A tough winter

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Blog entry by BarryW posted 02-23-2009 09:03 AM 10585 reads 0 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch

It’s been a tough winter to get anything done. Mother needs almost constant attention and I just need to be with her all the time. I can’t even use the little video camera I installed to watch her…she’ll not see me and think I’ve gone. Out of sight, out of mind. And she’ll fall at the drop of a hat.
I did find out that the maple I secured about three years ago is HARD MAPLE. Man that’s some hard wood. It might make a good top for a work bench. I’m studying plans on the ‘puter to see what I like best in a workbench. Not that I’m going to be able to do anything, but it’s nice to get some ideas and plans going in my brain.
Also, we lost a baby granddaughter…my oldest daughter’s little girl, Zoe…age 3 days…gone to the ages and back in heaven. Her little brother born under two pounds, Zander, improves, but it seems like quite a fight even now some weeks after birth. Prayers every day. I don’t get along the best with my oldest daughter right now, probably my fault…but she’s including me and her grandmother in her communications. Sometimes, though, it’s best to let the kids fight their own battles and stay out of the fray…or at least not complicate their lives. I certainly don’t want to add to their troubles considering their need to be with their little boy still in hospital and under three pounds….but gaining. This is the real hard, hard wood of life. Even though the grain can be the most beautiful, working the wood can be almost impossible. Love with find a way, I pray.
Yeah, you’re learning nothing about woodworking reading this blog entry…but I needed a place to vent a touch and since I’ve given up my other blog and this is the only place I have to write at length.
I know many of you would be close friends if only we lived closer, etc, but I live a fairly lonely life caring for my elderly mother…I only get out of the house on Wednesdays for four hours with the help of a state grant for respite care. Family won’t help us or me. And most of my local friends are either working when I’m “off” for those four hours. So I see no one and do very little. It’s just a time for me to get out of the house. And while I’ve tried to work in the shop at that time…it’s best for me to just leave and come back four hours later. We’re better off than some in this situation but things are getting tight, tight, tight financially. I can’t imagine what retired people are doing right now. They’re cutting this and that from their budgets….eating poorly. We’re traveling down some bad roads these days and we don’t know the half of it. I’m certain many of you are having difficult times and we don’t hear a peep out of you. You can stay silent…but I have to vent a bit…so sorry for my itch to bitch. Everyone hang in there. We’ll try to do the same here in the Black Hills. Things would be better for me if only I could get into my shop more often…just not possible.
So I envy those who can and who get their frustrations out by doing something creative. I’ve seen some beautiful “frustrations” appear in the projects columns…keep it up.
Best wishes for March and beyond…

-- /\/\/\ BarryW /\/\/\ Stay so busy you don't have time to die.

16 comments so far

View kiwi1969's profile


608 posts in 3435 days

#1 posted 02-23-2009 10:19 AM

I think it was George burns who said “the best thing about having a big family is when they live in another city” My family dealt with my fathers long fight with cancer when I was half way round the world not knowing the half of it. I only saw him at the end and part of me regrets not being there to help the family but part of me ,selfishly, was glad I didn,t have to deal with it. It,s a tough ask as i,m sure you know, but i,m also sure faith and courage will see things right with time.
I don,t care if your post is about woodworking or not, I always believed the craft is as much about the people who work the wood than about the wood itself and if you don,t take the time to listen and understand the people who create the projects then do the projects mean as much?
While I might not know you from adam, or be able to sit down with a coffee and shoot the breeze with you, I will find time to read your posts in the future because, after all, standing in sawdust is a shared experience and if you can,t share then why would we even be on this site? It,s gotta be about more than just pretty pictures of furniture right?
Don,t forget to take good care of yourself. And one day maybe we can meet for that coffee.

-- if the hand is not working it is not a pure hand

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18265 posts in 3669 days

#2 posted 02-23-2009 12:03 PM

Hang in there, there are better days ahead. The toughest of times are what builds character. Confucius said, May you live in interesting times or something to that affect. I know what you mean by not being in the shop. Being a daily migraineur for the last decade or so, I make too many mistakes to be working on spendy wood lots of the time. We are blessed to be so well off. There are so many with out even a roof tonight.

Oh, by the way, God made that extra hard maple for thin full length Kentucky rifle stocks. :-)

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 4240 days

#3 posted 02-23-2009 01:25 PM

Barry, if you believe, God will never put more on your plate than you can handle. Put it in his hands. I lost my mom about 5 years ago and miss her darling face everyday, in fact there isn’t a day that goes by that I still don’t think of her. Thank the Lord you still have her, no matter what shape she’s in. I know they can become a burden, mine was, I hate myself today for thinking she would be better off dead. Who am I to decide that fate for her. God Bless you for caring for your Mother, you’ll never regret it. m

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View TraumaJacques's profile


433 posts in 3494 days

#4 posted 02-23-2009 01:44 PM

Sorry to hear that you are going through this. I know that I have had my fair numbers of character building days but with faith and support form a fellowship (not unlike this one actually) I can see better days to come. Take it one day at a time.
Hang in there my friend I will keep you in my prayers. Write me a message whenever you feel like, I check this site routinely.

-- All bleeding will eventually stop.

