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Mom and Teresa have vacated the Mason abode and moved in to their own pretty space six miles away. Interior renovations are basically complete,with only a few minor tasks yet to complete. The overall outcome is beautiful. See for yourself.

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Teresa still needs to get some items moved from her home in Florida, so she can finish her bedroom and fill in some of the empty spaces. Mom is awaiting a very special chair, just for her, to go in her den. She ordered a power recliner with a special lift to help her get out of the chair. I want one too!  They still need to hang up some pictures, drapes and stuff like that. There is some landscaping and exterior painting needed also; but there is plenty of time for that. The house is so welcoming and the residents are pretty nice too—I say that, but I might be biased.

Mom is loving her new home. She has had the family over for a few dinners and has already hosted a luncheon for our Circuit Overseer, Pete & Joanne Mardesich, (with Teresa and I responsible for the cooking) who are visiting our Kingdom Hall this week. This house is a vessel for the ongoing Cook Hospitality that has been a hallmark of our parents open door policy.

It is so nice to see Mom enjoying her home. She loves that she has her own personal chef and housecleaning staff. Teresa is her domestic goddess and over-all personal assistant. Mom says she took care of us for years and now it’s our turn to reciprocate…which we are glad to do I must say.

This has been a great move for Mom and for Teresa too. Now if only Mom’s health would cooperate. This past weekend she suffered several small strokes. She was hospitalized and underwent a litany of tests. The MRI showed evidence of damage across her frontal lobe. Teresa and I took her for follow-up with her Physician, Dr. Brock Jones today. He outlined a course of action to pursue to prevent any more episodes. The good news is that her blood pressure is responding to medication and hopefully this one won’t leave any residual effects.  She says that she is “Just Old”…but hey, at 81 she is just a “Spring Chicken”, right?  Anyway, we are monitoring her closely and hopefully she will be back to par before long.

Teresa and Mom will be hosting the Palaski’s in December and have an open book for anyone who wants to schedule a visit. Ventura is beautiful in the Winter…wanna come see?

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Bat Party

Please note…that Mom’s phone has been disconnected and now the only way to contact her is through Teresa’s cell. If you do not have Teresa’s number…email her at teresabuster@live.com and she will send it to you.

NOW…..

The Estate Sales are over. Yay!!!  We were quite successful at trimming down. Furniture was sold, knickknacks carted away, the RV was sold and the garage is cleared. We met a lot of nice people who were very pleasant and just a couple of lookieloos who would not have been missed. Overall it accomplished what needed to be done.

Roger and Elena came down for the weekend. Roger participated in the 2011 Tuna Tournament that helped support the Food Bank and he brought us home twelve pounds of fresh Albacore.  Teresa arrived home Saturday after working for the week in Phoenix.  We picked her up at the airport and joined Roger for a steak dinner following his tournament. We had a very nice evening laughing together and enjoying each others company.

Sunday after the meeting, Mom’s Congregation gave her a Going-Away Party. Roger and Elena joined us, as well as Ryan, Kaila, and their children. We all gathered at Lake Marie, where Roger barbecued the fresh Albacore…IT WAS DELICIOUS and everyone raved about how moist it was. Burgers and hot dogs were also cooked and everyone shared in the feast that everyone had contributed to. Elena, Teresa and I all collaborated on a fresh Peach Crisp that turned out really yummy and was received quite well at the party. Everyone enjoyed the afternoon immensely. Roger and Elena went home after giving Mom, Teresa and I really nice long hugs and promises to visit in Ventura soon. (THEY HAD BETTER).

Friends referred a really nice family to rent Mom’s house, so that is a big relief…and things have been moving along pretty smoothly. It’s kind of ironic how things have been falling into place.

Until today….

Today Mom, Teresa and I were running around like chickens with their heads chopped off. (Stop for a second, close your eyes and visualize that…got it?)

Our plan is to move on Saturday. The list of “must-dos” is incredibly long and we are going a little Bat-Crazy…as in literally. Now visualize this: bats have invaded the attic, so we were on a quest to find this special wire mesh to keep them out and of course no one had it. Finally, the seventh building supply place in Coo’s Bay had a suitable substitute. Teresa was ticked.

We also needed to get some paperwork done at the DMV … well it turns out the DMV does not handle what we needed anymore, so we had to contact another Governmental office … and you know how red tape goes….sticky, sticky. (Turns out it wasn’t so bad). More chickens running around took place.

