I am currently waiting for the family I am house-sitting for to return. They should be back any time now. One of the parents tried to call me earlier, but I was not near their home phone. She did not try to call my cell phone for some reason. I will see them soon, so I am not too worried by it.
Friday, I endured Round 2 of the Black Belt testing. I was a bit worried about some of the younger students, but if they were not ready by then, there was little I would be able to do to help. All candidates had to do three poomses, including me. I was expecting to do at least twice that, but I cannot complain. The adults did four rounds of sparring. The kids may have had to do five. I am not sure. I had enough time after the sparring matches to get my hogu, helmet, and forearm protectors off before they called me in to help hold boards for the other students as they did their board breaking. Since I was the highest rank testing, I went last. I realized before then that they would run out of large boards before they got to my power break later, so I had someone set aside a few for me. I have done this before with the instructors’ knowledge, so I was not worried about what they might say. Board breaking went relatively smoothly, even when the head instructor had the boards I was to break at the end lit on fire. His Christmas present to me, he later said. I am sure the audience got a kick out of it.
Christmas Eve, we finally had the time to come together and decorate the tree. Dad put it up the weekend before, but did not do anything else with it until Saturday. I helped with some of the lights, which is definitely not my area of expertise. Then, Nathan and I put up the ornaments. I had a trusty tube of super glue nearby for any repairs that needed to be done. There were several that I found and repaired and there are more that still need to be repaired, provided I find the missing pieces. I took the time to unwrap my small collection of ornaments and repaired any that I might have broken. I recall tripping over a cat earlier this year and landing on the bag several ornaments were in. Sure enough, two of those were in need of some glue. Luckily, the ornaments were easily fixed.
Christmas Day, my grandparents and uncle came over for dinner. My grandmother’s conversation cycle has gotten shorter. She is now repeating the same questions about every two or three minutes. If she is comparing different things, she will forget which one she is currently talking about and start talking about the first item she has already told us about. That was rather interesting to note. I cannot remember how it was brought up, but she started comparing UW Medical Center and Harborview Hospital. She was in the middle of describing Harborview when she forgot and went into describing UW Medical Center again. My brothers and I did not realize this until she mentioned Harborview again and then had to stop the cycle. Another thing that we had to keep on top of was where she kept moving her purse. She would fret about it every few minutes and then started moving it around each time she found it. In the past, she has left items alone when she realizes they are safe and sound. I think next time they are over, I may just do my best to keep her from moving things around, that way we are not trying to figure out where she put them, too. She does not remember ever meeting my other grandmother. They have seen each other many, many times. This came up when my brother was asking Dad where he had found a specific ornament. Dad explained it was the topper on a Christmas package his grandmother gave him long ago. Then my grandmother asked whether she was dead, then whether his parents were dead. For some reason, though I am thankful for this, she did not fixate on my grandfather’s death. She has before. She instead went circles around whether my other grandmother was dead, where she lived, why they had not met, how she would like to know her, etc. I think if she actually saw my other grandmother, she would remember her. Maybe. It was a bit weird.
I cannot remember who mentioned the flu shot first. My brother and I commented to each other that after experiences with the flu shot, we were reluctant to get another. Dad mentioned he had never gotten a flu shot. Grandma fixated on me and proceeded to argue with me over why I should get one. I remarked to her that I rarely got sick and had not had the flu since I was a small child and was not particularly concerned about it. She got agitated and went around and around until I finally told her that I had received more shots than I cared to remember in the military, including several flu shots, and was aware of the risks of not getting one. This was as she was telling me about where the shot would go in and how it would only hurt for a few minutes and such. My brother jumped in to back me up and we effectively derailed the conversation. We were still surprised later about how she focused on me and no one else during that part of the conversation.
My grandfather spent much of the evening in the kitchen away from his wife. He needed the break away from her. That was very apparent. He and Mom quietly discussed a few things in regards to her, but for the most part, he seemed to enjoy spending time with other lucid adults.
The food was good, we enjoyed our presents, and we had a good holiday. My youngest brother, Nathan, was inspired to play a prank on our brother, Martin, when he saw a very generic Christmas list that Martin had written for my parents. On it, among other items, he requested a calendar and a black belt. Nathan proceeded to get Martin a very religious calendar and a blank black belt from the dojang. It was a joke gift. The real gift was a calendar Nathan knew Martin would like and a movie Martin had asked for. The expression on Martin’s face was priceless, though.
It was a draining evening, though. Everyone went to bed early after the festivities ended. I got back to the house I am watching and spent a little time with the dogs, but eventually had to apologize to them and put them to bed so I could go crash. My parents both reported to being in bed early and sleeping nearly twelve hours. Nathan slept more than that, but he’s been fighting a cold. I suspect Martin did something similar, though I have not asked him.
Yesterday, we met up with my aunt and compared holiday notes on my grandmother. My aunt and uncle hosted my grandparents for Christmas Eve. Our reports were similar and we agreed there is a family crisis brewing just past the horizon. We know it’s coming, but there does not seem to be anything we can do to stop it. Any hope of smoothly moving my grandparents into an assisted living facility has passed. My grandmother gets extremely anxious in new surroundings and we fear a new home would destroy what lucid moments she has left. At the same time, we worry about her weight and whether she could fight off a major illness should one decide to strike. We do not think she could. My aunt reiterated her fear that it may have been my grandmother’s last Christmas. So many worries. And we seem to be pushing them aside and doing our best to enjoy the holiday season while it is hear. What comes will come. We will have to deal with it then.