Jeremy in Berlin.

Jeremy made it to Germany on Saturday night/ Sunday morning. The rules went into effect on Sunday morning – that’s when Germany was allowing American tourists, but no one at the border seemed to know this, so Jeremy did have to be routed through strange locations with the border patrol to plead his case and he did successfully, almost missing his connecting flight from Frankfurt to Berlin. Doubling masking on the airplane.

He met up with his parents – it was hot in Berlin – 95F

Ben and Felix were in town too!

Grief.

Molly’s service was on Sunday afternoon. Jeremy was in Germany and Vince had a work obligation, so I decided to go with Edda, alone. Vickey had offered to come with me to help, but I said that we were going to be OK – other Rett moms would be there, it was going to be a short service and I wanted to be with Edda. I went early to set Edda up, to find a shady spot near to gravesite (it was a hot, muggy day) and hug the family. Because the ground was uneven and grassy, I first rolled Edda’s wheelchair to a shady spot and then I returned to the van to get Edda and we walked (slowly) the short distance to the wheelchair and I eased her into the seat. But Edda was upset – crying and unwilling to settle down. I tried all my soothing tricks, but she was having none of it. I thought it was the heat, so I walked her back to the car and get her back into the air conditioning and by the time I turned around to retrieve Edda’s stroller (and my purse & phone), the service had already started and I didn’t want to interrupt it, so I watched from the van. But Edda, while calmer in the van, was still upset. Upset enough that I had to drive her around the cemetary like a toddler to soothe her. I haven’t had to do that for many, many years. I did end up parking the van and I could see the crowd of people. I cried and watched the service from a distance. Anyways, at the time, I thought Edda couldn’t tolerate the heat (honestly, semi-cursing myself that I signed her up for an all-outdoor summer camp (necessary for covid rules) and that this was a sign she wasn’t going to be able to last a day at camp). I’m not a Rett mother who is confident that her daughter knows of things going on around her. Does she notice that Jeremy is away? Or that her brother came back from college? I’m never sure. In my weakest and most insecure moments, I will look at Edda and wonder if she knows that I’m her mother. So, I didn’t think she would know anything had happened last week. Honestly, I did not actually verbalize to Edda that Molly had passed away until we were pulling out of the garage to go to the service. Perhaps it wasn’t the heat? Edda, who had been calm all day, got upset on the drive to the service (while pleasantly air conditioned) and was upset through the service and only when we were driving back home and she was lulled to sleep by the motion of the car could she calm herself. In retrospect, I think she was grieving the loss of her friend.

Mollybean

Molly, beloved daughter of Lauren and Kevin and oldest sister of Sophie and Rory, passed away yesterday afternoon from complications stemming from her lifelong struggle with Rett Syndrome. Molly was at home and surrounded by her loving family. She was 17. Our hearts are broken wide open with grief, please keep her family in your thoughts.

Travel, dog, Bo.

So it does look like the EU is going to open the borders to travelers for leisure while Jeremy is flying through the air on Friday. I think it’s a go. Jeremy is trying to figure out how to pack. It’s a skill, traveling. Like remembering how to pack. Jeremy just emptied out his backpack that he hasn’t touched since March 2020. Look! Old physical therapy exercises from an injury that he doesn’t remember. Keys? To what? Old subway cards. I’m trying to figure out how I’m going to go a week and a half without Jeremy.

I’m dog sitting. This is a dog that snuggles. This snuggling thing is not something that Maxi does.

This dog also hates Jeremy. I asked Alice if Jojo could move in with us and she said that she could, but that Jojo hated Jeremy and maybe she shouldn’t for Jeremy’s safety. I hadn’t noticed. I asked Jeremy – hey does Jojo hate you? Jeremy is like – Jojo totally hates me – she barks her head off everytime she sees me and seems to want to rip my hand off, if she moved in, I’d have to move out. But it turns out that Jojo and Jeremy do get along. See? We can still be friends.

