Saturday, January 31, 2009
It's been a long day, but -- with a lot of help from our friends -- the move went well. We got Dad's essentials moved into the new place and set up; the new apartment already looks better than the old one ever did, as far as I'm concerned.
Fran left first thing this morning; she was out of there at 9:15, even though her flight wasn't until 5 PM. I think Dad was sad about that, but it made things easier on the rest of us to have one less body in the small apartment.
The new digs are very classy. Dad has a big window, facing east, with lots of sun. He can see mountains during the day (also the playground of the preschool next door) and city lights at night. I think he'll enjoy it.
By the time we got him in there, though, at about 4:00, he was exhausted. Dinner's served from 4:30 to 6:00, but he said he didn't want to eat because he was too tired. Then he started kvetching about having to keep enforced mealtimes instead of eating when he wants to. "They should serve dinner until 8:00!"
"Dad," I said, "you used to eat late, but these days, you're in bed by 8:00. You've been eating dinner at five or six, so this should work."
He kept grumbling. He didn't want to go downstairs. I cajoled him into an Ensure, but then couldn't find any: it had evidently been left behind. Thank goodness we have all of February to get stuff out of the old apartment!
Dad asked plaintively why the staff couldn't bring him dinner in his room. "They'll do that if you're sick," I said, "but if you're healthy, there's an extra charge." Gary pointed out that there was probably Ensure downstairs, so I went down to do some scouting.
The sales director we've been dealing with the whole time was there today, so I stopped in to see her. "Trouble in River City," I said. "My father's rebelling at the meal times." (I'd warned her beforehand that he hates any kind of regimentation.) "I tried to get him to go downstairs, but --"
"Tonight we'll bring his dinner up," she said. "That's no problem. It's been a long day. And you and your husband must be starving: you've been moving all day! Are you hungry? Can we bring you something? We'll bring you dinner, too."
I thanked her profusely and we stopped by the dining room, where I ordered meals for the three of us. Then I went back up with the good news; it turned out that Gary had talked Dad into going down to the dining room, but of course Dad preferred not to. But now he was cranky because he wanted wine, and we'd left that behind in the apartment, too. Could he get wine with dinner? I said that I thought it was only served downstairs, but we could ask. (We're all moderately amazed that an assisted-living place serves alcohol. This certainly makes Dad happy, although his doctors may be less than thrilled.)
A few minutes later, one of the caregivers knocked and came in with three dinner trays. "I didn't know what you wanted to drink," she told me. I explained that my father and husband wanted wine and that I wanted water: was that possible? She said she'd ask.
We ate our dinners: pork chops for them and steak for me, with rice pilaf, cauliflower, and a very pleasant rice pudding for dessert. It was tasty and nicely prepared, certainly the best institutional food I've had.
Just as we were starting on the dessert, there was another knock on the door, and the sales director walked in carrying a tray with two big glasses of red wine -- pretty good wine, too, from Dad and Gary's reports -- and ice water for me. She complimented us on how much furniture we'd gotten into the room and how good it was looking already. (One advantage of this place is that Dad can leave his scooter out in the hall and even has a place to plug it in to recharge it, which leaves much more space in his actual apartment.)
I helped Dad find pajamas, and we moved some furniture to his specifications, and then we left him to get ready for bed, which he said he could do on his own. The facility gives each resident a call-button pendant, so he can get help if he needs it if he'll agree to wear and use the thing: he was rebelling against that, too. He told me he feels "put upon." I don't blame him, but I do hope he'll be happy in his new home if can bring himself to accept it. He thanked us for eating dinner with him. "I hate to eat alone." We reminded him that this is the point of eating in the dining room, where he'll be able to meet people.
I think this place is terrific; I'd happily live there myself, if I could ever afford it! But we'll see how Dad does. I hope he'll wake up tomorrow with more energy, happy to see the sunshine through his window, and that he'll meet some interesting people at breakfast.
In any case, Gary and I are very impressed. "They're giving us our money's worth," Gary said, and given the cost, that's saying something.
Heartfelt thanks to Sharon, Rob, Marin, Judy and JP for all their packing, carrying, unpacking, and arranging! We couldn't have done it without you!
The only downside to the day is that -- even though Sharon nagged me to take care of my back and not to do too much -- I wound up doing something seriously unpleasant to my back, and can't straighten up fully even after taking two ibuprofen. So we'll see if I'm able to move tomorrow morning. If I can't, at least I won't have to worry about Dad.