Operation Elder Caravan

OK, guys, hang on tight while I suddenly shift gears.

I’ll try to answer the questions many of you posted in the comments yesterday and the day before… but if I can’t get to them right away, I beg forgiveness. I leave at 6:30 tomorrow morning to fly to Florida to help my parents move back North. (Beloved Husband follows on Saturday. He’s the lucky guy who gets to drive the truck.)

I’m calling this Operation Elder Caravan.

My parents are …. well, there is no other way to say it – they’re old. Dad is 78 and in pretty good shape except for his knees don’t work so good and every once in a while he gets gout which hurts A LOT and makes simple things like standing up and walking almost impossible. He tries to keep his spirits up by repeating to himself that gout is a disease of kings (Henry VIII of England had it), but somehow that doesn’t quite take all the pain away. Mom is 74 and no one is sure why she is still alive. She has metastasized breast cancer, a damaged heart, coronary artery disease, and emphysema. If any of you need motivation to quit smoking, I would be happy to have you spend five minutes with my mom. Her last years have been very painful and depressing, and it’s due to her lifelong cigarette habit. She started smoking when she was 17, and smoked for four years after she was diagnosed with emphysema, and quit only when they put her on oxygen 24/7… and then only because they pointed out that an open flames near oxygen would blow up the trailer. (DON’T SMOKE! DON’T SMOKE!) My mom is as tough (and stubborn) as they come.

So this trip is sad in some ways. And scary – I am petrified by the thought that one or the other will have a heart attack when we’re stuck in traffic. (My rational brain knows the chances of that happening are very small, but my disaster-driven irrational brain is in charge these days.)

Some of you might be asking – why drive from Florida to NY with two ornery, sick, old people? Why not fly?

Because if you are on oxygen a) very few airlines will accommodate you and b) doctors only advise direct flights. The logistics just wouldn’t work.

Except for the part where I’m afraid they’re going to die on me, I’m looking forward to this. Heaven knows I’ve had a lot of issues with my parents. But I am who I am because of them, and I owe them both a great deal. They are the ones who taught me to laugh when things get tough, they taught me to put family and God first, and that a life of integrity is the only life worth leading. They still say and do things that make me want to roll my eyes, stomp out of a room, and slam a door like a thirteen-year-old, but I irritate them, too. It’s part of the package. Mostly, I’m grateful they have lived long enough to watch their grandchildren grow, and to give my sister and me the opportunity to take care of them.

Please remind of the above paragraph when I write an entry in this journal that is just “AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH! THEY’RE DRIVING ME CRAZY AAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH!”

Parents are weird.

81 Replies to “Operation Elder Caravan”

  1. aww I know all about how adult children and elderly parents get along..my elderly grandparents live with my dad and me, and my 97 year-old grandfather and my dad still regularly get in shouting matches (usually about religion and politics). lol

    anyway, good luck with Operation Elder Caravan! Take Care! and Have A Safe Trip!

    ~Angel

  2. aww I know all about how adult children and elderly parents get along..my elderly grandparents live with my dad and me, and my 97 year-old grandfather and my dad still regularly get in shouting matches (usually about religion and politics). lol

    anyway, good luck with Operation Elder Caravan! Take Care! and Have A Safe Trip!

    ~Angel

  3. aww I know all about how adult children and elderly parents get along..my elderly grandparents live with my dad and me, and my 97 year-old grandfather and my dad still regularly get in shouting matches (usually about religion and politics). lol

    anyway, good luck with Operation Elder Caravan! Take Care! and Have A Safe Trip!

    ~Angel

  4. Hope everything goes well; we’ve been kind of kept up to date whenever we went to Rudy’s. And I’m sure the parents wouldn’t mind getting phone calls if you need to vent.

    ~little quirk

    PS-I like Operation Elder Caravan; it fits perfectly. 😉

  5. Hope everything goes well; we’ve been kind of kept up to date whenever we went to Rudy’s. And I’m sure the parents wouldn’t mind getting phone calls if you need to vent.

