Lee’s New Home

Lee this morning on our walk around the yard. We found red honeysuckle and many more pretty sticks to put into vases.

The movers came early today and took the furniture down to the care home. Then my friend Barbara arrived to help me unload my packed car with all the things to make Lee’s new room look like home.

I have a few more clothes to sneak out Monday morning when I take him down. His razor, hair brush, spare shoes, favorite throws, and more hangers. Easily slipped into the car when he takes his shower. I love how large the room is and he can easily find things in it. We met the two cleaning ladies who were glad that it wasn’t all cluttered up. Two caregivers give the baths so as to help if he takes a fall. The medicines he takes…very little….has been turned over to the person in charge of that. $200 in fives and tens were left in his name at the finance office for things that come up like haircuts, etc.

There is a bird feeder outside his window for seed that I can take down to keep it filled. I talked to the maintenance man about Lee loving to work with rocks and he said he will take Lee with him around the place when he can and will move some rocks into the secured gazebo area for Lee to stack. I just need to send him a reminder.  They are so very, very nice there.

I plan on having the best next two days here with trips to the dump and buying some more ferns, baking more Anzac Biscuits, picking up interesting sticks for the table and finding things to laugh about.

I have done a bit more drawing in the book. I am now a young woman waiting for more scraps of cloth.

The hard freeze a couple of weeks ago did lots of damage to our Japanese maples. Now the pond is filling with dead leaves. Lee sweeps them off the stone walkways and I fish them out of the pond. Our last bits of yard work here.

Yesterday and today lovely notes from Australia came to thank me for sending them Trusting the Tether Line poetry book. I can not say how much I appreciate the support from there during these past several years with watching over Lee. They never met him but feel as though they know him through my writings. Friends from this country have been also very supportive. I wish they lived closer. Barbara has been the constant for Lee and I and we are grateful to have her continually checking in to lend a hand.

Thank you, Barbara!

Monday after I take Lee to his new home I will stop by the liquor store and look for the scotch Linda and Jack sent me a check for because they could not be here to help with this transition time. I will toast Lee, them and Barbara for their kindnesses. Then I will pour another for the friends down under who keep my spirits up…and maybe a third for Kent who continues to send Lee homemade postcards with his name clearly written.

By the time I pour another I will be on my way to the first full night’s sleep I have had in a very long time.

Til later…..

A Good Day

New full moon dawn yesterday. Today everything is still on schedule. The memory care home is all set to receive a new recliner tomorrow and the movers Friday morning. Then Barbara and I Friday afternoon to set the room up.

Lee is with a favorite caregiver today. The termite man came and went after his quarterly check. Now the yardman is here with his hole digger putting in new rhododendrons. I am having wine after finishing my drawing and stitching for the day.

I decided after drawing myself now to get reacquainted with who I used to be all by myself. So the next page is me at about one year of age then as a girl in fifth grade.

I will do one more as a young woman starting college. Shortly after that I will be back on my own and can pick up wherever I want with whatever is important that day.

Lee and I moved some camp chairs into the sun yesterday to feel the warmth of our place and each other. We sat for about an hour with our backs to the world and watched squirrels.

Today I rushed out to get a knee brace for myself to get through these next few days. a six pack of Lee’s favorite beer to last til Sunday night, two bags of his favorite chips, some new underwear for him and one more half gallon of ice cream. We are set to really enjoy the next several days and then he is off to a new adventure.

He toasted me yesterday.

I bought him a final bottle of Southern Comfort yesterday. We have drinks on the porch each evening and he told me I was very lucky to have inherited this house from my mother. He remembers nothing of building this place or any of our others. I agreed that my mother who has been dead for many, many years was very smart to leave this house to me. He seems happy that I have a good place to stay when he goes off somewhere…back home I think.

There is little interest in placing rocks now. He has them where they should be.

And to close, a poem I wrote the other day … it is not meant to be sad, just an acceptance of life’s changes.


The Haircut


It was Saturday

I said, “Let’s give you a haircut”

and steered him to the stool

in the laundry room where

the tattered basket was waiting

with towel, old electric clippers,

comb and hairbrush.

