Archive for the ‘Family’ category

1SE for June

June 30, 2019

Father’s Day

June 16, 2019

Well tomorrow is Father’s Day. So, I thought I would write about my Dad. My Dad died in early 1968 at the age of 6o something. He died of cardiac arrest.

I have often thought of how far we have come on heart health issues. My dad suffered a heart attack in the mid fifties. Back then, they didn’t have much treatment for heart disease. I don’t know much about what happened seeing as I was 7 or 8.

But I do remember this. My dad asked the doctor how he was going to make upstairs into our home. We lived in two family house in Brighton, MA and we occupied the second floor portion.

So the doctor’s answer was he should take it slow. Say one Hail Mary on each step. That would do it.

So fast forward ten years. He was scheduled for gall bladder surgery. He had excessive bleeding from the surgery and surgeons scheduled him for a return visit to the OR to try to find the source of the bleed. So he arrested on the table in OR. The surgeons revived him but he never regained consciousness and died about eight weeks later. Sigh.

He was a great father and I have always missed him.

In honor of Father’s Day here are a couple of my favorite photos of him.

Dad with his pipe. Sitting in his chair.

Mom and Dad. Berkshires. C 1950

Henry Jones

May 28, 2019

During the past few weeks, Paula has been cleaning out her Mom’s bedroom of the many things that have been saved for many years. One of the more interesting artifacts was an article clipped out of a magazine about a pine marten named Henry Jones.

So when Paula was a young girl, her father would work as a park ranger up in Lassen National Park for each summer. During the rest of the year, Harold would work as a science teacher at a high school in Long Beach. On the day after school closed in June, her family would pack up and head north to Lassen.

So every year they would stay in a log cabin in the park. When Paula was about 8, they befriended a pine marten that her Dad named Henry Jones. Henry Jones would come back every summer for several years.

So there was a tree stump outside their kitchen window of the cabin at Summit Lake where the Stanley family would sit at their kitchen table and watch Henry eat the food that they had left. They also left some watermelon rinds that were popular with the deer in the area.

Why Henry Jones, you might ask? Well, the name Henry Jones came from a popular song from the 1940’s titled “Feed the Bones to Henry Jones, because Henry don’t eat no meat”. Here are the lyrics:

Tonight I’ll serve a supper, 
We’ll eat some food that’s rare. 
And at the head of the table, 
I’ll place brother Henry’s chair-
Invite all the local big dogs,
We’ll laugh and talk and eat, 
But we’ll’ save the bones for Henry Jones, 
‘cause he don’t eat no meat-

Today I’ll go to market- 
and buy a lot of fish, 
That will thrill Brother Henry, 
Because that’s his special dish.- 
Get a large can of molasses,
so we’ll have something sweet, 
But save the bones for Henry Jones, 
“cause he don’t eat no meat.

Henry is not a drinker, 
he rarely takes a nip, 
He don’t need a napkin, 
‘cause the things he eats don’t drip. 
One day we had a banquet, 
It really was a bake, 

They started off with some short ribs,
they finished off with a steak. 
But when the feat was over, 
brother henry just kept his seat, 
and we served the bones to Henry Jones,
‘cause he don’t eat no meat. 
To- he don’t eat no meat.

Songwriters: Daniel Barker / Henry Mccoy Jones / Michael H. Goldsen

The song was performed by Nat King Cole and Johnny Mercer in 1947. Click here to listen to the song on YouTube.
And finally, here is the copy of the article that we found in the bottom of one of Mary’s dresser drawers:
Click the following URL to read the article: Henry Jones

A Place for Mom

April 1, 2019

We have decided to start the search for a facility to care for Mary. Paula and I are just running out of gas. We are running out of patience.

We need to be constantly vigilant as to what she is doing and needs to do. She remembers our name (most of the time). For instance, if we were to ask her to do two things. eg. brush teeth, come back out and sit at the table, she would only remember the first task.

With our trip planned to Boston in May and my knee surgery in June, we felt that now was the time to get her into skilled nursing facility that specializes in “memory care”.

We found a placement service aptly named “A Place for Mom” that has been helping us find such a place. The service is free to us. The placement fees are paid by the skilled nursing facilities. There is also an iPhone app. Search for “A Place for Mom” in the app store. BTW, it gets good grades from YELP.

So far we have visited a couple of sites for our consideration. The first one was nice but had a couple of problems. First, it was too far. It is located in Hermosa Beach, which is a 30-40 minute drive up the 110 freeway for us. Price was also a bit high for our taste. It starts with a base price of about $5000 and then adds on fees for meds and other related services.

We figured that our bottom line would be around $7500.

Second one we visited is in Long Beach. This is a bit closer. Probably about 15 minutes. The building was once an office building that had been refurbished into a nursing facility. They made an offer that we might not be able to refuse. They offered first two months for $95 (Mary’s age). The fee is normally a flat fee of $6100. No add-ons. We had lunch with the Memory Care director. Food was very tasty.

Here are a few pictures:

We put a $500 deposit on this place. We have one more place to visit on Tuesday. We’ll see. We should know our path forward by end of next week. We still need to tell Mary about our plans and take her for a tour. Then schedule moving people to move her stuff.

End of an Era

January 1, 2019

Saturday, December 31 marks an end of an era for Paula and I. On this day we closed on the selling of our Condo in Plymouth, NH.

We had bought the condo back in 1997. We would spend weekends and vacations there. Our boys would snow ski in the winter and we would all go out on our boat in the summer on Newfound Lake. Or we would just sit out one the deck and watch the sun go down over Tenney Mountain. Overall, we had a great time at the condo. Every time that we headed south on rte 3, we looked forward to the time we would be coming back.