Vince has been introducing us to Bo Burnham – I like these clips (he’s on Netflix). Not my natural go-to, but actually very funny. It’s nice having a kid in the house to tell us to watch these things:

Cameras, new IV pumps.

I got the link for this video from the Technique (college yearbook) email listserve. I know I’m old-ish, but every once in a while, it really hits you how much time has passed and how much has changed. When I was in college, a big part of my life were my cameras. I took photos on black and white film, I developed the rolls myself in darkrooms, and then I printed photos on paper waving little lollypop wands to underexpose certain areas (dodging) or cardstock with little holes cut out to overexpose other areas (burning). I might have fallen in love with and kissed a few men in darkrooms (usually not at the same time – neither the few men nor the love/kissing), argued with friends over which CD to listen to over the sound system (I was partial to Annie Lennox, Natalie Merchant and the Indigo Girls) and eaten many egg salad sandwiches surrounded by people arguing which camera/film was better/worse. I’ve heard the shutter sounds of many of these cameras in real life. I’ve used a bunch of these cameras in real life. I can’t believe these were all in use in the 1990s. I used to be good at photos and think about composition and lighting and angles, but these days, I just take snapshots. Lots of people take lots of good photos now, I just want my quiet, soundless snapshots. I see more clearly how different my life is than Vince’s. I think it’s the same, but it’s not really. Any advice I give him probably is outdated too. The advice on love, though, stays the same, right? Maybe. Maybe not, what do I know about falling in love online or with text or social media? I know nothing about those things. Do I know what a young woman wants these days? I have no idea. Vince sometimes asks what it was like without smartphones. How did you make plans? How did you find a person’s house? How did you know if school was closed on a snow day? Honestly, a lot of times, I just didn’t know. As an immigrant kid, there were lots of things I saw and I just didn’t understand. I would go into another kid’s house for a sleepover and marvel at the “American-ness” of it all. Sloppy joes for dinner, an indoor cat, air conditioning, going to church. All weirdness and unresearchable and unseeable except for that moment. I didn’t even know they were called sloppy joes until years and years later because I didn’t want to ask and how could I find out? I just couldn’t. I also didn’t understand a lot of what my parents did as well! What’s the deal with plastic wrapping things? Or slippers in the house? Youtube and Netflix comedy specials are helpful with all these things.

I went last night to a training at the hospital. They are throwing away all the old IV pumps and giving us all new IV pumps with new tubing. This training was held in the outdoor tent/temporary structure they had used last year to triage covid patients that were overflowing the ED. Now it’s used for IV pump training. These new IV pumps are connected to the internet, so it can download new programming changes automatically. The old IV pumps are not and so when pharmacy wanted to change drug dosing parameters, they had to hunt down all the pumps floating all over the hospital and put little blue/red/green stickers indicating they were “updated”. (The IV pumps, when programmed correctly, help you not overdose a patient by giving you guardrails (both hard and soft) because it’s suppose to know what you are running into the patient). I was planning on quitting my nursing job in March of next year, but I’m not sure I can. My last shift (which was really difficult and challenging), I got a hug from my manager, I got a hug from my charge nurse, my tech and I walked arm in arm down the hallway to help a patient out, the night shift nurse and I leaned against each other during report, I hugged the night charge nurse as I was heading home. I don’t think I can get another job in which I can get this kind of support. I never, in ten thousand years, would have anticipated that I would want a work environment in which I felt this way.

Home, bowl, closed borders.

