I am back. I know it seems an age since I wrote anything and it was. I have a couple excuses/reasons why I haven’t written anything in an age. But I’ll get to those in a minute. I will say I made some progress today, even if it was only in my mind. Sometimes, that is the most important kind of progress to make.
I had two weeks off for winter break and I fully intended to use each and every moment to make progress with something, but it was the Christmas season and I couldn’t really do anything with my dress except put it away. I did; however, cut out the slip. Again. And I cut out the lining, which was my personal roadblock. I did buy some material for it that was slightly heavier and less slippery than the first batch. But all the pieces got cut out and organized. I put it all away because the table needed to be used for other things.
During the last week of winter break, I got the COVID-19 Vaccine. My arm was a little achy for a few days, but overall, I am eagerly anticipating the 2nd shot, which I will get this week. I also began watching a Netflix show, The Queen’s Gambit, which I really liked. Then, toward the end of break, and New Year’s Eve, we spent at home “enjoying” the bombs going off in our neighborhood. It sounded like a war zone, or since I’ve never experienced a true war zone, what I imagine a war zone would sound like. About 11:30, Mike went to bed and fell asleep immediately. I tried to sleep, but finally got up to see what was going on outside since it seemed like the neighborhood must be in flames (it was not) and then went back to bed. Sleep still continued to evade. I kept getting text messages from people wishing me a Happy New Year. Yes. I want a Happy New Year. I’m still waiting for it to come!
Around 1:00 a.m., I heard my phone vibrate repeatedly, so I picked it up. I looked at the number and thought, “what the heck?” and answered. The area code was from Desert Hot Springs, California, where my parents live. I immediately thought, “This can’t be good,” and it wasn’t. My dad tested positive with COVID right before Christmas. He lives in an Assisted Living Facility and apparently, someone brought it in without knowing. I think four staff and four residents, including my dad, tested positive. The staff quarantined and they were trying to prevent it from spreading, but until December 31, he had shown no signs. On that day he began having some difficulty breathing and his oxygen levels were low. They got him on oxygen, but wanted to know what else they should do. My parents both have directives, so I knew the answer was to “keep him comfortable.” They called me because they couldn’t get a hold of my mom. I’d talked to my mom sometime after 9:00 and she said she doubted she would make it until midnight because she was tired. I hung up after a short conversation and then called Mom twice. She answered the second time and sounded like she had been sound asleep. She woke up quickly and I told her to call them back and find out more details. I then called my brother and told him what was going on. We would probably find out more later in the day.
Welcome to 2021. The next few days were filled with daily reports about Dad. He was seemingly fine. He was getting around and eating well. We were optimistic that he would get better. Throughout life, my dad had always been in relatively good health. He would chastise me when I had a sniffle or a cough. I remember once when I was particularly ill with bronchitis, we went to a Blazer game and I fought through. My dad didn’t get sick hardly ever. It wouldn’t have surprised me if he would beat COVID because he was that kind of guy. He was also overweight most of his adult life, but his blood pressure was normal. I think it was because he was just easy-going and happy.
On January 9, my mom called. I had been meaning to call her, but she called me first. I was fixing coffee and my phone rang. She gave me the bad news that Dad had passed away that morning. He just didn’t wake up. I think, in retrospect, that it was a good way to go. He likely didn’t suffer. He just went to sleep and didn’t wake up. Two things came to mind: 1) he didn’t deserve to get COVID; and 2) he didn’t deserve to get Alzheimer’s. My dad was a smart man. He was brilliant with numbers and just smart about things. He was wildly in love with my mom. I am not sure how much of his life he remembered toward the end, but one thing I know is that he loved Mom forever and ever.
My Aunt June said that when she first met my dad, she thought of him as the most handsome guy ever. She said he was so good-looking, like a movie star. I remember hearing that and thinking he was my dad and it gave me a sense of pride, thinking of him as a young man and my cool aunt thinking he was a catch!
My brother and I flew down to California and spent some time with my mom. We also remembered my dad and laughed. He would have liked that. We told funny stories, like the one about him going to my college graduation in 2010 from Grand Canyon University at Chase Field in Phoenix. They were using those cannons to shoot t-shirts and one hit Dad on the side of his head. After the “oh no” moment, we laughed. That’s my dad. We also flew on two airplanes during a pandemic and when we got back home, I had to quarantine for 10 days. Tomorrow I get to go back to work. Thankfully, I haven’t developed symptoms.
It’s been two weeks since he passed and a lot has happened: a memorial at the Washington monument this past week made me think of my dad. I was very emotional. I think it sunk in at that moment that my dad was one of those 400,000 people who died of COVID.
I pulled out all my cut-out pattern pieces and worked on assembling my dress today. My first stitches were darts, which I hate, but are necessary. When I started sewing, I ended up trying to sew over a pin and guess what? My needle broke. I just learned that I’m using the “wrong” needles. I should be using a ballpoint needle and I’m using a “sharp.” Oh well! After I replaced the needle with another sharp, I realized that sharp needles work just as well on the material I’m using. I finished four darts and then decided to make dinner. I can wait to put that dreaded zipper in later.
I feel good. I will finish this dress and it will be perfect. We are working on addresses for our Save the Date cards. Last night, on “date night,” we were combing through address lists and sending texts to friends. Does anyone send stuff through the mail anymore? It seems like “no,” they don’t. I am trying to remain optimistic in spite of the speedbumps we’ve gone through this year. It will get better.
I’ve been saying I’ll post a decent picture of my first dress, from 1986. I have hidden the identity of the groom since I’m sure he doesn’t want to be a part of my blog. And, take a look at that cake! Wow!!! There was a fountain underneath with blue water (yum)!
I hope many of you who are reading this are staying safe and staying well and don’t lose anyone to COVID. Talking about Dad makes my heart hurt. I know his spirit is with me though and I take comfort in my happy memories of him.