I think we’ve a record here. Andrew and I were in Hawaii for a little over a week and I didn’t post any gorgeous photos, complaints about jet lag or other obnoxious-isms designed to make people jealous.
The last month, hell, the entire spring has been hectic. And after our July 4th blowout I’m sincerely hoping to turn into a hermit for a couple of weeks. Now if I could only get someone to pay me for being a hermit…..
Okay, so where were we? Oh yeah. May 7th.
I started getting a sore throat around the 20th of April. By May 7th I was sincerely concerned because I hadn’t been able to hear from my right ear for most of a week, I was barking up a lung every time I coughed and I coughed if you looked at me sideways. AND I had to get on an airplane in 2 weeks to fly ukuthousand miles across an ocean for a memorial service. Oy!
So I went to my doctor and I told her that both ears hurt, my face felt like a truck was resting on it, and I was coughing myself stupid. “Oh. And I have to get on an airplane in 2 weeks to fly ukuthousand miles across an ocean for a memorial service.”
I have a lot of respect for my MD. She’s got a sense of humor and I really appreciate that.
First and foremost she walked into the exam room wearing a surgical mask so I wouldn’t infect her with anything. And when I told her that I had to get on an airplane in two weeks she gave me the hairy eyeball and said “Not with THOSE ears you aren’t!”
I like her.
So, with a diagnosis of bronchitis, a sinus infection, and two infected ears I left my MD’s office with antibiotics, prednisone, and an albuterol inhaler all of which succeeded in making me feel human well before airplane day. Thank GOD!
This visit to Hawaii was, well DUH!, far different than any we’ve ever had. All of us, and I do mean ALL. OF. US., were sad, we were all joyous, overwhelmed, hectic, distracted and distractible, lunatic, manic, and HOT. For Andrew and I there were four major events. The memorial garage sale blowout and Caitlin’s high school graduation on the 24th, our 18th wedding anniversary on the 25th, and Joan’s memorial on the 26th. Add 11teen thousand relatives, friends, well wishers, and hangers-on to all the planning for same and it was a zoo.
A chaotic, heart wrenching, stressful, joyful, happy, sweaty zoo.
Allow me to set the stage.
Andrew and I along with Uncle Jeff (Joan’s brother) and Sara and Danny were staying at a rental house about 10 minutes’ drive from the Lenzarium.
Tony, Libby, Caitlin, and Lucy live at the Lenzarium.
Meg, David and Dawn, and the eldest niece Julia were all staying at the Lenzarium.
So that’s what? 13 people spread between two houses and sharing three cars.
There are flashes and scents, but no real coherent (coherent? Gimme a fuckin’ BREAK!) cohesive memory of the whole thing.
Twelve or 13 people taking a tour of most of the garage sales on the windward side on Saturday morning. Does the term “clown car” mean anything to you? It must have been something to see, all of us pouring out of cars and descending upon the multitude. The memorial rule was that everyone had to purchase at least one thing. Not, thank God, one thing at every sale, but over the course of the morning you had to purchase something.
And everyone did. Even Andrew (coasters), David (can’t remember), Tony (a USB powered fan), and Jeff (for some reason a Duck Dynasty Chia head).
I think Meg won with the most peculiar. Meg, who is starting an online vintage clothing store, purchased a *PURPLE* suit complete with two silk neckties.
The suit isn’t for the clothing store, the suit’s actual purchase is a longer story than I can explain right now, but… Well, you can see. And Meg was thrilled with it.
Another flash. Meg and I looking in awe around the living room just trying to encompass the sheer scale of the sorting, cataloging, and categorizing that has happened and will need to continue to happen for the next, God, decade? Joan was a hoarder there are no two ways about it. And as her subtle dementia started to get less subtle she started to hide things, secrete things, and there are, God help us, an AWFUL lot of places to secrete things in that house. And when Joan was alive we none of us thought to open things up and snoop around. Joan knew where things were (kinda) and it would be rude to do things like open the drawers in the chest in the living room.
And so that day, I think it was the 23rd, Meg and I did. Epic snooping.
A basket full of batik and Aloha print clothing that might once upon a time have fit a Lenzer thigh, but probably never a Lenzer waist. Besides the fact that they were all circa about 1972. Meg got some real gems for her vintage clothing store out of that basket.
And the chest of drawers was obviously full of things that Joan had selected as presents for people. For whom is unclear, how long they’d been there was unclear (we threw away gift wrapped, but unopened, packages of Hawaiian chocolate, macadamia nuts, and teas), but gifts they must have been. A cobalt glass vase (obviously mine). Multiple children’s books. Bound empty journals with Hawaiian themed covers, travel journals, photo albums, these (by the way, no one in the family plays golf). Random, sometimes odd, but obviously purchased with care. And how to describe this collection as a whole with anything besides using my beloved father in law’s term…”CRAP!”?
Not that it wasn’t valued, not that it didn’t, in some way, have a purpose, but there is no other way to describe it. And sweet Jesus, there’s an awful lot of crap in that house!
Oh my God she’s grown up gorgeous!
Outdoors. It rained. It rained a LOT.
Graduates in Hawaii have traditionally been feted with leis. Okay. That I can understand.
The congratulatory banners I can understand.
And, for the record, thanks to our resident graphics artist, Caitlin’s banner was *the best* one in the entire stadium.
However I do not understand the recent trend in bedecking graduates in inflatable pool toys.
Morimoto Waikiki. Big time yumming. It rained of course.
And the prep for the memorial.
Andrew, David, and various others transferring Joan’s ashes into the urns that Andrew and I had brought while Dawn and I, a little squicked out, hid out in the living room and fiddled with our technology together.
Looking for an electrical outlet into which the projector with the memorial slide show could be plugged and finding, no shit, a Tupperware container full of recorders stacked on Joan’s desk. Yeah, recorders. About 15 of them. No one in the family plays recorder. No one has _ever_ played recorder.
Walking to the farmer’s market up the road with Sara and Danny. Decorative flowers and gardenias for the house. The smell was out of this world!
Jeff, and John (the husband of one of the semi-sisters), and I getting ourselves banished to the lanai for talking grody medicine.
And driving to the Lenzarium on the morning of the 26th to be met with a lovely pendant and poem that David and Dawn had arranged. We all got one and we were all wearing them pretty much all day. Andrew’s is currently on the cork board in our dining room. Mine, which I do intend to wear as a semi-regular thing, is currently being hidden from my cat in one of the jewelry chests on my dresser.
Dressing, and then sitting drinking beer and soaking hot feet in the pool with Meg.
The lovely, LOVELY arrangements we all made in the living room and dining room. Each adding our touch, our bit, our sense of organization.
(please ignore the cigarettes in the left foreground. DAVID!!)
Tearful, joyful rememberances. And then, because we’re Lenzers, we ATE.
It was lovely.
And it was healing. It was a time for us all to get together and remember that the last two years or so have been painful and horrible, but that we were celebrating in joy and having a chance to create new memories that didn’t include the pain and the tears.
I hope Joan would have approved.
Anyway, I didn’t set out for this to be a breakdown of Joan’s memorial service, but that’s kind of what it turned out to be. One of my favorite authors, Gerald Durrell, said in the prologue to his book “My Family and Other Animals”: “….I made a grave mistake by introducing my family into the book in the first few pages. Having got themselves on paper, they then proceeded to establish themselves and invite various friends to share the chapters.”
With the Lenzers it’s kinda like that.
I’ll get back to posts about cats and gardens and idiots at some point soon.