    ~little quirk

    PS-I like Operation Elder Caravan; it fits perfectly. 😉

  6. Hope everything goes well; we’ve been kind of kept up to date whenever we went to Rudy’s. And I’m sure the parents wouldn’t mind getting phone calls if you need to vent.

    ~little quirk

    PS-I like Operation Elder Caravan; it fits perfectly. 😉

  7. you’ll be in my thoughts

    i hope everything goes well! i’ll keep your parents and you in my thoughts/prayers. hey i was wondering if you have a cell phone at all. i do. my number (if you want to call me and need to vent) is (717) 422-3171. just in case you might need to talk or whatever. you can just call me or whatever if you want and i can get your number from there so you don’t have to post it online or whatever. well i’m gonna go. talk to you later and i love you so much. -ash 🙂

  8. you’ll be in my thoughts

    i hope everything goes well! i’ll keep your parents and you in my thoughts/prayers. hey i was wondering if you have a cell phone at all. i do. my number (if you want to call me and need to vent) is (717) 422-3171. just in case you might need to talk or whatever. you can just call me or whatever if you want and i can get your number from there so you don’t have to post it online or whatever. well i’m gonna go. talk to you later and i love you so much. -ash 🙂

  9. you’ll be in my thoughts

    i hope everything goes well! i’ll keep your parents and you in my thoughts/prayers. hey i was wondering if you have a cell phone at all. i do. my number (if you want to call me and need to vent) is (717) 422-3171. just in case you might need to talk or whatever. you can just call me or whatever if you want and i can get your number from there so you don’t have to post it online or whatever. well i’m gonna go. talk to you later and i love you so much. -ash 🙂

  10. It all sounds familiar…they sound like my parents, minus the old age and difficulties.

    Please remind of the above paragraph when I write an entry in this journal that is just “AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH! THEY’RE DRIVING ME CRAZY AAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH!”
    In the end, it’ll be the same for me.

    But yes, parents are weird. It’s scary that I could become one in the pretty far future…

  11. It all sounds familiar…they sound like my parents, minus the old age and difficulties.

    Please remind of the above paragraph when I write an entry in this journal that is just “AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH! THEY’RE DRIVING ME CRAZY AAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH!”
    In the end, it’ll be the same for me.

    But yes, parents are weird. It’s scary that I could become one in the pretty far future…

  12. It all sounds familiar…they sound like my parents, minus the old age and difficulties.

    Please remind of the above paragraph when I write an entry in this journal that is just “AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH! THEY’RE DRIVING ME CRAZY AAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH!”
    In the end, it’ll be the same for me.

    But yes, parents are weird. It’s scary that I could become one in the pretty far future…

  13. Take a cue from Dahl

    My husband and I are already envisioning his dad and my dad toe to toe in a big brass bed. Grandpa Arnie and Grandpa Don. The two grandmas are much smarter and plan on being in some spa somewhere. Only the grandpas assume we’ll be taking care of them. I guess I assume so, too.

  14. Take a cue from Dahl

    My husband and I are already envisioning his dad and my dad toe to toe in a big brass bed. Grandpa Arnie and Grandpa Don. The two grandmas are much smarter and plan on being in some spa somewhere. Only the grandpas assume we’ll be taking care of them. I guess I assume so, too.

  15. Take a cue from Dahl

    My husband and I are already envisioning his dad and my dad toe to toe in a big brass bed. Grandpa Arnie and Grandpa Don. The two grandmas are much smarter and plan on being in some spa somewhere. Only the grandpas assume we’ll be taking care of them. I guess I assume so, too.

