Tuesday, December 15, 2009

tucked in, and ready

Today, I'll briefly touch on where we are with the bus, and the health of the in-laws.

Hapy Hath Moved
With the help of my 11 year old son, Hapy has moved from the driveway to his designated spot alongside the garage. Saturday morning we had a fortunate break in the weather. The cold snap gave way to thaw and the rains that tracked behind the cold hadn't started yet. My son and I took that as an opportunity to get Hapy moved. I picked up a cable winch puller (aka come-along) from Harbor Freight during the week, so we had the tools. With a trucker's chain wrapped around a fencepost and then hooked back on itself as the brace-end, I hooked the cable to the nose-end tow-hook. Moving the bus about 4 feet at a time between re-configurations, we were able to creep the bus across the sidewalk, over a step and up the incline within an hour. My son sat at the wheel, holding it steady or re-directing as needed. He also helped push from behind when the cable puller seemed to be at its max. We were able to hand push the last 5 feet or so. Now, he is out of the wind and 2 steps from the garage side door. I can route heat, light and even music pretty easily. The only thing that's missing is a carport roof. Ah well. At least its level and well-draining. I hope to get drilling on the radiator mounts this week or this weekend. I have some other commitments (it is the Holiday season after all), so getting an hour or so may be difficult.

In Law Health
Unfortunately, even after a week long visit, my wife doesn't have much in new information. We can confirm that her mother has some form of lung cancer, but we don't know what kind. They will be running a scope to see what they can see next week. Marianne hasn't been very forthcoming about her condition so far, so we are skeptical that we will get straight answers from her. We figure my wife will have to go back down there, but we are't really sure when or for how long yet.
Her brother Tom, however, has been undergoing radiation treatment for the cancer they found in his spine. He is getting some kind of care review tomorrow when he should learn how effective the radiation therapy has been. I haven't heard anything about his liver (where the doctors believe the cancer started), so I'm not sure what the treatment plan is. His prognosis is not terribly good, though.

Support System
I have discovered a few things this week with my wife away.
First, I have some amazing kids. I didn't realize just how far removed I am from their daily lives and rhythms until I'm directing all the traffic. Having been deeply embedded with them this week, I have really connected with them, especially my younger son, in a way that I really hope remains and even continues to strengthen. This picture to the right was taken during a trip to the Portland Fire Boats as a part of his Cub Scout Den field trip. That red thing is a boat-mounted water cannon from 1946. The boat is still commissioned and used on large dock/pier fires.
Second, we have some pretty great friends. When we discovered that my wife had to bail out of town, our friends lined up to watch the boys for a couple of hours each afternoon. We have had meals dropped off, cards, calls of concern and more offers to help than I have managed to count. To all of these helpers and well-wishers, I offer my most sincere thanks. If I didn't taken you up on an offer, it was helpful to just hear the words that you were there, and you were thinking of how you could lighten the load.
Last, my wife is pretty great. Heading down to visit her sick mother and brother required a vat of compassion and willingness to put up with conflict that I can't really imagine. The emotional toll of visiting hospitals, and watching her mother's energy slowly drain while negotiating with doctors, forms and insurance folks must have been incredible. Fortunately, she is coming home to a clean house with the laundry done and a fridge full of food. I hope she will be able to decompress and relax before the holidaze hits and the return trip needs to be taken.

That's it for today. I'll update the post with a picture of Hapy in his new home. I didn't take any while we were working. It was still kinda cold, and I didn't want to lose my helper. The picture at the top was from before he was moved.

top - Hapy with his coat on, before he was moved alongside the garage
bottom - 8 year old son visiting the 1946 Portland Fire Boat

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