Mom’s Meals for Mom

During my childhood, my mom made supper every night after she got off work.  She worked at our high school, so she left work when we got out of school.  Her working at my school is a totally different post… let me just say that I was more afraid of my mother than the principal! I never did anything wrong anyway, but I still had the fear.

She cooked every day, and on Sunday we had a big dinner- usually a roast.  Since her stroke, she hates to cook.  I think it is because she doesn’t really have to cook since it would be just for her.  I tried a few of the meals you can order online to see if she liked those.  One company was a definite “No”, she told me to not get them anymore because they were so bad!

I also tried Mom’s Meals, and she loved them!  I order her meals from the diabetic menu, and she really likes them.  She said they come in a cooler of some sort, and aren’t frozen.  I haven’t tried them, but she seems to really like all of the meals.  She said the portions are perfect because she doesn’t waste any of them.  Even though they are easy for her to fix, it doesn’t feel like she is eating a TV dinner.

Just wanted to put it out there, because I value honest reviews.

WVU, DC, and vacations with Mom

I have quite possibly lost my mind.

I am pretty sure I left it in SC before we moved to WV.  Speaking of WVU, I try to find the President, Dr. E. Gordon Gee, for a photo at every game.

 Dr. Gordon Gee

He is the best thing to happen to this school in quite a while.  His bow-ties are cheerful and the happiness is infectious!

 Dr. Gee

Back to why I think I have lost my mind.

I am taking my Mom and my Aunt to Washington, DC in October for a vacation.  Trying to plan this trip has been interesting.  Taking two ladies who can’t walk very far to a city that you walk mostly… Logistically, this may be a disaster.

Mom wants to visit every state, and I said I would help her with accomplishing this goal.  They both like history, so I thought DC would be a good starting place.  This is going to be hilarious.

Filling in the family tree with estate auctions

I spend a lot of time creating family trees.  I enjoy creating them, and I have created trees for a lot of my friends.  The Italians claim the tree which has given me the most trouble.  Everyone seems to use the same five names since the beginning of the line.  A husband and wife has five kids, so there goes the five names.  Not so easy though…the wife’s sister also has the same five names for her kids, and so on!  This is every generation!

On top of this, I found out about confirmation names.

They all have them, and most of them use them as legal names on documents.  Some use nicknames on legal documents.  Family members seem to remember things they thought were facts, and I find they are incorrect….then, back to square one.

When Mary Ann passed, she was a widow without kids.  Her sister, Helen, is still living and you would think that she would be given everything per the will.  Unfortunately, items were cleaned out of the house prior to Helen receiving them.  It was pathetic to see adults acting this way.

I love going to auctions, and I ran across the auction for Mary Ann’s belongings the day before the event.  It seemed shady how most of the family was kept in the dark.  If I wasn’t addicted to the auction website, I would have missed it.  So that Saturday morning, at 7:30 am, I went to Mary Ann’s house to see what was going to be auctioned.

I immediately noticed that all of the nice things were taken prior to the inventory for the auction.  Mary Ann was a woman who loved to shop, and demanded the highest quality of items.  The only item I found that Helen might want was Mary Ann’s high school yearbook from her senior year.  I won the auction and paid $10.00 for the book.

A beveled framed photograph of a man was getting ready to be auctioned.  This was the only portrait or photograph in the entire auction.  Mary (who was Mary Ann’s first cousin) said, “I think that is Mary Ann and Helen’s father!”

I knew from doing their family tree that their father died when they were very young.  The auction was over before we realized it was a personal photograph.  The people who won the item were gathering as much items as possible, and I overheard that they sell things at the market.  I walked over to the couple.  I politely asked if I could see the item, and if it was possible to take a picture of it with my phone.  I wanted to at least have a picture of it to show Helen.  The woman wasn’t too excited to talk to us, until she found out that we were interested in the picture only.  She bid on it for the frame.  We struck a deal, and she gave us the picture out of the frame after we explained it may be Helen’s father.

I also saw a box of Mary Ann’s husband’s Marine documents.  I bid on the box, and won the item.  I felt the documents belonged to his son, who was Mary Ann’s step-son.  He had no idea the documents were even at the house.

I took an afternoon to visit Helen, and I brought along the yearbook and portrait to give to her.  She takes one look at the items in my hands and asks, “How do you have a picture of my father”.

Mary Ann and Helen's Father

To say I was excited to have her confirm her dad’s picture would be an understatement!  Helen held the picture, and lovingly talked about him.  She didn’t have a single picture of her father.  I think she was five when he died, and her sister was a toddler.

Growing up in the South, I would spend hours talking to my family about my ancestors.  I think it is almost a requirement down there!  I was informed that when the Italian-Americans were growing up in the 1950’s, you didn’t mention life before coming to America.  Helen’s grandparents were immigrants from Southern Italy, and she said it wasn’t in the culture to talk about genealogy with one another.  A lot of valuable family tidbits have been lost, and she regrets not asking questions when she was younger.    Thankfully, I love a challenge and have filled in a lot of family information.  This is one of my favorite pieces I have added to the tree.

Trying to Accept Mom Aging

I am in my 30’s and still living a nontraditional life.  Mom always said that I lived in the clouds and did things my own way.  She did not mean that as a compliment to my free-spirited soul.  She was strict, conservative, and demanded I act accordingly.  It is not stretch to say that for a decade, I was quite the disappointment.

The interesting thing about all this is that she isn’t the same person anymore.  She suffered from a major stroke a few years ago, and her entire outlook on life and personality has changed.  Definitely for the better!  She says that her near death experience really scared her and made her realize that she can’t go through life like she did.  Her blood pressure was 270/something else high when she had her stroke.  I was so shocked at the 270 number that I forgot the bottom number.

Her health is still terrible, and she wants me to clean up her diet for her.  So when I go down, I will be putting “Forks Over Knives” in the DVD player and teaching her about a plant based diet.

I have to admit that it was a shock to see her health declining so sharply, because I always see her as a stern strong woman. I am just grateful that I am used to being around the elderly who are disabled, because I don’t want to lose patience with her while she ages.

I am curious how it will affect me when I have to make the decision to put her in an assisted living or nursing home.  We were raised to openly talk about death, because it saves you from arguing with family later.  So it was no surprise when I spoke to her yesterday, she told me that she and her sister bought their cemetery plots.  She also went ahead and picked out her headstone.  She is moving into a senior community (only 60+ age residents) this week, so maybe the transitions won’t be so bad for either one of us as she ages.  I told her not to unpack anything that she did not need, because I will do it when I get there.  I am taking bets on whether or not she listens.