  16. Hello! My name is Rosie and I loved your book. I haven’t seen the movie yet but I’m looking forward to it once I find the time in my very hectic scedule. I didn’t know you had a journal here until I saw a link in Sarah Dessen’s journal (another one of my favorite authors).
    I thought I’d stop by and just say how much I loved your book and what a great writer I think you are. I myself aspire to one day be a writer (fiction and/or journalism) and am always reading.
    I hope your trip goes well!
    ~Rosalee~

  17. Hello! My name is Rosie and I loved your book. I haven’t seen the movie yet but I’m looking forward to it once I find the time in my very hectic scedule. I didn’t know you had a journal here until I saw a link in Sarah Dessen’s journal (another one of my favorite authors).
    I thought I’d stop by and just say how much I loved your book and what a great writer I think you are. I myself aspire to one day be a writer (fiction and/or journalism) and am always reading.
    I hope your trip goes well!
    ~Rosalee~

  18. Hello! My name is Rosie and I loved your book. I haven’t seen the movie yet but I’m looking forward to it once I find the time in my very hectic scedule. I didn’t know you had a journal here until I saw a link in Sarah Dessen’s journal (another one of my favorite authors).
    I thought I’d stop by and just say how much I loved your book and what a great writer I think you are. I myself aspire to one day be a writer (fiction and/or journalism) and am always reading.
    I hope your trip goes well!
    ~Rosalee~

  19. Operation Elderly Caravan

    Reading your post and thinking about when I might have to do the same thing, made me think “Oh God, what if my parents were to die on the way home?” I’m glad to know that someone else out there has disastrous thoughts too! I pray that you will be given patience, strength and courage for this trip. You are doing it for all the right reasons. God speed.

  20. Operation Elderly Caravan

    Reading your post and thinking about when I might have to do the same thing, made me think “Oh God, what if my parents were to die on the way home?” I’m glad to know that someone else out there has disastrous thoughts too! I pray that you will be given patience, strength and courage for this trip. You are doing it for all the right reasons. God speed.

  21. Operation Elderly Caravan

    Reading your post and thinking about when I might have to do the same thing, made me think “Oh God, what if my parents were to die on the way home?” I’m glad to know that someone else out there has disastrous thoughts too! I pray that you will be given patience, strength and courage for this trip. You are doing it for all the right reasons. God speed.

  22. Awsome!

    I read your book Fever, and I loved it!It was realy intresting, so I am doing my book report on it! Anyways I got to go. AWSOME BOOK!!!!!!!

  23. Awsome!

    I read your book Fever, and I loved it!It was realy intresting, so I am doing my book report on it! Anyways I got to go. AWSOME BOOK!!!!!!!

  24. Awsome!

    I read your book Fever, and I loved it!It was realy intresting, so I am doing my book report on it! Anyways I got to go. AWSOME BOOK!!!!!!!

  25. Hi my name is Erica Andresen and i am 16. I recently watched the movie speak on lifetim and thought it was really good. I felt close to the caracter of Melinda. I din’t know it was a book till today when I was browsing in the libray at school. I plan to read it soon. I picked up catalyst and began reading it. I wan’t to be a teacher/ writer. I love to write. About all different subjects. Well I’ll get back to reading.

    Bye,
    Erica A.

  26. Hi my name is Erica Andresen and i am 16. I recently watched the movie speak on lifetim and thought it was really good. I felt close to the caracter of Melinda. I din’t know it was a book till today when I was browsing in the libray at school. I plan to read it soon. I picked up catalyst and began reading it. I wan’t to be a teacher/ writer. I love to write. About all different subjects. Well I’ll get back to reading.

    Bye,
    Erica A.

  27. Hi my name is Erica Andresen and i am 16. I recently watched the movie speak on lifetim and thought it was really good. I felt close to the caracter of Melinda. I din’t know it was a book till today when I was browsing in the libray at school. I plan to read it soon. I picked up catalyst and began reading it. I wan’t to be a teacher/ writer. I love to write. About all different subjects. Well I’ll get back to reading.

    Bye,
    Erica A.

