June 16, 2016

I have stayed away for far too long.

I guess over the last week I haven’t felt up to communicating. My brother came down over the weekend, and Kevin and I escaped for an overnight getaway. It was long overdue. We normally would have spent three days in Port Townsend for the Steampunk festival, but neither of us felt particularly steamy this year. We didn’t travel very far, an hour or so to the bottom of the Hood Canal. The road along the Hood Canal is winding and beautiful, and when I say winding, I mean that you’d be well advised to follow the speed limit. There’s at least one bend that qualifies as a ‘hairpin’. Along the way, brave folk have built houses on incredibly narrow waterfronts along the water-or sometimes over it-on improbable stilts or crumbling concrete. There’s a huge hydroelectric plant along the way where they’ve captured water from a river above and channeled it through enormous pipes down to the plant. At least they didn’t dam a river and doom its salmon population. Given its proximity to both fresh and saltwater, (there are many streams and rivers) the trees are heavy with mosses and vines. Some of the worlds’ best oysters are found in places along the way, and the canal itself is rich with shrimp.

The place we went to is called Robin Hood Village. As cartoonish as that sounds, it’s a really lovely place. It was built by the man who designed the sets for Errol Flynn’s Robin Hood movie. The grounds are lovely and not too wild, with comfortable paths wandering through. There’s a stream that meanders down one side of the property, and the ‘Swingwood Forest’ has trails with swings and benches in prime locations. It has a tether ball area, horseshoes, a forest glen set up for weddings, and a covered pavilion for events. Lodging is in individual cabins evocative of staying in a combination camper/single wide trailer. They’re even narrower than a single wide, and about half as long. The tiny house thing is not my style, but it was worth it-there was a nice deck with a picnic table, and we had our own fire pit and hot tub. We were only there for one night, or I would have taken advantage of the free kayaks. You can also go down to the beach at low tide and harvest your own oysters-eat ‘em right there or take them to your cabin to cook. A long soak in the hot tub, a good meal, and a little time by the fire pit looking at the stars did the trick for me. We had a choice between staying at RHV or to go a little farther, to Alderbrook Resort. Alderbrook is a four-star resort, with a spa and fine dining. It would have been luxurious, but we both thought casual and relaxed would do us better, and I think we made the right choice.

Mom has had her new schedule of caregivers for a week now, and I must say that she is loving all of the attention. I have told all of the caregivers not to worry on the days when there’s not much housework to do. Just spending time with Mom is wonderful, as far as I’m concerned. Companionship and activities are her biggest needs. They read the paper or magazines to her-and to the delight of us all, Mom can now see well enough to play Uno, tic tac toe, and Skip-Bo. I think if we got her a deck of cards with bigger characters, she could do even more. How wonderful it would be if she were able to play games during the reunion, just like she used to. It will be interesting to see if eyeglasses would help her, since the cataracts have been taken care of. Most days now, she is willing to get dressed. In fact, while my brother was here, she got herself up and dressed every day, all on her own. Being able to see better seems to have made her more conscious of her appearance. All of this is strengthening my conviction that she will blossom being in a facility, surrounded by activities and hustle. Regardless of how it affects all of us, I honestly believe that Mom will be fine. I’m going to try and set up a few tours today. I would like to check places out myself before I take my mom there. Unfortunately, I have to spend a few days in Seattle this coming week for more tests to try and figure out my anemia. It will, I am sure, be a draining experience. My brother is kindly returning this week, since we will be in Seattle overnight. I hope we find some answers, because going any further will just be more invasive and painful. I am quite tired of looking and feeling like I’m pregnant with twins every day, as my abdomen swells taut through the day.

My sister can’t seem to get a break. Her meltdown came along with her husbands’ admission to the hospital with a lung infection. She had been operating on no sleep and little food. I think he’s been discharged to home now, and with any luck she’s getting some rest. I still don’t dare reach out and risk another explosion, but I hope that rest and time will help her outlook overall. I feel completely helpless, but I know the wiser course is to wait, and hope. As long as there’s love, there’s hope.

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