Vince is back in town! He flew home on Saturday and Jeremy picked him up on Sat night and he texted this photo of them to me. The first night back, he gave us hugs and we briefly watched a youtube video (our usual before-bed ritual) and he headed out into the night to see his friends returning at 4 or 5 in the morning. Then he got up on Sunday at 10 am to make (virtual) orientation at his summer job (which he found out only at 3 am the night before while hanging out with his friends eating lasagne because one of them was like – ugh, I gotta get up tomorrow to go to my job training at 10 and then Vince was like, let me figure out when my job training and opened an email and said – omg, I have to go to my job training tomorrow at 10 too!). He’s working at the same JCC camp that Edda is going to and that he went to when he was about 8 years old. He’s a bit on the older side for a camp counselor, most counselors are high school kids, so Vince is a “senior” camp counselor with 3 high schoolers as his “junior” staff and then 10 kids who are third or fourth graders. He slowly realized yesterday that maybe he wasn’t only in charge of kids, but maybe also “in charge” of the high schoolers as well? Anyways, a new experience for him. Very different from the boy scout experience he has. It’s a joy to have him back. I never went back home for longer than a couple of weeks after I left for college, so I know Vince doesn’t have to come back. mmmm, the house has a teenage boy smell now.

The morning of Vince’s flight, Jeremy was making oatmeal in Jeremy’s favorite bowl. It turns out that it’s also Vince’s favorite bowl and when the two are living together, it’s always a little bit of a fight who gets to use the bowl and if it’s clean or dirty or if it’s hidden somewhere in a room, so Jeremy was looking forward to this back and forth bowl ritual. (I have no interest in the bowl. It also turns out (I had forgotten) that this was the bowl that Jeremy bought for our wedding to serve whipped cream cheese in for the brunch. We had a brunch wedding.) He was gingerly moving it from one place to another and it slipped out of his hands and broke and then he was heartbroken. It turns out it’s really hard to console a heartbroken Jeremy before he’s had his morning cup of coffee. We are trying to find a good replacement. A Pier One bowl from circa 1998.

After rejoicing that Germany had taken the US off the “at risk” Covid country list and relaxing into thinking Jeremy had a break from work and that he’d get to see his parents and I ordered a whole week of Hello Fresh in anticipation of me cooking dinner for a week, we spent some time reading and rereading the travel restrictions and it seems like the borders might be still closed to vaccinated US citizens. It’s a bit weird that on a Tuesday, we aren’t sure if he’s going on Friday, but that is where we are.

Cavity, massage, big boxes, home and Germany.

I went to the dentist yesterday and they found a cavity! I haven’t had a cavity in decades. Ugh. They also said my teeth are decalcifying. I was a bit alarmed and I asked if the rest of the bones in my body are decalcifying too – the (young, beautiful, fully calcified) dentist shrugged her shoulders. Crap, crap, crap. I’ve seen a number of 50 ish – early 60 ish female patients who are incredibly active & fit and were out on their bikes or running and took a tumble and smashed their hips or arms or whatever and needed the bones pinned and then the operative report says that their bones are really weak and brittle. So yeah, I’m concerned about decalcification.

I also went to get a massage. My friend trained to be a masseuse and I had been going regularly pre pandemic, and now I’m starting up again as now we are both vaccinated and we both feel OK spending an hour in the same, small, unventilated room together (still masked! I think she was more nervous than I, so I went with the masking.). She gave me this beautiful bouquet from her garden.

My parents, on the other hand, are OK without surgical masks, but now insist on bug masks. lol. Just kidding. My parents refuse to get an Amazon prime account, so we order stuff for them often (and they get some strange things, but whatever!) so I wanted to see this bug helmet I got them a few days ago. (They pay us back.)

Vince took his last final on Thursday, spent the day Friday packing and moving everything into storage. He got a Honda Odyssey zipcar (which he said was his dream car when he was about 4 years old, so just to let you know, dreams do come true (we have a Toyota Sienna, (which we had to get because of the lowering seat for Edda, the Odyssey didn’t have that option) so he’s been close but no cigar)) and made two trips to the rented storage unit. I tried to tell him, more smaller boxes are better than fewer bigger boxes, but, like lots of things that mothers try to tell their children to try to spare them anguish and learning hard lessons one generation later, this was ignored at the time of purchasing the boxes and then later acknowledged.

As fittingly appropriate, the last meal out was In ‘n Out. See you home soon!