  28. hi

    Hello, my name is allison garwood and i go to the fm highschool. when you came to the school last year, i was unable to go to see you in the library, now i really wish that i did. You see, my family has alot of history in that school, almost everyone went there, but more importantly, my grandfather went there and taught there for years. his name was Alan Vedder. from what i heard, he taught there when you went to school, or somehow he was there, and well, i wanted to know if the stipulations that some people had about the charactor of Mr. Neck were true. i have been told by members of my family and those who are extremely close to us that his charactor may have been based on my grandfather. i guess now that he is gone and my curiosity is killing me, i just wanted to know if they were true. if so, i am honored tha he could be part of a piece like that, if not, it would be nice just to know what you thought about him. thank you for your time.
    sincerely,
    aliison garwood

  29. hi

    Hello, my name is allison garwood and i go to the fm highschool. when you came to the school last year, i was unable to go to see you in the library, now i really wish that i did. You see, my family has alot of history in that school, almost everyone went there, but more importantly, my grandfather went there and taught there for years. his name was Alan Vedder. from what i heard, he taught there when you went to school, or somehow he was there, and well, i wanted to know if the stipulations that some people had about the charactor of Mr. Neck were true. i have been told by members of my family and those who are extremely close to us that his charactor may have been based on my grandfather. i guess now that he is gone and my curiosity is killing me, i just wanted to know if they were true. if so, i am honored tha he could be part of a piece like that, if not, it would be nice just to know what you thought about him. thank you for your time.
    sincerely,
    aliison garwood

    1. Re: hi

      No, Mr. Neck is definately NOT Mr. Vedder!

      I never had Mr. Vedder, but most of my friends who had him liked him.

      I’m not sure how this happened, but a lot of people are convinced that SPEAK is an autobiographical account of my time at F-M. Please tell them that it is not. I did pull from some of my own experiences, but it is fiction, and fiction means that a lot is made up.

      I hope you are having a great year at school. Please say hi to the great librarians for me. They are wonderful.

  30. hi

    Hello, my name is allison garwood and i go to the fm highschool. when you came to the school last year, i was unable to go to see you in the library, now i really wish that i did. You see, my family has alot of history in that school, almost everyone went there, but more importantly, my grandfather went there and taught there for years. his name was Alan Vedder. from what i heard, he taught there when you went to school, or somehow he was there, and well, i wanted to know if the stipulations that some people had about the charactor of Mr. Neck were true. i have been told by members of my family and those who are extremely close to us that his charactor may have been based on my grandfather. i guess now that he is gone and my curiosity is killing me, i just wanted to know if they were true. if so, i am honored tha he could be part of a piece like that, if not, it would be nice just to know what you thought about him. thank you for your time.
    sincerely,
    aliison garwood

  31. Hey

    Hey I just finished prom and I loved how you really really knew philadelphia… I went to St. Cecilia’s and I like live in Wawa so I couldn’t believe that they were actually in a book! That was awesome!!! And you listen to Y100, the world’s best radio station, may it rest in peace… good luck with your parents

  32. Hey

    Hey I just finished prom and I loved how you really really knew philadelphia… I went to St. Cecilia’s and I like live in Wawa so I couldn’t believe that they were actually in a book! That was awesome!!! And you listen to Y100, the world’s best radio station, may it rest in peace… good luck with your parents

  33. Hey

    Hey I just finished prom and I loved how you really really knew philadelphia… I went to St. Cecilia’s and I like live in Wawa so I couldn’t believe that they were actually in a book! That was awesome!!! And you listen to Y100, the world’s best radio station, may it rest in peace… good luck with your parents

  34. Re: hi

    No, Mr. Neck is definately NOT Mr. Vedder!

    I never had Mr. Vedder, but most of my friends who had him liked him.

    I’m not sure how this happened, but a lot of people are convinced that SPEAK is an autobiographical account of my time at F-M. Please tell them that it is not. I did pull from some of my own experiences, but it is fiction, and fiction means that a lot is made up.

    I hope you are having a great year at school. Please say hi to the great librarians for me. They are wonderful.

  35. Re: hi

    No, Mr. Neck is definately NOT Mr. Vedder!

    I never had Mr. Vedder, but most of my friends who had him liked him.

    I’m not sure how this happened, but a lot of people are convinced that SPEAK is an autobiographical account of my time at F-M. Please tell them that it is not. I did pull from some of my own experiences, but it is fiction, and fiction means that a lot is made up.

    I hope you are having a great year at school. Please say hi to the great librarians for me. They are wonderful.

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