Friday, June 3, 2011

Shut Up and Drive

My mother-in-law, who is in end stages of Alzheimer’s finally ended up in a nursing home the week before Memorial Day. At first it was thought that she had a stroke but it turned out to be an interaction from a medication she was taking for an infection. Once she was at the hospital, the medical professionals stepped in and basically told my father-in-law that he could not take her home. While this is something that probably should have happened long ago, my 83 year old father-in-law, who has been her primary care taker, never could bring himself to do it. Even after the health scare he had in February when he promised us that he would start the paperwork, he didn’t really do that. I found out, through some gentle questioning, that he had purposefully left out financial information so his applications were incomplete. They have been married 59 years and I have to admit I’m not even sure what I would do were I in his shoes. On top of that, today is the one year anniversary of Pam’s death. Needless to say this collision of events has been a huge adjustment for all of us over the last couple of weeks, but especially Mr. Helen and his immediate family.


This is a photo of the handbag I bought for summer, which I started using last week. I love it because it’s tres chic being a gold/bronze metallic and also simply because it’s big enough to hold my huge sunglasses case as well as my glasses case (in case the contacts tear), among the myriad of other things I feel the need to carry with me at all times because I have turned into my mother. However, as I discovered while looking for my camera last week when Dave was here, the pockets, including the middle zippered pocket, are deep. After Dave left, I was so annoyed that I couldn’t find my camera, I emptied my whole purse out and sure enough, there it was all the way in the bottom to the edge of the middle zipper pocket which was where I was sure I had put it in the first place! Sigh. Maybe I should have put on my glasses with my contacts when I was looking for it.


Hip, hip hooray! We are definitely going to our beloved St. Martin at the end of July. While I had booked the resort way back in January, with fuel prices going up, up, up so did the cost of airline tickets. The most we’ve ever had to pay to fly there has been around $1100. That’s still pricey, but it’s the cost of going to the Caribbean. We are completely spoiled by the fact that we have two major airports within about 45 minutes from our home and have always flown out of one of them in the past, even though we’ve also had to connect vs. a direct flight. Recently tickets have been running around $1800 and though we adore our beloved little island, we could not justify that, what with the additional costs of the trip (Gotta eat for goodness sake!). We actually had come to the point where we were looking at other options.  A friend suggested that I check New York or Boston for flights on Jet Blue. Turned out the flights were less expensive but would also mean a 2 hour drive (either way) to the airport. As it also turned out, the Boston flights go to New York before St. Martin thereby making it silly to drive to Boston when we could just go 2 hours the other way to New York. And so I began my campaign to fly out of JFK.  Why campaign?  Because there was a hitch.

The hitch? Mr. Curmudgeon Helen. Holy carp you would not believe the whining and pining I’ve been listening to about driving 2 hours to the airport, even though it would mean a direct flight – no transfers like we usually have to deal with. All you mid-west people stop laughing, right this minute! I am not kidding peeps he was like a 2 year old…. until the prices of tickets started dropping and dropping to where last night, I booked our two tickets for what ONE ticket from the closer airport would have cost. In the 9 years we’ve been going to St. Martin, this is the least we’ve ever paid for flights.

So, hurray for vacation! I think. Because immediately after I booked the tickets I realized I have approximately 51 days to lose 900 pounds to be ready for being in a bathing suit on the beach next to gorgeous, thin French women. YIKES!


  1. Oh, Pam. A year. I remember reading the post last year with such sorrow.
    As for the 900 lbs, you are beautiful. You will be in St. Martin with Mr. Curmudgeon. Screw the French women.

  2. Must have been a difficult week for all of you. I don't know what I would have if I was your father in law, guess I would have tried to taken care of my loved one as long as possible too.

    That's really a good deal with the flight tickets. I had to laugh at Mr. Helen for not wanting to drive 2 hours :) glad you could convince him.