The last time that we spent any time at the condo was the summer of 2012. We lived there for a short period after we sold our house in Billerica, MA.

We would have preferred to sell the condo back in 2012 but that wasn’t possible. We were underwater on our mortgage and the market for vacation homes hadn’t recovered from the economic woes of 2008.

So instead of selling, we put the condo on the rental market. We had a great real estate agent (Diane Masessa) at Old Mill Properties in Bristol, NH.

At best, renting it was a break-even proposition. The rent would about cover our mortgage payment, but not condo assoc. fees. I had to chase the tenants for the propane usage because Dead River Propane wouldn’t give them their own accounts.

So rent it we did. First, to a pair of grad students at Plymouth State (PSU). Then, to a pair of Saudi’s doing graduate work at PSU. And finally, to another Saudi grad student from PSU.

The last renters were the ones that broke the camel’s back. They moved out 1.5 month early this past August. They left the place a mess. Needless to say they didn’t get their security deposit back. So in September, we decided to try our luck at selling the place.

So we got it cleaned up, got rid of a lot of junk and added a coat of paint here and there. Then, declared it ready for the sales market.

The sales situation had changed for the better. We had paid down our mortgage principal to about $90K and the vacation real estate market had recovered somewhat.

So we put it on the market in November with an asking price of $119,900. So we had two offers within the first few days on the market at full asking price. WOOT!!!

Selling a property from 3000 miles away can be a real challenge. We have been lucky to have a great real estate agent. We have been working with Diane over the past 6 years in managing the property. Most documents that needed to be signed (leases, purchase & sales, etc.) have been executed using an app called “DocuSign“.

The only documents that we could not use DocuSign were the closing paperwork which had to have live signatures that had been notarized. The document package had been emailed to me last Wednesday. Printed them out and called in our Notary Public, Patrick Sullivan in San Pedro. Patrick witnessed all of our signatures then we put them in an envelope and Fedex’d the package back to the closing attorney in Mass.

I expect to get the final closing doc’s back via FedEx on Jan. 2, 2019

Next steps will be to figure out how much capital gains taxes we will have to pay this Spring.

Happy New Year,

Joe

Second Tuesday

October 9, 2018

Okay, today is the second Tuesday of the month and that means that the ladies at the Assistance League of San Pedro/South Bay are having their monthly luncheon meeting. Go to hyperlink to learn more about the Assistance League. Both Paula and Mary are members and usually attend. Paula runs the Chapter Relations Committee and she needs to be there early. Getting there early means that she gets prime parking. This is important because Mary can’t walk too far.2018-10-09 09.04.19.jpg

So we got up bright and early, had breakfast and hit the shower. We got Mary up, fed and dressed. Mary needs help getting dressed these days (that’s Paula’s job). At 9:00 AM, I walk Mary down to the elevator and wait for Paula to drive around to pick Mary up. So I load Mary into the Prius and off they go.

One of the nice things about our condo is that it’s all on one level. No stairs. That wasn’t an issue when Mary bought the property, but it is now. There is an elevator that takes us down to the garage. Mary doesn’t handle stairs very well anymore. We need to always be keenly aware of handicap accessibility. Another fall would probably kill her.

That means that I am free for the next four hours. So I headed to Albertson’s to do some grocery shopping. First thing, I head to the Starbuck’s and order my usual venti iced coffee.  I also order a pumpkin scone. The barista tells me that they were out of “venti” cups so she had to give the larger cup. Twist my arm I tell her. I sit down at one of the small tables and sip my coffee and check the news on my iPhone. Ah, life is good.

So the first thing that the Barista asks me is “Where’s Paula?”. She’s at a meeting with her mother, I tell her.  I’m flying solo today. The butcher and checkout lady ask me the same question, “Where’s Paula?”

So, i finish my shopping and head home. I unload all the groceries and sit down for a quiet lunch. Now, I finish this blog post and it’s time for Red Sox baseball.

 

Mary

July 23, 2018

Well, it’s been a while since I wrote a post on Mary. So today’s the day.

She continues to get more and more weak and frail every day. Her memory is pretty much shot. She remembers Paula and my names, but that’s pretty much it. I give her three things to do: brush your teeth, wash your face and get dressed. She only remembers “brush your teeth”.

Last week, Paula took her to her dentist to have one of her molar crowns replaced. Doctor put a temporary crown on the molar. He told her not to pick at her teeth. Mary has a habit of picking her teeth with a tooth pick. Her tooth picks have been put in hiding for the duration. (Maybe forever, disgusting habit.) Permanent crown will be installed first week in August.

So we took Mary to church this morning for the 10:30 am service. She knew about going to church, but she couldn’t remember the name of our church. (The church that she has been attending for over fifty years.) So after the service, I pointed out the view of LA Harbor out the back of the church. The name of the church is “Ocean View Baptist Church”. Do you think that seeing the image of the harbor will help you remember? Nope, not a chance. We went to the Pacific Diner for brunch after church. The owner comped her breakfast that morning.

We were going to go to the Chili Cook-Off at lodge, but decided that it wasn’t worth getting Mary out of bed and dragging her off to another function. Better for all of us to have a decent afternoon nap. Leftovers for dinner.

Every now and then Paula and I have the discussion about whether the time is right to put Mary in a nursing home. We have decided not yet. We have a regular sitter that watches Mary for short term gigs, so that we can go to a movie or something. We have an agency that we use for longer term service. We have a couple of weekends scheduled for August OES events. (One in San Diego and one in the Bay Area.) It will be good to get away for a weekend.

And finally, a hat tip to our Uncle Jack (Mary’s younger brother who lives in Louisiana) who is a faithful reader of this blog.

TTFN,

Joe