You never know what tomorrow brings

Yesterday it started snowing! The prediction was 100% rain, not snow.

It’s Wednesday afternoon and I’m sitting in the dark. I’ve decided to write a post for tomorrow, while my laptop still has juice. I’m using my iphone as a hotspot so I’ll be able to post this.

You never know what tomorrow will bring, so I decided to jump on this while I have the chance.

My daughter asked me to come up and take care of her. She’s in quarantine with COVID and there’s nobody to help her with daily things like laundry, groceries, going to Target, etc. I booked a ticket for tomorrow and she found me an airbnb down the street from her. My son, who lives close by, isn’t cleared to drive and isn’t walking post foot surgery.

She said she’s not going to infect me. She’ll ask me to run an errand and I’ll leave it on her doorstep. I can do her laundry at my son’s house or a laundromat (she doesn’t have a washer and dryer.) And I can walk Waffles.

I wanted my daughter to stay with our friends in Santa Barbara for another day to make sure both she and Waffles were up for the drive. I’m glad she ignored my advice and left on Tuesday because by Wednesday a winter storm hit closing roads and freeways. She could have been stuck.

So off I went to my PO Box and to the store to pick up a few last minute things for my trip. I opened the garage door and discovered it was snowing. It started snowing harder and coming at me sideways. I wasn’t sure I wanted to drive to the Post Office or store. But then I thought, you never know what tomorrow will bring. I better do it now. I’ll be leaving town tomorrow.

While at the store, my husband called and said the power went out at our house. I told him I’d check with the power company when I got home. As I drove down the street to our neighborhood, I wondered if the clicker to the gate would work?

Fortunately, someone manually opened the gates to our neighborhood and I drove on through and parked the car in our driveway. It stopped snowing and raining altogether thankfully as I brought in my groceries and mail.

Now I’ll use my iphone as a light in my closet to pack for tomorrow’s adventure. I’m learning to not procrastinate or find excuses.

Are you prepared if the power goes out? Are you prepared to handle the unexpected like a freak snow or a last minute trip to help your child?

One of my favorite things to do…

…in Berkeley

Grocery shop.

That’s because of Berkeley Bowl, which opened in 1977 in a building that previously was home to Berkeley’s bowling alley. Berkely Bowl West, which is a short walk from my son’s house, is on Heinz Street in a building that housed a ketchup factory.

My first trip to Berkeley, our son and his girlfriend took us to see their favorite grocery store and to have lunch in the cafe. Now when I visit, I have to go to Berkeley Bowl. How often is a grocery store an attraction where you take your guests? At the airbnb I’m staying in, the owners list Berkeley Bowl as a must in “things to do.”

I’m hit with a wave of anxiety each time I enter, due to the abundance. There are so many varieties of everything that it can be overwhelming. Then, I settle down and enjoy the experience. Wandering through produce, seafood, meats, snacks, sushi and hot foods — with so many ethnic cuisines — there’s too much and I want to try everything. It’s an experience you should not miss, if you’re in Berkeley.

Outside Berkeley Bowl West with watermelons and fruit on display.
Outside the entrance to Berkeley Bowl West, one of two Berkeley Bowls.
Fruits at Berkeley Bowl.
A photo of a tiny bit of produce.
Wide variety of mushrooms at Berkeley Bowl.
Mushrooms. Have you ever seen so many types in one store?
I never knew there were so many varieties of chanterelle mushrooms — which are my favorite. I used to go chanterelle hunting with my mom in Washington state.
potatoes on display at Berkeley Bowl
Potatoes. My cousins have a potato farm. I wonder what they’d think of the varieties.

sushi grade fish at Berkeley Bowl
Sushi grade fish display. Also, I counted more than 10 types of salmon in the regular seafood section.
Deli sandwiches and caviar at Berkeley Bowl.
Deli sandwiches and caviar anyone?
Produce at Berkeley Bowl
Non organic produce as opposed to their organic produce section.

I miss the cafe which is closed due to COVID. I think there is take out, but I loved sitting inside with my kids having a bowl of chowder or something else amazing. It’s one of my favorite restaurants in the area — and there are lots of amazing places to eat. I told my kids I could have breakfast or lunch there every day.

What’s your favorite place to shop and why? Do you have a place like Berkeley Bowl that you take guests to see? Are you seeing empty shelves? I haven’t seen any in Berkeley.

Another week, another surgery

Rainbow in Santa Barbara during Christmas week.
A rainbow over the Christmas week VRBO.

This week I’m back taking care of my son in the Bay Area. He had surgery a few days ago. He heard the garbage truck coming, realized he forgot to take out the bins and raced down the stairs, breaking his foot. The last time I was here taking care of him, he had shoulder surgery from overuse injuries caused by swimming and rowing. That was several months ago, but not long enough for him to be healed and to be able to use crutches.

At Christmas week in Santa Barbara in the VRBO, he stayed on the main floor with us (mom and dad) and scooted around the kitchen and living room on his knee scooter. The main floor had the master bedroom and a small second bedroom. The rest of the “kids” — ages 21 to 34 — were on the lower level and out by the pool. I can only imagine how frustrating it was for him to be stuck with mom and dad.

