Tuesday, December 23, 2014

How we lost two (count them) Sets of car keys in one night......

Heather and her family were to be in town on Thursday....that went well. 
Dad was supposed to get here from Virginia on Friday night at 9:05 p.m. I had it all planned out.  Pastor Jerry and Vonna were having a Christmas get-together at their home in Elk Grove (south about 12 miles) from 7 - 9.  The plan was that Heather and the kids would take one car and Gary and I would drive seperately and then I would leave early and head for the airport (about 25 miles from there - North).  Saturday was to include a special breakfast, tree trimming and Christmas Dinner with my Dad. That is not exactly what happened.

First off, my Dad called to say he had missed his second plane due to engine issues and was spending the night in Washington D.C. So, no special dinner with my Dad and the kids had to leave on Sunday after church....ok, adjust.

So, we still had to take two cars to the lovely party.  It was pouring rain but we got there and back safely.  We came into the house and I drove NOWHERE until it was time to leave to go to the airport. 

Saturday morning, somehow, I misjudged the fixins for the gravy. With my Dad missing, somehow I thought I had enough sausage for the gravy. Wrong. Note to self, do not use left over taco meat to replace missing sausage.

We decorated the tree and it turned out beautifully.  I fixed Christmas dinner and all seemed happy.

It was time to go pick up Dad.I could not find my car keys which I always keep in the same purse pocket.  I had about ten minutes before I needed to leave.  Since we moved, I have been carrying important documents, keys, etc in my purse so nothing would get lost.  I'll just use my extra key and find the main set which includes my house key and only mailbox key.  The spare was not in my purse.

Heather said not to worry but to take her car.  I responded that was a good idea but I still needed to find the keys. I could not blame Gary because I was the one with the keys.  Oh my gosh, am I losing it now, too?

We started retracing my steps and after a few minutes I got really upset and decided to leave.  After dumping out my purse, twice....I was pretty freaky.  I am used to Gary losing things but two sets of keys?

I took the Prius and headed for the airport.  They continued to look as I calmed down to drive and think.  I remembered that the night before when we got home, I had handed the keys to Gary to open the house while I waited for the kids to come in through the garage.  Yep, he was involved after all.  I told them to look around all Gary's belongings like his jacket, pockets, etc.

Dad arrived safely and we headed toward home.  I rethought the night before and decided that the one set of keys had to be in the house.....i just needed to think.

When i arrived home, Heather asked if I had a hole in my purse.  We tore it apart and BINGO, there was the back up key.  So, now to find the main key.

I remembered all the clothes that Gary was wearing. He had one his black jacket, black jeans, black wallet, etc.  I went into the bedroom despite the fact the kids had searched there.  I went straight to the bench at the end of our bed to look for his black shoes.  Perched precariously in his shoe was my key ring, keys and were covered by a pair of sweat pants.  An easy miss.

Wow, what a relief.  I had already figured out how to rent a car on Sunday, go to the Benz dealership on Monday and apply for a replacement mail box key.  What a fiasco.

Right now, I am trying to write this blog.  I have been writing for quite some time now.  Dad is sitting on one side of me on the sofa and Gary is on the other.  Not exactly pristine writing conditions.  Sorry for the abrupt end but I just can't finish my thoughts.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Confusion: Wife versus daughter

Gary and I had plans to attend the Rancho Cordova Christmas Tree Lighting event on Sunday evening.  Since we are so close, we decided to walk.  So, since it was chilly outside, we bundled up.  I made sure Gary had his phone and I carried mine....just in case. 

Right before we left Gary asked if he should call Ada and tell her to meet us at the park.   I told him that I am Ada.  He looked at me with a rather funny, inquisitive look and said, "I know you are Ada but I'm talking about my wife, Ada Mae."  I knew I was fighting a losing battle but attempted to explain who I was, repeating that we have been married 29 years and that we have never been separated.  I thought we were experiencing the confusion from last week when he thought I was his new wife.  No, he thought I am his daughter, Heather but named Ada for now....

As we walked the .7 mile to the park, Gary pulled out his cell phone and called my cell phone, so I answered.  He got angry that I was answering Ada's cell phone.  After multiple attempts to reach "her", I decided to let the phone go to voicemail.  He left her an extensive message telling her that we would meet her at the Christmas Tree lighting and that once we got there, he would call her back and tell her where to meet us.

At this point, I just accepted his confusion and tried not to feel anything.  During the mini-concert and throughout the event, he could not understand why Ada was not calling him.  I repeatedly explained that I was indeed Ada and I was not going to call him back since I was sitting next to him.  He wasn't getting it.

The tree was lit and the snow and whole event was wonderful.  We proceeded to walk home.  It was very cold and then I realized that he had left his gloves somewhere....another loss.  And those were his good gloves.  (Note to self:  don't buy anything expensive for him...its a waste of money)

We got home and fixed dinner.  The confusion went on for over an hour and he kept calling me Ada but thinking I was Heather (only named Ada).  I got fed up and went into the office to work on the computer.  He called on the cell and I answered.  He asked where I had been and why I had not come to the tree lighting.  (he was in the other room and could not see me).  I explained that I was in our office and he needed to come in and see me.  He did, saw me on the phone and realized who I was.  He went back into the den and announced that his daughter had left. 

I again tried to explain and ended up calling Heather.  She told him that she had been home all day and had not been here.  He sort of got it but spent the rest of the evening telling me about the tree lighting and what a good time they had.

The next morning, he was fine.  I told him that it hurt my feelings but that I understand that he cannot help it.  He hugged me, apologized and we took him to the CLUB.  He had a great day.

Santa visited the CLUB and Gary told him that he wanted a 40ft sailboat for Christmas.  As a good friend said, "After all, a 60 footer is just too much to handle."

Maybe I'm a little slow, but I am starting to realize that spending time trying to convince him of reality or trying to get him to act differently or have things make sense is just frustrating both of us.  I just need to let go and relax.  Yes, that is what I will practice....yes, that is a good solution for now.

Guess I better start shopping for the yacht.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Would you hand me the phone so I can call my wife?

Its been weeks since I've written a blog...mostly due to moving activities like packing, changing addresses (forwarding etc), notifying two sets of utilities, scheduling installs (cable, sound system, etc.), managing movers, unpacking and staying sane during it all.

Our friend Michael picked up Gary on Sunday afternoon before the move on Tuesday and brought him home Wednesday afternoon. Thank God for old friends.  Well, they may never do it again, but they saved us this time.  Apparently Gary: ate like a pig; got very little sleep; asked them every two hours at night "Where is Ada?"; and tagged along wherever Mike needed to go.  Gary required they repack his suitcase several times so Mike could take him to the airport.  Keep in mind, it is a 2 hour drive and there was no airplane involved in any of the trip. 

On the way home, Gary called me from his cell phone several times.  Of  course, he left it in Mike's car and we did not realize it until the next day.  I found Mike's glasses among our belonging scattered on our bar.  So, I sent him an email asking if I could trade his glasses for Gary's cell phone, bathrobe and whatever else he left behind.  We had a good laugh.

