Today is the last day of the year. “Duh, Captain Obvious.” states a dull voice inside my head. Well, with today being the last day of 2013, I have decided to do my annual year end review. “Oh joy, it’s that time again.” another voice says lazily. And I say to both of you, “Oh shut up and deal with it.” 😉 Yes, my mind is an interesting place. If you ever want to take a sneak peek, be my guest, but don’t say I didn’t warn you about how strange it can be. “You didn’t actually warn them, genius.” teases the first voice. “Oh whatever, they get the point.” argues the second. Well with that….here we go. 😉
I was taking care of my grandma, had been since October of 2012. It had gotten particularly bad at the end of November that year when she had a stroke. We later found out she’d had two prior, only not even she knew that. That did explain an awful lot though. Anyway, at this point, I was taking my grandma to a lot of doctor appointments and I was in complete and total charge of the household, i.e. cleaning, cooking, paying bills, etc. It was a very stressful time for me, but this was something I’d agreed to do, not just agreed to do, but volunteered to do. My grandma had always been there for me and I wanted to be there for her now. So sometimes I vented if the day was particularly rough, but I always got through it and one of the biggest reasons I did was because of the people I had supporting me. My biggest supporter was and still is my boyfriend, Doug. At that time, we’d only been together for three months. In those three months, so much had happened and I found that we’d become pretty close. January 5th is when he told me he loved me for the first time and I knew for the first time in my life with all of my heart that a guy actually meant it and that this wasn’t going to be some fling or rocky relationship. This felt real, solid, and wonderful and even then, I knew he was the one for me.
I was going on interviews because I needed more money than what I had. Unemployment wasn’t much and yes because I was taking care of her, my grandma was helping with my bills….but I wanted more for myself and for my son. Things with my grandma were still stressful; she was refusing outright to use a walker and barely used the cane I got for her. She was still having issues with falling and it was really scaring me. In October & November of 2012, I’d take her with me to run errands, but at this point I was done taking her along because she would not use a walking aid. I was trying to reason with her, but it wasn’t working out so well. Doug was doing all he could to help me. A few times he was there when she fell and he helped her up. We’d been bowling league on Tuesdays with his dad, that was a lot of fun. Though I did stay home a lot to make sure my grandma was alright and sometimes that got to me, but I didn’t trust her to be home alone for too long. It was what it was.
I was still going on interviews and still taking care of my grandma. In March I did make a breakthrough with her. First, we had her start physical therapy, which seemed to be helping. Second, she FINALLY agreed to use a walker. So, after her first session, I went to get her one. She didn’t always use it, but she did use it often, mostly because I nagged her to do it. I can be a persistent pest. 😉 Things seemed to be going alright. Sometimes her speech still faltered and you could see how unsteady she could be when she was stubborn and didn’t use the walker, but this was a part of the effects from the stroke. I did not give up working with her though. Things were still going well for Doug and I, five months in and I was still over the moon happy. My longest relationship prior to this was nearly three months. I thought, “Could this be it? You know, I think it is. I think I FINALLY found true happiness.” Though other voices chimed in now and then, causing doubt, but not in him…in me. I’d hear things like, “You know you’ll just mess it up like you always do.” or “You’re not meant to be happy.” Stupid nagging voices, well I always managed to shut them up. 😉 Zach was doing well in wrestling, his season ended in March. I saw him get his first pin that season, was so very proud of my boy. He was doing well in fourth grade, playing violin, getting geared up for another baseball season, and very happy about Doug. I was beyond happy that my two boys were bonding. 🙂
Baseball season began for Zach, the practices anyway. A real relationship between Doug and my kiddo was forming. We started going to the park since warmer weather was finally beginning to stop in to say hello. I was still job hunting, going on interviews, and still taking care of my grandma. Things were a bit difficult, like when she refused to use her walker and sometimes when she ate. She’s had a problem with coughing since her childhood, but since that last stroke, it had gotten worse and sometimes she’d choke while eating. I monitored her pretty closely. I will also admit I was getting increasingly frustrated because she’d sometimes leave the door open, the sink on, or try to cook and then leave the stove on. Yeah, I began hiding knives, the glassware because she’d broken a few glasses, and had unplugged the stove if I wasn’t using it. Doug was looking at houses and now he’d been letting me come along to look with him. Mid month or so, it happened. We found one we both liked. I was excited, though unsure of how things would go for us with all of that. We’d been talking about living together one day. Things were so up in the air with my grandma, what would become of her, should she go into a home or at least assisted living because truthfully, I knew she needed help I couldn’t give her. Also, what about the house? My uncle wanted it, but couldn’t afford to keep it on his own. I just didn’t know what was going to happen for anyone.
