Charlotte & guardianship.

Charlotte passed away about a week ago now, last Sunday. She was kind enough to officiate at our wedding in 1998 and for that gift, I will always be grateful because my marriage is the best thing I have. For a long time, I felt like Charlotte was Bob and Katherine’s friend mostly (they’ve known each other for a lifetime before I met Charlotte), but, over the years, I felt like I could count Charlotte as my own friend as well. She showed up in Singapore immediately after Edda’s diagnosis when I really was in no position to interact with the outside world and she held my hand. I was so young then, I did not understand many things, including what was happening to my little family, but I think Charlotte kind of understood and helped me through that terrible time. One of my fondest memories of her was in 2017 in NYC where I spend a whole afternoon with her by myself on the High Line and then I went to dinner with her and friends and I had the best time! Like the best time! We laughed and gossiped and ate good food and luxuriated in each other’s company.

Edda’s guardianship is done! We went to court on Thursday and it was NBD. The school system, every year, has a series of presentations for special needs parents about navigating the transition to adulthood. One of them was the guardianship presentation. The transition person at Edda’s school gave me great advice and said – try to go to them every year and kind of pay attention and by the time you need it, you’ll have heard it a few times over. So I listened to the same presentation every year and when it came to file the paperwork, I kind of knew what to do. The presenter was from the Family Law Self-Help Center and there was a particular point where the paperwork gets a little sticky, and he said in each presentation – come to the self-help center and we’ll help you. So I got to the sticky part and I went to see him and only upon registering did I realize that it was a low-income self-help center, but I was already there and so I waited and I saw the same lawyer who did the presentation and he helped me extensively (like 30 minutes) through the sticky part (which is what paperwork exactly needed to serve interested parties (which included Vince who when his friends asked what is your mom doing? he would answer cheekily, oh, my parents are suing my sister)), and I was kind of rushing him a little because I was self conscious that I was taking the spot of a low income person in need of legal aid, and he said, yes, it’s income based, but we help everyone who shows up once. So I got my one visit and filed all the paperwork and it went off without a hitch. On Thursday, there were about 4-5 families filing for guardianship at the same hearing and we were the only ones self-representing. (Edda had her own court appointed lawyer – Edda was home in the care of Eliana. I will have to pay Edda’s lawyer’s fees.) Huzzah! There was one young lady who had the hearing exactly on her 18th birthday, which was impressive to me – it was the only thing I could have done better, to have it actually on Edda’s birthday (Jeremy said – that’s what they paid the lawyer for, we escaped the lawyer fees, but it was three months delayed). The entire courtroom sang happy birthday to her and it was very, very sweet. It reminds me that I’m not alone on this path. I mean, I’m never alone, but sometimes it feels like I’m alone.

Winter, fan, hike.

We are still living in cuteness here.

Winter is not a summer dog. She found the AC vent on the floor and Eliana set up a cooling fan. This dog is like – where is my iceberg?

The wordle was very difficult for me today. This took me about 4 hours, playing, thinking, playing, thinking again.

I went on a morning hike with Kristin! :). on a not-too-hot-day, the day after the longest day, now the days are getting shorter. This was Elka’s first long-ish hike. She did great – 3 hours, more than 5 miles, met other dogs, went into the water.

Molly, Winter & Elka.

On Sunday, I went to Molly’s unveiling which was a small ceremony at the gravesite. It was the most beautiful of early summer days and Molly’s grave is next to her grandmother’s and under a beautiful shade tree and the service was touching and we didn’t want to leave.

Eliana got a new puppy on Friday – appropriately named Winter. She’s bringing the pup to our house while she helps with Edda. There are two puppies in the house!

They get along well.

We nicknamed Winter – Snowball. Elka remains Goofball. So it’s Goofball & Snowball.

Update.

Friday was the last day of school for Edda – the first of her four senior years. I had the chance to hang out with her teachers and aides outside for about 15-20 minutes. I am deeply, deeply touched by the professionals who work with kids like Edda. Educators are the real heroes of the pandemic. They came through for Edda in 10,000 ways. Oh Edda, I’m sorry for your difficulties, but there is sunshine in your life. Sometimes I get wistful and say things like – oh, if Edda didn’t have Rett, she’d be going to college in fall. And other times, I don’t think of this at all and I’m ok with everything.

I have, embarrassingly, gotten out of the habit of taking Edda anywhere on the weekends. Jeremy and I generally trade off minding Edda in the house. This is how my mind works, I initially berate myself for not taking Edda out – oh Doris, you are so lazy! Why not take Edda out, she’d enjoy it and it’s not so much trouble. And then someone will point out, well there was the pandemic and we weren’t going anywhere for two years and then I’m like – oh yeah, you haven’t done it because you haven’t gone to Target in two years. Jeremy was not at home on Saturday, so I had two outings with Edda. One to Target with Sofie for some father’s day shopping (I got Jeremy some Reese’s PB cups) and the second to dog training. Target was simple because, well, it’s Target and Sofie would help me if I needed help. Dog training was trickier because I have an untrained dog and Edda and people who didn’t know of Edda and aren’t really my friends. But that was fine too. Edda was great at dog training tucked in a corner watching videos on my phone. Elka did manage to escape from me, so there was a moment where I was chasing her across the parking lot yelling “stop! elka! stop!” to no avail because she’s an untrained dog on her way to being a medium trained dog.

