I spent so much time setting up and applying and preparing for Edda to get Social Security benefits that now that she’s had it for about half a year now and we are just figuring out how to spend her benefits. So I asked Jeremy, who does our grocery shopping, to portion out a third of the groceries for Edda to buy with her money. And he did for the first time this week.
Jeremy drove to a college cross county meet to gather with some old teammates and cheer on the Haverford team. Coach is retiring after a long, long time (49 seasons).
And he requested that there be no parties, no speeches, no awards, no nothing, so the best that these folks could do is to show up at a meet and say hello and cheer everyone on.
Jeremy came home, and I went to a witchy paddle at Black Hills park. I went with Kristen and her sisters, but bumped into an old nursing friend Wendy and we chatted happily as the sun set. There were about 50 witches?
Ahhh, this was fun.
We went to CHOP on Thursday for a regular neuro check-up. That place is hopping again – sometimes we go and the waiting room is empty and this time we went and it’s just bursting with kids. We had a nice longish talk with Eric about Daybue and the genetic trials that are going on now. Interesting discussion. The appointment went long and late, we didn’t have lunch until about 1 pm and then headed to Camp Hill to spend the afternoon/night with Jeremy’s parents.
We had a nice walk together and went out to dinner and the next day, I helped weed the garden a bit. We saw Kiranavali for lunch in King of Prussia and then headed back home where my parents were taking care of Elka and we had takeout Thai dinner with them.
I’m madly decluttering the house. I found the Buy Nothing group on Facebook and I’m posting 4-5 things on there daily and people come and pick up my old stuff off of my porch and take it to their house. I found the long hidden Halloween decor bin deep in the closet and I posted the stuff today to give away. There are some people on the list that pick up waaaayyy too many things. They have that siren call of free things, which I completely understand. I like my things and often I like things free. But I try to give to a new person each time. Look at this cute ceramic halloween house I’m giving away.
I’ve been melancholy this week – I think mostly because the days are getting shorter and my mood goes along with it. And there are lots of worldly sad things going on, but there are also many personal sadnesses that have piled up this week. We are all fine, but not everyone I know is fine. So hugs to them all. I was especially down Friday afternoon and tucked into bed trying to coax the blue thoughts from my head and kind of dreading the weekend which was going to be very quiet.
But then I remembered that I should head to the woods during these times of sadness. So I went on a long walk on Saturday afternoon with Elka in the woods which always reminds me about how the world is such a big, beautiful place and that there are still many things to explore and see. With love to you all.
Jeremy got a new phone this week. There was some talk about him abandoning Android for Apple, but in the end, he did not. He ended up purchasing the new Google phone. I do use all Apple products and I enjoy them, but I can be mad at them because they do some things that I don’t appreciate – one of which is that it’s hard to send texts to Jeremy on his Android phone for some reason and the reason is that Apple sucks sometimes.
Anyways, it has a nice new camera which takes these amazing night photos. It, apparently, can also combine a series of group photos into one so that everyone ends up smiling. It’ll meet it’s challenge with Edda who does smile a lot, but not often for the camera on command.
It’s been a nice “normal” week at home – whatever that means. It means that the schedule ran as normal. Actually, not quite normal. Jeremy was in DC on Monday and Wednesday – so I made dinner on both those nights which is unusual for me. Jeremy feeds me so well – as soon as he’s out of the house, I devolve into frozen pizza and dumplings. Oh well. What can I do. Other than that, I feel like we are both run down a bit, dragging. It could be just the change in the seasons and in the light.
I did put back the dryer back together after the part arrived on Monday. I vacuumed a bunch of lint from the inside of the dryer which was very satistfying.
You see the break in the heating element? This failed about 2 years ago according to amazon when I bought the exact same heating element. $20 and we are back in business. After I put the heating element in the and then completely reassembled the dryer and then ran a load, I noticed that the dryer is squealing a tiny bit. It’s completely telling me…I’m an old appliance…please treat me well….sqqqqeeeeee. I’m not going to take the whole thing apart again to find the source of the squealing. I should have doused the whole thing in WD40.
I like the house to be neater/more organized on Sunday night than it had been on Friday night, but I was completely unsuccessful. Mostly because the dryer broke on the first load of the weekend chore of usually 5-6 loads and I spent part of Saturday disassembling the dryer to get to the heating coil to see if that was the problem and it was, so I ordered a part and it will be here on Monday. Meanwhile, laundry is scattered all over the 2nd floor in various degrees of dampness and dirtiness along with the carcass of the dryer awaiting the spare part.
