Sunday, April 26, 2015

Dear Kids,
          Dad is doing better every day. He was able to come to Salt Lake with me on Wednesday and help out with our piano class nursery. We usually have Nora’s and Donna’s kids in there, plus one or two others, so we absolutely have to have somebody in there supervising. Dad usually sits by the door to prevent escapees. The piano class itself is still growing, and I’ve marked 31 people on the roll in the last month. We only have 24 keyboards, and we can’t expand any farther than that, so we just have kids double up, or tell them to come earlier next week. I really appreciate Donna and Nora helping out as teachers. If any of you know anybody else who would like to teach piano in a really crazy setting, please send them to me! 
           Dad has enough energy to help out with serious project now, like working in the basement. He can’t lift more than ten pounds, so we have to work creatively. I decided to finish our big walk-in closet myself, so we’d have a place to store things when the drywall guys come. I bought sheetrock at Home Depot on Monday, and Tom helped me load it in through a basement window. Tom also loaned us his contraption for lifting sheetrock to the ceiling and holding it there. It’s the craziest thing I ever saw: there are pulleys and a big wheel with a handle and bars that rise up. I didn’t totally understand it when Tom showed me how it worked, but Dad caught on. So I cut the sheetrock and Dad worked the machine. Then he used the drill driver to put in the drywall screws. I forgot how much fun it is to build a room, and I love the smell of joint compound when it’s drying. We need to put the windows in our stairwell before the drywall guys come, but when I ordered the windows, they said it would be 6 to 8 weeks, because we need them tempered. So, in the meantime we’re going to finish our storage room, too. Maybe we’ll do even more. Nothing’s more exciting than finishing a basement! 
           Oh, yeah, working in the yard is exciting, too, but we’re finally having winter again. It’s snowing this morning. The poor little trees that I planted are nearly dead now. I’ll know better next time.
          Love, Mom

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Dear Kids,
          Dad is making a remarkable recovery. He says his progress is exponential, not linear. His appetite is back: Friday night, he and John polished off most of a pizza, plus half a gallon of milk. He’s able to get up and do odd jobs, like wiring a light and a switch in the basement. He’s attending to the cats again. After his surgery I had set their automatic feeder to go off three times a day, so they wouldn’t need him, but they prefer to have him up at 6:00 am giving them their morning meal personally. This week I’m hoping Dad can get outside and clean some of our high-up windows. They’re totally plastered with mud from the big storm that came through on Wednesday.
           Before the storm, I had been out in the yard starting my projects again. I even planted two trees that I had bought in Salt Lake. Bad idea! Salt Lake trees aren’t ready for Kamas Valley. They were frozen three nights in a row, besides being beaten half to death by the wind. Now most of their leaves are black and hanging down. Maybe they can recover. I can get my money back if they die, but I feel like a neglectful mother, planting them in such an inhospitable place, without acclimating them first.
           Three weeks ago, I wrote about the disaster of our new carpet. It’s longer and thinner and less curly than the carpet I ordered. Luckily I kept the sample board from Ward’s carpet–it’s my only proof that they got it wrong. They said they had to send a piece of the carpet to the factory, so their lab could test it. I kept saying they only had to look at it to see it was different. They kept insisting they had to go through their standard procedures. I started doubting that there even was a lab–it seemed like a way of stalling people off until they started liking their new carpet. Well, I hate this stuff. It’s already flattening down on the stairs. This week they called and said the lab finally confirmed that the carpet is different, but I could have a big discount if I kept the carpet they already laid. No deal. I wouldn’t have it in a barn. So they’re trying to get us the right stuff. I still think they’re trying to wear me down.
          But life is good. Dad is getting better. Love, Mom

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Dear Kids,
          Most of you have talked with either Dad or me about his surgery, and you know it went pretty well, at least the surgery part of it. He was in the recovery room for several hours because his breathing was "depressed" (dangerously low, one doctor inadvertently let out), and then they sent him to the ICU for the night. I was there with him, and I slept in the recliner. It was very comfortable. The nurses were in and out every hour or two checking all his vitals, and they said he was the healthiest person in the ICU. I asked one nurse if people died there, and she said "all the time." It was very sobering. They kept Dad until Thursday afternoon, and released him from there. They gave us a sheaf of papers to read, but not much information about the real issues, like a run-down on all his medications, instructions for keeping the incision dry, what number to call if there is trouble, etc. We’ve made out OK. He had a lot of nausea yesterday, but is doing a little better today. He makes himself get up and walk around every hour or so, and I’m sure that’s helping him a lot. He has a catheter and a bag, so don’t be grossed out if you come to see him. The contents of the bag are the same color as the crystal lite fruit punch I used to like so much. I’ll never drink it again.
          Otherwise, things are going well here. The cats are doing OK without Dad’s constant attention, but they’re letting me know they aren’t happy. He usually brings them milk at 6:00 am, and he’s not able to do it now, but I did take them his uneaten cereal this morning. Oreo brings in lots of dead mice, presumably for Dad’s nourishment. He’s been getting a lot of big ones this spring. Tom says it wasn’t cold enough for them to die off over the winter. I found one mouse eating his way through our basement screen, so I caught him in my hand and carried him out to the field across the street. He wasn’t big enough for Oreo to bother with yet.
          I hope you’re all doin’ great and lovin’ it. We are.
          Love, Mom

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Dear Kids,
          I hope you’re all having a wonderful Easter morning! The Easter Bunny visited us here and brought Dad a chocolate rabbit from Walmart and some Cadbury mini eggs. He brought me two bars of Midnight Reverie Ghiradelli 86% chocolate, plus a 90% bar of Lindt. I feel very secure, having a good supply of really dark chocolate.
          Of course it’s strange to have Easter on conference weekend, even though it happens every few years. I remember when you kids were little it was a relief not to have to worry about Easter dresses. Now it’s nice to hear the messages about Christ in conference. I hope you’re all enjoying the sessions as much as we are.
          Dad’s surgery is this Wednesday, so I’m sure you’ll all remember him in your prayers. He’s surprisingly calm about it all. We’re meeting with his doctor tomorrow morning to hear the final details. Since the surgery is on a Wednesday, I’ll still be teaching the Lighthouse piano class that afternoon, along with Donna and Nora and the rest of our great teachers. Dad will be snoozing it off in one of the recovery rooms at the Death Star. I’ll be staying overnight in the hospital and then driving us home Thursday morning. I expect everything to go very smoothly.
          Yesterday morning I was up early wandering through the house, and I decided to have a look at the full moon. Somebody had taken a large bite out of it! It was a little before five. I woke up Chuck and asked him if he’d heard anything about a lunar eclipse. He got on his phone and saw that it was definitely happening. (As if the moon wasn’t proof enough.) We watched it through our binoculars for about an hour. It was never really total–there was still a tiny spot of light at the top at it’s fullest. But the moon was definitely red! I thought about the fact that it was Easter Saturday, the time when Christ would have been in the tomb, and how the earth was darkened here in America. It made Easter more real.
          I love you all and hope things are going well for you.
          Love, Mom