My older brother is my parents’ primary care provider these days. According to our conversations, he has coffee and breakfast with our mother, then heads over to the assisted living facility where our father lives to sit with him during breakfast. Until recently, he headed to work. When medical appointments or health crises arose, he took off from work. Evenings were check-in time, and taking care of the bills. He is quite accepting of this “season of life” and refers to it as “life in the slow lane”. He does not have lots of opportunities to be off for the evening or weekends. He appears content with staying close to home. He retired recently.
Now, I do not want to imply that with retirement he needs to spend more of his day letting others pass him by while he attends to family matters, nor that he was ready to shift into overdrive and take off… but he did arrange to take a few weeks to visit his son in a mid-western city. I suggested that I would take some vacation time to hang out at home to fill in the younger-son duties.
I brought the computer and a good book, anticipating the the slow lane might leave plenty of quite moments for hermit like contemplation. Okay, here’s what Day One looked like:
5:13 a.m., wake up (remember I am on East Coast time so sleeping in until 8:13 would alert my wife to call 911 to see if I’m breathing still) and turn on the coffee pot
5:15 – 6, read and write e-mails over 2 cups of coffee, check blog activity, etc.
6 – 6:30, shower and get dressed
6:30, put breakfast together (Mom left me instructions)
7, Mom gets up for a cup of coffee and breakfast
7:30, walk the one-mile route to Dad’s assisted living facility
7:50 – 8:30 sit with Dad while he eats breakfast; make random comments of conversation
8:30, walk home
9 – 10, chat with Mom
10 – 10:45, drive to visit aunt (trying to keep up with the flow of traffic, which going out of Silicon Valley was difficult to do even at 70 MPH, which appears to be the slow speed for most who are frustrated with the constant conveyor belt of vehicles on the freeways)
10:45 – 1:45, visit and lunch with aunt (and trying out her facility’s chile rellenos entree)
1:45 – 2, help aunt carry Amazon Fulfillment Center packages back to her apartment
2 – 2:40, drive home (hey, I cut off 5 minutes from the drive, how did that happen?)
2:40 – 3, put feet up and read
4:15, wake up and wonder where 3:15 – 4:15 went (and what page was I on when I fell asleep)
4:15 – 4:30 convince myself that I need to get up to got sit with my father for dinner
4:30 walk to Dad’s assisted living facility by alternative route
4:50 – 5:20 attempt to get Dad to eat while he insists that he prefers to sleep through dinner
5:20 – 6:15, decide that I can stop by a couple of stores on the way back to home by taking a different and slightly longer route. Deliver shopping cart back to Safeway store, which happens to be along the way, but about a mile from where I found the cart abandoned on the sidewalk. Pick up See’s Chocolate to bring back to coworkers. Buy new power cord for computer as the old one had frayed insulation and little metal wires exposed.
6:15, help Mom make dinner and verify that I had purchased the correct power cord.
6:30, have dinner and chat with Mom
7:40, walk over to sister-in-law’s home to watch Golden State Warrior’s basketball game (I am in California, so it seems relevant)
9:00, say “good night” at half-time break, rather than getting too tired during 3rd period of game
10:00 lights out.
This is the Slow Lane?