I closed the last post about the Conejo Valley Village, the local neighbors-helping-neighbors nonprofit chapter. Angela and I were so impressed that we got more involved. I help out with their newsletters and we're both 'Call Managers', logging transportation requests, coordinating rides for members by volunteers, and miscellaneous other things. During our training, the trainer answered calls on her speaker phone and logged them in to their computer system. An very elderly woman called and said her "computer was making noise, I think it's the battery." Sensing the woman's advanced age Angela said m'mam, where did you buy your PC". Her response, "Best Buy". Angela instructed the 94 year old woman to call Best Buy and tell them "shame on you, you're too freaking old to use a computer" and insist on a full refund. I asked the trainer at what point do we ask volunteers to debug computer issues as Geek Squad. The trainer explained that very elderly people are not only vulnerable to being scammed, they fear it a lot having limited financial means. The Village would send a volunteer over to simply listen to the woman's computer and confirm it's the computer, and not her fridge or her hamster cage. The volunteer would help coordinate an appropriate service provider, and be there when the repair person came. Wow, I get it.
Angela and I had camping reservations at Carpinteria beach Tuesday October 8, planning to return home on Friday the 11th. Shame, it was absolutely windless but we had tickets Friday night to see Frankie Valli and a Four Seasons concert with a hotel reservation in Solvang, but obviously couldn't leave the dogs in the RV for that many hours or we forego (or past tense, would it be forewent?) staying at the hotel in Solvang. Madison's mom Colleen graciously fed our cats while we were camping (our neighbor who often does it was in Hawaii), so we thought with the mobile beach house (RV) being all set up literally backed up over the sand with firewood, bicycles, etc., we offered it to Colleen and her husband Michael for Friday-Sunday, which they jumped at.
So, back to camping! Colleen and Michael spent the night Friday in the RV and were ready to bail the next day. After a nice breakfast in Solvang with friends, we dropped down to Carpinteria. Michael and Colleen had packed up they may just not be 'campers' or perhaps too many memories of with pictures of Madison loving Carpinteria... this was Colleen's first time there since we lost Madison. No matter the reason, they were ready to turn over the RV. Before coming up to the RV, Colleen stopped by the house and had taken pictures of our backyard given the extreme winds in Simi. Angela missing the cats decided to go home as well. Hmmm. My options were closing my eyes as Madison taught me working with blind kids and staying in paradise focus only on absorbing the scents and the sounds of my surroundings, or go home and pulling the outdoor cushions and patio umbrellas out of the pool. I chose option A, and Angela chose option B. I could have easily spent a month of-the-grid month camping in Carp, but acknowledge that I'm not a Venetian attached to our cats. Besides, someone had to go home to pull the umbrellas and outdoor chair cushions out of the pool : - )
Facebook recently popped up with a memory with Angela. In 2000, it was cool to tuck tropical shirts in to your slacks. I was voted Mr. Poreao 2000 on a cruise I was on and won a very expensive bottle of champagne. To be honest, I was the only male who dressed up and there was a prize for a man and a woman. I can't easily find the picture of my limited attire for the contest that Angela said 'oh hell no but lemme take a pic', but will post it if/when I find it.
Life goes on for moms and me: we allow ourselves to mourn and play/live while noticing the subtleties of who we're not often social-media reminded of, 'frequent' contacts on our phones, but we're actually very comfortable saying and hearing Madison's name. In hindsight we should have taken Madison's ashes camping last month, which would have been a first. Me being alone in paradise for the last 36 hours I was there, the ocean seemed to be baiting me to play Hawaiian music and walk Madison's ashes in to the ocean. It's good I didn't bring her ashes. They hang out in her bedroom in an XMO backpack and every day I open her bedroom curtains and say 'g'morning Shug', and every night I close her curtains, say g'night, and pat her ashes.
Perhaps for her quarter-century birthday that was ripped away from her, a celebration in Carpinteria and consider leaving her ashes there. Looking back to last month, I feel it would have been extremely selfish for me alone. Carp was one of Madi's favorite places of all time! I fondly remember her telling us that she's going to be a marine biologist, working in Carpinteria. 10+ years later, she was seriously flirting with the idea of getting her own VW van, and going to Carp alone.