Tuesday, October 30, 2007
This morning, on my way out the door to check out housing for Dad, I turned on my cell phone and discovered that I had a message from Val, who'd called last night to tell me that the funeral's Thursday (I should have told her to call the house first; I rarely even have my cell on).
So I turned around, powered up my computer, got a ticket down tomorrow afternoon and back late Thursday evening, reserved a car, and called Val back to let her know I was coming and to ask about hotels. I got her husband Bruce and asked him to e-mail me the names of likely hotels. Then I called work and e-mailed students to cancel my classes tomorrow (I'd warned them on Monday that this might be a possibility, although I expected the funeral to be this weekend).
Then I went to the gym, where the pool was so crowded that I decided not to wait for a lane. Got into the car, feeling grumpy from lack of exercise, and shot to work to pick up Lee's shawl. Got back into the car and managed to find, fairly easily, one of the apartment complexes our friend had recommended, where I stopped to pick up applications.
The place was dismal: in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by auto-body shops, dark and musty inside. The two residents I saw both refused eye contact, staring at the floor and looking miserable. Remember Shady Rest, the shady nursing home in Bubba-Ho-Tep? The place kind of felt like that. If my friend says it's a great facility, I trust him, but my immediate gut reaction is that I don't want my father living there. So I picked up the applications, but decided not to send them to Dad and Fran (when I spoke to him later, he agreed).
The Housing Authority office was right down the street, and I didn't have to wait at all because the applications were in boxes on the walls. Yay!
I had trouble finding the second recommended apartment complex. I thought I knew from the address roughly where it was, but when I went there, no senior housing was in sight, and I was in territory even grimmer than the first stop. I finally did the sensible thing and called the manager of the building, who gave me directions.
They're two blocks from campus. It's a bright, cheery building. Residents were sitting outside, talking and joking with each other. They joked with me as I walked past. Inside, more residents were milling around and chatting. The manager showed me one of the units, which looks comparable to other apartments Dad has had, and where he's been happy.
Of course, the waiting list's six months to a year, but that was true at Shady Rest, too.
Much cheered, I went home, called the hotels whose names Bruce had sent me, managed to get a reservation at one of them (a minor miracle, given the fires, although the price was higher than advertised, undoubtedly also due to the fires), got Mapquest directions from the airport to the hotel, shot out to the post office to mail giant packages of applications and listings to Dad and Fran, and came back home to call Val and tell her where I'd be staying. I got to talk both to her and to her brother Tod; it's been ages since I've seen either of them, and they're both looking forward to seeing me again. So, as usual, the family-reunion thing will be the nicest part of the funeral.
Now I'm obsessing about packing. I'm not taking my laptop or the CPAP (which I can go one night without), but I am taking grading and knitting, and I'm trying to figure out how to get everything into the smallest possible bags so I won't have to check luggage on my planes-the-size-of-thimbles commuter flights.
I'll be pretty much out of radio contact the next few days, but I'll blog when I get back (and maybe tomorrow morning, if I wake up early enough). Have a great Halloween, everybody, and a blessed Feast of All Saints!