Thursday, January 31, 2013

End of January

Click here to view this photo book larger

I finally finished my New Zealand photo album. Actually, it turned out to be three albums: one just for the California portion of our trip, one large book for most of New Zealand, and one small book for the last few days in Auckland.

And ridiculous me forgot to use the Groupon I had for an 8x11 book when I ordered the Auckland book, and tried to use it now but it's not valid for the 12x12 New Zealand book. Ugh. So I have to remember to use my $10 credit (the price you pay to Gorupon never expires, even if the Groupon does).

Let's see, what else is new...

Mom and Dad and my aunt and uncle went down to Florida and had a lovely graveside ceremony for Grandma, on my birthday. They sat shiva at her home, and a lot of people came. My folks returned on Saturday and sat at their house on Sunday.

My birthday was nice, in spite of it being the day my grandmother was being buried. I can't help but celebrate when I think about her, and feel that I was incredibly lucky to have a grandmother like that all the way to my 48th birthday.

I say my birthday was nice, but for the life of me, I can't remember much about it... Oh, yes, we had ice cream cake for the staff in the school kitchen! That was lovely. And my "adopted brother" brought me flowers.

The weekend was also a blur. Friday night and Saturday morning was the MWJDS Shabbaton, at Temple Beth Am, and I was running a great deal of it. Friday night was with the congregation, and it was something of a disaster, but Saturday I think went well. I was SO glad when it was over! I got home and took a two hour nap on Sofia's bed.

Which made me then take my kids to Jordan's Furniture on Sunday to buy Sofia a new (real) mattress to replace the 11 year old futon. Ouch! I also bought Sam a new mattress.

Sunday we did more shopping after a nice visit to some friends. The boys both got sneakers, shirts, and jeans. At some point, either Sunday or Monday, I bought a Baggallini messenger bag like the one I borrow from V every time we travel. My mom said she'd actually send me the money so it will be my birthday present.

I've been getting such sweet sympathy cards from my friends. I really appreciate all the warm thoughts. Grandma would have been thrilled. The  worst moment for me was this past Sunday morning, when I would normally have called her for our one minute and 15 second conversation (she couldn't hear all that well). That was hard.

Micah stayed home sick today. I had taken him Tuesday for a strep test, which was negative, but his nose has taken over anyway, and he's really wiped out. Poor kid went through 4 or 5 boxes of kleenex today. 

He also had his allergist appointment yesterday, and his excema is just SO bad right now. We're slathering all sorts of stuff on to try to clear it up. The meds do help.

I've had an extra kid a few times this week, whose parents are both away. So I have him talking constantly and my three moving constantly. Going to Newton Wellesley Hospital for the allergist appointment was sort of like taking a small circus on a road show.

David is still in Costa Rica, but will finally  come home Saturday. And leave Sunday for North Carolina. Boo hoo!

His dad is sick, not quite sure what it going on. His body is not producing enough red blood cells, but it's not leukemia or cancer. He had 5 bags of blood a few weeks ago, and another 3 yesterday. We are all getting worried, both about him and about my mother-in-law, who is frantic with worry and trying not to show it.

Sam has been having a rough middle-school week. He got in trouble for a couple of lapses in impulse control, so he's been without iPad or iPod most of the week. Torture!

Sofia insisted on wearing her Rapunzel nightgown "princess dress" to school today. I pick my battles (especially after we wrestled her into a real outfit twice, and twice she changed back into the nightgown). The compromise was that she had to wear leggings. And the teachers got her to change into the t-shirt I put in her backpack before phys.ed. class. Whew.

It was the last week of the fall session for swimming for Sofia and gymnastics for the boys. The boys will have no change, since they will do the same class for spring session. Sofia will keep her Thursday class, but we are sad that we got bounced out of her Tuesday class (the school was supposed to have re-registered her, but they screwed up). We'll miss that teacher, because she does GREAT with him. She swam the entire width of the pool all by herself on Tuesday!

After swim classes this week, they've had "Flippy the Dolphin" greet the kids in the locker for high-fives. Sofia took one look at this giant dolphin, and backed right away. She spent the past two days saying "No Dolphin." So today, the class session before her had something leak out of a diaper, and there was a delay while the pool was being cleaned. They brought Flippy back out to play games with the kids. Sofia RAN to the other side of the waiting room. She sat in my lap, trembling, staring through the observation window and saying "Swim Now." She was so terrified!

Flippy was there again when we were drying her hair. She hadn't noticed until it was time to walk out, and he was blocking our normal route back to the waiting room. Fortunately I was able to take her the long way around. Her eyes were SO round with fear! Poor baby.

