Sunday, April 28, 2013

Remodeling, sort of

We are gearing up for my mom's move to Oregon City this weekend. Back in February, we had started making plans with both her and Dad to move here sometime over the summer, but since Dad's timeframe was shortened so much, it will be just Mom coming.

Thank goodness for this sturdy old farmhouse with it's "interesting" floor plan! It seems to stretch and expand with all its old fashioned nooks and crannies. Mom will have her own apartment on the main floor, with easy access to the living room, dining room, and kitchen. Mom's apartment will have a large bedroom / sitting room, a walk-through closet, a full bath, a pantry area, and a kitchenette and dining area. Ikea, here we come!

Last month we had a laminate floor installed in the bedroom / sitting room, and Mark worked all day yesterday on finishing the moldings and trim in the room. It looks so pretty.
 The new laminate floor in Mom's bedroom / sitting room

 Pretty new trim / baseboards
 One of the architectural details we saved when we did the big remodeling job 8 years ago - now it's installed in a corner of Mom's closet.
Mark even made the moldings pretty inside the closet.

And...drum roll...speaking of Ikea, I headed out on a little shopping expedition of my own Friday night. Came home with boxes full of two or three million little pieces. 

I needed some prettier more efficient storage space for our office "stuff" if it was going to be right there in our dining room, instead of tucked away on the back porch. (Which will soon become Mom's kitchenette and dining area.) While Mark was constructing awesome-looking trims for Mom's apartment, I was playing carpenter with the fun that is Ikea furniture.

 It's not too complicated, right??
 If you just take the directions one step at a time, it's not too hard.
 I actually got a small blister on my right hand from all the screwdriver use.
 And this is the awesome result! I love this pretty cabinet.
 Instead of having "stuff" all over the top of the desk, it's stashed away in the pretty cabinet!
And to replace the desk drawers + rubbermaid drawers + 4-drawer filing cabinet...ta da!!
I built the little 5-drawer cabinet from Ikea, and bought the little filing cabinet at Office Max.
A place for everything and everything in its place.
Makes me happy!

Mark and I will fly to Spokane Thursday morning to help Mom finish packing. Son-in-law Eric will join us on Friday to load the U-Haul truck. My brother will come over from Shelton, WA (near Olympia) on Thursday, too. On Saturday, Mark & Eric will drive the U-Haul back to Oregon City, and Mom and I will drive her car. We have a crew planning to meet us at 7:00 pm to unload Mom into her new home (!!) and then Eric will fly back to Spokane on Sunday morning to get his car and drive home to his sweet family.

I know there will be adjustments to make all around - for Mom as well as for Mark and me - but we are genuinely looking forward to having Mom here. She is sweet, happy company, and we are looking forward to good connections and happy adventures together in the coming months.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Memorial photos

I didn't even bother with my camera at Dad's memorial service last week. We had some wonderful family photographers, with far better cameras than mine, who were documenting the event. What a blessing - I was able to focus my energy on family, especially Mom, while others snapped photos of a tender time.

Polly posted photos of Dad's memorial on her blog, here.

Thank you, Polly! What a treat to be able to linger over some special moments that you captured with your camera.

Monday, April 8, 2013


Mark and I just got home from our second weekend (in a row) in Colville - 8 hours each way. We held Dad's memorial service on Saturday. It was held in the local community hall; Mom and Dad have been members of the association that maintains the hall for most of the 16 years they lived in Colville. My brother Maury, who is pastor of Skokomish Community Church, conducted the service. I read "Crossing the Bar" by Tennyson and the obituary (with a few extra stories added in).

The memorial service was pretty simple. My brother accompanied all the songs on his guitar. They were mostly old-timey songs like "The Old Rugged Cross" and "The Church in the Wildwood," because my mother loves those songs and requested them, and we were all glad to sing them to celebrate Dad.

Three of the grandchildren are in current military service, so they did a veteran's flag ceremony for Dad.  It was very solemn and moving. Then we closed with an upbeat song called "I'll Fly Away." It's not a traditional hymn like I'm used to singing in Mormon services, but it was a perfect way to end Dad's service.

Then the community hall association put out a spread of sandwiches and potluck salads and desserts for everyone to enjoy, because that's how they do things in the mountains north of Spokane.

Grandchildren came from Kansas, Montana, Florida, and Washington. We had Dad's brother fly in from Florida, and his sister-in-law flew in from Virginia. We also had cousins fly in from Virginia, a carful of cousins that drove up from the Bay Area, and Mom's brother from the Oregon coast. It was really, really wonderful to reconnect with these family members. Some of them I hadn't seen in 30 years. It was so fun to share old stories. Mark said I looked younger when my brother and I started in on "remember when..."

Dad's obituary is posted here.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Grey fog

I always thought grief looked / felt like tears, swollen eyes, poignant stabbing memories, flashbacks of nostalgia...

Since I wasn't having those symptoms, I thought I was "doing fine."

No. Actually, no, I'm not.

Today grief is a grey fog that has settled into my brain. It is a deep, deep exhaustion. Even though I slept relatively well last night, I have had to lay my head on my desk a couple of times and just close my eyes and breathe.

I can't remember the last time I felt so tired, so unable to think. People say kind things and I barely have the energy to say anything in response.

No tears. Just a tight feeling in my chest and the strange grey fog swirling through my brain.