So all in all, our errands took us to seven building supply stores, one lawyer’s office, the DMV, one office supply store, a pharmacy, two Dollar Stores and three grocery stores…and one stop at an automotive place for a battery for the Ford … and oh yeah … one stop for lunch and another later at McDonald’s for some sweet tea. That’s a heck of a lot of running around.  I think we finished our list for the day…Yay. Now there is the list for tomorrow, Thursday, Friday and we are off to Ventura on Saturday.

So, helpful friends from the Reedsport Congregation, (Mike, Brian, Sarah, and Jonathan) showed up to combat the bats tonight.  Chuck and Myriam Harvey & Larry brought some fantastic chili verde, spanish rice and beans…we contributed enchiladas and salad and wham bam we have a bat party, complete with cheesecake, with blackberries. The guys and Sarah got up on the roof and took off the ridge, let the bats fly away at dusk and then went back up and stapled down the elusive mesh.

Larry Fitz & Chuck Harvey

Myriam Harvey

 

Jonathan, Mike & Brian

Do yourself a favor and do not visualize the next few sentences. The wonderful volunteers reported that there was a plethora of bats who left a hefty residual of deposit material that Sara said smelled like stinky musky poo. Brian said it is not as potent as old cow manure in a pile, but like cow poo that has old straw on top of it. Mike says it smells like bat poo, just plain old bat poo, which has a distinctive smell all its own. Well…we are grateful that our friends are so willing to help…and that their sense of humor remained intact. Hopefully the bats will now fly far, far away and poo somewhere else.

Sarah & Mom

So instead of beavers and ducks today….we had headless chickens and bats. Now let’s hope tomorrow is a little less hairy. We are almost done packing and cleaning. Randy will be here on Friday to drive the Moving Van down to Ventura and we are leaving on Saturday.

In true Cook fashion…we are sure to have more stories coming your way.

Up in Oregon, Mom and Teresa are busy prepping for their move by having their second yard sale. (I will be there tomorrow to join the fun.) Teri is lamenting over arranging all the odds and ends that are now ready to belong to someone else. We had giggled together over what Mom would sell and what she would want to absolutely hang onto and wondered how much stuff that we would need to haul down to Ventura. Much to my surprise, Mom is clearly ready to let go and move on. She actually is selling her huge cup collection as well as her dolls that she spent so many years collecting. In Mom’s case, I believed that she enjoyed the hunt, more than the ownership of things.

Have you watched that show, Hoarders?  It’s like a train wreck that you can just not avert your eyes from. I am so glad that we do not have to deal with that disease. ARGH… Dad was a frugal man and did not buy a whole lot of stuff…which is a very good thing; because he probably had everything he ever bought in the garage….tools and such. Fortunately, most of that stash is gone Teri reports, thanks to men who probably got the what-for from their wives when they took it home. Hee-hee, one man’s junk is another man’s treasure and a thorn in the butt of that man’s wife.

Sweet Relief — No hoarders in the Cook Clan.

While sorting through things, Teri had asked what we wanted from Dad’s possessions. There were a few items, none of cash value, just sentimental. I heard that Tonja got some ties for Jason, Marta took a few items for Skye & Shae, and Brandon took Dad’s work boots…stuff like that. When she asked me, I told her that the boys would like the harmonicas they had given Dad when they were kids. I think it is so sweet that they will find comfort in those items and I think Dad would have been touched by that. Dad was a man who was rich in love, rich in experience and he had a wealth of knowledge. He was not a land baron, did not have a magnificent stock portfolio, or millions to divide among his progeny. He gave us the gift of family…and harmonicas, boots and ties.

There is one object that Dad kept and must have loved, a possession that Dad has had since the early sixties, (in addition to the tools and stuff in the garage) and that is the FORD truck.  There are too many Ford stories to tell now…let’s just say that it has been a fixture in the Cook kids lives FOREVER. We all have memories that include this now rusty hunk of junk truck that has been sitting in their driveway for eons and has probably been a thorn in Mom’s butt all these years.

Dad and my son Chris made a pact many years ago when Chris was a wee young lad, that one day  the Ford would go to Chris. For some reason, Chris has always loved the truck, even though it was already old and rusty when he was little.

Fishing with Poppy

When Chris got his license, Dad discussed giving the truck to him then. After weighing the pros and cons, he decided to wait. He thought it would be a great project for Chris to fix it up and a good way for Chris to learn his way around engines. Yet he worried that it would take all of Chris’ time and money that should be spent in better endeavors. He went back and forth, but decided that it wasn’t the right time…and at that time, he was still using it to tow his boat to the lake. Dad loved that truck.

