28 Jul

Wavy Yellow Slide

My 73 year old Dad collapsed at our home today, repeatedly, before paramedics arrived to assess him and truck him to the hospital for evaluation. It’s possible the causes were heat exhaustion, dehydration, and stress from the fight he’d had with my stepmother before coming over-or a condition triggered by those stressors. By the time he left for Good Sam with the paramedics, he was joking with the response team. My stepmother met the ambulance as it was leaving our house–she and my Dad live only two miles away. Our local firehouse is the same distance in the opposite direction–it took them five minutes to arrive.

That’s the stage. This entry is more a note about emotional response. Even though it was my father on the floor, it seemed easy for Debby and I to be calm and methodical in helping him, fetching him a pillow and orienting his body, feeding him aspirin (in case of heart attack), and ignoring his weak shouts not to call 911. (You lose that right the minute you become the focus of a medical response). We were calm while the team was here–perhaps more talkative from stress than necessary. They left 30 minutes ago and now the stress is rolling in–not in breakers but small tidal surges. Life rarely crashes–that happens only in extraordinary circumstances. It presses and pounds, kneading away energy, washing away layers. Or, perhaps a better analogy is that I feel like I’ve been handed a large stone, large enough that I have to curl my body to hold it, and wonder if the burden will become the new normal, or that the stone will be absorbed. Forecasting, I think the reality is more that I’ll drop the stone sometime soon and without knowing it, but will often be looking over my shoulder.

Looking now out our dining room window at the play structure our kids have almost outgrown and its wavy bright yellow slide, I also think I may have other options.

09 Jun


Last night Jordan graduated officially from high school. We were up quite late, dropping people off, fetching Noah and Sophie from in-laws, went to bed about 2:00, relieved that It Was Over With.

At 5:30 AM, Debby got up to pick up Jordan from the school sponsored all night party. At 5:35 Noah came into our bedroom. “Dad. (Mmmh.) I sort of forgot to build a float for today’s state fair.” (Each student was supposed to create a “float” representing a state–starting with a shoebox or something similar.)

So, from 5:30 to 7:30 AM, we sat down in the dining room with construction paper, laptop (to look for images), and a vacant ice cream box ¬†(former home to 2 half-gallon cartons from CostCo God Bless America), made up a state flag, and created a diarama of cows grazing against a sunflower meadow inside the box (which had cutouts on each end). For good measure, we found a drawing of a cow (zilla) looming over KC (Noah’s state was Kansas) and pasted it atop the flag. I was pretty darn proud of my float. If it wasn’t for him crying, I would have brought it to work to show off.

Seriously, it never ends. And if Noah wasn’t such a great kid who does apply himself, I would have went back to bed and let him deal with the consequences. But there’s a family name to uphold, too.

It’s not over with. It’s never over with. Just in case anyone with kids reading this¬†thought that they had something more peaceful to look forward to.