Moving without Gary went smoothly as I only had to answer questions of the movers.  Getting all the crap we own into place on this end is another whole story.  When the movers had many of our belonging staged in the driveway to go into the truck, we all took a break.  I sat there and felt so guilty.  After being in Haiti in 2010 and many other places in the world where people have nothing or little to nothing, I realized how blessed and absolutely uncalled for it is for us to have so much.  It is pure out American greed and I need to dispose of things. 

I have lost my temper several times this last week but am holding my own.  Gary is trying SO HARD to help. 

We have had a few mishaps but the greatest story started on Friday night when he became confused about our older phone numbers, old phone numbers and new phone numbers.  He swore that he need to call his wife at 686-8458 which is the number we had for six years but changed about a year ago.  Then he decided to call her at 686-0304 until she answered.  This whole time I tried to convince him that I was his wife of 29 years and that I was right beside him.  He said that he had been married to someone else for 17 years and that he and I had recently reunited.  One minute he knew me as Ada and the next, he didn't.  I got very angry, then hurt and then sort of accepting.  He was combative so I called Mike to have him tell Gary who I was and then when he failed, I tried Heather.  He pacified them by agreeing but started again the next morning. He did this off and on all day.  Pastor told Gary on Sunday who I am and my relationship with him. Since he knew that Jerry would not lie to him...all is well.

He has spent the last two days watching the events in Ferguson Missouri on the television, helping me and sitting in the massage chair.  I give on any long term help with the house.  He is good for about 20 minutes and he is off chasing a shiny object. 

I am blessed to have a husband who does love me.  I fixed a great dinner tonight and looked at me with love and said thank you.  He kissed me and said that I'm his best wife ever. 

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Never found the phone.....

The last few weeks have been days of intense expressions of love, anger, confusion and move preparation. Only 9 more days separate today and moving to our new location.  I'm very excited and Gary is also....at least when he remembers that we are moving.  Its very hard to grasp that he can sit in our houses with boxes EVERYWHERE and not remember that we are moving....but he does.
I haven't written in a while, but I would like to revisit the days following Halloween. As you know, Gary lost his wallet, house keys and Galaxy 3 phone.  I stopped the phone service and cancelled credit cards the following day and waited until Monday when the CLUB opened again.  Upon arrival at the CLUB on Monday, I was greeted by the Director and spoke with several of the volunteers.  NO WALLET.  NO PHONE...ugh.

One of the staffers indicated that Gary was having difficulty with his belongings and his costume, so they had put his wallet and keys into a brown bag that also contained his candy and Halloween treats.  My first thoughts were not pleasant.  How could they expect him to keep up with a brown paper bag with which he is not familiar?  I just couldn't believe what I had to go through as a result.

(Later, I realized they only meant well....I really should lighten up.)

Anyway, there was no paper bag to be found at the house.  I tore the whole house apart......I gave up.  The next day, when I came home, his wallet was lying on the counter next to his keys and Halloween candy.  No paper bag. No recollection of the "loss" or the find.  I was elated and frustrated.  The telephone was never found.  The deductible on the insurance was $150.  New phone arrived and is set up.  I made the choice for him to continue to have a phone.....just in case.

Over the weekend, we continued packing the "last minute" stuff.  I was downstairs putting clothes in the washer and heard what sounded like pounding coming from upstairs.  I went up the steps to find Gary on the floor next to his computer, frantically unplugging all the peripherals attached to it.  I yelled, "what are you doing?"

He responded that the computer was making a very loud clacking noise and it scared him to so he unplugged it.  I was furious. It was just one more thing that he had done that day that put me over the edge.  I screamed, yelled, cried and threw a magic marker at him.  He was not hurt but was upset because he didn't know what he had done wrong.  I had planned on shutting down the computer next week, properly labeling all peripherals and packing the computer then.....nothing was going my way.

I thought my chest was going to explode.  I told him to take the dog for a walk and leave me alone so I could calm down.  I cried on the bed...heaved is more like it.  Then, I realized how stupid I was being and prayed for forgiveness.  I prayed to not get angry.  I prayed for ability to bite my tongue and better understand his disability.  (Pastor spoke only to me in church this morning).

I felt an instant peace.  God granted me the peace I was requesting and I had a wonderful, deep nap.  I arose to spend an hour putting the computer back together.  He had unplugged the speakers, printer, and network cable.  I reconnected all but the sound....its only a week and I probably won't need it. 

We had a wonderful evening and a great day at church.  The rest of the day was spent packing, hugging alot and eating mystery food out of the freezer.  The smoothies and coffee pot are ready for morning.....Gary is enjoying his time in the massage chair.  Diva is running around the house chasing a fly.  I am trying to relax a little before bedtime.  I can't wait til this move is over and things are put away in the new house. 

Please pray that Gary will find the move smooth and not get too upset. 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Its NOT a Pirate's Life for ME.....

Today was tough. Gary dressed as a pirate to go to the CLUB for their Halloween party.  We got up late so were running behind all morning.  His costume was last worn in the West Indies during a Pirate Cruise Pub Crawl....

Anyway, after realizing that his pants had no pockets nor belt, we had issues.  Where would he put his wallet (complete with mandatory rubber band accessory), house keys, roll of tissues (just in case he is attacked by ten years worth of boogers), collection of hair combs and his change which is usually counted multiple times and stacked in order of size? I remembered a fanny pack that has been hung on a shelf downstairs for months.....perfect for all his stuff and would not detract from the Pirate outfit.  What good pirate does not carry a fanny pack?  So, I went down to retrieve the familiar site and guess what?  It had been moved.  Dag blast-it!  So, Gary had to put all his belongings in his jacket pocket.   He complained several times before we left the house that the jacket did not have pockets....you can predict where this is going....

As we drove down the street toward the CLUB, he asked if I had visited or inquired at any of the local Assisted Living Facilities.  I asked if he meant for him or for me.  He said that I need to look into them for him. Sobering thought.

I dropped him off at the CLUB and watched the man walk away and in my imagination he morphed into a seven year old pirate on his way to a Halloween party.  The stress of driving to the CLUB with me melted as he reached the door and got a hug from one of the volunteers who was thrilled to see the Pirate. He walked in and did not think to turn and say goodbye. I cry a lot at this point in many days.

Many hours later, I called him to say I was leaving work early and for him to be ready to go to church for the Harvest Party. He reported that he had a stressful afternoon because he "got kicked off the bus."  Many questions later netted the following:  He had lost his wallet, keys and I later discovered, his cell phone.  He remembered enough to know that he discovered this when he boarded the first bus but did not think to go back in and look for it.  I guess he rode for free....

Since the CLUB does not open again until Monday and he did not tell me until 5:00, I left a voicemail for them to see if anyone would check over the weekend.  I know they don't, so I cancelled the only credit card he carries and will wait.  I was livid.  Livid, livid, livid.  It does no good but I feel it anyway.