Poppy Showing Chris the Ford Woes

Chris is now older and somewhat wiser… the kid is no dummy. He understands what is involved in possessing and fixing up the Ford. On visits to Oregon, Poppy schooled Chris as to what it needs…and Dad tried to tell Chris he did not have to take it and assured him he would not be offended if he refused the keys. Still, Chris wants it … and even got Liz to agree that it could go in their driveway. It’s not worth anything other than what it could get at the scrap yard…but to Chris it is so very valuable and desirable…It was Poppy’s. When he looks at it, I imagine him replaying a video of his memories of Poppy, fishing, and the Ford. Those are Some Truly Precious memories.

Conner, Chris & Poppy & RUST

The rusty, hunk of junk Ford from Poppy, is a treasured object, a token of love and worth so much in the eyes and heart of his Grandson. It warms my heart to know how loved our Poppy is by all of our children.

I think about all Dads’ family and try to visualize each ones memories. We had so many great times with that man. I wish there was a way to transfer those memories to DVDs so we could all watch them together.

If Chris ever does get that Ford shiny and bright again, that will truly be a vehicle full of Poppy love. There is no doubt that memories are definitely more important than objects; yet sometimes, certain objects can be the vehicles for recalling good times, good people and reminding us how good the bond of love can be. Poppy may be gone, but his lessons for us live on.

The Fords Future?

“Home” is any four walls

that enclose the right person.

Helen Rowland

That being said …  there is a mobile home at 25 Faulkner Court, in the City of Ventura, California that is soon going to be a true HOME. A home filled with two “Right” people. Mom and Teresa are moving to Ventura!  My fingers are typing with glee! I can hardly keep them on the keyboard because I keep wanting to clap and wave them up in the air. (Yes, a few fist pumps are definitely in order!)  Yep…they are coming back to California!!!

On their visit here in Ventura, I thought I would tempt them by casually driving them by some homes that might catch their eye. Mom had already stated back in Oregon that she might want to move now that Dad is no longer with her.   So….Yes, I had a plan…but truly, my plan was not wholly self-serving. No really.  I am capable of  putting other’s interests ahead of my own….really I am.. well…I am! (This said with great conviction.)  

Mom’s home in Oregon is wonderful and she and Dad had great times there, as did the whole family…But now that Dad is gone, it just isn’t the same. Great memories are now diluted by great heartache.   Mom is ready for her new start…so why not down in California where she can live by the beach still, and… in warmer weather? Not to mention that the old house is in such a tough rural spot with no easy assess if you are flying in for a visit.  I have countless other reasons why this is a good move for her….but I didn’t even need to push. She fell in love right away with this new place. I guess she was ready to jump and she did just that, bringing Teresa along as her constant companion and adventure-seeking partner.

I AM THRILLED.  Can you tell I am excited? I AM EXCITED….YAY!

Mom chose a lovely Senior Community called Lemon Wood, where Mobile Homes are situated in a tranquil setting, with tons of trees and flowers, babbling brooks and ponds and even a beautiful gazebo. There are walkways that lead you up the brook, pass the ponds and to a Community Center, with pool, saunas, and hot tubs, and even a golf putting area.  The park is secure and gated and some of our friends lives right down the street from the home she chose….how cool is that? 

So here are a few pictures of the place that Mom decided on:

This one is the mobile home in back of the pond

Mom’s New Home

The Beautiful Landscaping

The Club House & Pool

They Evcn Have A Library

The Community Library

 After signing the necessary papers, the house is now in escrow. It is scheduled to close on September 1st…and then we will get it ready for Mom and Teresa to move in and start their new adventures in Ventura. Already they have found some great restaurants, shopping, and other fun places to visit.

When everything is settled in Oregon and they get down here, they will live five minutes from the beach,  ten minutes from my house, just a few minutes to the Kingdom Hall … and both my sons and  a few of Mom’s Great-Grandchildren are just a few blocks away.  Teresa’s son Sean is right down the freeway. Mom’s neice, Bunny lives not too far, in the City of Lancaster … and … She is close enough to visit her longtime friends in Riverside, South Gate and Covina.

As for interesting places to keep the two of those Galavanting Ladies busy … Ventura’s downtown is great and not far away is Ojai, Carpenteria, Montecitio (where Oprah lives) Santa Barbara, and Solvang. Mom and Teresa have been warmly welcomed into our Congregation. ..they’ve even attended an evening of appetizers and wine in their honor already!  Everyone is looking forward to having them here permanently. Mom will have some great ladies to play cards with. She and Teresa are sure to be a welcome addition to our community … and not only that … having them so close by is definitely going to brighten up my life.

