Thursday, April 14, 2011

Hey, I'm 60!

April 13, 2011
This morning I woke at 7:23am with the Beatles version of "Happy Birthday to You" playing over and over in my head. That was, until the proverbial phone call came from the kids singing the traditional version - our family tradition. I think I heard Leo singing the loudest - all the way from Philadelphia! Whew! what a day it was. Check this out:

7:23 am - Woke up with the usual Parkinson's muscle stiffness, slowness, shuffle across the floor and 'freezing' at the bathroom door. Don't worry I finally made it through that mental barrier just in time.

7:45 am - Levodopa kicks in, I can take a shower now.
8:00 am - Prepared one last box for shipping for Jenna that I missed last night.
8:30 am- Loaded up the van with 7 boxes to ship to J & S in Philly.
9:00 am - Headed out to Oceanside... Took the scenic route on Route 76 instead of 78.
9:50 am - Arrived at the Oceanside pier. Thought about the first time my brother-in-law, Pete was here.

10:15 am - Walked to the end of the Pier just in time to visit the boy's room at Ruby's Diner. I know, TMI, but they tell me that's the way it is when you hit the big 60.

10:20am - Sitting in Ruby's diner with a 270 degree view of the Pacific Ocean waiting for Ra Ra.

10:30 am - Ra and Little Vida arrive for breakfast. As usual they were both all smiles. But Vida still isn't sure about Granpa Ken. She'll warm up to me soon. I bribed her with tiny pieces of my waffle. It worked!

11:14 am - After a scrumptious breakfast (I had homemade corn beef hash with 2 poached eggs and a malted waffle. Rachel splurged with the Cinnamon Roll French toast and 'burnt' bacon while Vida munched on the tiny pieces of everything we set in front of her) and watching the men trying to fish for scrawny little fish

(I had visions of Alaska when I was 13 years old holding a 30 pound Copper River King Salmon caught in the fish wheel) Yep. That's me in the picture!

We hiked back to our vehicles just as the meters ran out of money. That was an example of EXERCISING WITH PURPOSE... not exercising just to exercise (like on a treadmill at the gym) but walking the length of the pier and back for BREAKFAST. Oh yeah. Now you're talkin!

11:40 am - Ra changed Vida in the back of her Chevy van, then they headed back down to San Diego... while I hoped in my van and headed to the Amtrak station. 12:05 pm - Yeah. I found it! (I don't have a GPS yet :-( ) The six small boxes were fine for Amtrak Express Shipping, but the big box with the stroller in it had to go by Greyhound. They were in the same complex.

1:10 pm - Mission Accomplished. Decided to drive back to Murrieta.
2:30 pm - Back home. Was going to take a nap, but decided to go get a massage since it WAS my birthday.
3:00 pm - massage and foot massage (that's my favorite) walking on clouds for a while.

5:00 pm - went to dinner. Nope, not at Hometown Buffet. I reserved a table for one at Sam's Club! Mmmmmmm! The secret to surviving a trip to Sam's Club is to have a hot dog combo, a slice of pepperoni pizza and a drink FIRST. Then I'm not tempted to buy every carbohydrate I encounter on my tour of that facility. Not bad, only bought a few items of food, a bunch of batteries and some kitchen items for the new home. Yes, it's true. I had my 60th birthday dinner alone at Sam's Club.

Don't feel sorry for me. I enjoyed it. That Beatles version of Birthday was back, looping over and over in my brain. (Must've been some sinister implant when they performed the Deep Brain Stimulation) I sat there for a half hour watching the passing parade that was almost as entertaining as the Rose Parade in Pasadena... then I paraded up and down the aisles of the store, myself, like a Treasure Hunter on a mission.

An hour and a half later, I emerged into the balmy Southern California evening as if I had just exited the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland. Ahhh, life is good. I must admit that, for a fleeting moment, I wished that I wasn't alone right then, but frankly, the current symptoms of inability to communicate verbally make my interactions with others so frustrating that I really wouldn't fare well with a 'party' going on. I think the clinical term for it is Social Avoidance.

8:30 pm - (Back at the ranch) At any rate, I really enjoyed today and I'm exhausted. Time for bed. No more late nights for this old man. Maybe I'll visit Hometown Buffet for lunch tomorrow and try out my new status of SENIOR CITIZEN and get a 50 cent discount!

I told Rachel at breakfast, that if I had to do it all over again for the past 60 years - I wouldn't change a thing. It's been an excellent journey.

However, now that I've had some time to ponder that statement, I must say there are two things I would change... one of which I can still change and one I can't:

1) I want to spend more 'romantic' time with my wonderful life partner. And I resolve to do that as we enter this next phase of our journey. We kind of have a new lease on life here in Southern California and I want to capitalize on this opportunity to do things with Beckie - like we did when we moved here in 1972 (Ironically from Philadelphia). I know my personality has changed with the onset of Parkinson's, but my love for her has only grown. It's easy for 'stuff' to get in the way of relationship.

2) Too late to change this now, but after the amazing experience of being with Rachel and Jenna and their husbands and children, I wish we'd had 4 or 5 kids. If I had only known how rewarding and fulfilling it is to sit in a room full of grown kids and busy grandkids, I would have had more. Now that I can't see what I'm writing -through the happy tears- I think I'll stop and go to bed.

No sleeping pills tonight. I'm tired from a great day- my 29,100th day on this earth. Lord, grant me thousands more, or come back soon. I'm good with either option!