Monday, December 26, 2005

Xmas 2005

The original plan was to spend Xmas with some of Kat's family in their northern Twin Cities exurb. However, plans changed when my mom contacted me and explained that Grandpa may have had another minor stroke a few days earlier. He'd had a stroke a few years earlier, and has ungone a pretty strong recovery, but he's not getting any younger and (from what I'm told) he's really beginning to feel his mortality and get depressed, especially at times when his health is in question.

He went in for an MRI on the 22nd, but they wouldn't have any results until the following week, so Jojo and I decided we'd both go home for Xmas, mainly to be able to spend time with the grandparents.

Kat was a good sport about the change in plans, and opted to come along and meet my family for the first time. Kat would tell you she came along to meet my family, but I think she was motivated primarily by wanting an opportunity to sift through my parents old photo albums and dig up extremely embarassing photos of me as an awkward, retarded-looking child with a runty body and unforgiving hairstyles :-) Thankfully, my worst photo was probably still not as bad as the "flock-of-seagulls" hairstyle that Frick wore in some high school photos on display at my grandparent's place.

Anyway, whatever her motivation, Kat came along, met the family on my dad's side (everyone seemed to like her) and we all had a great time. In fact, I think Kat interacted better with my family than I do, and having her there gave me some incentive to interact with my cousins more than I normally would. This is a good thing since I sometimes feel like I don't have much in common with them, and tend to not engage them as much as I should. That's something I really need to work on.

As is my tradition in the winter months, I had thrown my sleds in the trunk and we made a few good sledding runs down Honeymoon Hill. Much of the snow had melted, and there was grass poking through in many spots, there was still enough snow for some killer speedy runs and had a blast. It was a holiday weekend, but we had the hill all to ourselves. Very cool. Yes, I'm thirty-something, and sledding is one of my favorite things in the world. Am I a child in a man's body? You be the judge.

Grandpa seems to be doing all right - apparently he's having more dizziness and balance problems than he normally would, but he's OK. But his hearing also seems worse and worse, and for some reason no one seems able to approach him about getting a hearing aid. So when he wasn't around, there was a big discussion about how to approach him about a hearing aid, what his reaction would be, how not offend him or make him go on the defensive. I have a hard time imagining that he would be that reluctant to get a hearing aid, PROVIDED that someone could demonstrate that it could improve his quality of life.

I think that's the key - they'd need to get him to a professional who could demonstrate that it would really improve his quality of life - and I think it could be a dramatic improvement. Sitting at the dinner table you can just see that he misses some parts of conversations and starts to unplug. And it's frustrating that my dad and my aunt are both unable or unsure how to approach him. Equally frustrating is that fact that I guess I don't know how to approach him either :-(

Anyway, after Xmas dinner we dug out the photo albums - and I do indeed look like a total retard in at least one photo - a photo that I hope never resurfaces again. Thankfully every little kid is bound to look cute in at least a few photos as well, and I think that held true for me as well.