He made the best of it and hopped down the spiral staircase a couple of times so he could sit with everyone by the pool.

I’m not sure what this week will bring. I’m sitting in his living room while he sleeps on the sofa with a cast on his foot. He has to return to remote work so I may be sitting quietly by getting ice for the ice machine and filling his water glass.

I brought a book I thought I’d read while I hang out in his house this week. But I finished more than half of it during during the plane ride. (Chanel Cleeton’s “When We Left Cuba.”) The good news is he and his girlfriend were Literature majors and they have a nice supply of books. I don’t need to get worried about finding another book to read.

shelves full of books and a knee scooter
Books and the knee scooter in my son’s living room.

What are you reading now? Have you taken care of your adult kids after surgery? We went out to dinner with friends the night before I left and they said they’d never do it. That their kids are on their own. What are your thoughts about that?

The end of solitude

My husband and kids giving their Adams family look while visiting our daughter for a swim meet in college.

My quiet weekend alone ended in a flurry of phone calls Sunday afternoon, causing my anxiety to escalate. Poof! I lost the sense of peace just like that.

I was getting inundated with calls from my daughter, my husband, my son and two close friends. From my end, I felt like everybody was venting to me. My daughter was upset with my husband. My husband didn’t understand why our daughter was angry and crying. I wasn’t there so I felt helpless but wanted everyone to be happy.

Then my husband called again and said our daughter took him to the airport, but he was worried about the kids returning the U-haul. He didn’t have the time to do it himself before his flight home. He said the U-haul was difficult to drive, had poor visibility and that it had to be returned quite a distance away on the freeway.

So I took that burden of worry, too. I waited anxiously to hear that the kids returned it and were safely back in their homes.

I juggled with an onslaught of calls. Hanging up on one person to answer the call of another. Calling the person back that I hung up on, so they weren’t offended.

I was looking at news stories on my laptop and read there was a bomb threat and the campus had been evacuated where my son’s girlfriend’s brother was at school. I called my son to let him know. There were three campuses with bomb threats yesterday. Reading the news definitely wasn’t helping me.

The topper was the call back from my son. He said he and his sister were on the side of the freeway with a flat tire. They got the U-haul returned without a hitch, but then had a a blow out on the way back. My daughter was worried she was going to miss her comedy writing class that was scheduled to begin soon. They called AAA and were waiting for the tow truck.

Then my husband called from the Phoenix airport upset because he couldn’t find where he had parked the car after searching for 45 minutes. I took that to mean that it was my fault because I didn’t want to drive him there or pick him up. To be honest, I’m terrified of the freeways here. There are accidents every time I’ve been on them. And always someone driving 100 MPH weaving in and out of traffic. People drive crazy here. My daughter lived here for a year and she said she’d see five wrecks on her drive from Tempe to Scottsdale for work — every single day.

By the time my husband got home, my nerves were fried. I called to check on the kids and they were okay. They were safely back in their homes 700 feet apart. I tried to read and sat outside in the backyard missing the quiet happy feeling that I had bathed in only hours earlier. The peace that defined my weekend vanished as though it was a desert mirage.

Then Monday morning came and my husband woke up with the flu. I called the kids and they said that one of my son’s housemates had the flu. Ugh. I should stay in the casita and turn my phone off. I hope I’m not next for the flu. I haven’t been sick since February 2020.

On to tackle my Monday and back to NaNoWriMo.

Any suggestions on how to handle phone calls where things seem to be spiraling out of control? How do you not let other people’s problems become yours?

Do you lose sleep over your adult kids?

blond brother and sister with yellow lab

My kids with Angus more than 10 years ago. When they were young and I worried about other things.

A little over a year ago, I wrote this post. It was during the lockdown and I was in high amped worry mode. I was extremely anxious about my daughter who was laid off and was frustrated because her unemployment was on hold — along with 1.5 million other Californians who were lost in the system. She wrote to her assemblywomen, senators, governor, etc. but nobody helped. She’d call everyday to the EDD and nobody answered the phone. They had an 8 a.m. to noon window where they would accept calls. The one time she got through, the person said they were hired to answer the phone but couldn’t access the system. To this day she is still owed thousands of dollars from 2020. I’m going off track, but here’s what I wrote  in October 2020: I read a fascinating story that said “Study Confirms That Parents Still Lose Sleep Worrying About Their Adult Children.” I am definitely on of those parents who loses sleep and I know my dear friend Gabby, who shared this story on Facebook is one, also.
Even before our children are born, we worry about them. We’re relieved when we count the 10 fingers and 10 toes in the hospital, but we still worry. We’re relieved when they do well on their tests in school and make the team, but we still worry. We worry about safety, about their grades, about what they’ll do for a career, about who they’ll one day marry or if they’ll get married at all. The list of things to worry about feels endless. We hope that our worries will ease as our children get older, but it turns out that’s not the case.
Brother and sister staring at eachother

A photo from our beach vacation two years ago.

