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Day 3 of the whirlwind, it's always so odd when someone dies, it's like time stops & you do all this stuff you almost never do. My Grandmother died on Thursday morning & the world has stopped for me at this point.
Thursday the kids woke me up by letting me know that our new water pressure (since the plumber was there) Had disappeared, it was down to nothing so instead of sleeping the additional 40 minutes I sleep after they leave for school I got right up. it was cool but not really cold (someone broke my out door thermometer while putting up Christmas lights last week so I wasn't sure it was under 32 but it felt pretty brisk, at first I thought it was just running slow because the pipes were partially frozen (I have a whole lifetime's experience with cold, partially heated houses & frozen pipes) but when I found the toilet, tub, bathroom & kitchen sinks all either trickling or not putting out any water I decided there was a problem. I got ready for work, started the car & took a trip to the basement. I found the problem pretty quick! to increase my water pressure the plumber had changed a pipe from my reserve tank to the main & it had sprung a leak at the join. It was spewing water & had been for quite awhile, (there was 5-6 inches of water in the basement already- there is a drain- though it is pretty plugged up but the basement isn't improved in any way so it's not going to hurt anything too much) I called the plumber who was about 80 miles away taking someone to an aiport! He said one of his sons was at home & he'd call him & have him go check. he told me to shut off the power at the circut breaker, leave the basement unlocked & go to work. I headed out, there were little patches of black ice on the road & the car skidded a few times, I wasn't really worried, that often happens in the mountains, certain areas in valleys & all don't see enough sun early to take the ice off the road, it was just a thin sheet, but as I drove I kept thinking about the plumber, the water, my grandmother's illness & that if the plumber was there long or got there late my younger kids would be coming home to find him there (they get home a little while before their 16 year old sister on school days) I turned around, I just wasn't comfortable with the whole thing. I called work, went online & messed around with an online photo album I keep, changing pictures, deleting, adding the Thanksgiving pictures & waiting for the plumber. I had texted miss 16 to let her know what was going on & at 11:00 she called & said she was through with her SOL test & really didn't have to be there for the day if I wanted to come get her she could be there for the plumber & the kids. (Virginia Standards Of Learning tests- it's the bench mark VA uses to determine which schools are doing their job- a certain number of kids have to pass the SOLs or the school does not retain it's accredidation- which leads to a lot of teaching to the test- but it's still a good overview of how your kids are doing) So I went to town & got her, when I got there she had her test scores, she had, as an 11th grader, one in English & one in History, English she took on Monday & got a perfect 600 which is the best you can do, History she had just completed on Thursday & she got a 575 out of a 600! I was thrilled for her, she's doing really well this year so far.
Back home we saw a can of plumbers glue on our back step but no van. About 15 minutes later the plumber's son showed up & asked me to turn on the power to the water pump so he could check the seal, (I can tell you now, it didn't hold, I still have water in my basement & there was no water in my pipes at all when we left home Thursday night) I decided to get to work to maximize as much time on the phones as possible & thought I might stay over that night to make up some of the hours I'd missed, I didn't feel right about leaving, I still felt like I should be at home, but I went because finnancially I couldn't not go. On the way I encountered the cleanup of an accident due to ice, someone had slipped & slid into an oncoming car. I knew the state trooper working the wreck from when my ex was on the rescue squad way back in the day & he told me the accident occoured around 815 that morning, that's right around the time I drive through that area on my way to work on a normal day so I figured that's why I didn't want to go to work this morning but I found out later I had other reasons to want to stay home. I got to work just as my group was going to lunch, I started working & took about 3 calls, it was slow & so I pulled out my cell phone to text miss 16 & ask how the plumbers were doing & found I had a voice mail from my mother notifiying me of my grandmother's passing at 10:30. She had called & left it at the same time I was logging into my work computer. I waited for my boss to come back from lunch & let him know & called miss 16 who, as I've said before was very close with my grandmother. I went home, unpacked the 4 bags the kids had packed for 5 days & re-packed 1 bag with what we actually needed! I had to take a trip to the locked shed & pull out some clothes I had picked up for myself for Christmas since I didn't have much of any decent black clothes & I got a really nice black velvet skirt at Lane Giant on clearance which will do nicely, I wanted to get going but at the same time I wanted the water problem cleared up & to be sure I had everything we needed, we packed entertainment for the little ones, (Not