It was decided. My uncle would move back in and help with my grandma. When Doug moved into his house at the end of the month, I would move in with him. I thought perhaps my uncle had learned a lot from the year before and that he’d be able to care for her, at least until we had things figured out with nursing homes/assisted living. I was excited, though a little worried about my grandma. Luckily, where we live is only maybe 5-7 minutes away, depending on the traffic lights, when the weather is good. Zach was excited as well, this was huge for him. Baseball was going alright for him. He did earn the game ball at the end of one game. He had gotten hit in the back, so hard we all heard it. I freaked out, big time. But, after a couple of minutes, he shook it off the best he could and walked to first base. After that, he stole second and third. Then a teammate hit a ball sending my son from third to home. This was a big deal for my kiddo and well, for me too. When they gave him the ball at the end of the game, I cried. So much was coming together for everyone.
My grandma was turning 75, so I arranged a dinner for her. My mom came into town, my uncle joined us, so did my cousin Jim and his wife, and also one of my grandma’s oldest and dearest friends. It was a nice evening. Not long after that evening, my uncle was leaving to go up North for the summer to work for a Boy Scout camp. I thought he was going to move back in, but this now meant he wouldn’t be at that point in time. So, when he left, I was going by the house to check on her every morning. I cleaned up after her, did her laundry, did her grocery shopping, was still paying her bills for her, took her to any appointments, etc. I also was going on interviews and then, on the 12th, I got a temp to hire job for Ryder. I’d be dealing with truck drivers all day. But luckily, I got done with work at 2:30 in the afternoon once my training was done, so I’d go by her every day after work. It was a lot for me to handle, working, caring for my grandma, taking care of my son, and so on. Luckily, Doug was very supportive and I also had great friends to vent to. Also, my mom was coming to town when she could to help. But, decisions needed to be made. So, we got the Dept. of Aging involved again. After a couple of conversations on the phone and then a couple of meetings, which even my uncle from MN made it to that first one, it had been decided to enroll my grandma in Community Care. They would send someone to check on her daily, make sure her medicine was taken, have someone do light housekeeping, etc. I still stopped in every single day while this process was going on. Saturdays were laundry, grocery shopping, and have lunch with her days. Zach was made to help out when he was with me. Doug helped a little, but I made sure it wasn’t much because I felt it was my job, my son’s, my mom’s, my family’s job…and while I considered him family, it just didn’t seem right to ask too much of him in that department. It was frustrating with work and everything else going on, but I managed.