    Helen you look already fabulous, trust me, the skinny French women are going to be jealous of you!

    I've finished my post with things you don't know about me, been going through old photos to go with the post. Come visit my blog tomorrow and you will find out.

  3. I am so glad that you are able to get away on a good vacation. It sounds wonderful and will be here before you know it.

    My thoughts go out to you, Mr. Helen and Mr. Helen's family as they go through this very tough time.

  4. I had tried to post something really witty and then lost it. Dammit.

    Sorry to hear about the anniversary of the SILs departure. Grief is a hard road to walk down but we've got to do it, regardless.

    Approx 56 lbs per day. You better get crackin!

  5. If Janell knows of a diet where you can lose 56 lbs. a day, she better get to sharin' - and soon!

    I hate it when I lose things. It very rarely happens, but when it does, look.out. Not a pretty picture. Cute purse, though! (side note - I wasn't wearing sunglasses in that pic I sent you because my purse is too little to hold the case - gym purse, you know)

    I would drive probably up to 3 hours in order to avoid changing planes - that whole thing stresses me out, worrying that I will miss the connection. So glad you got the tickets, and woohoo for a good deal!!!

    Thinking of you and Mr. Helen's family as your remember Pam today. Hugs.

  6. You certainly DO NOT have 900 lbs to lose, dear!

    LOVE the handbag! :)

    I hope you have a FANTASTIC time on vacation. It is much deserved!

    And about your mom in law, I get it. My grandmother, who raised me from baby-14, passed from Altzheimers. My grandparents ended up getting divorced (for financial reasons) when she went into the nursing home. She was already very far gone at only 52 years old. Ten years passed before she finally passed on, and I remember how much my grandma struggled emotionally. As I grew up, I first went on to work in nursing---specifically in an Altzheimers & dementia unit of a long term care facility. There was a couple there. The wife was end stage, and the husband lived at home. He visited her by walking to the home every single day. And he brought flowers! And would they dance! He'd put a record on... It was just beautiful how much they loved eachother. When Anna died, he did too... A day later... They couldn't stand to be apart. I've never witnessed anything like it, but because of them I believe that love lives eternally. I know they're together in Heaven.

    I hope your in-laws are able to work through everything. Love will carry them through. I will add them to my prayers---and you and your husband also. Hugs!

    Sarah @ Thinfluenced

  7. I'm sorry about your mother-in-law, it sounds so difficult. But glad you are getting to go on your trip! Two hours is nothing, I would definitely drive that to avoid changing planes as well as to save money, even with gas prices the way they are.

  8. This must have been a difficult stretch of time for your family. I think booking a vacation is a great thing to do.

    I am always losing things. One really common expression around my house is "Where is X - I *just* had it!"

    So annoying.

  9. Just joining the others in sending good thoughts.
    You are a dear!

  10. I got a giggle out of your and others comments about your extreme weight loss! Let me know the secret. At this point I would be thrilled with 0.56 pounds per week LOL.

    And I am touched by the story of your father-in-law and his devotion to his bride. All these situations are just impossible for the families. Sometimes I think its a good thing that the doctors take the decision away from the family. But its still hard no matter what.

    So excited for you and the Mr. to get to take your vacation. I am unbelievably excited about my little vacation that is starting.

  11. So sorry to read about your mother in law. I can't imagine how difficult this must be for all! Sending good thoughts down to you! 51 days to lose 900 lbs? HILARIOUS Helen!!! Glad you are maintaining your humour and booking a lovely vacation! Take care.

  12. How the hell did I miss this post on Friday?? Wow, I can't believe its been a year since Pam died.

    Tony and I were just talking about being together last night - and he said "all I know is that I need to die first because I couldn't live without you." I can't even begin to imagine what your FIL is going through.

    Sending huge hugs your way - and the same thing happens when I have a giant purse with many pockets - while I think "it's got a pocket for everything!" I never put anything back in the same pocket!