I do not think it is his time. But he hurts, and seeing your parent in pain is just as impossibly frustrating and heart-wrenching as seeing your child in pain.

I am here, bearing witness. Talking when he wants to talk, watching over him as he sleeps. Soon I will head for home…but for now, I am here.

Sharing space with him. Guarding his sleep. Watching as his hands work, searching for something that he doesn’t find before coming to a rest.

My heart aches even as I am profoundly grateful for being able to be here with him for the past three days.

Precious Time - photo by Christine Ashworth, image arrangement by Mary Bogue

Precious Time – photo by Christine Ashworth, image arrangement by Mary Bogue

I’m fully planning on him being around for at least another decade. I just need him to get with that program, too.


Sandwich Generation

Caught between children not yet gone from the nest and an aging parent who wants his child. Neither lay blame (or even think to do so), but the guilt is there, waiting to pounce in a weak moment. Plus the marriage.

The push-pull of need and the balancing act that is required take its toll. And in a totally unrelated yet totally related way, I miss my mom.

I so wish we all lived together, in one house. Grandparent, children, grandchildren.

But that would undoubtedly bring its own heartaches.

So I take a deep breath and think on my blessings.

All will be well, and all things will be well.


Dishwasher Wars…

No, it’s not a new reality TV show about illegal aliens trying to keep their job at a greasy spoon…(‘scuse me, now taking a call from the Kardashians…) where was I? Oh yeah.

So, my dishwasher finally died. After sixteen years and one appliance-repair call for $100 9 years ago, it just stopped cleaning the dishes. We therefore stopped using it, I raided my 401K plan, and prior to going to the stores to find my new dishwasher, I shopped online.

Found it almost immediately. A gorgeous, totally stainless-steel inside and out, whisper-quiet model with racks that adjust up and down, more silverware holders than you can shake a stick at, and the bottom has NO open heating elements. Which means, I won’t be burning plastic utensils at the bottom of the dishwasher any time soon (yay, me!).

I found this paragon of dishwashing online on a Tuesday; we couldn’t go shopping until Saturday. So I rolled up my metaphorical sleeves and washed dishes by hand as I hadn’t done in too many years. There’s a meditative quality to the hot soapy water, the rhythmic scrubbing, the rinsing. I have what my mother didn’t, a window over my sink, so I could look out at the neighborhood as I scrubbed and meditated.

Over the next few days, my Young Men washed the dishes in turn. But somehow, the dishes rarely came out clean. “No. Start with hot, SOAPY water. Do all the glassware first, while the water is still clean. Then move to utensils, then plates and bowls, and then at the very end, the pots and pans.”

Day after day, I found myself rewashing dishes. Saturday finally came though, and in high spirits, we went out to hunt for the wild and yet quite perfect dishwasher. Not only did we find it, but it was on sale – and for less than it had been online! I was such a happy girl. Until they told me it wasn’t in stock, and we’d have to wait. Mid-week, most likely. Oh, and we’d have to pay for the stuff the plumber would need. And of course, after the plumber installs the dishwasher, we have to have the city come out and make sure they did it right so our house doesn’t blow up.

Um. Okay…So I signed all the paperwork, and handed over my debit card, and walked out the proud possessor of – paperwork. And a promise of a phone call for when the dishwasher came into the warehouse – mid-week. Definitely.

The dishwasher did come in to the warehouse mid week, but the plumber couldn’t install it until ten days later at the earliest. Ooookay. So the incompetent dish washing – well, it does get better, but only because I’m carping at the boys – excuse me, Young Men – to use hot soapy water.  All. The. Time.

By the time the dishwasher and the plumber finally arrive, there’s another problem. Apparently there’s a bubbler – some sort of air thingie – that has to be installed that the Big Box Store didn’t tell us about. So not only did the plumber take our dishwasher away, he wanted another $70 for the part – and couldn’t come back for another 5 days!

By this time, I’m beginning to believe that washing dishes by hand, something I grew up doing, is a guaranteed thing for the rest of my life. I cannot conceive of actually using a dishwasher again because it has been so long…I feel in the dark ages of my childhood…a side benefit, however, is everyone’s attention to really cleaning up the kitchen each night before we go to bed. (I know. This is a DUH. But somehow with the dishwasher we got lazy.)

Finally, however, the plumber came back, with the right part, and installed everything. Except – the bubbler took the place of our sprayer (we have a four-hole kitchen faucet). And the plumber couldn’t cap off the hot water line to the sprayer because he didn’t have the right widget to do it.  He said if we bought a new faucet, he’d install it for $70 and take care of the extra line that way.

Now, no dissing the plumber – he was, according to my husband, a hard-working man and his sons were also in the business with him. We never got charged the extra $70 for the bubbler, either. But…that night, our first with the new dishwasher, hubby and I went faucet shopping.

Which caused another issue. We have short sinks – it took us TEN YEARS to find a simple, tall faucet. And when we went to Big Box Store and looked at all the faucets, the one our eyes kept going back to was the very one already installed in our kitchen – the one with the rogue sprayer. We needed a 3 hole faucet and we couldn’t find one that suited.

We decided, in our exhaustion, to let everything be. At some point we need to have the city come out; at some point we need to figure out the faucet situation. But for right now, everything that usually goes under the sink is in a laundry tub in front of the breakfast bar.

As for the new dishwasher; it’s complicated. I mean that, too. Not only is running it complicated (I had to read the directions three times – glasses helped), but loading it is complicated. My Younger Young Man complained about being the first person to load it. “I don’t know where anything goes,” he said.

The new dishwasher and the family are taking it slow. It seems to prefer a rinsing agent; I prefer not to spend the money, but hate spotty glasses. I see purchasing a rinsing agent in my future.

Welcome to my life. It’s…complicated.