I told him to put on jeans and a golf shirt and that we would go to the party.  He had on shorts.  I knew I should have told him to change but I was so angry over the events of the day that I let him go anyway. No sooner than we arrived to see kids in costumes, he started complaining about being cold and had one of the church folks turn up the heat.  Twenty seconds later he was trying to further increase the temperature.  I tried to get him involved in one of the activities but he complained bitterly and asked to come home to change.  I explained that if we left, we would not return.  So be it. I was done.

We came home, ate dinner in silence, broke the handle on the screen door and I hit rock bottom emotionally.  I don't know how much I longer I can withstand this level of stress.  The next few weeks of moving and getting acclimated will be critical. 

Thank God his visiting Angel comes tomorrow.  I can get some peaceful hours in at work. 

I changed my profile picture tonight on Facebook to a great picture I took of Gary the last time we were in Panama. Hiking in the rain forest is very special. It portrays him perfectly then...free-spirited and loving life.  Please enjoy it as I do.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Moving Adventures...

"So, do you want a divorce?" says Gary. 
"No, honey, I just want you to be quiet while I take a nap. I don't feel well and you have awakened me at least ten times asking me questions about the move to Rancho Cordova.  I have answered the same questions a million times and you are starting to irritate me!"

Let me paint the picture for all our blog readers.  In an attempt to get Gary mentally ready (and the packing, too), I started talking about the move and packing several months ago.  I thought it might be easier on him to get used to the idea.  In some ways that has worked because he asks questions, has helped me plan in many ways and then there are days like today. Before I tell you the questions, keep in mind that I have covered these topics MANY, MANY times. I have answered every question in many different ways.

  • Honey, the box next to the bed says to go to Lowes.com and read about moving. Have you done that?
  • Why are we waiting another month?  Can't we go now?
  • When are we moving? (this question was only moments after the last one!)
  • Is Ted moving out before we move in?
  • Have you gotten quotes from movers yet?  Perhaps we should go to Lowes.com and see what they offer?
  • Shouldn't we finish packing? (we have packed everything except for what the movers are packing on the last day)
  • I'm so overwhelmed.  Can I have a margarita?
  • We should really make a list of the things we need and go to the store.  Our pantry is EMPTY! (we have about a month's worth of food to eat before we move).
  • Do you want to go car shopping today? (We bought a car last weekend and its being delivered from Oregon)
  • We have so much packing left to do!
So, needless to say, life lately has been challenging.  The good news is the Visiting Angel we hired is working out very well.  He doesn't necessarily remember her from one day to the next, but she leaves me notes about what they actually do and what adventures they have at the park and at the store. She is okay with driving to the new house when we move. 

He was talking to me on the phone the other day when she arrived.  I told him to stay on the phone while he went to the door to see if it was Jo.  I heard the following:
"Good morning, Gary!"  "Are you Jo?"  "Yes, I am Jo.  Hi there Diva!"  He said, "Oh, you know Diva, too?"  She replied that she indeed knows her well and they have been on many walks together.  He responded that he didn't know that.

On Saturday, we did not have much to do....just a down day.  He got through the day without any "overwhelm" and did fine until dinner.  We had a marinated steak with mushrooms, sautéed chard and black eyed peas.  He sat down and quickly commented that everything was very good.  About half way through it changed to "this is not very pleasurable."  The leftovers are in the refrigerator.

This morning I awoke to his stressed sounds of "whew!  Hmpfff.  Hmpff.  Whew!"  I layed quietly but really knew that he would not work through it.  I asked what he was thinking about and he only mentioned random thoughts.  He was just overwhelmed.  Period. 

So, I arose and made sure he had all medications and breakfast.  He quietly forgot about his overwhelm and we went to church.  Before we drove just a few miles he had managed to irritate my every nerve with one thing or another.  Thank God I was going to church.  That place always centers me quickly and in a strong way.

Many people have asked how they can pray for us.  Pray for clarity and peace for him and patience for me.  Pray that I stay healthy and can continue working and paying for whatever care he might need now and in the future.  I don't know God's plan and that is probably a positive. 

We continue to laugh and love each other every day.  Blessings come from those laughs each day. 

Today, we giggled that the waitress did not know that Dill Pickles were made with cucumbers.  We laugh so often.  Perhaps those are things I should write about here, as well.  Not everything is dramatically negative.

Our friend Michael is taking Gary to the Bay Area to his home for a few days while I manage the movers and move the house.  He will need a list of things to be aware of in watching him.  I told him via text that he needed to pretend he was taking care of a precocious seven year old only with short term memory loss.  He responded, "Oh, so nothing has changed?  I'm just kidding."

No, Mike you are right on the money.  Here is a picture of Gary several years ago playing with a monkey in Costa Rica. 

I wish I could afford to travel with him full time....oh, the adventures we would have again.

Mike, Gary and I have all been friends for 29 years.  It will be good for Gary to get away from what will be chaotic.  I trust Mike implicitly to care for him and he is looking forward to the challenge.  Thanks to all who love us!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Dementia causes a victim to forget his friends....at least some of them.

I was off work last Wednesday, so I invited a Visiting Angel over to meet myself and Gary to see if she was a good candidate to be his assistant.  Her name is Mary Jo.

"Jo", as she prefers to be called, will work out just fine.  She is retired, very fit (nice for Gary's walks with Diva) and very patient and capable.

This Thursday was her first day.  I went to work as normal and left him with repetitive direction that her name was Jo and he was to work with her to complete the list of things to do I had painstakingly worked on to create.  

I noticed that Gary's GPS system sent me an email around 11:15 that he had left the "home" zone. This was not unusual in that I have it programmed to notify me if he goes more than 1000 feet from the house.  I thought nothing of it, as I knew she was with him.  More unusual, a few minutes later, his over 35 mile an hour speed indicator went off on my phone.  I was curious where they were headed so I logged onto the website and saw them heading south on 99.  I recieved a business call and forgot about it as I knew he was Safe.  (stop and think about the peace of mind I have with her on payroll!)

He called a little while later to report they had gone to a nature preserve, but Diva could not go in so they came home.  All was well.

On Friday morning, JO was to return at 10:00.  I awakened Gary and reminded him that Jo was coming and that they had to be out of the house for the maids to properly do their job at 10:30.  He did not know who I was referencing.  I reminded him about 10 times before I left.  He called me several times during my commute to ask details about maids, Jo and what they were supposed to do together. He got very upset and we did not have a pleasant exchange.  So much for my makeup for the day.  He was quite overwhelmed when I reached work and we hung up the phone.  I had itemized the trip to Sprouts for shopping, a walk and stocking the groceries when they return home. He seemed clear.

At 9:30, he called me to tell me that he and Diva were leaving to go for a walk.  I very vehemenlty demanded that he stay home as Jo, would be there at 10:00 and he had to let her in the house.  He said that the maids had arrived early and that he remembered that they had requested to not be there with him alone (without an assistant).  He remembered that fact!

I reminded him that he needed to stay there for 1/2 hour until Jo arrived.  He agreed and we disconnected.

