Monday, February 12, 2018

Well it hasn't been fun.

The last month hasn't exactly been a picnic.

Zach had to study for 2 weeks straight for his finals which meant I was helping him study for 2 weeks.  I don't remember studying that much for any university exam to be honest, but we needed to make sure he had enough time to get through all of the material.

It was actually a legit exam this go round. A 2 hour exam for each of math and science.  The trouble was that these exams are in January which is my busiest time of the year at work.    In fact, this was hands down one of the toughest year ends ever.    The amount of hours I was working is off that chart and would make any workaholic tell me that I have to dial it back.  Truth be told though, when I needed to leave to either go home and help or for something else, everything worked out just fine.

I was beyond worried for these exams.  First and foremost I want him to get good grades of course, but he has never had to study for anything.  K-8 grades are a lot different than when I was in school and they are given class time to do pretty much everything.  Then I wasn't sure how Zach would do with a 2 hour exam.  When we were studying I would make up these quizzes for him.  If the quiz had more than 5 pages, he would unravel, so I wasn't sure how he would do with a 20 page (not kidding that's how long) exam.

As it turned out, all was well (sensing a pattern to my needless anxiety here).  He ended up getting an 84% on Science and and 80% on Math.  Hallelujah.

Amidst all of this Logan was having his own crisis.  Unlike Zach who could give a flying rats a$$ about social media, Logan cares, probably more than he should.  During the Christmas holidays, he got a message from a girl Kate at school asking if he liked her and if he wanted to be her boyfriend.  Logan did like her and so he said yes.  Logan desperately wants to grow up, so the idea of having a girlfriend made him really happy.  A few days later though he was contacted by Kate's sister and told that the account that had contacted him was a fake account.  Logan was pretty upset and it all seemed a little shady to me.  1) Who made the fake Kate account and 2) How did Kate's sister know about the account, or what it said to Logan.

Things got way worse in January.  Someone at the school made another fake account pretending to be Logan.  The account was going around the school spewing hateful things about the kids at school, the majority of whom were girls.  Logan didn't even know about it until some of the kids at school were mad.  He completely denied it was his account, sent a snapchat around telling everyone that this particular account wasn't his and anything it was saying was completely untrue.

Well minutes after Logan sent that snapchat, the mystery account changed its name to one that closely matched Logan's account.  When he called that one out, it changed its name again.

Logan did everything he could to prove his innocence, he made a valid argument that if he was going to go around talking garbage about the kids at school, why would he use his own name.  One of the girls said that he could have two accounts.  He showed then his phone and proved that he only had the one account.  This same girl, Kate (same fake gf from Christmas) said that he could have deleted it.  Again, trying to prove it wasn't his, Logan told her to search up the fake account.  If it still existed and Logan proved it wasn't on his phone, then it couldn't be his.  Apparently though this wasn't enough prove for her.

Logan was pretty devastated, he didn't want to go to school.  I offered to call the principal, but he said no, which I get.  I was bullied pretty bad in junior high and I know first hand that involving the teachers can make things way worse.  But on the other side of it as a parent, I knew that they should know.  I had to call the principal because this stupid account was going around calling the girls awful names and if those girls told their parents, it could become a whole big thing, so I had to stay ahead of it.  The principal was good, but admitted that there wasn't a whole lot he could do about it.

I contacted instagram and reported the account for impersonating Logan.  You have to prove you are who you say you are with a birth certificate before they will investigate the imposter account.  Trouble was this account hadn't posted a single picture, kind of odd for instagram.  If the account has been posting the same pictures as Logan then Instagram would have had cause to shut it down, but they couldn't shut it down based on the messenger aspect of Instagram.

As it went on, the boys in the class started to come around.  Logan's arguments were compelling and it just seemed fishy.  I have my suspicions about two people.  One of whom is a kid Logan had had issues with in the past and the other was Kate.  Simply because she so adamantly refused to believe him even when presented with convincing evidence and there was the pre-Christmas girlfriend incident.  But whatever, everything blew over and worked out in the end.

 Next up in my brutal month was my living room.  Technically its called the great room according to the builder, but that sounds so utterly pretentious, I refuse to use it.  I have always thought our living room was cold which is why there are blankets on every possible surface.  Neither Brad or the boys is ever cold, so they just on the assumption that it was me.

The other day, while sitting watching netflix, I happened to look up at the ceiling.  ICE.   ICE!!!  It went along the top of the ceiling (where it met the walls on the three outside walls).  It's kind of hard to explain our floor plan, but the living room is essentially an add on to the main house, so the back and the side walls are outside walls and it has a separate roof.

We sent the builder a note, and they responded really fast and came out to take a look a couple days later.  They initially thought that the insulation must have shifted.  The guys when up on a ladder to take a look from the attic access and came down straight away and pulled out their phones.

