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Spent the weekend with the folks for Mother’s day and so that I could retrieve my cats. Took Friday off, so had a three day weekend with them. Worked on painting the trim on the back of the house. It’s looking good for a house in the realm of 100 years. By the end of the summer, we should finally be done with this project.

Meanwhile, my own home is in need of trim painting. I got a letter from the Home Owner’s Association alerting me to this last week. I knew it was time already. I’d intended to start researching it this summer. I was insane enough to think of doing it myself, and since it’s only trim, I know I could. However, it is a two story townhouse, so I would have to rent a ladder and all. So, I guess it’s time. I’ve called a lot of painters and I had a neighbor who was getting recommendations herself for her home and sending them my way as well. She is the HOA president and indicated that about 80% to 90% of the townhomes in our 15 year old subdivision got those letters. I think next week I’ll be choosing. There are a couple of front-runners that I want to call references for. If I hadn’t helped with my parents various estimates, I would be surprised that there’s $900 difference between the top and bottom estimates. The description of what they’re doing really doesn’t differ. The only thing that differs on the estimates seems to be the delivery style, old school versus high tech. The next to lowest estimate has done a home in my neighborhood already, so points for him. But I talked to him on Friday and his general attitude was a little off-putting. Maybe I caught him at a bad moment. But his response to my specific questions about my house was that he had seen “40 houses that day” and he couldn’t remember mine. Okay, make the customer feel special! I spoke to the lowest estimate on Friday and he seems nice. I did check Better Business Bureau for both of them, neither had anything on record. So, it’s probably time to talk to references and see what they can tell me.

I haven’t posted pictures from my first travel abroad and I’m already thinking about another trip. British Airways is offering another good fare to London – not as good as the ones that we used for the airfare last time (parent’s Christmas present last year), but still quite good. If I do go, I’m going to fly to London a few days before New Year’s, and then take a train up to Edinburgh and celebrate Hogmanay. Then on Jan 2, hop a train back to London and spend a couple of days there before flying home. So, I’ll spread my vacation over two years! Talk about economy of vacation days! If all the paint stuff hadn’t come up last week, I’d have likely jumped on this already. As it is, I’m standing right on the brink of going. If I buy my airline ticket now, I also get double reward points on my Amex card, and I have like 7 months to pre-pay stuff like I did for my last trip. I found the actual trip to be relatively painless when all the big tickets had been paid and I was just worrying about eating and shopping and the odd bit of sight-seeing (tours). It’s almost a quarter toss now, but I’m leaning towards going!

A little bit of down news this weekend, tho. My Mom found out that her eldest sister has alzheimers. We don’t know a lot of details. Aunt Gwen just told my Mom that her doctor had prescribed a medication for her. For someone who’s gotten to 84 without a bag full of daily pills, that’s not bad. My mom came into get me to look up the medication on the ‘net. Turns out to be medication for alzheimers to try to slow the progression of the disease.

We were planning to see her this summer, probably in June. A few months ago I managed to discover where her mother is buried (my Mom had a different mother – 2nd wife). Aunt Gwen only knew that it was in Dothan and hasn’t been since the funeral. She wanted to make sure that everything is taken care of. Turns out that her grave is unmarked, but I found it based on her brother-in-law that Aunt Gwen knew was buried beside her, having died the same year. Anyway, she wants to go and we figured we’d go to Andalusia and spend some time there in the place where my Mother and Aunt Gwen grew up and then through Dothan on the way back so that she can see the site and get the ball rolling on whatever needs doing.

My Mom and I are thinking that we’ll make sure it’s next month now, and she’ll call Aunt Gwen’s son in advance and get the scoop on what the doctors told them – how long, etc. Right now she is still living on her own in Auburn, AL. We certainly hope that she can hold out there for awhile. Her independence, as for many of us, is important.

Slowly but surely, my Mom is outliving her family. She was the youngest. There was close to 25 years between her and my grandfather’s children from his first marriage and 8 years between her and her brother, who passed away when I was young. So, with one sister in the nursing home and the other with alzheimers, it’s looking good for her to end up without any of her immediate family in the next few years.

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