The past two weeks have been full.
(Sunday) It started on a Sunday evening. I was working on my computer when my laptop screen went dark. I restarted it to see small broken white lines splash across the screen. The machine chugged for a minute but would not boot up. I asked my husband, Mark, to take a look at it (he’s really good with computers). He determined that my video card was fried. As he continued worked on it I called Dell support. Since I have a maintenance contract, they arranged to send a new mother board and have a service rep install it in 2 to 4 days. Mark finally got my laptop started in safe mode but most of my programs were corrupted including my email manager and calendar. I was able to get online so I wasn’t completely out of touch but it was difficult to work without the rest of my software.
(Monday) Mark flew to Mexico for work Monday morning. Very little of my work got done that day because of my corrupt programs but it was a productive day for other things on the computer and around the house.
(Tuesday) Early Tuesday morning my sister, Ellen, called to tell me that our Dad had died. I contacted my brother, Ted, to inform him. The next couple of hours were spent with the Dell repair rep getting my computer working and four to five hours after that arranging travel arrangements for Ellen and Ted to attend Dad’s funeral. That evening did not come with much sleep. I woke up around 3:00am and could not loose the thought that I needed a dress to wear the the funeral. By 3:30 I was plowing through my closet trying on all my summer skirts and sleeveless dresses to see if they could be worn with a winter blazer or sweater. Discouraged but still unable to turn off my mind, I turned to rearranging the bedroom furniture. I managed to walk the rosewood chest several feet to one side by turning it on one corner at a time. For the large dresser, I propped my back against it with my feet against the wall and pushed until I inched it over almost the length of my body. The bedroom really looks better and I felt better after working off some of that excess energy.
(Wednesday) By the time I finished moving furniture, showered, and had a cup of coffee some stores were open. I hit the road, found a winter dress for the funeral for $14. Next was the grocery store. I needed enough food to feed the family for a few days as well as guest after the funeral. A nap finally called my name around noon.
Ellen had to be picked up late afternoon at the Grand Rapids airport (about an hour away). We stopped at the mall on the way back from the airport so Ellen could get dress for the funeral.
(Thursday) We picked up Ted at the airport on Thursday morning. After another quick stop at the mall and a quick lunch we headed to Allegan (about 45 minutes away) for the visitation. That process lasted several hours as it often does. My Dad’s wife is very confrontational and “anit-Ellen-Ted-&-Julie” to put it mildly. We managed to get through visitation without any major issues. All of our friends that showed up at the funeral home made the day so much easier and it was very special to see everyone.
Late Thursday evening I picked up Mark from the airport. He was able to fly back early from Mexico for the funeral. It was nice to have him home.
(Friday) The funeral went well overall. The biggest irritant was that Dad’s wife buried him in a town a half hour away from where he spent the majority of his life and a couple of hours away from where he specified he wanted to be buried. Sad that she would not honor his wishes.
(Saturday/Sunday) We tried contacting Dad’s widow to arrange getting photographs, and any memorabilia of his that she would not want. Our family things have come up missing over the years so the sooner we get pictures, etc the better.
(Monday ==>) Sleep was disturbed around 1:00am with the loss of power at home and at Mark’s work. By 4:00am Mark went into work and the rest of us snugged under blankets. By early afternoon Mark had borrowed a generator from his friend Jon and the guys were hooking it up to the house. Ellen and I spent that time on the couch, under a comforter, and snugging kitties to keep us warm. By late afternoon the house was warming up and we were calling our friends and neighbors to come over and enjoy the warmth. The Internet and some cell phone carriers were down, but cocktails and sandwiches were flowing in the warm home at the Fredericks.
The next couple of days were consumed with balancing available electricity. Lights would be turned off before the microwave went on. Hair dryers were forbidden. The stove was used when nothing else was plugged in. We were never sure what the generator would sustain so we tried not to push it. The constant hum of the generator became a staple as we blew up air mattresses, pulled out spare blankets and pillows, made food, and kept out beverages and snacks for everyone.
The electricity and internet connection came back on Tuesday for us as well as our guests. As homes warmed up we dished out the last bowls of soup, and packed up.
Throughout this time Ted, Ellen, and I continued to call Dad’s widow to arrange to pick up our photos. Each time we called her house and cell phone but she did not answer (obviously screening calls).
This morning Ellen flew home, and tomorrow morning Ted flies home. We’re hoping to someday see our old family photographs but aren’t counting on it at this point. How sad. At lease we still have our memories which no one can take away.