Jeremy had excitedly bought the newly released Garmin bike computer last week and it arrived just in time for his bike race on Saturday. I seized this serendipitous opportunity and asked – hey, can the kids give you that for Father’s Day? And he said – it’s the best Father’s Day gift ever! Hahaha. Perfect.

He rode a bajillion miles yesterday – ten hours over hill and dale. It made him happy. OK, hold on, let me figure it out. The race was called the diabolical double and it was supposed to be 125 miles, but he took a wrong turn and it took him a while to figure it out and so he went 143 miles.

And I love this dog. I am besotted. I feel like heaven and earth have moved to bring us together here at this time.

Nice.

Hello loves. I floated to the oncology floor yesterday. As I was driving to work, I was thinking – this is for sure the 4th to last shift I’m going to do. I’m weary and aimless and it’s thankless and sometimes people are mean to me and sometimes I cry. I’m pretty sure I should be paid about 8 dollars more an hour, but I’m loathe to do anything about it (mainly finding another job that pays 8 dollars more and then presenting it and then threaten to leave unless they match it). I groaned when I showed up and found out that I was floating – but the night charge nurse had called up and asked that I have a light assignment and light assignment I did get – four patients, all nice. And it was a great shift, the entire unit was very nice to me, I had a nice tech, charge was nice – people helped me and I helped them. My patients were nice (and dying – it was, of course, the oncology floor). I got them chocolate cake and phone numbers to radiation oncologists.

I think I’m nice too, but because I’m nice, I think I’m dull – not interesting, in conversation or company. I actually find other nice people dull and often prefer friends whose first adjective would not be nice. And sometimes I sigh this to Jeremy while I fall asleep – I’m so dull, it’s so dull to be nice. It’s dull, but people still like it, like vanilla ice cream. Jeremy doesn’t contradict that I’m dull – he says to me, it’s much better to be nice than interesting. Hahaha.

We bought a beautiful set of pots/pans for Vince – his roommate moved out for the summer and took his set of cookware with him. It was not a good roommate match this year, which was fine – they each had their own room and his roommate was often not at home, but it was still a shared space. Vince has the apartment to himself for a few months and couldn’t cook because of the lack cookware. Vince is a wonderful cook and loves to feed his friends and he said – I want some pots/pans that will last me the rest of my life. Jeremy picked the knock-off All-Clad brand (best price from Walmart.com) – all metal and ready anytime for an induction stove. Heavy in the hand and can go from stove to oven. Of course, it probably would have been fine to but the 8 piece set, but we bought the enormous 14 piece set. He got it yesterday after I had come home from the shift (he facetimed while he walked to the mail room to pick it up) and he set up his iPhone so we could watch the unboxing. Cooking (J&V) and eating (D&E) are big deals in this family. Vince had been eating crap food all week because of the lack of cookware (and because people knew he wasn’t leaving and gave him lots of stuff, including Dr. Pepper, instant cup-0-noodles and girl scout cookies) and right after he opened the box, he said – now I gotta go cook me a regular meal!

I’m a different person.

Every weekend, Elka and I go to Dog Sense for training. We both get trained at the same time. She’s a smart dog, understands the commands, but doesn’t always want to do them – she is particularly bad at “sit” at home. She looks at me with languid eyes and says, yeah, I heard you, but I prefer to stand -thank you. (I like to say she’s the lowest class dog in the cohort. We’ve got 2 standard poodles and the rest are beautiful Lab/golden puppies. There is really nothing more beautiful that a Lab puppy who is bred to please its owner. Sit? Yes, of course! Let me look cute and please, please, please can I have a treat?) What is remarkable, really, is my own response to training. I took the exact same class in 2010/2011 with Maxi. I am so much more relaxed this time around. Last time, I was worried all the time, what if Maxi doesn’t do the thing the teacher wants her to do? What happens if she’s the worst in the class? What if she embarrasses me? This time, I’m having a lot of fun not caring about Elka’s performance. She’s a good dog. She’s going to end up medium-trained as all our previous dogs were also because she’ll be limited by my willingness (lack of) to maintain discipline and order and consistency. I have no illusions about her being well-trained (Jeremy wants a well-trained dog, but he’s more and idea guy than the follow-through guy). She was pulled to the front of the class for a demonstration on Saturday for a distracted recall and kept jumping up on the instructor. A decade ago, I would have been mortified. Now, I was like – oh well, that’s unfortunate.

And into the weekend.

Jeremy is a very good Pokemon trainer. He has Pokemon all over the city after traveling to work all this week. Here they are exploring the C&O canal. *there is even a shadow on the ground!*.

I’ve been watching my fig tree. It has many new leaves.

Edda had an end-of-the-year picnic on Friday and it happened to end up right next to our house. I walked there with Elka.