I went to see Tom on Saturday. We caught up on the kids’s activites and tried to mess with his iPad and google home to try to get them to make/answer phone calls via voice – which it can do.
Saturday night, I got together with the Usual Suspects. It’s so hard to get together and it seemed like it might fall apart at the last minute, but everyone managed to get rides for their kids and we talked for three hours.
Sunday, Megan and I went to see the Taylor Swift concert movie! Alas, no photos. It was a lot of fun, I knew almost all the songs. Bless Megan who is not a Swiftie and was kind enough to sit through three hours of a concert. I did long to go to the actual concert, but it was too expensive and I didn’t have a close 13-16 year old girl who would have been head over heels to go with me. I would have gone if it had been like that. This was an excellent substitute. Taylor – I can only marvel at her – she’s not be best singer nor is she the best performer, but it was a joy to hear and see the concert.
This is how Elka asks for dinner. She lifts her paws into your hands and looks at you and says with her eyes – I’m hungry. Please feed me. It is 6:02 pm and you are late.
The past few weeks, despite the parties and the fun on this blog, I’ve been heartbroken in 10,000 ways. Well maybe not quite 10,000. But at least 1,000. The light and the dark are two sides of the same coin. To combat the heartbrokenness, I’ve been having Elka sleep in bed next to me (though we carefully trained her to sleep in her donut bed on the floor next to our bed for over a year), between me and my husband, tucked in like a live stuffed animal who soothes me with her steady breathing, her sighs of contentment and her intermittent dreams where all her limbs shake and tremble trying to catch the imaginary neighborhood squirrel.
I just finished the audiobook of the poet Maggie Smith who talks about her disintegrating marriage – the dissolution which started (kind of) when the following poem went viral.
BY MAGGIE SMITH
Life is short, though I keep this from my children.
Life is short, and I’ve shortened mine
in a thousand delicious, ill-advised ways,
a thousand deliciously ill-advised ways
I’ll keep from my children. The world is at least
fifty percent terrible, and that’s a conservative
estimate, though I keep this from my children.
For every bird there is a stone thrown at a bird.
For every loved child, a child broken, bagged,
sunk in a lake. Life is short and the world
is at least half terrible, and for every kind
stranger, there is one who would break you,
though I keep this from my children. I am trying
to sell them the world. Any decent realtor,
walking you through a real shithole, chirps on
about good bones: This place could be beautiful,
right? You could make this place beautiful.
I had lunch with Rachel and Pat yesterday. We had a whole fried flounder.
Rachel told me that her hospital was piloting virtual nursing. What is a virtual nurse? It’s a nurse that “knocks” and appears on an enormous screen in your hospital room. They’ll do all the admissions / pre surgical / questionnaire / discharge paperwork. They will also do the hourly rounding where they check in on you every 1-2 hours. Then the regular floor nurse has their workload increased to 6 patients. SIX! Unbelievable. Try really hard to not get sick because everyone working at a hospital is very, very tired.
We had a date weekend to NYC, just me and Jeremy. Sumit had invited us to his 50th birthday party and it was going to be extravagant and we wanted to go and also see some friends from grad school. Lots of thanks to Ginny who cared for Edda this weekend and her son Seni who cared for Elka this weekend to allow us to go without worrying.
We left at about 3 pm on Friday afternoon, headed to Philly to spend the night with Bob and Katherine. It was nice to see them at their home with some late season native flowers blooming.
We had do so some car things, we sold our Civic to their community and we needed to snag the tags and transfer the title and such things. We also got to try out Bob and Katherine’s new Tesla. Jeremy and I have never been in a Tesla, though our street is rapidly becoming populated with them. So we were both eager to try out the car. The car is only about three weeks old, but when it was parked somewhere, someone sideswiped the bumper and scuffed the paint of on the corner of the car. At first, we thought that no one had left a note, and we were trying to figure out if one of the many cameras on the car had videoed the accident, but then we finally found the note tucked in deep under the windshield wipers which are not easily visible. The car is a lot of fun and I’m eagerly awaiting getting it or something like it – we are saving up for it.
We drove up to NYC on Saturday morning getting there by noon and met up with Dave who flew in earlier in the week and is staying with his sister. It was raining for most of the day – we went to the Tenement Museum (really interesting) for a 3:45 tour and walked around the neighborhood killing time before then which included snapping this photo in front of the Supreme store to send to Vince. (there was a line, we didn’t go in – NYC is full of lines and we did not go into any store/restaurant that had them).
We took a cab to the museum, but we hopped on the subway for the return trip back to our hotel. I love these tile mosaics.
