Catch up: Summer 2021

Full disclosure . . . this is one of several "catch up" posts to bring this forgotten little blog current with the state of our lives.  For our family, the past 12 months have been extraordinarily full with new adventures, practicing our flexibility, and giving and receiving love and support.

Last I reported here, we had just finished a lovely summer camping trip to Mt. Rainier in July 2021.  Well, also right about that time, Byron's professional life got interesting and new opportunities came his way, leading to a big decision to leave his employer of 13+ years and join a relatively young biotech company in Vancouver, Washington, called Absci.  Byron's last day at AGC in Bothell was July 9 and he enjoyed a well-deserved and long-overdue month of R&R before starting his new job.  

Right after his last day, we took a week-long camping trip to San Juan Island where we hiked, and ate, and read, and ate, and kayaked, and ate, and pretty much fed our souls and bodies with beauty, fabulous food and drink, and the relaxation.  We were joined by Mark, Sadie and Jill (and the Sportsmobile, which is always a highlight for Wyatt).  Alas, we did not see any whales.

Once back to reality, we started planning for the big change -- Byron living in Vancouver, WA during the week and taking Amtrak back to Seattle on the weekends. We decided to keep Wyatt in his last year of elementary school in our neighborhood school and buy some time to figure out the right time and place to move grandpa Herman, who was still living downstairs at 97.  

July brought us gorgeous summer colors in the flower gardens at home, and we found a bit of time to deploy the new hammock, read, take walks, and make a batch of plum jam from our tree before we had to sort out the business of getting an apartment for Byron in the "Couv"by August 6.

We rented an apartment for Byron within walking distance of the train station in Vancouver, right near the waterfront.  It gave Byron good access to walking paths and put him in the downtown core, where a few restaurants and breweries, a great farmers' market, and lots of real estate development seemed to be going strong.  It was hard to leave him in Vancouver the first time, but we all got into a rhythm fairly quickly.

In August, Wyatt kept busy during the weeks with swimming and water polo, and his favorite thing of all -- Beach Camp at Sunset Bay (Edmonds) -- with his buddy, William.  

Around the time Byron moved in early August, Grandpa Herman began a significant decline both cognitively and physically. Herman still took walks around the block when he could but they became less frequent and he only took them when accompanied. We had a ramp built to his door, which allowed him safe navigation of the steps outside his apartment when he ventured out. (It was the last project our friend Axel Jasper completed for us and he was thrilled to do it for Herman.  Axel passed away from cancer late last fall.)  Herman's decline required lots of support, and when caregivers were no where to be hired, that support mostly came from me.  On his good days, Herman could still prepare his own oatmeal for breakfast, but it quickly became a full-time job to keep him fed, clothed, dry and clean, and manage all his doctor and PT/OT appointments.  Looking back now, mid-August through early December (when we moved him . . . more to come on that) were a blur for me.  I'm glad, between the obligatory stuff, when he was still mobile enough to get out, I was able to take him to the Nordic Museum where he enjoyed the Finnish landscapes exhibit and a nice lunch out.  He attended church in person again periodically, using a wheelchair.  It was the highlight of his last few months living in our home that we helped him go back to his church in Shoreline after the pandemic allowed.  The people there were thrilled to see him.  It made us all realize how difficult the isolation of the pandemic had been on him.

To wrap up the summer, we planned a camping trip to Camano Island State Park that included Sadie.  It was a great last summer hurrah for the kids, which kept us away until the night before school started in early September. 


Barbara said…
Hi, Amy,
Great to hear your news. It is amazing how life keeps getting busier and busier! You do have a lot on your plate.
Barbara Landers

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