Van, college, teeth.

Jeremy spent the weekend thinking about the Tetris puzzle that is our van. We need to pack 2 bicycles, a wheelchair, a desktop computer with a large screen and general college moving stuff into the van and 4 people with their road trip luggage. We thought about borrowing bike racks, buying roof racks, or renting a trailer. In the end, a youtube video with clear instructions on how to remove the back row of seats provided the answer. I think one of the most miraculous things about our minivan is that the last row of seats fold down flush into a deep well in the back. Removing the back seats opens up that deep well for extra space so we can tuck a good amount of luggage into the exposed well and also allows us to transport the wheelchair upright. He also spent time thinking about where the stops are along the way – we are seeing some friends in driveways, which will be nice. But we are also stopping at gorgeous running/biking places and we want good access to trails. Too bad we are out of shape (relatively speaking) to run/bike really well. It’s the best when you are in good shape and can press hard in a beautiful natural space.

Jeremy had a birthday on Labor Day. I had a bad night’s sleep on Sunday night (I think I clocked in at 4 hours) and then I was wiped out and grouchy on his birthday (sorry sweetie). He really wanted an ice cream cake from Ben and Jerry’s and I went to go pick it up and the ice cream-ista who had personalized Jeremy’s cake asked – so how old is Jeremy? I laughed and said – Jeremy is 52. The ice cream-ista was surprised. When I told the story to Jeremy when I got home, he said 52 year olds like ice cream cake too!

I’m doing much better today after sleeping almost 9 hours last night. It’s like a middle age contest: every morning Jeremy and I get up and immediately ask – how did you sleep last night? And then we check our watches to see what number it recorded for the night’s sleep. In this middle age contest, I’m winning. I always deplete myself during a hospital shift or a single night’s bad sleep, but I can almost always replenish myself to full capacity after a night or two of consistent sleep (this is according to the “body battery” calculation on a Garmin watch). But Jeremy is constantly having sequential nights of bad sleep and hardly is ever starting any given day at full capacity. So I often go into the red deeper, but I can go back into black quickly whereas Jeremy is constantly operating at a loss.

I had a nice shift on Sunday which is my last shift for about three weeks. It was “easy” but I still was worn out from it. Sundays are bipolar – either a complete shit show or else quiet and quite manageable. This shift was the latter and I was well rested so I was on top of my game. And when I’m at the top of my game, I feel like I can do the thing that I like the most which is to make people feel good. I love taking an angry/anxious and in-pain person and then relaxing them into a calm, reassured person. You can see it happening. I don’t know why I find it fun, but I do. This is easier (for me) to do with strangers because I have no skin in the game. With strangers, I don’t have to live with their choices or behavior longer than 12 or 24 hours. With family or friends, I have the same issues that everyone else does because my own feelings get in the way.

I’m still trucking along with Spanish (very slowly). I was about to give up, but then I found a satisfying electronic flash card system that uses a spaced repetition algorithm which can handle thousand of flash cards at once and will help you remember things because it knows how to remind you about them just as soon as you are about to forget it. But I might also give up because now after a few months, my trusty language partner’s schedule has changed so maybe we won’t be able to chat as often. I’ve decided that I really need to memorize all the verb tenses in Spanish but that brings me back to studying English grammar. I had to buy a book on English grammar for students studying Spanish because I do not know what the hell a subjunctive verb is in English. So it’s hard when my Spanish flash card is like – try to memorize the subjunctive in Spanish and I draw a blank on how to translate it back into English.

Vince is happily getting ready to leave for college. Room is slowly being packed. He’s seeing his friends a little more often – now outside shooting a movie for a friend. He is starting so late! He’s gotten to see his friends go through the first 4-5 weeks of college and see how the friend/dorm/quarantine situation is going for them. I’m moody about the whole thing. Does the word “cleave” mean two things? That’s how I feel. I’m cleaving him from me. I want to cleave him to me. I hope he knows I see both his gifts and his shortcomings and I love him for both. I try to remember when I was 18 myself and give him the grace that he needs to find his way in the world. Both a fully formed person and yet not formed at all. So much ahead to learn, enjoy and suffer through. May the force be with you – young one.

Edda graduated from UMD Dental School. We went last Friday and the teeth are still loose, but at least one of them looks more healed than last time. They said we could just follow up with our regular dentist and keep taking x-rays to see that it’s ok and that when we needed extra care, they would always be there to help us out.

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