Can you relate to this as a parent, too? On my current list of worries is the bad air quality from California fires, my kids driving through the Cyclone Bomb weather, which is a rare event with high winds, rain and even snow, plus their general safety living in the Bay Area. I worry that they are secure in their careers and find their work satisfying and are able to make a living. Here’s more from the story about parents who worry about adult kids:
A recent study conducted by Amber J. Seidel of Pennsylvania State University confirms what many parents already know – you never stop worrying about your children. Her study went on to show that parents actually lose sleep worrying about their adult children. Parents, it looks like we’ll be worrying forever. If your children are already adults, you may already know that to be true. In Seidel’s study, 186 heterosexual married couples with adult children were surveyed. On a scale of 1 to 8, they were asked how much assistance they offer their children. Assistance could include financial, emotional or even chatting on the phone. Choosing 1 meant daily assistance and interaction where 8 was only once a year. The parents were also asked to choose from 1 to 5 regarding stress. In this case, choosing 1 meant no stress, and 5 meant the maximum amount of stress. The third thing these parents tracked was how much sleep they got at night. Moms got an average of 6.66 hours and dads got slightly more with an average of 6.69 hours. The results were not the same for moms and dads. For moms, it didn’t matter if they were the ones offering assistance or if their husbands were the ones offering assistance; moms were stressed out and sleeping less either way. Dads showed a lack of sleep and more stress only when they were the ones offering assistance to their adult children. If their wife offered assistance, it didn’t affect them. This either means that dads are not affected in the same way as moms or that the wives weren’t telling their husbands about the assistance causing the dads to be stress free due to lack of knowledge about the situation.
I found it interesting that the dads didn’t lose sleep if their wives were the ones offering support. Or, like the article said, maybe they weren’t aware of what was going on. But the moms lost sleep regardless who was the main person offering support to their kids. Do you worry about your children too, regardless of their age? What do you worry about most?
brother and sister back to back with pug

A more recent photo in our old back yard with Waffles the pug.

The dog days of summer….

I was curious what I was up to a year ago — during day 139 of the COVID shutdown. I was reading a Julia Cameron book called “It’s Never Too Late to Begin Again” trying to find motivation. I’m feeling lackadaisical just like I did last summer. Maybe it’s the prospect of more COVID mandates, getting back to my routine after being gone for a week — or maybe it’s just August. The dog days of summer.

pug staring out the car window
Waffles in the car with me when my daughter ran into my son’s house to retrieve my sweater.

What are the dog days of summer? I found this on Wikipedia:

The dog days or dog days of summer are the hot, sultry days of summer. They were historically the period following the heliacal rising of the star system Sirius (known colloquially as the “Dog Star”), which Hellenistic astrology connected with heat, drought, sudden thunderstorms, lethargy, fever, mad dogs, and bad luck.

It is hot, humid, we’ve had thunder storms. I’m lethargic. I don’t have a fever, I don’t see any mad dogs and I’m not buying into the bad luck. But otherwise the phrase “dog days of summer” fits.

Okay. About that bad luck. My daughter just called me and said she fell in the dark on her stairs last night trying to get Waffles back in the house. She broke her foot. Now she’s on crutches and trying to get in for an MRI appointment without missing any work. This means she can’t exercise, walk Waffles and will be struggling for weeks to come. I feel like I should be up there to help her. I am thinking this is not good for her mental or physical health.

pug selfies
Selfies with Waffles while he’s intent on watching my daughter outside the car.

Are you feeling the dog days of summer? What are you doing to stay motivated?

Back to Mom duties

Flowers in Berkeley. My daughter took this photo.

I’m on day two of being a mom full time and it’s exhausting. Yesterday was surgery day. We (my son, his girlfriend and me) drove across the Bay Bridge to a UCSF orthopedic surgery center before 8 a.m. We got our son tucked into bed by 3 p.m. In between, my son’s girlfriend and I had a wonderful breakfast and walked around the hills of Mission Bay. Then we drove to Hayes Valley and walked around some more looking at cute shops, the Opera House, San Francisco Ballet and City Hall.

Another one of my daughter’s photos.

I’m loving the cool weather. I’m loving the scenery and spending time with my kids, his girlfriend and siblings.

More Berkeley flowers.

The tiring part was waiting for surgery and feeling relieved but exhausted once it was over and we knew it was a success. I’m staying in an airbnb a mile from my son’s apartment. I walk over carrying a handbag and my computer. I feel like a pack mule on the way back. Yesterday, I logged in more than 26,000 steps. Most of that was the walking around during surgery, but still.

The mom duties include filling the ice cooling machine that wraps my son’s shoulder. Helping him in and out of his sling, buying food. Handing him meds. Helping his girlfriend with dishes and laundry. She’s working as hard as I am. I wondering why it takes two grown women to take care of my son? It’s not really that hard, but just constant every 20 minutes or so. Way more than what I’m used to.

Don’t misunderstand me. I am SO THANKFUL my son wants me here. And that I get to help him! His girlfriend is so wonderful to be with, too. Plus, my daughter and I get to walk Waffles the pug and have time together, as well.

I’m posting pictures of some of the gorgeous flowers I’ve seen on my walks around Berkeley.

Berkeley flowers.