December 5, 2010
I think I've written it before that this is turning out to be a year of transition, and as time passes that is more and more true.
It's been three months since Dad passed away and it is starting to really feel like he's gone. But then I look at Facebook and Mom's posts or comments and there's Dad's face staring back at me from her profile picture. It's a good picture, but it's starting to be disturbing.
The downstairs renovation is being done mostly on the loan, as planned, but there are some overages and extras that I didn't plan for. These are not major - actually, far less than the 15-25% that homeowner's websites say to budget for such expenses - but it's enough that I'm greatly annoyed. Why the hell did I spend 10 months with the architect and her drawings if it wasn't to avoid hiccups like these? (As of now, we're waiting for the city to send a plumbing inspector - once that is done, the entire downstairs can be buttoned up. But until then, the bathroom is little more than exposed plumbing, electrical, and studs.)
So on to upstairs. My gift to myself from Dad's life insurance is a moderate renovation up there, starting with pre-finished oak hardwood floors. (I really can't stand engineered wood floors, even though I was forced into it in the basement, since I couldn't lose the extra 1/2" of height down there.) In addition, I'm having the contractor redo the bathroom ceiling to let the sunshine in. And the walls and ceilings throughout the apartment are getting puttied, sanded, and painted; and I'm putting in a new kitchen. I wouldn't have done the kitchen at all except that the oven is on its last legs, the cabinets have mildew and are falling apart (due to the last tenant, stupid motherfucker), and the current layout is awful.
So. Year of transitions. Dad passes away; both my apartments are getting renovated (a horribly disruptive process by the way); I'm moving upstairs; AND...
I sold Roxie. I've written about my concerns here before that with the cough syncope that has happened four times now (maybe five), that I may get myself killed if it happens while on the motorcycle. In contrast to the other risks of motorcycling, this is one that I can't manage or mitigate. I can't prevent syncope. So...when I was given a good enough offer, I took it. I'm currently slowly selling off all extraneous motorcycle parts and tools. In fact, I'm selling and freecycling a LOT of posessions, so that I won't have to move them upstairs. Anybody need a green sparkly Hello Kitty TV?? :)
There's still biking in my future. I'll get back to it full-time someday and in the meantime consider one or two weeks on a borrowed or rented machine on the road with friends to be worth the risk.
Courses of IVs are getting more numerous. I'm on them again right now - it's only been two months since my last course. But because of the immunizations from two weeks ago, I ended up getting sick and needing antibiotics again. Only this time, it's being done through a Port! Finally! I had to twist some arms, but I got my port put in on Thursday, and I started IVs Saturday morning. This is a new way of doing things, but at least no more PICC lines. I may write up a whole post about the getting the port. We'll see.
Finally, there's another huge transition in my life: I've been referred for lung transplantation at Columbia. This is something I've been writing about in blog posts I haven't published. You see, I hadn't told my family 'til Thanksgiving. I planned on waiting until the night before my flight out, but the perfect opportunity came up the Wednesday night before Turkey Day, as we all sat around the kitchen table and talked about Dad and read some of the sympathy cards. I told everyone to stay put, that I had something I wanted to talk to them about. Then I went and got the big packet of info that the transplant center had given me and gave it to Mom to read. I told the family my status, that I'm in the initial rounds of tests, immunizations, and the like, and that transplant itself - even being listed for it - is likely many years off, still. But this IS a change - what has always been theoretical for my family has now become an impending reality.
My thing is, once listed, I will have to have a caretaker living with me. So I'm cranking up my search for a mate another notch. :)
However, at the moment, the best caretaker option is probably going to be Mom. But I want her to have the utmost in freedom and to live her own life for as long as possible before having to return to the role of caretaker. She did that long enough for Dad. I recall vividly that moment right after the Bridge Run when we were having brunch and I cracked a joke and for a moment she was absolutely transformed. She was genuinely laughing and her smile reached her eyes and she looked about 40 years younger. That's the Karen that I want to help reach the surface and nourish for as long as possible. The Karen that is in the photos next to dad is a wise and responsible face, but not a happy one. So it's one I hope to keep in a box for a long time yet.
To end this post, a quick congrats to my sister Rachel, who finished the Las Vegas half marathon today in about 2:07. I don't know the exact time because a) their athlete tracking system failed spectacularly; and b) the results aren't up on the webpage yet, which just screams incompetence. (NYRR race results are up within a couple hours of the race.)