At 10:00, the office of Visiting Angels called to tell me that Jo was at the house, Gary was not there and the maids would not let her in the house.  I explained that Gary must have gone to the park and that I would call Molly Maids and tell them to let her in so she could check-in.  I called Gary on his GPS (his phone was on the counter at home) and explained that Jo was at the house waiting for him, the maids would not let her in and that he needed to go home immediately.  He understood and said he as on his way.  Meanwhile, the office of Molly Maids called to say there was a strange woman outside our house trying to get in and that Gary was not there.  I explained that Jo was an employee and they needed to provide her entrance.

Then I called back to Visiting Angels to hear that Jo had proactively driven the neighborhood and found Gary and Diva walking down the street toward home.  All was well.

The whole time, I was supposed to be on a corporate conference call.  Dag blast it! 

Later, they called to report that all grocery shopping was completed and items were stored in the pantry.  The poor woman survived. At the end of her shift, Jo left and Gary called me immediately.

Her report was thorough and she will return on Monday. He still does not understand the need.  Having someone there gives me peace of mind....well, sort of. I never know what he is going to do next.

Today, we went to breakfast and had a delightful talk with a local retired man who had a very colorful, full life.  He gave us a copy of his book.  I look forward to reading my first book in a long time.

We then went to our old neighborhood for a barbeque. Everyone there was someone that we know very well after living in that area for 6 years or had at least met about six
months ago at the last gathering. He remembered very few people except for the hosts, who are very dear friends.  He did not remember that we had lived in the house across the street for so long.  He tried to act social but I could tell by his behavior he was very uncomfortable.  He reintroduced himself to two people who refer to him as "uncle Gary".

When he refused to eat as he was overwhelmed.  After 45 minutes of sitting in a chair, not interacting, he said, "I really need to leave." I did not hesitate to grant his wish.  After that, I did not want to be there either. 

I took him to the nail salon. He is always happy there.  It worked for a while. 

After pedicures, we came home and he asked for dinner.  Our friend had suggested I bring a plate home.  He ate but seemed very overwhelmed again.

We talked about it and he indicated that he wants only peaceful encounters, positive information and no conflict.  He cannot handle alot of stimulation. 

I am not sure how I could ever provide Utopia for him.  Since I don't know this solution, I am reduced to figure out how to keep him as calm as possible so my life will be sane.  God is good.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Melancholy and Joy

Gary and I went to Dinuba and back on Thursday to pick up Heather and Alexander for the weekend. She was kind enough to help us out while I went to a two day Leadership Retreat.  They stayed with Gary while I headed to the California foothills to assist with the Rancho Cordova Leadership Retreat.  

While I was gone, he called me many times and could not remember from one call to the next whether or not I was coming home Friday night, Saturday night or some other time.  Heather says she told him repeatedly but he just could not retain it.

I called him on Saturday morning before the retreat re-started and awoke him.  He said that he missed me all night.(Heather reported that he came in her room 6 times throughout the night asking various questions).

After I spoke with him, I realized how very much I miss him and I don't mean just last night.  I miss the man I married.  I miss the guy who could help me think through and solve complex problems.  I'm dealing with some pretty important decisions right now and I have to rely on acquaintances and Heather rather than my husband.  Processing is hard when I am used to having his insight.  She was very helpful in letting me process through some difficult decisions that I cannot share here. 

I spent alot of today NOT "being here now" at the retreat and feeling melancholy about the grief I feel over losing him, even when he is still here.  He still looks at me with such love and intensity but the whole picture is now missing. I am grieving a man who is not dead.  The pain is excruciating.

When I got home today, both Alexander and Gary were taking naps so Heather and I had some time to plan, process and discuss their moving in with us early next year.  Since she spent two days with Gary, I asked her feedback on his brain capacity.  She sees a decline since she was here a couple of months ago.  We agreed that he needs an assistant more hours than I had originally planned.  It will be expensive until she gets here. 

In the middle of our conversation about my grieving for him, I got very emotional and we both cried.  She sat in the chair with me and expressed that she too misses her Dad.  She never really knew well the Gary that I knew.  I am sad for us both.  The bond we are forging will be very strong a nd we can rely on each other.  She is the daughter I always wanted.

He realizes that they are coming to live with us and he is excited to have his daughter with us.  He may not remember that tomorrow, so the good news is I get to share the news with him all over again and watch him get excited at the thought. 

He is currently watching "Dora the Explorer" with his grandson.  Pretty cool.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Please support!

A woman from Gary's C.L.U.B. is walking in the Alzheimer's Assoc walk at the end of the month.  Please support her:

"I am participating in The Alzheimer's Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s® on September 27th. If I raise $100 - $5,000, half of it will go to the Rancho Cordova drop-in center (The C.L.U.B.) for people with dementia and the other half will go to The Alzheimer's Association.

The money that The C.L.U.B. receives will help increase the number of days that it is open and helping our community. The money that The Alzheimer's Association receives will go towards Alzheimer’s care, support and research. Two good causes, one good walker!!

For those interested in donating, please go to

Every donation, no matter the amount, goes towards local support of a person and his/her caregiver and global support of ridding the world of a truly devastating disease. "

Thank you,
Rebecca Graulich

Sunday, September 7, 2014

A Morning Daydream

I took last week off to prepare the house for moving.  Gary and I spent the entire time together. I really got to see his strengths and weaknesses.  One thing learned, the calmer and less stressed I am, the better he functions.

He cannot handle stress, conflict or realizing that he is not thinking clearly.  If given a simple task and the freedom to ask lots of questions (repetitive questions), he can remain calm and function okay.  Most days....impossible.

He is very disagreeable when it comes to hiring an assistant.  I need to do final paperwork but will do in the morning.  An assistant can start on Thursday for four hour stretches. Its expensive.  But not as expensive as some of the possible alternatives.

This morning I awoke to a sleeping Gary.  For a few minutes I imagined that it was many years ago before his disease.  I envisioned going down for coffee and bringing it back to him in bed.  For this part of the dream, he sat up, said good morning and was clear, perfectly clear.  We talked about everything that happened in the last week...he remembered everything.  We talked about the future and our house in Panama. We planned some more trips to foreign ports and we just talked.  I did not have to remind him of anything.  I did not have to repeat myself twenty times before we went to church about what the day would bring.  We spent the day just talking and being in love.

But, I realized I was daydreaming.  When he did awaken, he said a sleepy "good morning."  He also asked what day it is; what is planned for the day?  I went down and made breakfast and got ready for church.  The rest of the day was normal...well, normal for 2014.

Happy anniversary honey.


Monday, September 1, 2014

Preparing to move is a less than desirable activity = Moving Sucks!

On September 9, Gary and I will have been married for 29 years.  In that time, we have moved to different places of domicile 25 times (it might be more, I lost count and he doesn't remember anymore, so I can't ask him).  In November, we will move again to a house very near the college where I work. 

In the past, when we moved, Gary always took the lead on the packing, sorting, etc.  When we sold our house nearly two years ago, he was no longer capable and I took the lead.  Since I ran out of time, we packed most of what we really needed to purge and not move again.  So, now, we face either purging our junk or moving it again.  NO way. This time, I am in charge.

