gorgeous!! The second one was really fascinating!

Oh, yes! I haven't missed the tumbleweeds! I grew up with them in eastern Oregon, then when we lived in Idaho we had them there, too!

The mask your dad has to wear for his treatments is quite the deal! I'm sorry he has to go through all this.

I'm keeping you all in prayer, including Rick and Brian. Hang in there.

Leigh said...

It's interesting how different things are from state to state. Have to figure out how to appreciate each one on it's own. I appreciate states that don't have a state income tax!

I know it's a tremendous blessing for them for you to be able to be you there.

Michelle said...

Thanks, Sue.

A, the sadness was heavy at first, but things have lightened a lot, with only periodic tears. It is hardest on my mom, of course.

That and the cracked fingers, Marlane!

I can't imagine how you did it, Elaine!

Then you understand completely, Jeanne!

We have income tax in Oregon, Leigh, but with "one and done" it seems less rude that getting dinged on every purchase.

Sharon said...

So many of my friends seem to be dealing with end-of-life issues and I'm sorry to hear how much of a load you're having to bear, making your parents comfortable. I can see other trips in your future to continue the work you've already begun already. I am so sorry for you but glad for them that they have your love and support. We just got back from an extended trip to the coast, extended by a sneaker snow storm, and oh how I wished I had packed more clothes!!

Mokihana said...

A friend of mine had to wear a mask like that when she was having radiation. I hope your dad isn't having as tough a time with it as she did.

I hope you're finding little spots of joy in each day.

I remember tumbleweeds when we lived in Idaho and also saw a bunch in Washington. My friend had me stop and put several in the back of my van; she took them home and put Christmas lights on them on her front porch. They actually looked wonderful!