enough) more entertainment than I actually needed & a bag of toiletries & one of snack foods so 10 & 7 wouldn't eat my mother out of house & home (they are anyway) I still forgot to bring any shoes but my sneakers! We left home at 530 Thursday evening (after the news, to make sure there were no accidents in the Roanoke area & that the clear, warm weather was going to hold at least long enough to get here -it's still holding) I did better than usual (when going on vacation) with the driving, I usually come home around the same time I did Thursday but I try to nap & rest & we don't actually leave for vacation until 9-10pm, leaving at 530 I was able to drive until 330 am & then slept in a rest area in upstate NY for 2 hours (with miss 16 staying awake with orders to scream & wake me up if anyone even looked at the car funny- our standard proceedure) & then drove the rest of the way. We could have arrived at my mother's at 10 am Friday but she had told me on the phone that she had a hair appointment at 10 so instead of going to her place we went to the beach to see it (neither of my younger kids had ever been to the beach in winter & miss 16 didn't remember doing so either though she's been plenty of times) This eliminated a lot of nagging on the kids part. We've cleared that out of the way, they've been & I don't have to hear about it. I am, however, still hearing about the food, in the summer on vacation both my mother & my grandmother always took us out to dinner most nights, I felt bad about it but they always said it was easier than cooking & cleaning up & since they only saw the kids & I once a year it wasn't like they got to spoil us much anyway, the kids are accustomed to eating at the 99, Lobster hut, chineese food & wonderful sub shops whenever we come up here & I have to keep reminding them this isn't a vacation. (we did go out for chineese today for lunch because my mother said she'd been craving it for weeks & was happy to not have to go alone)
When we arrived at my mother's she gave me a 3 page email my uncle who's my grandmother's power of attourney & executor of her will. It covered what he knew of what my grandmother wanted people to have & also the basic plans for the funeral, the apartment building she's been living in is hud owned & they only give you 2 weeks to clear out a person's belonging when they die (as opposed to 30 days if the person moves to a nursing home) so 2 of my 3 uncles have already been working on sorting stuff out etc. My other uncle arrived at my mother's apartment around 6 last night & we went out to have subs & visit a little- I haven't seen this uncle since 1997 & he is my favorite & very influential in my life so it was exciting to see him again. Tommorow we head up to my grandmother's place, (my mother lives on the south shore of Boston & my grandmother & most of the rest of the family -except the aforementioned favorite uncle who lives on an island off the cape- live north of Boston so we've got a 60+ mile drive through Boston tommorow & are staying at my cousin's apartment complex's guest room where the kids & I stayed during our Vacation last summer.) We'll be there overnight because the calling hours are 10 to 12 Monday & then the service is at 12. It will be a long day & I'm still torn about wether to let 7 & 10 come to the service & funeral at all. (I have cousins with younger kids & certainly should be able to have my younger kids stay with whoever is watching their kids) I was 8 when my grandfather died & I went to the calling hours but not the funeral, the first 'real' (family at least) funeral I ever attended was my Brother's in 1989 & I was 20 already.
Between the actual funeral, calling hours etc & the cleaning out the apartment we have a least 2 fairly ugly old family battles which it is going to be interesting to see if they flare up or if everyone's going to play nice, I'm involved in one of them & intend to take the moral high road & ignore any & all slights this particular cousin my throw in my direction. The other is uglier & could cause problems tommrow at the apartment clearing & also on Monday. I really hope my involved uncles both play nice too because although I don't care if I see one ever again I love his adult children (& his wife) I'd hate to have to choose sides again because without my Grandmother to 'force' everyone to be nice & be there for one annother the 2 warring factions will probably never speak again.
Doing this seemed kind of frivolus tonight but my mother was tired & went to bed at 930, the kids were all settled down by 10. (mostly due to threats from 16 to sit on anyone who made a peep) I was tired last night (we were ALL in bed by 9 last night) but I've had enough caffeine to know I wouldn't be able to sleep for awhile when the kids went to bed. I'm glad I wrote though, it has helped me marshal my thoughts & relax a little, as I mentioned the next 2 days have the potential to be very stressful & I try to look at my kids, (who no one sees all that much as we're so far away from everyone else) as a buffer zone for the tension between family members. (at least I hope that will be how it goes) If they're too loud & people get stressed about it I intend to take the kids to NH to the mall & let them walk their excess energy off.
I think I will be able to sleep now (even if it is on the floor - I got the sofa bed last night & Miss 16 has comandeered it tonight- I don't think I'll miss it too much, that bar which hits you just in the ribs in most sofa beds was doing it's job last night!)