So, this year, instead of going on vacation we decided to stay home and organize, purge and get ready for packing.  We started Saturday having Gary try on all the pants in his closet to see what is too small.  We gave away twenty pairs of slacks and jeans.  He hung in there pretty well through his own closet, but got a little stressed when it came time for mine.

Gary assisted by taking my "too small forever" clothes out of the closet and folded or hung them as I tried on the next outfit.  This process took us hours. He really liked helping and making a difference.  Since the clothes were going to charity, I made a spreadsheet of new and used value for tax reasons.  Between yesterday and today, we gave away nearly $10,000 worth of professional clothing. 

Yesterday morning, we hauled it all to the American Cancer Society Discovery Store after church,  It took us 20 minutes to unload it all.  Gary kept saying, "why don't you just lose weight?"  That is a great question Gary.....   We then headed to Applebees for all you can eat ribs.

Photo: Ready for ribs. ...     

When we got home, we spent the rest of the day purging and organizing our giant pantry.  This space does not exist in the new house.  In fact, we are not sure what we are going to do with all the stuff.....perhaps we need to make a second sweep of each room.

By the end of the day, we were both exhausted and overwhelmed. Those two feelings are not a good mixture.  I got very irritated at everything Gary did or didn't do.  We should have stopped but we kept going.  He was really started to not process well and reached a point where he said, "Honey, I need to be blatantly honest with you.  I have been thinking of divorcing you." 

That is a new one.  It hit me like a ton of bricks.  After twenty minutes of crying, screaming, yelling and then calming myself to explain to him why divorce is not a good option for us.  Especially since we love each other so much and that his dementia had just kicked into high gear. He was frustrated and that was a programmed response from three other marriages.

He snapped and realized what he said and how much he had hurt me.  He spent the rest of the evening telling me that he never really meant it and testifying to his love for me.   I knew all that.  I appreciated the apologies and the extensive foot rub.  :)

Today was productive and not quite as painful.  We are both beat up and tired.  Crock pot Chicken and Dumplings saved the day with an easy dinner. 

The rest of the week will include cleaning out Gary's workshop and the garage.  That will take two days if we work at a fast pace. 

One thing I do know:  I cannot have him here while I have movers pack and unpack this house.  One of us will suffer irreparable damage.  At least I have until November to figure it out.  Anybody want to volunteer to take him on vacation?

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Voicemail messages...this is your husband

"Hey honey, this is your husband." 
"Hey honey."
"Hey there."

These are all greetings I have in my voicemail messages from Gary.  Hundreds of them.  All the beginnings are similar.  Of course, messages followed with contents like the following:

  • Where are the keys to the BMW? (Gary's license was invalidated by the state when he was diagnosed with dementia and I have to hide the keys because he does not accept the decision and appeal.)
  • Where are the plates?
  • I can't find Diva's water bowl.
  • The bus is late.
  • If you don't tell where the BMW keys are, I will hot wire the car, do you understand?
  • I can't find my wallet.
  • The maids stole my wallet.
  • Is my wallet in your car?
  • I'm sitting in the massage chair and I can't turn on the television.
  • Is there anything you need me to pick up at the store? (He can't drive, remember?)
  • Is there enough room in the new house for us and the kids?
  • Have I told you lately how much I love you.
  • I can't find the green pepper plant.  Is it in the yard?
  • I just left you a message to tell you I love you.
  • I want you to take me to the DMV so I can take my driver's test.
  • Can you tell me where to find Diva's poop bags?
  • I need the credit card number....
  • I have a customer service rep on the phone and I need the credit card....
  • Diva and I walked a really long way, can you come get us?
  • I applied for a medical job today.  Why won't you let me get a job? 
Everyday is the same.  Everyday is different.  No worse, no better.

I am starting to interview companions for him for when he is home on Thursday and Friday.  I haven't told him yet....not sure how I am going to present that idea. 

Here is the job description:  "....must have computer skills, be bonded, be able to walk two+ miles and keep a 65 year old, high-functioning dementia victim out of trouble..."

Sunday, August 24, 2014

A day of self imposed anger

Today was rather odd.  I was the one who was overwhelmed, upset and funky all day, not Gary.

For a couple of days, I have felt really tired, achy and down.  Not depressed really, just low key and found it hard to find a happy place.  Sad commentary for a Christian, but true.

I awoke this morning after 10 hours of sleep to the smell of hot coffee.  Gary was downstairs making breakfast. Awesome, I didn't feel like it.  When the alarm sounded, I picked up the Galaxy to turn it off and saw news of the Napa earthquake.  I went downstairs to watch television to see the latest.  Its hard to believe that is has been 25 years since Loma Prieta.  So much water has washed under the bridge since then.

After breakfast, I took a shower and still felt really weird...just kind of angry but not sure why.  When it was time to leave for church we melted into an argument and I left saying, "We better go to church and pray...we sure need it."  By the time we arrived at church I was in full meltdown.  I told Gary to go in and get coffee while I cooled down in the car.  After a few moments, I joined him and said good morning to everyone before going into the sanctuary.

I always soften in church.  We have the good Lord to thank for that softening.  After church, we went to eat lunch and for groceries.  Everything Gary did disturbed me.  When he forgot a napkin and I had to go back in to the restaurant, I got angry. 

While we ate, I asked him to take off his husband hat off and be my friend for a few minutes.  I needed advice.  How do I handle a life partner with dementia?  How do I handle the anger created from his disease and my life not being what I want or signed up for?  How do I get relief?  The answer came back with no answers.  He basically left me alone to deal with my emotions....only he was sitting there the whole time.

When he did not move a cup out of the car when I asked him to before the bottom fell out and got soda on the car, it aggravated me.  He didn't even ask for clarification.  After 500 little things, I just shut down.

All the way home, I said nothing. I fumed.  We came home and I went to sleep.  The 2.5 hour nap left me wanting more sleep.  He took his GPS, telephone, wallet and Camelback and went on a very long TRIKKE ride.  I followed his movements on the GPS while I paid bills.  My thoughts were scattered but still angry. 

He came home and took a shower while I sat in the massage chair. When he emerged from upstairs, he had on a beautiful new golf shirt, silk shorts, knee-high dress socks and black dress loafers.  He never looked goofier and like an old tourist.   I couldn't help but laugh...and laugh...and laugh.

He asked if I wanted to go out for dinner.  Not in those socks!!!  I once again shared that I did not want to go out but would prefer to go out one night this week after a long day. He agreed and I fixed dinner.  The laughter helped wane the anger.

Now, Gary is in the massage chair and I am feeling tired again.  Guess I should take my iron supplements and find another reason to laugh.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Sick, frustrated, tired and perturbed.

For those reading this blog who know me, you know how much I love my husband, Gary.  For those who don't know me or us....we have an immeasurable love that will have its marital anniversary of 29 years in September.  I love him unconditionally.  With that said....

I'm very sick of dementia.  I'm frustrated with not knowing what I am going to encounter everyday.  I'm tired of being tense when the phone rings wondering what is going on with my husband in any given moment.  I am perturbed everytime I hear certain phrases or answers to questions.  And, there is nothing I can do to stop it. 