Unbeknownst to me, my job wasn’t happy that I wasn’t working overtime. They knew going in about my grandma’s situation. I told my boss that I wouldn’t miss too much time due to her situation and I didn’t. I didn’t miss one day due to that, though I did miss one day due to being sick, but just one day. But they didn’t like that I wasn’t putting in overtime and not once did he tell me had an issue with it. In fact, he only actually asked me to stay longer once and I did for a little while. The thing was though, till Community Care began stopping by daily, I had to stop over after work to check on her and make her take her medicine. Well, on the 19th, while on my way back from picking up my son when the work day was done, I got a call telling me they were ending my assignment. I’d only been there for five and a half weeks. I was a bit floored. Someone even stood up for me, but it didn’t work. They couldn’t wait two weeks for Community Care? Seriously? So, it was back to the drawing board. The plus was in those two weeks, I was able to properly care for my grandma. I was also job hunting again though. Things with Doug and I were still going great. Living together had proven just how good of a couple we really could be. Zach loved the house, his room, and was even making friends in the neighborhood. Things were going fairly well, except for the job hunt. We’d even gotten a kitten, named him Onyx. Come on now, you know your relationship is serious when you get a pet together. 😉
Community Care finally began sending someone to my grandma’s home every day and when my grandma didn’t lock them out, they got stuff done. My uncle came home from working at camp and my mom said with all the drama going on to let him handle it now since he said he would take care of her and that he wanted the house. The stress was eating at me and everyone said what my mom was saying, step back, and take care of your own life…your child, working, your home, your life with Doug, etc. So, I stepped back eventually. On the 22nd, I met with Dave from Dave’s Welding and he hired me to be his Office Manager. On the 26th, I started and man was I excited. It felt good to be working again. I was working with a friend of mine and that was cool. It being maybe 5-10 minutes from home depending on traffic didn’t hurt either. 😉 Life was really beginning to shape up quite nicely. Zach was having a good summer, but dreading school and going back to our limited schedule. We did enjoy the time and nice weather while we had it. 😉
My uncle wasn’t living there, but he had a bunch of his stuff there and was going there just about every day to check on her. I didn’t like how messy/cluttered the house was getting, but her needs were being met. Community Care was as frustrated as I was with everything, with her shutting them out, but my uncle said he had everything under control. When I would talk to my mom, she’d say, it’s on him now, remember to focus on you now. So, that’s what I was trying to do. Work was going fairly well, felt like maybe I’d found somewhere I could belong, like maybe I found a job that would last. Zach started football for the first year ever. He was enjoying that. I loved seeing my son in his uniform, though it made me a little sad to realize how big he was getting. It was a busy month! I had games to go to, my cousin’s wedding in MN, and Doug’s dad’s wedding to go to as well. It was a very exciting month to say the least. It was a month filled with family, good memories, and lots of love.
Work was going fairly well yet, though I was beginning to see more and more of my boss’ temper. Some days were very difficult, though usually things were alright. Zach’s football season came to an end, but with it came the determination to do it again the next year. I was so proud of him. Fifth grade was starting out pretty well for him. I had to make plans for his 11th birthday. Seriously where does time go? Speaking of time, Doug and I celebrated our one year anniversary. It was an amazing year looking back, I thought to myself. Right before our anniversary, he and a few buddies got together and made a trip out to MD to see an old high school friend. During those five days he was gone, I watched some girly movies and spent time with friends. We both missed one another and it was definitely hardest for me, especially at night…but I knew, as he did that time away from one another now and then is healthy, especially when you live together. 😉 Things in that department were still going well, but it was still good for us to do our own thing.
My son turned 11! I had a small party here, which went well. He also got birthday meals throughout the weekend and some video game time with friends. It was a fun time for my kiddo. Work was getting more and more stressful, but I was determined to hold on. The 17th marked the one year anniversary of Doug’s mom’s death. That was difficult, but with his family, they made it through. I had really seen in the last year just how close they all are, how wonderful his family is, and was thankful to be a part of it.
It’s been a month full of stress at work, but otherwise life has been pretty good. I know that my job may be ending soon because business isn’t going so well and everyone is stressed out, but I will make the best of it while I am there. I am going to look for something else, because I need to be prepared, but like I said, while I am there…I will give it all I have. I got to see a lot of my family, spend time with friends, and have time with my son. I also turned 35 this month and it turned out to be a good birthday. We got a puppy from my brother, one of eleven. She’s the runt. We named her Lucy. She’s only six and a half weeks old and believe me, this has posed its challenges, but we’re up to them. She’s a lovable puppy and we’re determined to raise her to be a good, healthy, and happy dog. Her and Onyx play often every single day. Zach loves them both. He’s been helping, taking Lucy out now and then. His break is nearly at an end, but we do have one more day. Then he goes back to his dad’s and 2014 begins. What is in store for us all this next year? I am not certain, but I am ready to face it all head on, with my little family, and with my friends. God is good and I know that through the good and bad, we’ll make it. We’ll make more memories, share more love, and do what we can to make our lives good. I am not making any resolutions that can and will likely be broken, but I will say this….I strive to have a year better than the last. I pray this will be true for all of my loved ones, including all of you reading this. I hope you enjoyed my review and hope that you have had a good tale or two to tell in 2013. Well, adios 2013, it was nice knowing you! Bonjour 2014, I am ready to make your acquaintance!