I wish I could go back to the time the above picture was taken. We had nice weather that day, and I enjoyed going out and about in Washington DC. Today, there was a chill in the air, and I had to go to Long Island to start discussing things with my brother regarding the family homestead. And this meant that Mario, not Marian would be out today.
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Yesterday, Maria postponed breakfast because her grandson's dad didn't pick him up for his weekly overnight stay. Today, Maria had someone around to take care of the child while she was finally able to meet me for breakfast.
Maria has a lot on her plate these days. She is the primary caregiver for her grandson, as her daughter has no idea of long term responsibilities. This is due to a chemical imbalance for which she takes medication. Yet, the daughter can only be helped so much, and is lucky to have a work environment structured enough to keep her focused on the job and able to earn a decent salary. In addition, Maria's husband recently fractured his ankle, and is going back to the hospital for a second surgery to stabilize the foot for long term use. This means he will off his feet for 3-4 months, and unable to work until the ankle heals. It also means that Maria's earnings have to go twice as far as they used to, now that they have to cover expenses his salary once covered. It was with these complications that Maria met me for breakfast and to talk about her life as it is now.
It took me a minute or two to find Maria in the crowded diner, but we got to chatting as if no time had passed. I commented that she would have seen Marian today, had I not needed to visit Long Island. And she understood that. Shortly afterwards, Maria took out her phone and showed me photos of her husband's ankle in a device that looked like Dr. Frankenstein dreamed it up. Like my former co-worker (now retired), recovery will be a long process. Unlike my former co-worker, his sitting on his ass doing nothing is nothing new.
All too soon, Maria and I had to part, and I had to go back home. With a little bit of rest (not enough), I was ready to drive to Long Island to see family.
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The drive to Long Island was totally uneventful, and I was surprised to see how little traffic there was on the roads. I guess that this being a three day weekend for many people was a factor in the traffic's lightness. But I digress. I made it to my dad's nursing home in about an hour, and had a nice long chat with him. It's rare that we chat more than 30-60 minutes, but I was there for over 2 hours. So I think my brother was probably surprised that I called him back as late as I did.
My car started acting up again on the drive from the nursing home to my brother's place, but the car did not flash the "Hot Engine" warning I got the week before. Instead, I oozed over to my brother's house, picked him up and went to a Japanese restaurant to talk. As much as I wanted to go into more details about what we needed to do, my brother was not in a detail oriented frame of mind. He's exhausted from the 60 hour weeks that he's been putting in at the office. Yet, we did get some things accomplished, such as an idea of the work that remains to be done on the house and how it will be financed.
Again, it was all too soon that we had to part. My brother no longer has the time to devote to anything other than his work. Being the CFO of a medium scale firm is a big stretch for him, and it will suck the life out of him if he isn't careful. It is not the responsibility I ever could have handled with equivalent training, and it illustrates how different my brother and I are in temperament. But he is well suited to it, as he is the type of person who enjoys drilling down into details and making decisions based on what those details tell him.
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On the way home, I took it slow and got home without incident. The car was performing properly, but I know I'll have to take it into the dealer soon. At least, I know that I need an oil change, and can couple a quick look-see at that time. Hopefully, with the snow expected on Tuesday and Wednesday, I can get in some Marian time before having to switch back to Mario mode.