Tonight I came home from work while Gary was still walking our dog, Diva.  We communicated via his Amber Alert device and I knew he was nearby on a walking trail and he seemed very happy.  He was on his way home so I told him I would start dinner.

A while later, I called him again and he said he was trying to get in the house.  Since I was standing on our front porch looking for him, I had to ask, "Where are you?"  Perhaps he was at the wrong house?  No, I could hear him responding to me from a few feet away.  I walked further out on the sidewalk and saw him at the neighbors front door.  He was one house away.

He came to our house and said that he wanted to go next door and explain what had happened.  I asked if anyone came to the door when he knocked and he said no.  Upon further questioning, he said that he was in the neighbors open garage and was trying to get in their screen door.  Speechless, I was.

With that information, I agreed to go next door.  The woman of the house was next door in the driveway and I explained what had happened.  I told her that he has dementia and was confused and meant no harm.  She stared at me as if to be a deer in approaching headlights.  Suddenly, I realized that I had lived here, next to them for 1.5 years and I didn't know if she even speaks English.  She clarified that she understood (Si, ella habla Ingles.) what had happened and said that everything was okay with their door.

(The blank stare was probably disbelief). We came home and then Gary worried for the next hour that he needed to go back and explain further.  I told him that he had done enough and he subsequently worked himself into a frenzy.  A relaxation bath is in progress.  The massage chair is not enough tonight.

Further, while fixing dinner, I walked to our kitchen sink and stepped in a soaking wet foot mat.  After moving all the crap out from under the sink, I found a puddle with no way of tracing its origin. It is now dry and I have run every possible water source to find the leak.  Nothing.  Needless to say, Gary cannot help as he has no capacity for thinking tonight. 

The irony is he was SO CLEAR when I talked to him earlier. 

So far, I cannot predict what triggers good or bad moments.  There is no magic or science.  For now, I am just numb. 


All words that describe the emotions felt by a in-love caregiver on any given day.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Last night's dream.....

I awoke last night with the following song pounding in my head.  I dreamed that Gary was a lot further along in his dementia and I was singing this as a result of him being mentally "gone".

Lyrics written by John Waite (most famously performed by Tina Turner)

"Everytime I think of you, I always catch my breath
And I'm still standing here, and you're miles away
And I'm wonderin' why you left
And there's a storm that's raging through my frozen heart tonight

I hear your name in certain circles, and it always makes me smile
I spend my time thinkin' about you, and it's almost driving me wild
And there's a heart that's breaking down this long distance line tonight

I ain't missing you at all since you've been gone away
I ain't missing you, no matter what I might say

There's a message in the wire, and I'm sending you this signal tonight
You don't know how desperate I've become
And it looks like I'm losing this fight
In your world I have no meaning, though I'm trying hard to understand
And it's my heart that's breaking down this long distance line tonight

I ain't missing you at all since you've been gone away
I ain't missing you, no matter what my friends say
And there's a message that I'm sending out, like a telegraph to your soul

And if I can't bridge this distance, stop this heartbreak overload


I ain't missing you, I ain't missing you, I can lie to myself

And there's a storm that's raging through my frozen heart tonight


Ain't missing you, I ain't missing you
I ain't missing you, I can lie to myself
Ain't missing you, I ain't missing you
I ain't missing you, I ain't missing you
I ain't missing you, I ain't missing you, ain't missing you, oh no
No matter what my friends might say, I ain't missing you...

So, is this type of heartbreak in my future?  I sure hope not....

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Unnecessary Resistance

Sundays are special days that Gary and I share together, starting with praising our Lord.
This morning we slept a little later than normal after an exhaustive evening of trying to find my Galaxy 5 charger that Gary moved to plug in his electric shaver.  No problem as long as he leaves what he unplugs nearby.....I still don't know where he found it but he did.  We also cannot find the electrical cord for the new neck massager.  This house is not that big.

We ate spicy sausage gravy and biscuits for breakfast and then headed out to church. THe music today was spectacular and Pastor Jerry was "on".  One of my favorite parts of the service was watching the family of four in front of us.  Two young teen girls and their mother were singing, holding each other, holding hands, hugging and happy.  THe one girl reached out for her dad to make sure he was included in the praise.  It was such a geniune, beautiful expression of their love for Christ.  I got pretty choked up.  To me, it was how we should all be everyday and probably how Jesus feels when we praise him.

The service taught me again about leaning on Jesus because he died for us.  He took away the chains if we just realize it.  So, of course, I started thinking about Gary and our relationship.  It is so filled with love.  At the same time, filled with a lot of pain, torment, confusion, frustration, disappointment, etc.  In reality....we choose to see it that way. 

I think of times when I get frustrated with Gary and yell or push him more than I should.  That is MY problem.  I am still healthy and should understand that he cannot help the things he does.  He can't remember, Ada. He loses things.....so what?

After church we headed to the mall for the first time in the seven years we have lived in Elk Grove.  I needed to buy two gifts for some friends.  Gary helped my navigate through the jewelry sections at Macy's and Norstrom until I found the right gifts.  He was a great help and has very nice taste.  I hope my friends like the gifts he so carefully chose.  Of course, he wanted to buy me something, but it was not my day for gifts.

We discussed our upcoming move quite a bit and he was helpful in planning rooms, etc.  He was "on" today.  Thanks, Lord.

We went out for lunch and then home for a nap.  No frustration today.  We sat out and enjoyed the sunset while we ate popcorn and fake beer for dinner.  (its nice to not have to be a role model for any children).


He is enjoying the massage chair while I write.  If I can just remember what I learned and realized today, maybe I am one step closer to better managing the situation.  Where I run into trouble is when I try to take control when in actuality, God is in control anyway.  I am just providing unnecessary resistance.  Right?

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Turbo massage chair to the rescue!

I read an article today in the Sacramento Bee (part of a series) about a family having to put their Alzheimer's infected Mom into an assisted living facility. 

First, understand that other than this one article, I think the Sacramento Bee is an example of poor journalistic showmanship.....and I have many examples to cite.   There, that is out of my system.

Anyway, the article referenced the mother's decline over the years to include memory loss, paranoia, panic, confusion and how she had gotten to the point that a family member had to be with her always.  It was a terrible toll on the family.  It discussed the feelings of guilt the family had because the mother accused them of broken promises. 

I feel many of the same feelings and we are nowhere near her advanced stage of the disease.  Gary has some very good days.  Then, there are the others.

Heather and her son were here for a week to assist because Gary's CLUB was closed.  She is an angel with waaayyy more patience than me.  They got along well and she settled several discussions between us.  At one point, I was trying to explain to Gary (for at least the 100th time) why he could no longer drive.  It got louder and louder.  We were in his office on the second floor and I yelled down to the kitchen, "Heather come help me!"  She did and eventually, he calmed and for that moment, accepted the fate whether he agreed or not.

The hard part of sharing these stories on the blog are the judgment I experience by all the people who "know better".  On one hand, I know that many people do know more than I do and that is why I do share....perhaps I can help someone else.  On the other hand, it makes me angry because I don't know it all.  The control freak in me screams silently when I do not know how to navigate a situation.

