Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A little fun goes a long way.............

With a full day scheduled, Zack and I headed out early this morning. Our first stop was to pick up Meme (my Mother) in Hendersonville (about 18 miles from our home). We go straight for radiation for Zack's leg. He has a little over a week of that particular procedure left. Though he is handling it like a pro, I know the drive back and forth every weekday is getting pretty old for him. We all take turns, friends, family and Frank and I going with him, as he is very tired when he is finished with the treatment and it's not really safe for him to drive himself. 

Once finished with Zack's treatment, our next stop is Moms urologist. It is time for her checkup after her kidney cancer and we just want to make sure that everything is continuing on the right path. So far, so good according to the doctor. He ordered a standard CT scan for a week from Friday, to check on the remaining kidney so I know Mom is going to feel better once this test is done. Zack having been diagnosed in June reminded her how lucky she was that her cancer is gone, but also brings out the fears. "Could mine return?" Her Doctor though, feels really good about everything and I feel that she left the office more secure than when we entered.

The three of us agree it was time for an early lunch. Since Mom needs prescription glasses ( even with cataract surgery years ago, her eyes are getting worse and she has been having a hard time seeing at a distance) after eating, we go into Lens Crafters to pick out a pair of glasses. We have about an hour to wait so we go into a couple of shops. Zack turns white all of a sudden and sits down on the bench. He tells me that he really wants to go and just sit in the car. He is very tired and doesn't want us to have to leave without the glasses and he can be more comfortable in the car, listening to his music and napping. Since we only have about another 45 minutes I feel okay with him staying there. Mom and I do some more shopping, until it is time to get her glasses. We go back into LC and the lady checking us out talks about her own Stage 3 breast cancer scare and how she too is a survivor. She "noticed" that Zack had "the look" and empathized, but told Mom that he will be just fine, just she knows it. (of course we do too!). She even got up to give Mom a hug before we left the store.

Zack was sitting in the car, listening to his Country music and just "chilling". He felt better after having taken a nap, but seeing him I decided to bring him back home. Mom and I were invited by Rhonda, (Zack didn't want to attend) to the annual Employee Christmas dinner at the Biltmore House in Asheville. Mom wanted to go with me for the ride and some time together, so we drove him back and since we had some time before we had to meet Rhonda, we went for a Belgian break (dessert and coffee/water) and see Mom's booth on Main Street. Off and on throughout the day I was talking with Big John's social worker at the nursing home, the hospice social worker, DSS and even a magistrate. At this point the only thing we can do to keep John and Linda safe is to have him declared incompetent, but not having a return phone call from our attorney, I'm not sure if that is even going  to be possible. The one thing that did give me reassurance, is all of the people I talked with agreed, he has no business going back home, but everyone's hands are tied legally and there is nothing they can do to help. 

We arrived back in Asheville at 5:45 pm in time to pick Rhonda up at work (she works in group sales at the estate) and head into the castle / estate. How beautiful everything was, there were trees decorated in white lights lining the entrance to the road leading to the estate. Once on the property a giant tree in the center of the garden also totally in white lights, with its reflection in the water feature, was surrounded by smaller light covered trees and the entire driveway was lined with candle lite, white luminaries. You could go back in time and feel you were in a horse drawn carriage arriving for a grand gala. Stations were located all over the property with cheese squares, fresh fruit, carrots and celery sticks, crackers, star and ginger bread cookies. In other areas were big urns filled with coffee and hot chocolate with marshmallows. It wasn't the food, it was the ambiance, the comradeship  and the families that brought the party to life. each year children under the age of 12 are given a present (chosen from a list they presented earlier) as a thank you to the employees. The one thing we heard from everyone is how nice the Vanderbilts and now the Cecil s are to their staff. Sharing this house, (we were able to tour the two main floors), was also a special gift. Each room was more beautiful than the other, you could spend hours sitting there looking at the details in the architecture, the painstaking details that have gone into preserving what was once the grandeur of the house and now is again.  
Do I sound like I work there? It is just a very special place to me ,having grown up and been privileged enough to see some of the grand castles of Europe (Palace de Versailles) it makes me proud that we have our own so close to home. 

Once we completed the tour, we were back at our cars saying goodbye to a wonderful evening. My nephew Jimmy is in town and going to bring Mom back home with Rhonda. Zack and Frank are at home relaxing (Zack was supposed to go to his friends fire pit, but decided not to ). The tour for me, was just the right boost I needed to get in the Holiday spirit. Now if I can just fit an 18 foot tree in the middle of my house......

Mom and Rhonda 
Friendly lion at the entrance!

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