Yes … a New Home will be made, because anywhere where my Mother and Sister are residing will be a place filled with warmth and happiness. A new place to experience new joys and a new setting to help mend broken hearts. Love will grow in that house and it will be a great place for Mom to enjoy her days gardening and playing with her Great-Grandchildren and visiting with family and friends, new and old… and what a great place for the rest of the family to come and visit.

So….the Saga definitely continues in a fantastic and exciting new chapter for Carolyn Cook and Teresa Buster

… and (whispering softly, so I don’t sound too selfish…)

 ME. ME. ME.  (Jumping for Joy)  ME. ME. ME.

Despite my expectations:

  • Our hearts keep beating
  • The sun keeps coming up every morning
  • Birds still sing
  • The grass still grows
  • and Life continues…..

Mom and Teresa have returned to the homestead after being away for a while. Mom spent some time with Tonja in Missouri, where she was pampered and loved. Mom got to watch her Grandson, Jason, graduate from High School. She got to visit with lifelong friends, Shirley and Jerry Holle, a healing salve for a broken heart. Tonja and Gil helped Mom celebrate her first anniversary without Dad. They would have celebrated their 61st anniversary on June 11th…Now Mom is wearing a shiny new ring and a locket with Dads photo close to her heart.

Teri picked up Mom and together they flew back to Oregon, where they attended the District Convention in Salem. This years theme was focusing on God’s Kingdom and the words were no doubt comforting and soothing to the two of them as they sat and listened to evidence that Jehovah is yearning to fulfil his promises. Those promises are what Dad had faith in and tried to instill in all of his children.

After leaving the Convention, Teri drove Mom back home….home to a yard blooming with poppies and house without our Poppy.

So how do you move on and recreate your life?  That is just what Mom is doing … making changes, tweaking, adjusting and taking one day at a time, with one foot in front of the other. Thankfully, because she is one beautiful, dynamic, giving, loving, generous…..and every other description of wonderful… Teresa is with Mom, guiding her through this process with tenderness, grace, beauty and love.

Teri is enveloping Mom in love and keeping her busy with new resolve, new goals, new projects. They have turned a page and started a new chapter…. and doing so without closing the book of Ray. Together, they are writing with a flourish, creating new experiences for a woman who has to find her identity now that she has lost half of herself, with the loss of her soul mate, our Dad. They are going to surround themselves with Shiny and Bright….sprucing up their nest and getting cozy.

Together, we will go on…we will go on with rejoicing knowing and trusting the our God cannot lie…He will resurrect the man we love so much.  Jehovah will continue to guide our steps and comfort us and we will be okay….because He promised…we will do it together by putting one foot in front of the other.

Dad…One month has passed and I am still in disbelief that he is gone. I watched Dad die and still I do not believe. How is it possible that someone who was larger than life should not be here…here where I can talk to him, touch him, hug him and kiss his forehead? How could this have happened?

I miss him so much. I miss knowing that he was just a call away. I miss the reassurance that he was there with Mom, loving her and teasing her and taking care of her. My foundation is shaken and I cannot find my footing. My heart is shattered and nothing feels normal anymore. Grief is ugly and messy and so very inconvenient. I can find no place to set it down and walk away from it. Grief follows me and grabs my heart and squeezes so hard that I cannot breathe. Grief hangs over my head and rains on me if I experience any sort of joy, jerking me back to the fact that I cannot share those moments with Dad and making me feel guilty…how can I enjoy anything knowing that my father is not here? Grief invades my dreams and wakes me every morning and socks me in the face with the reality that Dad is gone…every single morning. So many things remind me of him…I see him everywhere and then gasp when I realize that there is no way that I could see him…he is gone and I cannot stand that fact.

And….what makes this ugly grief thing even more distressing is that while I get doused in it everyday…so does my Mother and my Brother and my Sisters, our Spouses and our Children and Grand-children and all of our family and friends too. So much pain. So much grief…So many hearts that need healing. So many of us who miss Dad. So many of us whose hearts are aching and broken. I wish I could wipe away my family’s pain…I wish I could rewind time and kiss him and hold on to him. I know we will see him again, but until then…we have this grief thing stomping on our hearts…and it just seems so wrong, so hurtful and so very, very ugly.

We miss you so much Dad!

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