Ok, this is still bothering me a great deal, so I'll say it. If you are one of the mamas from the T-21 Online chat board or Gifts, one of those wonderful women whom I have bonded with over these past 8 years, those ladies I had such a wonderful time with at the Boston conference, and yet you still have not said one word of comfort to me on the loss of my grandmother, please know this:

I have loved each of you, and your children. I will continue to love you and  your children. But I am deeply disappointed. And all I can pin it down to is that you don't know what to say to someone who is not a Christian or Mormon like you when they lose someone.

What you say is "I am so sorry for your loss". Or "hugs". Or "Oh honey, my condolences." "You are in my thoughts." That sort of thing. The same thing you would say to a friend who was not Jewish. 'Cause we are actually human beings, y'know.

There, rant is over. And for those of you who DID say (or type) something, thank you thank you thank you! It was very much appreciated.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

I'm Just So Done

It was a long weekend. A very long weekend.

The kids and I stayed at my sister's home Saturday and Sunday night, but David went back home on Saturday evening. He had to pack and be out early Monday morning for his flight to Costa Rica. So I was on my own.

It wasn't good. Everyone was upset about Grandma, of course. But the usual tensions were there, too. My sister and I do not get along very well, and it was stressful. Whenever we are there, I feel that we are intruding. She snaps at me a lot. So I try to stay out of their way. At one point, Sam asked why I kept washing dishes, and I told him it was the only thing I knew I could do to help out without getting yelled at.

I helped the three older kids (aka the Triplets - Sam and the twins) write down their notes for their speech at the funeral, and I put together something from their words. Only to be told by my sister that they were rewriting it: "They would rather do it in their own words - including your son. But they were afraid to tell you, because you tend to snap at them."

Uh huh.

I had words with My Son, who likes to make tons of snarky comments to me and Micah when he is there, so that he fits in more. The audience likes it. Micah and I feel like shit.

Apparently my mother feels that I need to be more disciplined with Sofia, since she is so badly behaved.

So I tried to stay out of the way, and not talk.

I am psychically bruised.

It was wonderful to read the messages from so many of my friends on Facebook. I am blessed to be surrounded by wonderful caring friends and community.

But there, too, was a source of disappointment. I am DEEPLY bothered by the complete silence from most of the moms from my T-21 Online group. It really bothers me that almost none of them felt the need to say anything. So I kept checking, to see if maybe I'd just missed something. I had not.

I am hurt. I am sad.

And I miss my Grandma. A lot.

The funeral, however, was lovely. Really nice. She would have been proud. All three of her sons spoke. My dad, being oldest, was first. Since he is not an emotional guy, he was able to speak very clearly and talk about what it was like growing up with her. My uncles are more emotional, and couldn't speak much. My sister and my cousins all spoke. And Sam and the twins spoke.

I had the honor of singing Psalm 23 in Hebrew (The Lord is My Shepherd...) as well as the Memorial Prayer. I figured singing is my own personal gift I had to offer. I think it was ok. The rabbi (my parents' rabbi, who knows my family well) liked the arrangement of Psalm 23 - it was a Zamir arrangement.

After the service, we went back to my sister's house for food and stories. Everyone has a Grandma Doris story to share. She was known for her very candid - and LOUD - observations. Like "Oh, you gained weight", or "Wow, look at the backside on her!" She could drink us all under the table, and we shared a toast in her honor. She was a riot, and a good, caring matriarch.

I miss her.

Doris Ferraro, October 24, 1911 - January 19, 2013

Online Obituary.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Baruch Dayan HaEmet

My beloved grandmother, Doris Ferraro, passed away today, quite literally surrounded by her family, at the vibrant age of 101 years and three months.

This past week she wasn't feeling well. Docs in Florida told her she had a UTI, but the meds just were not helping.

My parents were supposed to leave for a three week cruise on Thursday, but because of the snow this week in Atlanta (of all places), their flight was cancelled. They were able to rebook for Friday.

But later on Thursday, Grandma really wasn't feeling well, and it was decided by all that she would come up to CT. My folks cancelled their cruise (they take insurance for that), and Friday morning Grandma's helper, Heather, flew up with her.

They went directly to Hartford Hospital ER. My sister is on staff at Hartford - she's a cardiologist - so she was able to get Grandma seen by the right folks.

And, unfortunately, the news was not good. Perforated bowel and Acute Leukemia. And she was in a lot of pain.

My mom said Grandma was very lucid until they gave her sedatives to help with the pain. My dad's brothers both came in, along with four out of five of my cousins - one more lives in California, and he was not able to get here.

