Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Summer of 2010 - Condensed

Well, summer began with a bang. Kate graduated "with" incident from the infamous Alabama School of Fine Arts in Birmingham. Great school, great opportunity, great experience for her. Sorry administration and management and I fear that should the Foundation and Board of Directors keep turning a blind eye, the school will continue its decline. 

When Kate was accepted in her 8th grade year, the school was ranked in the top 3, nationally. Now, they are having real issues keeping enrollment up. Today, I could not recommend it for any discipline. 

Because of a glitch in AP grading and a "rogue" correspondence course, Kate was not permitted to walk at graduation, so we did not even attend. Instead, we had a wonderful party for her here at the house. Many of our family and friends came by to celebrate. It was a wonderful night for us all. 

Early June and Mike, Joni and the babies arrive for a week here with us. It was an activity filled fun week complete with swimming, camping in the backyard, picking blueberries, Alabama Adventure and the McWane Center. I so appreciate them making that trek across country to see us. It is important for them to know us and for the boys to spend time here.

Mike, Joni, Andrew, Keaton, Preston

Mike, Kate, Andrew, Preston

Honey, Keaton, Andrew

The great event was having all of the younger grandie boys over at one time. Cousins. I remember and cherish the times I had with my kissing cousins in the hot central Texas summers of my childhood and want the same experiences for them.  WOW, that is me. When I look at the pictures of myself these days I see time marching....right across my face! But, Honey's boys don't care.

Austin, Aidan, Dalson, Keaton, Andrew, Preston

Fast forward a couple of weeks and we embark on a new project for Kate. Just off the oil spill, our good friend JPE came up with an idea and Don't BP'n On Us.Com was born. I designed the website, Kate and I designed the T-Shirts and we left for Orange Beach, Alabama with 660 shirts and tanks on June 28th. To raise awareness, to create scholarship opportunities, to repay her investor. 

Ono Island Bridge

She landed a gig at the Flora-Bama within the first couple of days and at this writing, approximately 250 shirts have been sold. The Bizarre Bazaar Just off the Beach is selling for her on consignment as we speak. We spent 3 weeks on the coast between Ft. Morgan and Perdido Key. I suspect another trip is in order and I will begin pushing these harder online within the next couple of days.

We had constructed a vinyl sign, separated the shirts into bins per size, designed and printed business cards, purchased a tent, enlisted a merchant account for online payments for Kate's iPhone and worked like fiends in 100 plus degree temps. Long days and longer nights prevented much beach or pool time but the experience for her was priceless.

Emily and Anthony

The issues on our coast are so much more complex than tar balls. We witnessed property and business owners plow through a range of emotions very similar to grief itself. From denial to anger, then depression, back to anger, desperation and then submission.....submission to a BP claim form. A claim that promised to provide very little in relation to the damages incurred. The loss of business, the loss of property value, the loss of income, the loss of paradise. Then, once the claim is filed you find yourself beholden to BP with their hands around your neck.

BP employees or employees of BP contractors constitute the only substantial business there. They eat at local restaurants and rent local condos. They buy gas, groceries and clothing. They are former fisherman, contractors, food servers, entertainers, etc. However, beach traffic reminds me of November and the lazy days of snowbirds. Its a sad, sad thing to witness.

We moved from condo to condo with a total of 4 moves during that time and it proved too much for Willie Bill. That and the heat were taking their toll. At 2.5 weeks, I sent him home to relax and spend time with the grandies. Michelle brought him home on Thursday night, July 15th and when I arrived home Tuesday night July 20th, he was in the middle of a full psychotic episode. An eventful night complete with the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department, McAdory Fire Department and neighbors landed him in Shelby Baptist with 60 milligrams of Haldal to calm him. His blood pressure had spiked to 227/127.

Willie Bill

He was released on Friday afternoon, July 23th with a new Rx for blood pressure and Seroquel (treats schizophrenia) and I now call this past weekend the "new normal". 

Dr. Counce gave me options; try treating with medications for awhile or straight to the nursing home. He's exhibited the three things most likely to get you a ticket elsewhere....violence, aggression, wandering. Yep, he's three for three.

Amy and Wade (Bill's daughter and son with Glenda) stand at ready and came to visit along with BFF Cathy, Mike and Joanie Knight. He laughed a lot and seemed better, more alert and aware. But.....

The medications prescribed have him trailing me. The change in his personality from just two weeks ago is daunting. This is not my husband, this is not the father of our children, this is not the Willie Bill we knew. This is a whole new program. It is exhausting trying to keep up with the mood swings, the questions, the neediness. He has officially become a full-time job.

Which, is not his fault. Which is why there has been no request for nursing home orders yet. First, I must come to terms with it, then the kids can. They have offered their full support in any decision made, however it is my decision to make this a joint decision. Hopeful that we can have a family meeting of sorts in a few days. Bill's mother is approaching the need for outside care as well and this may prove an opportunity for the both of them if timing permits. She also suffers from dementia, although age and stroke related.

It is with regret and remorse that I recognize the preparations for his future. It is with guilt that I begin thinking of places for him to go. It is with a heavy heart that I come to terms with the responsibility. Spending most of the day yesterday navigating Medicare, Medicaid, Alacare, Dr. appointments makes me anxious to settle at least some of issues we face ~ if nothing but a better understanding of the logistics.

I remain continually thankful for good friends and their support and love, yet still feel alone in this. It is impossible to describe without living it, so I very seldom try. 

Closing in on the dog days of summer, I am reminded of Kate's excellent adventure and the boy she met. His parents are family friends and he has always loved and admired WB. What a blessing he has been to all of us and what great entertainment for Kate and TP (Taylor Paige). It reminds me of peas and carrots......

Kate and Hunter

Kate and Taylor Paige are first cousins (my brother's daughter) and have spent summers together since  they were babies. This weekend, Taylor Paige returns to Houston and we begin preparations for Kate's move to Tuscaloosa. Because of her academic achievements, Katie Bug will arrive with numerous scholarships provided to her by the University of Alabama. Very proud indeed.

Taylor Paige Holcombe

Kate will also be a witness for the DA in their murder case against Ryan Russell. Kate was a constant friend and companion to our precious Katherine, may she rest in peace. It is my hope and prayer that Kate finds the closure she needs with this trial finally beginning September 20th. 

Katherine Helen Gillespie

I am blessed to have converted old acquaintances into cherished friends this season.  There'has been a reconnection with old friends and more precious ties made with family. It is less about misery loves company and so much more about the bonding of people in trying times where friendships and loved ones offer strength, consolation and understanding.

O and Jack

There is so much to do around here but the heat is robbing me of my strength and WB's decline is thwarting my ambition. Kate's heirloom tomatoes nearly perished, but her grape tomatoes are putting out in clumps. I am reminded of Gran when watching her fig trees grow and in times like these she would say, "the faster I go, the behinder I get."

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