We stayed at Pod51 which is like an upgraded hostel. Notice the bunk bed which features prominently later in the story. I’m a goofball and I still like these things, though I probably should be smarter and spend the extra $100 for a regular hotel room – even though it had a hostel vibe, it still wasn’t super cheap or anything. Dave and I and Jeremy hung out until the party which started at 7:30 and the texts we had received during the day told us to be there on time.
The backstory is that we met Sumit at Caltech in graduate school. At Caltech, he set us up on our first date. Our core group of friends would go see movies on Thursday nights and on a particular Thursday night, he called all our friends and told them not to go to the movies so that Jeremy and I would inadvertently go alone. But Dave didn’t get the message, so he was there on our first date. These are the main players of our early dating lives.
Sumit came to Caltech with very simple desires, he wanted to get rich, he wanted to buy a Corvette and he wanted to be Michael Jackson. We all hunted around to find him a jacket with all the zippers and he happily wore it around campus. He did not get a PhD at Caltech, rather he left with a masters and later went on to Harvard Business School. He has made good on his promise to himself and is now extremely wealthy, so what follows is a milestone party of the 1% in NYC. We had a fabulous time, but from Dave’s sister’s NYC estimate (she is finance-adjacent where she manages the 1%’s personal investment portfolios), it was about a half million dollar party. It was held in an event space at the Seagram Building.
We had only an inkling of what was to transpire at this party and it revealed itself slowly as the night went on. There were many hired acts including: a live jazz band, a magician, people dressed as plants who would tell you that you were amazing, an electric violinist, beautiful women in LED wings, or feathers, or dessert plates, a pair of silk ribbon acrobats, Apache Indian rapper (this was my favorite act where I danced a lot), and the cast of the Michael Jackson broadway show (who danced with all of us on the dance floor – professional dancers are a lot of fun to dance with – this is not surprising).
It was both amazing and dizzying the amount of money spent. Like every 30 minutes, a year of Vince’s college expenses rolled on by. We stayed up until about 12:15 and headed back to the hotel to sleep.
In the morning, though careful, I managed to fall out of the top bunk and hit my head on the floor. I got a bit dizzy and could feel a big goose egg forming on my skull. Honestly, this is what happens when you hit your head: you know you should go to the hospital, but mainly, you know you probably are going to be OK and if you go to the hospital, it’s going to take half the day. But I thought about what I would have wanted Vince to do, which was to go to the hospital, so we walked the 1 mile to the nearest ER at 7am. Jeremy’s like we are right be NY Presbyterian and I said – that’s perfectly fine and he said, but the ER got only 2 out of 5 stars on google and I said, they also misdiagnosed Edda all those years ago with cerebral palsy, so what could go wrong? so I we headed there.
I ended up getting a CT scan which said my head was fine and it was interesting to see the inside of a NYC ER. I saw a very tired intern who didn’t know his way to the CT scan room. There was the little old lady who was hard of hearing, there was the drug seeking frequent flyer, etc – all familiar things, but the people there seemed to enjoy working with each other and had the collegial banter that comes from working closely together in stressful situations. Jeremy asked if I miss being a nurse and I said, of course I miss it. Sometimes when I’m working as a patent examiner or any of my other engineer jobs, one can feel like you aren’t doing anything to help mankind. It all moves slowly or the project gets scrapped or you get pushed aside from the important project, but as a nurse, everyday, you know that you are helping people and helping your team. Like, if you weren’t there that day, people would miss you immediately and things would not get done.
Also, I have a very low resting heart rate because I run a lot, the ER doc said we need to do an EKG and I was like – but I’m always like this because of the running and he would not take no for an answer, so I had to wait for the EKG to be run. If I had known where the machine was, I could have run it myself, but Jeremy reminded me that I don’t have a staff login to scan into the machine. My heart looks great with a resting heart rate of 43.
We were supposed to spend the morning, not in the ER, rather with Dave, but instead, we met up for lunch and headed to Times square where Sumit had bought Broadway tickets for the out-of-town guests for the new musical Back to the Future which was the movie that inspired Sumit to come to the US. We finally had a moment to talk to some of Sumit’s friends before we went into the theatre. One would have thought we would have talked to them at the party, but the actual party was very, very loud. So we talked with no one which is how these parties often go.
After the Sunday matinee, we needed to head home to get back to Ginny/Edda/Seni and Elka. Dave stayed on for the evening drinks at a rooftop bar and sent us lovely sunset photos. On the way back to get our car, Jeremy took this photo of me under a little turnip sign. Cute. Time to go home.