David and I were supposed to be in Boston all weekend. Friday we picked the kids up from school and dropped them at my friend N's house. Then we drove to Newton, parked the car at Riverside, and took the T into Boston.

And we'd just gotten off the T when my mom called to tell us the news.

So we did stay overnight at the hotel, but this morning we checked out and started the trek back. Got stuck on the T for an hour because of signal problems. Drove home (another 40 minutes). Repacked. N brought the kids back and we re-packed them, too, and got out of the house as soon as we could.

David has to fly out on Monday morning, so we took two cars, not knowing how long this would be. He took Micah with him, since Micah was having a tough time getting moving. I sped down with Sam and Sofia, trying my best to get there "in time". Mom had called in the morning to say it could be "any time".

I did not make it to see her, but she literally held on until we got to the hospital. She must have heard me outside her window, yelling at the valet! I got the text from mom that she'd passed just as I got the valet to take the car keys.

So I got up to the room a few minutes late, but still able to give her a hug and a kiss. My parents, my uncles, one of my aunts, my sister, brotherinlaw, one niece and four cousins, all in one room. Plus now me, Sam and Sofia.

Everyone was still crying, and Uncle B was on the phone to either his wife or my other cousin to let them know. We all hugged.

And then, surreal, everyone started eating! Soup, sandwiches, and breads just appeared.

Grandma would have been so proud of everyone.

We all stayed another hour or so, whispering to her, hugging, talking. David and Micah, and Laura and Lilie, all showed up a few minutes after me, adding to the crowd.

And then everyone left! First my uncles, one to Vermont, one to Stamford. The service won't be until Monday, and then the three sons and their wives (and my cousin in CA) will head to FL for the burial and a graveside service there.

Then my folks and my sister, and Laura, and all the kids.

David and I decided to stay. In Jewish tradition, someone stays with the deceased from death until burial. So it seemed really odd to us that everyone would just leave.

So we stayed with her.

The VERY young priest-in-training came in to do hand imprints - like clay imprints that kids do. He was sweet, but I couldn't resist telling him as I helped him hold her hands, "This is VERY goyish!"

We stayed in the hallway while the nurse prepared her body, and then sat again for a while until the technician from the morgue arrived. We waited until he rolled her away.

Then we came back to my sister's house. We all had dinner, and then my folks and Laura and David left. The kids and I are sleeping here at my sister's. David has to fly off really early Monday morning, so he went back tonight.

I'm curled up with Sofia, and Micah just crawled in with us.

I miss my Grandma. But my, oh my, what an incredible life!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Sleep Study Tonight!

What a way to start the New Year! We took Sofia to the Sleep doctors at Children's Hospital in Boston last week (along with both boys and two extra kids, 'cause where's the fun just taking one?). Docs could find no record of the study done in Waltham two years ago, so they want another study. "Urgent".

Except that the nurse at our Pediatrician's office was too busy to do the Referral last week. So they scheduled us for this week.

Except that now the Referral nurse is on vacation!

Yesterday was a round of phone calls between me, the Peds' office (mind you, I love our office; we've been there since Sam was born, I even invited the nurse and the office admin to Sam's bar mitzvah. It's just a very small office, so when the nurse is out, no one else can do referrals), Children's (being big-city accounting sticklers) and Blue Cross. Eventually we managed to get Children's to say we could come tonight, as long as I signed a waiver saying we might be totally liable for the whole cost (which of course is top level, since it's Boston) if BCBS doesn't back-date. Which BCBS always back-dates, since doctors' offices never get referrals in on time.

So last night I let Sofia know we were going. She wasn't too pleased. "No Stickers!" (what we call all the little electrodes they will have to attach to her head, chest, arms and legs).   She finally relented and said "One Finger" (meaning they could put a pulse ox monitor on her finger); and then she offered up "Four Fingers." I told her that was very kind of her to suggest, but we'd probably still have to do stickers.

So this should be a fun evening...

Plus, I got an email this morning from the SpEd teacher:

Just an FYI... Sofia made a detour into the girls room this AM on her way to class.  When I found her there she was completely undressed and talking about her green shorts.  I assumed she had an accident but soon realized her clothes were dry she just wanted to change her outfit!  She was happy to put her clothes back on with her green shorts underneath her pants.  At least now you won't be surprised when you find her in layers that she didn't have on when she left home this morning.

What can I say? The girl has a strong fashion sense...

So David will stay home with the boys (that was part of my over-acting on the phone; once David starts traveling again in a few weeks, I won't have coverage for my other children until March!), and I'll take La Principessa to Children's after swim class tonight.