• Lisa

finally, I blog about something other than caregiving

When I last left you, dear readers, my head was spinning from mom’s transfers and travels, and I had been admonished to get out of town and try to relax.

Wednesday, after we took mom to her apartment, I came home, and aside from the phone call attempting to calm her, I had an excellent afternoon. I cranked my stereo up and CLEANED MY BEDROOM. Seriously, I’ve never enjoyed cleaning so much in my life! That was followed by a long, uninterrupted hot bath, and supper, prepared hot AND eaten hot (wow!). then I actually polished my nails, checked email, knitted and watched tv sitting on the couch. Yeah, I know; sounds like the most boring evening imaginable, doesn’t it? Let me tell you though, if you haven’t been able to do any of that in years, they are some of the most wonderful things in creation.

Alongside that, though, my emotions continue somewhat conflicted. Mom’s bedroom door is closed, because I quickly discovered every time I walked past the open doorway I would glance in there as if a bit of me was expecting to see her lying there. The busier I stay, the less likely I am to get abruptly weepy when I see something like the church bulletin in the mail addressed to her, or the wishbone from the last rotisserie chicken I bought for us and saved to pull with her and never did.

This brings me to my final acceptance that I really did need to go to Atlanta. Surely the pen show would keep my brain sufficiently occupied to stave off the weepies! And so, Thursday evening after getting her into the psych unit, I hurried home and tossed clothes in my little suitcase. Thank heavens, I had a mental list of everything I wanted to pack; it was one of those fantasies that helped keep me sane those last few weeks with mom.

Friday morning, I called the hospital. Yes, they said, she’s fine, go on. So I hit the road. I think I’ve mentioned how travel lifts my spirits? Cruising down that road in perfect weather, I felt something close to joy for the first time in a long time.

Phone rang; it was another social worker from the psych unit. She had a ton of questions, so I put the phone on speaker and set it in my cup holder (it reflects and amplifies the sound—nice bonus) and she kept me company between Chattanooga and Atlanta. That was fine, until I started getting beeps that other calls were trying to come through. I finished my conversation and checked voicemail…to find that while I was talking with the psych lady, psych was sending mom to intensive care with blood pressure through the roof. Again.

Knew it was too good to last, I thought, and called. I told the ICU nurse who answered where I was and asked if I needed to turn around. Not that I wanted to, but yeah, I would have in a heartbeat if need be. She sounded just about as appalled as the nurse from the previous day. We have her stable, she is fine, I’ve already talked with some of your family, GO.

So, guess what? Now I get to blog about something other than caregiving! Yes, that excites me.

As I said, I was pleasantly surprised to get a room reservation at the hotel after the ‘pen show special’ closing date, at a rate less than the special. I was even more surprised when I opened my room door to find a freakin’ SUITE.

Not presidential level, I guess, but still. A sofa, armchair, desk with chair and coffee table? Plus king size bed, and a fridge and microwave (you can't see those in this picture)? Holy cow! I always take some snacks on a road trip, but I was even more glad there’s a Publix right across the street, because this spread meant relaxing and cheap meals in my room, um, suite, hehe!

First, though, I high-tailed it down to the show. A friend from Ravelry also co-hosts a well-known fountain pen podcast, and for the past few years one of the big events at the Atlanta show has been it recording before a live audience. It’s become so popular, in fact, that now you had to get a ticket by going to the booth of the main host’s business. I figured those would go fast, so I hit there first thing. Fortunately, there were still tickets. Not only that, the guys at the booth saw the pen case I made for my purse and went ape over it! I mean, it’s only duct tape and felt, but I do think it turned out well, and it was nice to have folks appreciate it.

After that I took a turn around the show. It was bit overwhelming, partly because it’s a big show, and partly just because I haven’t been out of the house in so long! I found my friend Ana and we chatted a bit—she was working a booth though so I didn’t keep her for long. Then I raided Publix. There’s a fancy sushi joint next door, but dinners there were $20 and up. Have I also mentioned I’m cheap? Or that Publix in general has very good sushi? Long story short, I got supper, plus some drinks and snacks, plus breakfasts and milk, spent less than that, stocked my fridge, kicked back and enjoyed my sushi at my coffee table sitting on my couch.

Later I went downstairs and hung out at the bar for a while with Ana and some other pen folks. We passed pens up and down the bar, trying each other’s goodies out. At one point the podcast guys came by; one was videoing, spotted me and said ‘hey, there’s the girl with the cool pen case. Hold it up and show it!’ and he filmed me-well, my pen case. (sure wish I had been able to get a haircut, but it’s not like anybody was looking at me,)

Saturday, I did a little actual shopping. Since I was saving money by not eating out, I gave myself permission to spend a bit if I saw something special. Here’s what I got—

The green and silver pen (I promise, it’s green, not blue. Stupid camera) is a Parker 21, from the 1950s. The pearl and black pen is a Sheaffer flattop, from the 1930s. It looks exactly like one my granny had when I was little, & I’ve wanted one for ages. And that tiny pink pen at the bottom is a Sailor, from Japan. Sailors in general are pretty expensive, although they write like butter and are gorgeous. This one, obviously, was not expensive, and it’s so darn cute I could not resist. I also got those nice handmade sleeves to keep them protected.

One booth had a swap box, and I put in a couple of pens I had brought thinking of selling, and claimed a nice little leather pocket notebook. Also, I got some free pen magazines and a t shirt, and bought a couple of bottles of ink.

I went to a couple of seminars, then the Saturday evening podcast, which was a blast, followed by pizza. I found a couple of other Ravelry members and had a great time just hanging.

Sunday, I drooled over those pricey Sailor pens a little more. Then I discovered some pens I thought were also pricey really weren’t; so, yeah, I caved. LOL

This is a Franklin-Christoph pen. They’re made by a small firm in North Carolina with the nibs (writing points) hand-tuned by a master nibmeister (yes, we use that title, lol). This one is pocket sized but opens to full size, and Jim the nibmeister would not let me leave the booth till he had tweaked it to perfection. The colors of the body reminded me of green shoots poking up through the dirt in the spring, and was made just for the Atlanta show.

With that, I packed up and rolled on home, for a quiet and relaxing evening. I’d stayed in touch with my aunts and uncle; I knew mom had been moved out of ICU into a regular room until space opened back up in psych, so we would have to move her back there to get her behavior stable, then move her back to assisted living. But for the moment, I decided to chill a bit more.

Next post, I share the weird dual nature of my life at the moment, and get blown a kiss by a wrestling legend.

#hope #travel #selfcare

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