Elka has worn us down. She doesn’t like the crate, but she doesn’t fight it. But she’ll wake up at 4 am wanting to be released and after a while, I was like – she doesn’t need to go out, she just wants to be near us. It is in her nature. So last night we invited her up at 4 am and we all slept in a literal dogpile until the late hour of 7 am. Unbelievably luxurious. Seriously – this is how she loves to spend the day, nestled right next to someone. (And I want to sleep with her. I’ve never had a dog who really wanted to sleep right next to me and now that I have one, I kind of want it all the time.). She is still working on housebreaking – we had an accident friday night, but I could see her do it and I corrected her.

Downtown, patient, fig trees.

Jeremy went downtown on the god damn Metro yesterday and went to work. And he’s biking to work today – more meetings. This means that he’s been out of the house every working day this week! He says he’s not used to leaving the house so much – the grooves of his daily routine in the house are worn very deep and he forgets mainly how to time his coffee consumption to not impact his sleep routine and how much time commuting actually takes. And now I’ve been home working myself all these days which I’ve wanted for 2 years, but now feels weird. I’m jelly of Jeremy because he got to play pokemon go downtown and left his pokemon in gyms all over DC yesterday. At metro centers, in museums, etc.

I went to Rachel’s last night to be a mock patient for one of her NP class video project. She fed me Popeye’s chicken and I complained on video about my real shoulder pain.

I could only stare at her beautiful fiddle leaf fig tree in the background and hope that mine will be as beautiful some day. #figtreegoals.

Updates.

Jeremy went out of town for a few days. He was suppose to have a retreat in California – but that got cancelled because of covid. They had their first in-person retreat a few months ago and some people did get covid and got stuck quarantining in not-their-home city and that was painful and people were reluctant to do it again. So they did a modified retreat with just the DC people at Jeremy’s boss’s boss’s beautiful house near Shenandoah. Jeremy had concocted this all-week biking plan – to bike to the retreat then bike to a big climb and then bike to my friend Vickey’s house and then bike to the DC office for a meeting today. But this fell apart upon various considerations (thunderstorms on Wed? where to put clothes? are you going to wear the same bike outfit everyday? let’s meet at Vickey’s house Wed night for dinner and pick me up?). Jeremy had already decided to switch to a driving/biking hybrid when the text came in on Monday morning saying that Vickey’s son Bert had covid and we were disinvited now. But this way, Jeremy had a more relaxed trip (still hundreds of biking miles) and got to have a nice long visit with Michelle (his boss’s boss) who is retiring in a few weeks (?). Michelle has been at UCS for the entire time Jeremy’s been there – he’s always admired her managerial skill.

I’ve been knee deep in trying to housebreak Elka. It’s going well-ish. She didn’t have an accident the entire time Jeremy was gone and neither she nor I were stressed out about the training. I basically tether her with a leash to a piece of furniture so she’s always in my line of sight and I take her out every three hours or so. I, in a moment of weakness, applied to the DNP program at UMd for the fall (way past the Nov 1 deadline because the website said – we are still accepting applications!) and wrote an essay and got recommendations, and after I handed it all in, then I went to a Q&A yesterday and I found out that the program I applied to is probably full as it was one of the more popular programs. I’m not sure what I’m doing – everyone in my family is excited about this, but I think I’m getting less excited about this. I have the same feeling I had when I was starting my graduate degree at Caltech which was a mistake professionally. Jeremy says I can’t compare the two. We’ll see. Now I feel like the nursing chapter in my life is done. I should just stop (maybe?). I’ve been on this path since 2009 when I started prereqs at Montgomery College and I saw it through – I’ve made the money back that I spent on school. An aside: I’ve been listening to this book which is about children who spontaneously catch on fire.

Vince finished out his sophomore year with finals done on Monday. This was such a good year for him. His finals were early in Finals week, so he’s enjoying the end of the quarter with friends – playing D&D and going out to eat. He’s staying in Davis this summer to work and take classes. He’ll come home in August sometime. He voted in the CA primary election on Tuesday. I have no idea how he didn’t get covid.

I’m also confused how Edda hasn’t gotten covid yet either! We are going through the last few weeks of school.

Elka and Edda make a very cute pair. Elka climbs all over Edda when she gets home from aftercare, licking her, nudging her and trying to find a good spot on her lap. Sometimes her wagging tail slaps Edda in her face over and over again and Edda is like – WTF? I found her sitting with Edda while we waited for the bus in the am.

We’ve made a few more trips to the fancy dog park. Elka likes it and eagerly pulls towards the entrance gate once she realizes where she is, but she is very submissive. Anytime anydog tries to alpha her, she immediately goes belly-up. So she does get picked on a bit – a dog will pin her down and then back up half a step and then Elka is like – I’m going to crawl away and play with other dogs and then the dog will repin her down. So there are a bunch of embarrassed dog owners who are like – stop it! stop it! stop it! around me and then they usually leave the park. You know who are the worst bullies? Goldendoodles or labradoodles. Honestly, it was like 3 of the blond haired curly doggies against Elka one day. On the other hand, these two were well matched and enjoyed each other’s company (Millie).