Ready for this?  No insulation.  NONE. Nada.  It's mind boggling to me.  When we built our deck and inspector came out three times before he signed off and somehow they passed inspection with no insulation?

What we think happened is that it was missed because we had two roofs.  Perhaps they came out to do to the first one and forgot about the second?  Who knows.  But, what I do know if house stuff stresses me out big time.  I'm always concerned that it's going to cost thousands of dollars to fix.

Thankfully, the builder absolutely agreed to cover the cost to fix it, repair the damaged drywall (from the melting/freezing along the ceiling) and even cut us a cheque for any extra heating bills we had to pay as a result.

I mean it wasn't great that it happened but I was pretty happy with how they handled it.

Then the absolute worst happened.  GG passed.  My grandmother was 94 (would have turned 95 on February 11).  She had been doing really well up until about a year and a half ago, living in an assisted living place.  But as her health and mobility went south, she had to go into a hospital and then into a nursing home.  How it works is that if you are in the hospital and doctors deem that you are no longer capable of living alone, you get put on the waiting list for a nursing home, but have to stay in the hospital until such time that a bed becomes available.

When it does however, you have no choice but to take it.  You can stay in the hospital if you decline the bed, but you will pay hundreds of dollars per night to do so.

So GG had to take the first available bed and nursing homes that have open beds aren't always the nicest ones.  This one was just awful.  She was put on a ward with Alzheimer's patients.  GG didn't have Alzheimer's or any kind of dementia.  Her body was falling apart, but her mind was still sharp.  Having to eat all her meals at tables with these poor souls, who couldn't have a conversation or would wander into her room and a room mate that would yell at her and steal her things made her really unhappy and in her short time there we saw her deteriorate quite quickly.

Thankfully after a couple months, a bed came in the place that she had originally wanted to go to, so we were able to transfer he there.  Nursing homes aren't fantastic.  It mad me sad every time I went there, seeing these folks slumped over in chairs staring out into space, without a single visitor.    But there were positives, she got her own room for a start and didn't have a share a bathroom anymore.  So while she wasn't over the moon or anything it was an improvement.

She was there for about 6 months or so.  On Christmas day we went to visit and for the first time, it felt like she wasn't there anymore.  She had a smile, but it wasn't her usual one, it was a strange confused smile.  I can't explain it, but it was unsettling to me.  She would drift in and out of conversations and fall asleep mid sentence.  We had a nice visit.  That was last I saw her and my last words to her where that I loved her.  As sad as that is I am thankful for that, because not everyone gets the opportunity to have a last moment like that.

We said goodbye to GG last week.  I had been busy at work and was so busy with everything there and at home, that I was focused on logistics, what did Mum need, cleaning out GG's room, gathering her things etc.  My mum asked if I would do a reading at the service, specifically the St. Francis of Assisi peace prayer.  I am quite comfortable speaking in public, so I said yes without giving it a second thought.

My Dad was set to do the eulogy and I would follow him with the prayer.  Dad does an amazing job with these sorts of things.  He has the unique ability to weave sentiment and humor in such a touching way, it really is a gift.  At the tail end of Dad's eulogy, he got sentimental.  As he walked back to the pew and as I stood up, grief hit me.  HARD.

I found myself tearing up and having those gaspy little breaths.  I made it up to the podium, uttered the first word and started to cry.  As I choked out each verse, it seemed to get harder and harder to continue.

Looking out into the group of people who attended I saw the concerned faces of my friends who had attended.  Somehow that just made it worse that I was falling apart in front of people that I care about.

As I said Amen and headed back to my seat, it wasn't relief I felt. but rather an overwhelming sense of guilt.  GG has wanted this beautiful poem read and I completely ruined it by crying the whole way through.

When it was all over and we were getting ready to go to the grave site ,Brad as he was one of the pallbearers, but  Zach came to stand beside me.  He looked so handsome in his suit and tie.  He took my hand and gave it a squeeze.

From  that moment on he wouldn't leave my side, holding my hand and standing by me. I felt safe.

After we made our way back to the main hall for coffee and refreshments, I felt better.   I was able to find my friends, give them hugs and it was only then that I felt a sense of relief and comfort.

That was my January, a hard start to 2018.  But perhaps I should think about it in another way.  Despite all my anxiety with that the boys were going through, everything worked out fine, a lesson it itself that when I worry, I just suffer twice.  Most importantly, GG is now at peace.  Here is the peace prayer that she wanted read at her service.  I love you GG.  I hope you watch over us all and every time I put the kettle on, I'll smile and think of you.

The Peace Prayer of Saint Francis

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is error, truth;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.

Oh Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console;
To be loved as to love,
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned'
It is in self-forgetting that we find;
And it is in dying to ourselves that we are born to eternal life


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