The Traveling Steve's

July in Roanoke

It’s now the middle of July, and I’m temporarily staying in my hometown of Roanoke, Virginia.  

After the wonderful July 4th holiday in the Naples area with DOS, I headed up to Roanoke (alone) for a month or so stay to look after and assist my 87 year old parents. 

My Dad was recently in the hospital with emergency vascular surgery for his legs, and while out of the hospital, he is now temporarily in the rehab/nursing center Peasant Ridge thru the end of July. Steve (DOS) was supposed to come up with me, but by coincidence, his 98 year old Dad also had to go to the hospital in Sarasota, so he stayed behind to look after him.

It’s a bit of deja vu for me, as both of my parents have been in Peasant Ridge over the last two years due to falls, hip replacements. and broken ribs.  While it’s not the place you want to spend your dying days, it is cared for by a wonderful staff, has great therapists (OT, PT, and speech),  is well managed, clean, and best of all close to my parents old house where I’m staying. Many of the staff there remember us, and make sure my Dad gets great treatment.

 My parents both officially live in the English Meadows Retirement Community (formerly and interchangeably know as the Elk’s Home) in Bedford, Virginia, about an hour from their old house and Pheasant Ridge.   I’ve written about English Meadows/Elk’s quite a bit, and it is not only a historic 100 + year old facility, but it’s very large, spread out, and is always cheerfully decorated for the individual holidays and seasons. 

The staff are wonderful there, and I’ve gotten to know several of the residents there as well.  English Meadow’s is an assisted living facility, so my parents have their own apartment, yet get all the care they need as well.

While my Dad is temporarily in Pheasant Ridge Rehab however, he is an hour’s drive away from my Mom this month, which after 64 years of marriage is a very hard thing for both of them.   My brother Andy, (who lives up the street from my parents old house) and his partner Art have been helping out so much, however as they are both working it has been exhausting for them driving back and forth between both parents.

I took a month leave of absence from work via the FAML (Family Leave of Absence Act) which allows up to 12 weeks a year unpaid leave (doesn’t have to be consecutive) for assisting an immediate family member.  I’ve been staying in my parents old house, where they lived until they went to English Meadows a couple years ago, and have been assisting both parents while I’ve been here.  While we will eventually sell the house, right now there is no rush to do so, as it’s a place for DOS and I to stay when we’re in town, and we three children also have a lot of things to go thru at some point.

The FAML act and having the house still available to stay has been a Godsend, as it’s literally a full time job assisting them both right now.  I’m glad to help, but it’s a four hour roundtrip drive (an hour down and an hour back times two) to pick Mom up and bring her to see Dad in Roanoke, spend a few hours with him, and then drive Mom back to Bedford, and then myself back to Roanoke.  I’m so glad to be able to help as it was really putting a strain on my brother as he tried to do this around his busy work schedule. I rented an SUV which is easier for both my parents to get in and out of, as well as storing their wheelchairs and walkers in the back.

Anyway, it’s always nice to be here in Roanoke and seeing my family. In addition to my parents, and my brother Andy and partner Art who live her, my sister Jenni has also been down to visit..  Andy celebrated his 61rst birthday this past weekend and we went to Frankie’s Steakhouse on Friday night. Art also celebrated his birthday in early July, so it was a dual celebration of sorts. Frankie’s is our favorite steakhouse in Roanoke and is always top notch food and service.

On Saturday, which was Andy’s actual birthday, we went to Montano’s which is our favorite “Cheer’s” type restaurant, where every server there knows your name! Kelly always takes exceptional care of us, and even knows to slightly chill a bottle of Cakebread Cabernet before we’ve even arrived, as we always text her with our reservation info a day a before we’re coming.)

We also went to a Porky’s birthday party one night at some of Andy and Art’s friends!  What a blast it was; yes Porky’s as in the 1984 movie about the high school (and sexual antics and pranks) centered around the high school and Porky’s bar.  The hostess, Sabra named the party’s theme night “Porky’s” as every dish, from the appetizer to dessert had some type of pork in it!  Here we are walking up to their country house, high up in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. Andy and Art wore a whole face mask, while I just wore a pig nose. Sabra and the others loved it!

And true to the theme, the movie Porky’s was playing in the living room, although we spent most of the evening outside on their deck.  My sister Jenni was in town on business, and she joined us later, although without a pig nose – LOL!

They celebrated three birthday’s for the month of July, (Andy, Art, and their friend Roger).  They even had cupcakes with bits of pork on the icing!  Really fun night.

Today, Sunday, I picked up Mom in Bedford, and brought her to see Dad in Roanoke, although we first went out to lunch with Andy and Art at Abuelo’s Mexican Restaurant.  We’ve been there many times, and Mom always likes going there as she doesn’t get Mexican food at English Meadows.

Mom wasn’t quite tall enough to fill in the Señora prop!

After lunch I took Mom to see Dad at Pheasant Ridge, and gave them an hour and a half to themselves before taking Mom back to Bedford. While they were there, I did go back to my brother Andy’s house and picked up Barnabas, their beautiful male toy poodle who doesn’t know a stranger. He remembered Mom and Dad, and they both got a chance to hold him. The photos below are what puppy love and Mom and Dad’s 64 years of marriage can offer. Love really does make the world go around and make it a better place!

So, I’m winding down from the busy week and weekend, but happy to be here in Roanoke to help.  Steve (DOS) will be coming up here on Thursday.  He was going to come last week as well, but his 98 year Father had to go into the hospital as well.  He’s doing better now and is back home, with a home health care nurse to assist  him.

Yes indeed, we are all getting older. I’ll be 57 next month, and still feel like a 21 year old at heart, although not physically!  As DOS and I always tell people, enjoy every day, and try and do your travel while you’re young and physically in shape.  Fortunately both my parents and DOS’s parents were well traveled and we have many memories we relive when we talk with them.

Good night from Roanoke, and God Bless!

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