I'm going through an extremely stressful time at my job.  Most of it I don't share with Gary as it would just overwhelm him more.  So, I try to find other sources to replace my once brilliant businessman who used to help me so much with minor and major issues.  About two years ago, he told me that he could no longer help me with my work problems as he had taught me everything he knew.  How sweet.  I guess that statement was a precursor to a loss that was to come. How sad.   At least I learned while I could.

We bought a turbo, super awesome massage chair at the State Fair.  Its like a small sports car.  Gary and I had spent at least an hour apiece in it every night.  He loves it.  This also explains the decline in blog posts.  If you could have your entire body massaged or write a blog, which would you do?

Here, Gary is just trying the chair.  When properly reclining, the arms are completely covered by massaging, pressure airbags, has zero gravity and blue tooth for music.  Instead of going on a luxury vacation this year, we now have luxury every night.

Wow, what an experience.  The best night yet for Gary was a hot anti-stress bath and THEN the massage chair. 

I recommend this chair for everyone who has any stress in their life.  In fact, Gary wants to call the company and become a salesperson for them.....

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Ada, separate the emotion!!

It has been a while since I've written.  Mostly due to being incredibly busy and not knowing how to portray properly some of the events due to the detail required to make the story understandable.  It is exhausting....the events and the writing.

In the last week, I have have discovered one thing to be most important for my performance at work and personally.  I have to stay neutral and not get caught up in Gary's erratic emotions.  When I become affected by his emotions, mine get out of control and things go wrong.  The following events are examples of that.....while funny, they are precursors for larger "mess ups" if I don't get a handle on this inability to separate my two worlds emotionally.

Last Wednesday evening, I made the decision to not attend the monthly Chamber of Commerce meeting on Thursday due to my college's Orientation for new students was at the same time and much more important during this period of time in our company sale.  I have always gotten there by 10:00am to do my part, but extra support may be needed so I emailed the appropriate person at the Chamber and slept better.

The plan was to be at the college at 8:00 rather than at City Hall at 8:00 am.  If I played it correctly, I could arise at 6:00, get ready, hit heavy traffic and still be at work on time. Gary's CLUB is closed on Thursday so I did not need to involve that stop.

Gary awoke at 5:30 am and was again staring at me. "Good morning, dear."
"Hi, Garball.  Did you sleep well?" 

"Yes, but I really need to start planning the Yosemite trip.  Can you help me?"

Okay, up it is.  The conversation turned into a full-on argument that lasted until it was time for me to leave.  As I drove up Highway 5, I was trying to stop the intermittent crying and then looked in the mirror.  That was motivation enough....red, puffy eyes and all the make-up was either gone or down on my chin.  Need to plan this out. 

I can stop by CVS pharmacy next to the college and get some fix it makeup and then get quick breakfast and get there by 8:00.  There was an accident on the freeway that slowed things.  (I still have the crying heaves every few minutes.  Stop it Ada, you have to speak this morning.) Then, I realized I had something in my eye that without stopping, was not coming out.   I reached CVS and realized my suit jacket was incredibly snug and uncomfortable but I went in the store and realized I would just have to wear it anyway.   As I entered the door, the security alarm sounded.  I froze because I was trying to remember where the eye drops were in the store, not because of the alarm.  The clerk pointed me in the right direction after explaining the alarm was a system test.  I was so numb that I truly didn't think of it but the adrenaline still hit my system. 

As I walked through the store, there was an elderly, slow-moving man in the aisle ahead of me.  He collapsed over a large water display.  "Are you OK, sir?"
"Yes, sweetie, my back just goes out.  I'll be OK in a few minutes, just leave me here."  Is this day really happening?

Eye drops retrieved, along with eye shadow, mascara and eye liner. I went to the car, washed my eye and proceeded to drop the mascara down the front of my light pink blouse and the too-small-anyway jacket.  Really?  Do I drive 45 minutes back home? No, go buy something.  Off to Target which is the only store open at 8:15. 

The escapades in there were unbelievable.  After several tries, I found a blouse and sweater (way too casual) that did not need ironing and made my way to the cashier.  The fitting room lady freaked when I told her I wanted to wear my purchases.  People just don't do that....you must buy them first.  I reassured her that I was not stealing and convinced her to cut off the tags and walk with me to the register.  Dropping a blouse on the floor in electronics and retrieving it came before the money. 

OK, hey, there is a Starbucks in the front.  Maybe I should get some tea.  I was late for the 8:00 shift where no one was expecting me, so maybe the tea will calm me.

I stood in line.  Who has ever been to a Starbucks with one employee?  There was a man in front of me leaning on the counter. He fell asleep and almost fell.  We chuckled and proceeded to tell me that he had Crohn's disease and that his Mom had died from it.  I heard the family story that ended with "so, I don't know how long I will live, but I get my coffee everyday.  That is all I can enjoy."

Wow.  My heart went from pissed off, angry, upset and feeling sorry for myself to "God bless you."  He blessed me and I decided the day was mine to control and that I needed to control what I was attracting into my day. Thank you, LORD for sending angels.  There, fixed.

On to Orientation.  It was a smooth morning.  I checked in with Gary and shared the whole incident.  He laughed but did not remember the argument or why I was crying in the first place. 

Later in the afternoon, I tried to call Gary on three numbers and the GPS.  No answer.  Repeat.  Repeat.  The GPS software showed the GPS to be at home so if he went walking, he didn't take it. 

After two hours, I decided to drive home.  I had time before the next Orientation to go there and get back.  For forty five minutes home, I hoped he would answer but he didn't.  (I decided to plan not to get upset if he was home, just be happy.) When the garage door opened, he came out of the house and asked why I was home in the middle of the afternoon.  Upon exploration, I found his cell phone turned off, the GPS on the counter and the main home telephone moved to his office.  He could not hear the GPS from upstairs and the home phone he had moved was not plugged into the hard phone line.  It never would ring. 

I moved the phone back to where it belonged, kissed him goodbye and went back to work.  After getting home late, we both slept well.

Now Heather is here.  It is going well and she is a great relief for us. Gary got very stressed, tired and overwhelmed last night.  He had earplugs in while taking a bath so we ended up yelling at each other over whether or not I had told him I would bring him tea.  To make a long story longer, he got very angry and told me that he needed to divorce me and marry someone else.  I will spare you the details of the argument but by the time he went downstairs to let Diva out and came back, he was back to normal.  Meanwhile, I have emotional devastation. 

He awoke this morning apologizing for what he said and telling me how much he loves me.  He remembered! 

Like I said when I started this post, I need to separate my emotions from his.  That talent is hard after 28 years.  I still love him.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Commencement, Fried Chicken, Waffles, a CISCO router and flies (alot of flies)

On Friday, we had a commencement ceremony for our April and July Graduates. I had told Gary several times earlier in the week, yesterday morning and at lunch time that I would be gone until at least 9:00pm....just like every other twice a year graduation for the last 7 years. He knows this.  Well, he used to know this. 

