Matt returned tonight from an out-of-town church retreat and said, “I love talking to people and saying things like ‘My wife and I bought a house in Cloquet’ or ‘My wife…’ anything, because people get so confused.”
People get so confused hearing him talk about adult stuff because they think he’s still in high school. It was a concern when I met him - I knew I liked him, but at 23 I was legitimately concerned he might not yet be 18. I was pleasantly surprised to find he was actually little older than me.
This scenario has played out so many times that I am getting concerned for what my future holds. As the lines in my forehead continue to grow and I spotted my first gray hair about a year ago, I wouldn’t be surprised if in 15-20 years people think I’m his mother and not his wife.
What a long and confusing week it’s been. Hopefully the dust has somewhat settled now, and we can all start to figure out how our drastically changed lives are going to look.
My dad had land - well, kinda. Matt and I are hoping to figure out what we’d need to do to keep this piece of the world in the family. We strapped on our snowshoes this afternoon and walked around on it, only my second time as an adult, the last time my parents were also with us and my dad was still well. It was a perfect afternoon with the sun shining through the trees and I definitely felt my dad’s presence with us.
It’s been such a long and terrible week already. I have to really think about what day it even is.
Sunday started out like any other day. Matt and I went to church, and decided to get sandwiches afterward. We were waiting at Erbert’s and Gerbert’s when he checked his phone and showed me a text from MY mother, asking that we come up immediately. I was confused. Then I looked at my own phone which had 4 missed calls and 2 texts (I’d had the sound turned off). They were from my mom and sister, and they both said the same thing: Come here ASAP.
My sister called again and I answered it. I asked her what was going on and she wouldn’t tell me. She said, “Just get here.”
It was the worst car ride of my life, imagining why they wanted us there but wouldn’t tell us. I could only think of one reason, and I knew it couldn’t be anything else. Even so, Matt and I bounced around ideas of what it might be. I wasn’t ready to believe it, so we came up with other scenarios.
We got to my parents’ house and there was a County Sheriff squad in the driveway, two officers inside. I walked in and hugged my mom. Everyone was awaiting the medical examiner’s arrival to determine the cause of death. I was asked if I wanted to view my dad’s body. I mumbled “No, I don’t think that would be helpful.”
Matt shepherded us all into my old bedroom when they came to the door with the gurney, the bodybag, to take him away. We sat around for a little while before the four of us made the trip to my grandma’s house 10 minutes away to tell her in person. I thought she might drop dead herself from the news, but I was surprised by how gracefully she handled it. She also didn’t seem surprised, saying, “Oh, Sue, he was a ticking time bomb.”
He hadn’t felt well, having been hit hard with influenza, and a stomach virus, and pneumonia over the last few months. But he’d still been working and going about business as usual, as best he could. He’d just had a doctor visit on Friday that was supposed to make things better. Matt and I were there on Saturday and it was evident he was NOT feeling better, and I was scared. The last time I’d seen him so sick was a couple of years ago, and at that time I am pretty sure he almost died.
My mom said they’d been up for a little while in the morning, and he decided to go back to bed. This was not unusual and she went about doing work around the house. A couple hours later she went to check on him, noticed his color was not right, and then noticed he wasn’t breathing. She’s been doing these checks for a few weeks now, holding her breath, fearing what she might find.
Yes, he wasn’t well. Yes, he had other health problems besides this that were cause for concern. I never expected him to live to be an old man.
But, like this? No one could have ever, ever predicted this. The worst part by far has been when his cell phone’s gone off. Friends would call, no idea of course, and my mom would have to answer it and tell them. I think everyone’s been told now, but anytime it rings or gets a text, we all panic a little.
This week’s been a blur, not much sleeping’s going on, it’s hard to remember to eat, and there is so much planning to do. Food. Flowers. Pictures. Meeting with the pastor. It’s a lot of the same components of planning my wedding, except it’s not celebratory and you get a few days instead of a few months.
Fortunately, my parents have the greatest friends ever, and the family that is left is pulling together. I’m in awe of my mom’s strength. Matt’s been amazing, too, with all the ways he’s jumped in to help. My best friend Sarah is coming up for the service. I know we have to pull together, but I am still grateful that we are doing so.
Prayers are appreciated, especially for my mom. This is way more difficult and life-changing for her than any of the rest of us combined. Also just that we pull this off on Friday and the weather cooperates and such.
And that we heal. I know that we will, but it’s gonna take a long time.
Drinking beer + watching the Olympics.
Still my favorite explanation of today’s holiday of ALL time.
This happened again today and made me remember that I’ve wanted to make this for awhile. I like to think I’m a badass when I drive it, but in reality it’s too big for me and I am generally terrified.
I have a built-in Valentine forever now and I’m very happy for it, but my most memorable Valentine’s Day ever was in 2007. I had broken up with my then-boyfriend exactly one week earlier, so I went to an erotic poetry slam with two of my good friends. It was shocking, hilarious, and a great night!!!
Well, that was fast!
We got a letter from the city today, dated February 5th (the day our incident happened). The City Council met on February 4th and approved financial assistance for those of us who have to run our water continuously through March or April (or beyond?)
I guess what they’re gonna do is just take an average of our usual water bill and charge us that. The extra water usage will be covered by the city. Also, they will send us another letter to let us know when we can safely shut off the water without things re-freezing.
So, thanks, Cloquet! You’re pretty OK.
(Oh yes I did.)
The joys of winter continue here.
I guess it would have been yesterday, shortly after midnight, I got up for a bathroom break. Upon flushing, it went down but then the toilet just made this thunk noise, and didn’t fill back up.
I tried to run the sink faucet. Nothing. I ran to the kitchen. Nothing.
"Uh, honey?" (I know my husband loves hearing THAT in the middle of the night.) "We don’t have water."
He tinkered for awhile and called the utility company. They said someone would come out later, around 7:30.
We were really confused. Yeah, it’s cold, but it was previously MUCH colder and the pipes didn’t freeze. We’re pretty careful inside with them.
Well, it wasn’t inside, or even immediately outside. Turns out, the pipes froze closer to the street. This isn’t usually a problem but the frost line is so far underground this year that it’s freezing water mains.
So, how do you fix that, you may ask? You electrify it! I wasn’t here for the fun - I went to work and Matt waited for answers - but it sounded exciting. A welder came out and threaded a lead into the intake pipe in the basement all the way out to the fire hydrant across the street, and then thawed the pipe by way of electrical current. Uh, cool!
Not so cool is that it’s kind of an expensive operation. Also not so cool is now we need to run our water 24/7 until the ground thaws to avoid re-freezing. Really? This is northern Minnesota. We’re gonna be extreme water wasters ‘til like, May? I guess the city is looking at reduced water rates for this winter because a whole mess of us have no other choice. The welder who came out did this procedure to 6 homes the day before.
I keep trying to remind myself that labor costs plus the increased water bills are nothing compared to the devastation of burst pipes in the home. It could have been so much worse, and I am glad we were able to get it fixed so quickly.
Now can we PLEASE have spring?!?!
So this primate of some variety at the local zoo recently underwent major dental work and apparently it’s big news. It’s gonna be this big feature on the 10:00 news tonight.
Anyway, they keep previewing the story and there are so many drills humming and all sorts of awful sounds. And it’s reminding me of my acute dental phobia and the fact that I have not been since 2011.
I should really go but this is NOT HELPING.