I helped him remove two shirts

and sat him down.


The clippers buzzed and buzzed

as I held the comb just under them

and a quarter inch away from his scalp.

Not until I put the comb down

and ran my gnarled fingers through his hair

cutting anything that stood above them

did I think that this could be the last

of fifty-four years trusting

it would look okay when I finished.


And finally his favorite part

of having the brush

stroke his bare back

to remove the hairs.

He picks up his shirts

and starts down the hall.

I sweep up the grey hairs

and toss them into the yard

for nesting birds.


Til later….

Time Passing

I drew this portrait from a photo I took of myself not too long ago. Time passes.

It was added to my drawings fabrics book after more drawings into and about cloth and Nature and then Sadie.

The pond man came last week and while cleaning the pond found all but two fish missing. Remember when it looked like this before winter?


There was close to two hundred fish in there, including old Jay, a 12-15 year old fan tail who I loved seeing resurface each spring. The pond man said it was likely a raccoon on a holiday. I don’t even see the last two so he certainly knew where to find food. We never had that happen before. I might think twice before getting more fish. Probably will when the raccoon moves on for lack of food here. Times change.

Lee on one of his last walks up the hill past his rock wall.

The moving day is Monday next week. Movers could not be found until Friday and the new place likes to have a full staff to greet him which is not possible on the weekend. A friend will help me set his room up Friday afternoon.

Lately he has been thinking he is not going to be here…going back home or someplace. He reminded me today that I needed to fix something when he goes away. I said I would take care of whatever needs doing.

A Very Busy Week

It helps to have Anzac Biscuits on hand when the days are flying by with company arriving to help with the transitions.  I have found the perfect place for Lee to go next. On the day I had my appointment to look over the place, a room became available…..a perfect room. A deposit was put down the following day. All requirements have been met on our end thanks to having our doctor close and a long time friend arrive in time to keep me focused and help get things sorted out and hidden here in the apartment where I can pack them in my car without him seeing and asking questions.

Another friend is moving the furniture from here that Lee will need into his apartment room early next week and Lee will follow. A furniture store is delivering a new recliner/rocker to the memory care facility next week. The only hold up is how soon I can get possession of the room because the woman moving from it to another available room is held up because where she is going has not been cleared out after the occupant went to a “higher calling” as they say for passing away.

My job is to get the room/apartment completely set up before Lee arrives so it looks a bit familiar with the things he sees each day. Several paintings of mine will be on the walls. His favorite blankets on the bed and in his chair, a TV sitting on his mothers old chest of drawers, and a chair pulled up to a table he made years ago using sewing machine legs for a base. On that table will be a large wooden bowl that he turned a long time ago with rocks that thoughtful friends have sent him and another turned piece holding turkey feathers. The two lamps in the room will be ones he made out of old split logs.

Of course his white bag that he keeps his cards in will also be on the table. Again, thank you everyone who has sent him notes and cards this past couple of years. He likes holding that bag. I can also take several pairs of his work gloves to tuck into a drawer.

The facility told me that the maintenance staff will take men like Lee with a need to be outside working on things around to the shed and find small manageable jobs they can do. He would love to be back in a vehicle for maintenance riding around ready with his gloves on. This seems the most perfect place for him and I can’t tell you how happy I am that we kept up our long term care insurance.

Here he is the evening before our savior friend left for home.

Each resident of the memory ward has something on their door so they can find their own room easier. I am going to put this bamboo head on a hanger to take down when I set the room up. He faces it when he takes his chair at the table on the porch.

There is so much he does not remember but having a sense of familiar around him will help both of us.

Today I found the necessary things in one stop…a shower curtain and rings, laundry basket, waste bin, shampoo, soap, aspirin and boxes of tissues. Already set aside are necessary linens, battery operated toothbrush to take the place of his electric one, toothpaste, blankets, etc. Our friend even re-covered a chair for him to pull up to his table while she was here. She accomplished a lot in just eight days while keeping me focused.

I did try to work on my Drawing fabric scraps book…..

Smudged pencil sketches of fragments that are fitting my mood of worn out….and another stitched scrap is put into place.

I will write more updates as time permits…..

Til later….