I left for the downtown auditorium around 3:30 and while on the road, attempted to call Gary.  Home line, no response.  Business line, no response.  Cell phone, no response.  GPS, no response.  OK, now I'm irritated. Obviously, he had gone on a walk and forgotten his "electronics".

I parked at the auditorium and proceeded to haul my load of stuff in to the dressing room.  Extra robes, shoes, makeup, flat iron, purse, cell phone, tablet and one of my employees suit jacket. I forgot about rechecking on Gary.

My role in the day is to be at the auditorium, help with setup, rehearse the graduates, put on a robe and serve as Mistress of Ceremonies, including shaking about 200 hands while smiling for posed diploma-giving pictures. I am not able to take phone calls from about 6:00 to the end. 

About 5:30, my phone rang from an unknown number.  I answered to hear Gary's usual, "Hi honey, this is your husband."  "Gary, where are you?" "Honey, Diva and I went for a walk and I'm lost.  Here, talk to this man."  He handed the phone to a man who said that Gary had knocked on his door and asked for directions.  I asked the man if he was wearing a necklace GPS as I could use it to find his location and give better directions. No, he was not.  The man said that he was on the phone with the IRS (it was important to him) and said he could not give directions.  He asked if I could pick up Gary and the cute little dog. I explained that I was in downtown Sacramento.  He was very nice and suggested that I text him our home address and when he got off the phone with the IRS that he would take Gary home.  He said that he would call me after Gary was home.  I sent the address right away and proceeded to finish rehearsal. 

About 6:20, Gary called me from home and said that he was home.  I promptly lectured him about going on a walk with no water and no electronics.  I realized that my words were wasted but I felt better.  I told him that I need to get dressed and that I would be turning off my phone.  He said he understood that he needed to eat dinner and that I would call him when I was on the highway around 9:00.

When the ceremony was over, I glanced at my phone and saw that he had called three times.  On the freeway, I called him to discover he had not had dinner.  Burgers and fries for dinner.

I was exhausted emotionally and physically. To say that I was looking forward to sleeping late would be an understatement. 

7:30 am.  Gary was in the bed next to me, staring at me.  I knew instantly that sleeping late would be a lost "dream".  He said, "I have a big responsibility, what do you think?"  As the fog cleared from my head, I said, "What are you talking about?"

Then he blew me away and set me into an advanced state of anxiety unlike any I've felt in a long time.  He said that he had talked to our friend of 28 years with whom he has made several lengthy and grueling backpacking trips.  Gary said that he was in charge of planning a trip for the group to Yosemite.  He indicated that because he had so many good ideas when they talked that he would be doing all the planning.  I couldn't believe it.  First I thought that he had imagined that the guys wanted him to plan it.  Secondly, could it be true that he really had been put in charge of the trip and Michael did not really grasp the depth of Gary's decline.  A thousand other things went through my mind while I continued to get stressed.

I told him there was no way he could plan that extensive a trip.  I reminded him that he had gotten lost just yesterday in our own neighborhood.  I reminded him of many, many reasons and gave him extensive examples of why he could not do this.  He got overwhelmed and upset and said that I was being cruel.  I don't remember the rest of the conversation nor how it ended.  I was so stressed at that point that I went to the shower and just soaked my head.  Once a person reaches that level of stress (both of us) it is hard to come down.  The adrenaline keeps the muscles tense for hours.

Since I had a team working at the school and we were going to COSTCO, I thought it might be relaxing to got to breakfast at one of our local breakfast joints for chicken and waffles.  Gary seemed to have temporarily forgotten the Yosemite trip so perhaps we had a chance for a peaceful meal. Right.

The only table available at the restaurant was on their outside patio.  It was only 75 degrees so we agreed to sit out.  We sat down and were given menus.  When the hostess left, we realized that the overhead fans were way too strong and they would make our food cold when received.  I would have stayed but Gary was starting his griping which heads to more overwhelm....We asked a second waitress if we could move inside, at least to the bar if no table was available.  We picked up our water and coffee and started to follow her to the inside.  The girl seemed a little irritated and said, "I can turn off the fans if you like." "Really, ok, then we'll stay."

I looked down and saw a text from an employee at the school that the phone system was down.  Stress level eight.....Normally not so stressful but we have been fighting this issue for weeks and thought it had been fixed.  The CISCO router had been replaced and things went back to normal.  I texted and called the employee who is in charge of such outages.  No answer.  I then saw an email from a VP where she had sent an email to the woman who is in charge of the phone system.  She was meaning well and asking why  this keeps happening and that it was not acceptable.  The irony was, the employee she sent the email to is on medical leave and would never receive the message. 

Meanwhile, we had ordered our Chicken and Waffles.While I was trying to reach someone to get the school back online, the food arrived....along with what seemed like a swarm of black flies.  I guess we didn't really hear the waitress say that the fans were to prevent flies from annoying the customers.  Gary started with the waving of hands and complaining.  I was stressed enough.  He then said that we need to move inside.  We asked the girl who was pouring the coffee if we could move inside.  She said that she would check.

Perhaps we did not express to this young woman the irritation we were experiencing with the flies.  She did not come back.  I was on the phone with a friend who is also the go-to guy for our network.  He was on the road and could not write down phone numbers and I couldn't find a pen.  My stress was increasing because of both situations and Gary's whining and reactions.  He very nice and said that he would get it fixed.

I asked Gary to go to the head waitress and ask if a table was available inside.  I was still on the phone trying to reach the school because the employee who called me did not answer his cell phone. Really? I had the helper trying to reboot the system and I needed to tell them but he wasn't answering his phone?   Really? Stress level nine.

I saw Gary coming back with the waitress and now she seemed irritated.  She said, "I don't care if you move back and forth all day.  Come inside and I'm sorry about the flies.  Here is the plate you asked for..."  I was listening to the man on the phone and following Gary into the restuarant while carrying the Chicken and Waffles.

He sat down at the counter, so I did, too.  The waitress said, "What are you doing?  I have a table for you."  We moved five feet and sat down at a table for six.  She obviously wanted us to be quiet.  I walked outside and talked to my employee and asked him to tell all employees to save their work as they were taking the system down.  All I could do was wait.

The chicken and waffles were cold.  Gary said that he wanted his chicken heated.  I told him that he would be lucky if they did anything for us after how we have been acting and all the hoops we asked them to jump through since we got there.  The girl poured Gary four more cups of coffee.  I was fuming and just could not calm down.  I ate the cold waffle while Gary asked for hot chicken.

The head waitress asked if she could do anything for us.  I told her that I was having a work emergency and that I just wanted to eat my breakfast.  Being a free spirit, she said, "Then why did you bring your phone?"  Wow.....at first that upset me.  Then, I realized she was right.  How insightful.  That did not reduce the stress much.  I received an email that the system was working.  Problem solved for now.

I ate quickly and was ready to leave.  Of course, Gary wanted another cup of coffee. I waited and then we went to Costco.  The distraction was good and we made a few more stops and then came home.

We laid down to take a nap before I went to my hair appointment.  Right before I went to sleep he said, "We need to call Mike to discuss Yosemite." 

The story continues.....