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Thursday, July 21, 2016

Bob's Pool

One of the things that Bob had wanted, and I wanted for him, was a therapy pool.  It was one of the things on my list when looking for a new house -- either a house with a pool or room to put one in.  It was also something I had spoken about to our attorney during our mediation i.e: enough money for a house with a pool.

I had always heard such good things about aqua therapy for stroke survivors, but, unfortunately, the one place in town that offered aqua therapy would not accept Bob into the program because he was incontinent.

And that's why I wanted Bob to have his very own pool (to pee in! ha) along with a wheelchair lift device, and I'd priced all these things out including a private therapist willing to work with him. And that was the plan which was approved by his trust fund.

Of course, everyone knows what happened to that plan.

I have spent a long time debating what to do with pool plan and the money set aside by the trust for this project.  After talking with our realtor (who assured me it was an investment and would increase value of the house) and other folks, I finally decided, I would go ahead with our plan even though Bob will only be able to enjoy it in spirit.

And perhaps it would do me some good, to continue with our plan for our house, and once finished, it would provide "therapy" for me.

They started excavating earlier this year in what was basically a dirt and weedy backyard:

The pool is a small pool, and it's "eco-friendly", i.e. salt water and solar heated.  Bob would be pleased.  In fact, these "in process" photos make me feel he approves:


Since I didn't need to put in a wheelchair lift or a heat pump, I was able to splurge a little on adding water features and "dog friendly" sun shelf.

I am so glad I went through with this project, it has brought real joy into my life for the first time since Bob passed away.  I swim every day and do aqua aerobics.  It's a great stress reliever and Kona loves it, too.

Just finished the final touch -- landscaping!

Sunday, July 17, 2016


For a long time, after Bob died, I sort of crawled in hole and hid.  Then I decided that I needed to follow Bob's advice (through the medium) to "make our house a home" and finish the improvements that Bob and I had planned.

Just finished landscaping the side yard which used to look like this:

Which was pretty much just dirt and weeds. And now looks likes this:

The bare area is ground cover (just starting) and should fill up!

Planted Peace Lillies and Lady Palms along the sides, patio area by the fence,
need to get a table and some chairs!
Wood fence separates the guest house (Chris' old apt) from the main house. 

Entrance to side yard

Pet Memorial Corner
my meditation spot

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Found Drawings

I was going through some boxes and I found some of Bob's sketchbooks.  I thought they were unused, but when I flipped through them, I found some drawings that he either never considered "finished" or "good enough" and so he abandoned and I don't remember these at all.

They are all untitled.  Unfinished?  I am unsure. But find them interesting.

I have decided to use Bob's drawings in the memoir I am planning to write.  The idea being to use one of his drawings to head off each chapter, and to perhaps have the "title" of the drawing relate to the contents of the chapter.  Also one of his drawings for the cover.  This way the memoir would be a last joint project for Bob and me, and both our names on the cover, his name as the illustrator.

As far as these new "found" drawings, I would love to hear anyone's impressions, comments or ideas for a title.

Here's the first one:

Thursday, June 30, 2016

My life

Bob is dead

Chris is dead

Boomer is dead

Zenith is dead

I am trying --- but jeepers, my life sucks right now.

And I really do not know how to go on.

How does one go on?

And OK -- this is just sad --- sorry, but I admit I'm having a hard time

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Remembering Chris

I have known Chris for over 12 years, we met shortly after Chris's landlady died in a car accident.  It was Chris who showed up on my doorstep to tell me this sad news, as she knew I was friendly with her landlady.

Chris then sat down on the porch and cried.  As did I. That death brought us together.

After that, Chris was a frequent visitor on our front porch.  Back then, Bob and I didn't own a television and every night, after work, we would sit on the front porch and talk.  We always called this our "porch sitting time".  Chris was there so frequently I remember Bob, once, tired after a long day, complaining "she's always here!" and wanting some "alone time" with just me.

Chris was unlike any friend I've ever had.  She grew up poor in Maryland, had a 6th grade education, was part-Cherokee and swore like sailor.  She wore a ring on every finger, even her thumbs, and had a ton of tattoos (before this was the fashionable thing to do) -- the one her calf in the image of Snoopy lying atop his doghouse with a think bubble stating "F--- YOU!"

She had, as she would say, "a wild time" when she was young, and spent some years in prison where she gave birth to, first, her daughter who she gave up, and then a son, (now deceased), who she also gave up for adoption. During that time, she was cited as the alleged ringer leader in a jailbreak.

She left Maryland with her third child, a baby boy, and a cat (in a carrier) and everything she owned on her back.  She stuck out her thumb on the side of the highway and was picked up by a truck driver.  When the driver asked her where she was headed, she said "I don't know. Where you headed?" He told her that he was taking his load to St. Petersburg, Florida and she said, "sounds good to me."  That truck driver dropped her off on a corner in St. Pete and she stayed here for 40 some years working as an upholsterer in a downtown shop.

She was feisty and a loyal friend.  But you would not want to cross her.

I remember the time, when another tenant in her apartment building complained to the landlord about Chris's dog.  That tenant had a potted plant next to her door with a sign on it "Do Not Touch!" so Chris poisoned that plant with muriatic acid, then left burning black candles, strange herbs, chicken bones and a Death card from the tarot deck on her doorstep.  I remember "helping" her plot  this revenge on the front porch, and the two of us cackling like witches --- I honestly didn't think she'd go through with it! The tenant moved shortly afterwards.

I don't know how I would have survived without her for all those caregiving years as she always was happy to sit with Bob so I could run errands even when it took her a two hour long bus trip to make it to our house after she moved.

And I don't know how I would have made it through Bob's death, cremation, and all that without her by my side.
Chris & Bob at an estate sale.

Chris loved thrift shops, yard sales, she collected cows.  She loved her dogs, slasher movies, bingo and religiously played the Cash 3.  She was "lucky in cards" but not in love.  On her 65th birthday, she had a tattoo put on her arm, a heart with the name Eddie, her long lost love --- the one who got away.  She said, "I guess I should have never punched him in the nose."

She always told me that my only fault was "you're too nice."

Wheelchair Race!

I'll never forget the day that a representative from the Florida Labrador Retriever Rescue was here at our house doing the "home check". We had been sitting in the living room and the women was telling me the "awful conditions" under which Kona and her siblings were living, including "they feed those dogs people food!" and "they smoke cigarettes!"  And the next I know, here comes Chris, knocking at my door and when she wheels into the kitchen on her "wheelie" (which was the name of her power chair) the first thing out of her mouth is "I didn't have time to cook, so I bought Boomer some rotisserie chicken!" and I am think-screaming Chris, shut up! and the second thing out of her mouth was "OH! I forgot to buy cigarettes!  Can I borrow a pack?" I"m thinking Oh no! And I could've killed her right then as I was sure the whole home check was blown in that minute, but fortunately the "glowing reference" from Dr. Hillary pulled it through.

The last time I actually talked with her was Christmas Eve before she fell into a coma.  She told me then she knew she was going to die and she was willing me her "cow collection" (believe me, she has a lot of cow stuff) and I told her to "shut up" and "I didn't want her freaking cow collection".  She then told the nurse that I was "one of only three" people she loved.

I don't know what I'd have done without her all these years. And I am somewhat at lost without her.

I also now have a lot of cows....