November Trip Home – New Kitchen, Paul and Christmas

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My gosh, it has been FOREVER since I have posted on this blog.  The last time I wrote, I was headed for the states to have my new kitchen installed.  At that time, I thought that  life would be relatively tranquil and I would be able to post updates as the new kitchen progressed.  How wrong I was!  I have decided that hoping for a relaxing time at home is just plain not going to happen.  There are always a million things to attend to and I feel as though I am pulled in all directions.  

One of the major reasons for staying busy was my mother and stepfather returning to Maine unexpectedly.  Sadly, my stepfather, Paul, has dementia and he had gotten to the point that my mother could no longer take care of him.  Before leaving for Florida where they winter, she had placed his name on the waiting list with the Veterans Home in Bangor.  Three weeks after arriving in Florida, they called from the VA and said that they had a bed available for Paul in the Assisted Living unit.  They arrived back in Maine around November 14.  After being evaluated, it was determined that Paul would move into the VA the day after Thanksgiving. 

Needless to say, Thanksgiving this year was very, very bittersweet.  It was the first time in over 15 years that my family….Mom, Paul, Kathy, Perry and I had been together at Thanksgiving.  In July, Perry moved back to Hallowell after living in Wisconsin for the past 22 years.  It has been so wonderful to drive to Augusta/Hallowell area to visit with my dad and to be able to have a coffee with Perry or just stop in to see him!

Thanksgiving was spent in Bangor at Kathy and Kevin’s lovely home.  We had quite a crowd of family….all of us, two of my nephews, Kevin’s niece and nephew….missing was my wonderful hubby, David and Kathy’s daughter and husband, Jlynn and Michael.  We all had a lovely time watching the Macy Day parade, laughing about funny family stories and eating way too much.  However, it was all overshadowed by the knowledge that the next day we would be taking Paul to the VA home…..

The VA home is lovely and the staff is truly amazing with the residents there.  I can’t begin to say enough good things about it.  However, it is what it represents that makes it all so difficult.   The only way I can really sum it up is that mentally, we all know it is the best place for Paul but emotionally, it is so very sad and difficult.  We know that Paul is safe and we also know it was taking its toll on mom being the primary care giver.  So, yes, it is for the best but it is so very, very distressing.  At first, he was admitted to the assisted living unit but two weeks later, he suffered from a mini-stroke (TIA).  He has had several over the past few years and always seemed to bounce back from them.  This time, he didn’t seem to bounce back and needed a wheelchair to get around in.  

He was evaluated again and this time, it was determined that he needed more care than they could properly give him on the assisted living unit.  He was moved to the nursing home unit about a week before I returned to the Dominican Republic.  From family reports, he is adjusting OK there.  My mom had to fly back to Florida to attend to some business and close up their home for the season.  She will return to Maine in the middle of March.  My sister lives in Bangor and visits Paul daily.  Perry, goes up once a week…usually with Jack, his adorable French Bulldog.   Who, as you can see by his picture, would cheer just about anyone up!  I know that Paul always enjoys it when Jack is near.  

Now, onto happier news….my new kitchen!  Oh my gosh, what an adventure that was!  For the most part, things went smoothly….It was just the first week that most everything went wrong… designer, Jeremy, forgot to tell me that it was my responsibility to order the kitchen sink (!).  He took full responsibility and found a farmhouse sink that was already in stock…..thank you, Jeremy!  In August, I had paid in full for my appliances so that they would be waiting in the warehouse when we were ready for them.  I called my contact person to let him know when I would need delivery….he called me back and said that he could deliver the stove, refrigerator and microwave, but the dishwasher hadn’t been delivered.  Hmmmmm….this was November and you are just discovering this?  Scott told me that he would look into it and call me back.  I received his call on a Friday afternoon at 5:15 informing me that the dishwasher I had ordered was no longer being made…..WHAT????????  OK, so in the end, this crisis turned out for the better.  I picked out another dishwasher that had the small load feature, which I really wanted, and it was less expensive.  The wood for the hardwood floor, which had been delivered and drying in the house for 2 weeks,  was the wrong wood.  It had to be redelivered, dried and installed at a later time than what had been planned.  I must say that Jeremy and the contractor, Barry, didn’t lose a step but improvised with each issue and kept the project moving smoothly.  

Oh, and did I mention that David had flown home in the mist of all of this due to excruciating back pain???  As things went wrong, he would say “Welcome to my world”!!!  I finally had heard this enough times and had dropped several polite hints suggesting that comment wasn’t helping at all.  When he didn’t get the nice hints, I told him to basically “shut up”….he understood that!!!  David went to “our guy” Michael Senechal (775-4141) and after 3 visits he was out of all excruciating pain and winging his way back to the Dominican Republic.  

After seven longs weeks of noise, contractors, cooking with a hot plate and microwave and washing dishes in the bathroom sink, they finally finished.  Here is the before picture……………

and these are the “after pictures”…….  I think you will agree it was well worth the wait!  David wanted a white kitchen and since he hasn’t had much to say about the decoration of the rest of the house, I agreed with him.  As you can see, I added splashes of color with the stain glass window of lobster buoys and a variety of colored knobs on the cupboards.  

Before flying back to the DR, I had my mom, sister and her husband and brother for lunch.  It was a fun afternoon.  As most of you know, I really don’t cook all that much.  My sister, the real cook in the family, took a bite of the lasagna and asked in a very surprised voice “You made this?”.  She immediately apologized for the way it came out….but we all had a great laugh!!!

Shortly after it was finished, I was heading back to the DR…so, I haven’t really had all that much time to enjoy my new kitchen…I will when I return home in February.

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