And holy mother of g*d shit! Germany changed the status of the US to low risk and all of a sudden, after being pessimistic about Jeremy’s european vacation and settling into the idea that he wasn’t leaving, now Jeremy is leaving for Germany on Friday. Which means – crap! I have to pack (meatless, nutless, kosher) lunches for my kids for camp by myself. I’ll have to ask Jeremy for help. Honestly, Jeremy needs the break, poor guy – he’s been in a funk which the root cause is a difficult one. I hope 10 days out of here with his parents and his bike and no work will help him out.

Rainy party, mouse, Botox.

Jeremy went to a work party last night in Silver Spring. Still covid friendly and outdoors because the host has little kiddos who can’t be vaccinated yet and wanted everyone to be outside. It was raining, but Jeremy got to see his coworkers for a couple of hours for the first time in a long, long time.

I helped Alice take a mouse of her washer this morning. You know when someone calls instead of the usual texting, your heart drops and you think something really, really terrible has happened? She called, my heart dropped and then when I realized it was a mouse my heart rebounded from the pit of pits, I grabbed a box of gloves and a plastic bag and plucked that mouse out of the dryer (she took the photo! not me!). I’ve seen gangrenous or trench feet, rooted around poop filled deep wounds, scrotums the size of softballs – a mouse is nothing.

Can I be slightly disappointed that my gyn is offering Botox? I like my gyn person, I just want everything to work well. I don’t need anything to look good. I realize this is not what everyone thinks, kudos to you for wanting to spend money/time keeping everything smooth and pale.

Haircut & midweek shift.

Jeremy tried to get his first professional haircut since the beginning of the pandemic. The google said they open at 8am. In reality, no.

I was at the hospital yesterday, it has been *months* since I’ve worked a real weekday shift. I think since September, I’ve alternated Sundays and Mondays. Sundays tend to be quiet, a waiting day and Mondays tend to tie up those loose ends and send patients on their merry way or you get the surgery patients at 4pm and take care of them for only a few hours, but they are basically asleep waiting to fully awaken from anesthesia. But a Wed shift, you have people who are post op day 1 or post op day 2 or in the middle of a long, complicated diagnostic workup and the hospital is fully staffed, so no waiting for IR or CT scan or anything. So the orders change constantly and people are in/out of rooms and asking for all sorts of things. Yesterday, I went hunting for missing driver’s licenses left in the ER more than 12 hours ago, JP drain bulbs, ten thousand cups of ice and snacks.

Mangos and love.

My friend Thu mailed (!) me some of the mangos from her parents’ property in Florida. Her father nurtured these trees for a long time and he passed away a few years ago and she, in his honor, plucks them by hand from the trees and distributes them far and wide. And as she mailed me too much for me to eat by myself, I redistribute to friends, family and neighbors and tell the story of Thu and her father’s love for these particular mangos. Edda’s bus driver said – they were so delicious! I can tell, they aren’t like the ones from the grocery store. And, of course, they are more delicious than any other mango because they are filled with love and connection from the earth through the farmer and from one loving hand to another.

I have been thinking a lot about how I want to spend my time. When I was younger, I wanted things to be I exactly just so. I tried to wrench things into alignment. Now I’m more open to being curious. Like, let me try this fun thing and see what happens. And then I can delight more when things just fall into spaces that just fit. Or when it gets stuck or frustrating, I can ease it back out, give it a little pat on the head and then try something else. Or I can sit with it unmoored and floating around and undefined. Gah! This is so vague. What the hell? This is not about a particular anything. It’s just that I keep learning so much! Whenever I think I’ve learned enough, things surprise me and I unfold and learn more. Everyday, I think I don’t have enough time to figure it all out, and I don’t. But if it all ended tomorrow, I would feel lucky that I got to learn what I did learn. It was so hard during the pandemic, so full of fear and grief. I am still full of grief, but with summer and vaccines, at least I can soothe myself with the love of other people.