Just a quick update this evening, after we just spent about twelve and a half hours traveling home straight through from West Yellowstone, Montana -- it actually wasn't as awful as I kind of expected it to be, traveling for that many hours, but I still would prefer to split it up into two travel days like we did on the way there.
In any case, I added three photos to yesterday's photo set, to make a total of 88 shots; and today I added 5 photos to the set for visiting with Mom and Bill in Wallace, to make a total of 45 shots. This is because we stopped at Mom and Bill's for about 90 minutes, effectively breaking up the 11-hour drive in half.
The brief visit at Mom and Bill's was a bit of a mixed bag. The absolutley good part was that Mom is doing much better, and we were able to see that for ourselves -- even though she literally came out of her bedroom using a walker. When we arrived, Christopher said, "She forgot you guys were coming." I had told him we would come back to stop for a bit on our way home, so maybe he could have reminded her? But you know, whatever.
This is what I gleaned from talking to Mom. She's been in the hospital four times this year, and it ultimately was always because of the blocked artery in her stomach in which a stent had to be placed last weekend. The thing is, the first three times she went in, they found other things wrong with her and fixed those things without getting to the diagnostics of the clogged artery. In one appointment they found she had bursitis in her leg (this is what Mom keeps calling "Brucitis"). In another, they found a cyst in her rectum and had to get that removed. I can't remember what the third thing was. Suffice it to say that it took her getting terrible stomach aches after eating Cream of Wheat a week ago Friday and again after the pizza we brought them on Saturday -- two very different kinds of foods, with essentially the same result -- only the second was so bad she was taken to the ER in Kellog, ID. By Sunday she was transferred to the medical center in Coeur d'Alene, and that very day she had the surgery, and she was back home again on Monday.
Mom has been dizzy and has fallen several times, hurting herself. This was one of the initial things she went to the doctor for as well, if I recall correctly. The persistent dizziness is actually why she was using the walker, to keep her from falling over.
Let's just not get into the clutter at Mom and Bill's house, and how dark the hallway is all the time. And the fact that Christopher still lives with them and has been since, if I recall correctly, early last year. The boys come and stay to visit virtually every weekend. There are three of them now, and Tristen, the oldest, having just graduated last weekend, has moved in with Mom and Bill too. Just what they need. And instead of spending any quality time with the kids, the only time I could see him paying them much attention is to tell them to get out of his way or to settle down.
Also, this was interesting: I was having trouble getting the photos of Yellowstone on my phone to load so I could show them to Mom, and Christopher said it's because Bill keeps turning certain things off so there aren't so many people using the wifi (the kids are constantly on their phones -- not that I have room to judge there, I'll concede, but there are four extra people sucking up the wifi juice, between Christopher and the three boys). Christopher went back to Mom and Bill's bedroom to ask Bill -- who never did come out this afternoon -- about it, and this resulted in them having such a heated argument that I could hear Christopher raising his voice at Bill from out in the living room. I turned to Mom an said, "Do they argue a lot?" and Mom kind of nodded.
I've said it before and I'll say it again: I feel bad for those kids. They get very little in the way of guidance. Shobhit makes earnest attempts at providing some himself, but he lacks far too much context for it to make any real difference. He tried to suggest to Tristen today that he consider something like the Boy Scouts or volunteering as a park ranger -- clearly an idea influenced by our time at Yellowstone. And where the fuck would Tristen start with that? Shobhit's idea is just to go to college. Certainly college is a good idea regardless, but Tristen's grand idea right now is to take online college classes. Who knows, maybe that'll pan out -- it did for Gina. Sadly, I don't think Tristen has the kind of support system Gina had. But, we'll see.
Shobhit also kept going on and on about how they should take their dog, Colt, for walks. Finally Tristen took the dog outside -- and it ran after the neighbor's dog. These neighbors don't sound like the greatest people. Mom said that when her biological sister, Cyndi, came to visit, she parked in the empty lot across the street, which is owned by said neighbors, and they left a note on her car that read THIS IS PRIVATE PROPERTY. They sound fun, don't they?
So, anyway. When all the boys are there, Mom and Bill's house reverts to similar family chaos that was at Christopher and Katina's when they were still together. I was relieved to see Mom doing so much better, but was also glad to get going after visiting for only ninety minutes. It wasn't like many people there seemed eager for us to stay and visit at this point. Christopher was mostly intersted in his computer; the kids in their phones; Bill never left the bedroom. Mom came out to chat for a bit, and I do think Tristen was happy to see us. But, we did still have another five hours or so to drive, so we had to get a move on.
And we'll come back to see them again in December.
As for Yellowstone National Park, I'd sum it up by saying it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience -- I expected to love it, and it still significantly exceeded my expectations. The stuff to see there is unreal. Even when we were driving out of town on our way back to Idaho, we saw a mamma bear and two cubs crossingt the state highway in the distance ahead of us. That's a good way for them to get killed by cars, but these ones made it across with plenty of space. We still passed by too quickly for me to get a photo, but it was an awesome thing to see, and a great memory of our last moments in the area.
We got back and Alexia, our neighbor who looked after the cats, not only kept the place incredibly clean, she even kept a log of all the hairballs the cats had barfed up! Which, she also cleaned. I offered her a bottle of wine via text when thanking her yet again, and she insited she was happy to look after the cats and we needn't give her anything at all. She does want to see pictures, though, so I figure when she comes by for me to show her some within the next few days, perhaps we can at least offer her a glass.
[posted 10:55 pm]