(Zak and mom, showing her new watch he gave her for her birthday)
I try to take mom to Starbucks every afternoon to get her out of the house. We've been doing this for a few years now, and yet every visit to Starbucks is a first time for mom. We walk in the door and are greeted by the workers who ask if we are having our regular order. Mom's regular is a short drip, and mine is a triple grande latte. Mom always asks for French toast with her coffee and I explain to her that she will have banana bread because Starbucks doesn't have French toast. It's the exact same tete-a-tete every time.
After our visit to Starbucks we stopped by the bank so I could get mom some money. One thing mom does consistently all day long is count the money in her purse. The amount she comes up with each time changes moment-to-moment, depending on what dollar amount she imagines on the bills. It's all relative. I add to the pile monthly and then deposit i back into her account and we start all over again going to the bank to get her money. It works for her, and this is what is most important.
Our next stop was to get our nails done. Mom hasn't always had her nails done at a salon, but her nails have always been perfectly manicured and always polished. I remember her siting in the family room with her nail file and polish readying her nails for the next day. I can still see the bottle of Revlon polish, always red. Mom can't do her nails anymore so for the last five or six years I have been taking her to the nail salon every two weeks to have them done, always in red. Kelly, the woman who does mom's nails is so good with mom. She knows mom has Alzheimer's and is so gentle with her, and always greets mom as if it is the first time they are meeting, which it is for mom.
One last stop before we get back home. Seattle Tan. The tanning salon is my personal escape. I go regularly and go to the Level 5 bed with my doctor's blessing. I don't go to tan as much as I go to get warm. I have Meniere's Disease (vertigo) along with a kidney issue and the heat helps like nothing else does. The bed I use is one that is for medical issues and has no burning bulbs. The girls working at the salon are angels. They literally babysit mom, for me, while I am in the tanning bed for 22 minutes. They get her set up on the sofa with a bottle of water and a movie on the screen. When I come out of the tanning room I always find mom sitting contently waiting for me.
You have no idea how unusual it is for mom to relax when I am out of her sight. This is a good segue into another blog post in the future.