Let's face it, I'm tired
Linda and I went on a “vacation” a couple of weeks ago. You likely noticed the quotation marks. It turned out to be a little less of a vacation than originally intended.
We started planning this little getaway a few months ago. With our planned move to Europe, Linda wanted to put the popup to use and get away into the mountains, away from the emails and internet. It definitely turned out to be a break from the research and planning.
It was meant to be a camping trip, combined with visiting some old friends of Linda’s at their home in western Colorado, and visiting her sister and brother-in-law in Grand Mesa, Colorado. (They live in Seattle, but they have a cabin on a lake in western Colorado.)
The first few days consisted of those very plans, but in an abbreviated version. We camped in the trailer for only one night. The campground was full – in fact, it was overfull. Our site was double-booked. It was also reserved for another guy and his son. We both had our reservations handy as proof, so nobody had to leave. Fortunately, it was a fairly large site, so we suggested that they set up their tent in a clearing about twenty feet away from our trailer.
Apparently, though, we chose the campground that was party central! It sounded like half the campground gathered near us, drinking, talking loud, playing games, and people didn’t shut up and stagger back to their trailers or tents until after 1:30 a.m.
After that, we spent two nights at Linda’s friends’ place, and we had a good time with them. Elise and Mark are wonderful people – more on the religious side than either of us, but very nice. The house was not air-conditioned, so the heat was a drawback, but we managed fairly well despite that.
We spent only one night at the cabin in Grand Mesa – not nearly enough! It was my first time there, and I fell in love with the place. The location was beautiful, near the shore of a lake, and surrounded by forest. We had a great time, hiking through the woods, looking for mushrooms, and we discovered a delicious variety that we had never had before. (Don’t ask me what it’s called. I can’t remember.)
But the cabin – oh my god, I loved it. It’s not like it was anything really special. It was small and fairly rustic, but decorated in a mid-century style. I’m a sucker for mid-century style, and this wasn’t retro, it was the real thing! They’ve maintained the place beautifully since his family acquired the cabin in the early sixties. The old-fashioned linoleum flooring, in colors and patterns that you just don’t see anymore, and the colors of the paint and trim were all completely authentic.
I could have easily spent so much more time there than we did. So, why was the trip so abbreviated?
Linda has a friend that’s she’s known for over thirty years. She met Skip in a music class they were both taking, and they became good friends.
When Linda’s husband at the time cheated on her and subsequently left her while she was pregnant – yes, you read that right – Skip helped her through it. He’s been a good friend of hers ever since.
Skip wasn’t very good with money, though, and has no retirement plan. He’s 77 years old and is living solely on Social Security. For a while, he lived with his mother to take care of her. She was suffering from severe dementia. (His father had died some years before from Alzheimer’s.)
After his mother died, his brothers insisted that the house be sold right away and the proceeds split between them. That meant that Skip had to clear out immediately. That was a very stressful time for him, having lost his mother, and shortly after that, his home.
He moved into an apartment that cost way more than he could afford, but shortly after that, his aunt in Minnesota contacted him and told him that she had a mobile home that he could live in for very low rent. He jumped at the opportunity, and Linda and I helped him load up his things, and we moved him to Minnesota.
Even then, he seemed to be fairly easily confused, but at the time, we didn’t really put it together. However, having a father with Alzheimer’s and a mother with severe dementia, I suppose it was kind of inevitable. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s himself a couple of years ago.
As his symptoms progressed, Linda worked tirelessly to find a facility that would be a good fit for him, and where he could take advantage of his VA benefits. She found a nice one in Northglenn, a northern suburb of Denver, but they had a waiting list. An apartment became available, but he had to move into it by August 3rd, or it would go to someone else.
So, we cut our vacation short and used the rest of the time to drive to Minnesota and pack up his things (throwing away a LOT of stuff). We did what cleaning we could do, though due to his cat who died a few weeks ago, the carpet stunk horribly of cat pee and will have to be replaced.
Then, we drove back to Denver over parts of three days. I admit that, not having the history with him that Linda did, I had to just keep my mouth shut a lot of the time when he would ask where we were or where we were going, sometimes as little as five minutes after it was last explained to him.
But Linda, who I think, despite the aforementioned lack of religious inclination, must be a saint, patiently explained to him every time, never once sounding as if she was tired of answering the same question for the twenty-fifth time.
Well, we got him moved in on August 3rd, drove across town during “rush” hour (as Robin Williams once said, “Why do they call it rush hour when nobody moves?”), I took a shower, ate something and went to bed, having to get up early the next morning to go back to work.
During that time, I didn’t write a single word, other than a brief post or two on Facebook, during the very few scattered times we had any online connection. I’ve really missed the writing.
But mainly, I’m just really tired.