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3815 days

#5 posted 02-23-2009 02:59 PM

Barry, you are right on target when said that many of us would be your close friends if the it were not for the distances involved. It is a shame that you can’t get any more support for your mother’s care than you are. Being a full time-care giver, and undergoing a role reversal such as you have done, is an emotional, physical and financially draining situation. Like Jacques commented please feel free to pm me as well whenever. It is sad that you cannot find the support among friends/family with respect to providing for your mother’s care to allow you a measure of respite in order to recharge your batteries periodically. But, as Mike said, we are not given more than we can handle and you should be proud of the support that you are providing for your mother.

I wish you well, my friend.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View JimB's profile


35 posts in 3871 days

#6 posted 02-23-2009 03:04 PM

I know exactly what you are going thru. I also was taking care of my mother for a few years with no help from family. They even lived near me , but couldnt find the time. I did not take the best care of myself and had a heart attack which ended up with 6 bypasses. My sister actually found the time to bring me home from the hospital, 4 days after surgery, dropped me off at the house and said that she had to go to their cabin for a few days because they were stressed out from watching Mom. I guess having your chest cracked open doesnt count as stressfull. I had to jump back in the saddle to take care of Mom, you pretty much know the routine. It just took a while longer to do things because of the surgery. Two weeks before she passed away, she did have to be in a cared facility. She had no idea who I was anynore, except for the day before she left, I asked her if she knew who I was. She said certainly, you are my son Jim. As I left I said I love you to her and she responded, I love you Jim. That made it worth all because those are the last words she said to me.
When Mom finally passed, they all show up and said what do I get. My response was, you get to leave my home , thats it. To this day, I am the evil one. And you know what, I dont care because I would do it the same way again.
The only “problem” as You well know, you end up having no life except for your few hours per week. Hang in there Barry, it isnt easy but you will never be sorry for doing what you are doing my friend.

View Pie's profile


187 posts in 3399 days

#7 posted 02-23-2009 03:10 PM

You are sacrificing so much to unselfishly take care of your mother, I commend you for that Barry. I think more of us should take care of our parents when they get older and need us. Vent away anytime you want to, we are all brothers and sisters in one way or another. One day we too will need to vent and having words of encouragement help smooth out the rough edges.

-- Pie

View trifern's profile


8135 posts in 3760 days

#8 posted 02-23-2009 03:35 PM

My thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family…

-- My favorite piece is my last one, my best piece is my next one.

View Craftsman on the lake's profile

Craftsman on the lake

2790 posts in 3431 days

#9 posted 02-23-2009 03:47 PM

I don’t think hard times build character I am a believer that hard times reveal character. It’s obvious that your character that’s being revealed is strong. A prayer for you and your family.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View Josh's profile


119 posts in 3931 days

#10 posted 02-23-2009 03:50 PM

Like JimB said, you’ll never be sorry for what you are doing. You stay strong.

View rtb's profile


1101 posts in 3706 days

#11 posted 02-23-2009 04:56 PM

Barry, in time things will change. your mother is such an important part of your life in spite of the fact that she requires so much of your time. When she is no longer with you you will miss her every day. I know that I do. I think that using us to vent is great, after all what are friends for if not to share the tough times as well as life’s little victories. If you want to vent off line pm me your phone # and I’ll call you. I can be a pretty good listener. Believe me when I say( as have all above me) that we are here for you. If we didn’t live so far apart I’d be glad to sit in and spell you so you could have some more free more than ever its so very important to you.

-- RTB. stray animals are just looking for love

View Will Mego's profile

Will Mego

307 posts in 3705 days

#12 posted 02-23-2009 06:19 PM

As so many have said, everybody is always welcome to vent, so many of us on here are going through tough times, myself included. Don’t worry about the past, you can’t change it. Don’t worry about the future, you can’t change that either..but you CAN focus on the now. Just live each day right, and go to sleep a little tiny bit further than you woke up, whether that’s 5 stolen minutes learning something, or reading something, or exercising, everything good counts. If you live that way, you can trust the future will work out. And maple wood rules!

-- "That which has in itself the greatest use, possesses the greatest beauty." -

View NedB's profile


659 posts in 3559 days

#13 posted 02-23-2009 09:04 PM

Barry, I don’t envy you your task. The LOML and I are caring for her mother, and this past week has been a trial for us, or rather more of one than we’d been dealing with in the past. Her brother lives 45 miles away, yet hasn’t even called in several years, let alone seen their mother. Be strong, I know it is not easy, at least you have those precious 4 hours once a week. I do my best to let my wife have some ‘me time’, and our boys are learning to help out as well. You’ve got a lot of people pulling for you, +1. A thought I just had was perhaps you could find a way to do some low-impact woodworking In the house, carving, scrolling, something of that sort? Hope this helps.


-- Ned - 2B1ASK1

View BarryW's profile


1015 posts in 3900 days

#14 posted 02-23-2009 11:15 PM

A lot of sound advice and helpful words from my friends at LJ….thank you every one…It helps a bunch. Nothing has changed…but still…I was feeling a bit puny…and well, y’all perked me up some…thanks.

-- /\/\/\ BarryW /\/\/\ Stay so busy you don't have time to die.

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4154 days

#15 posted 02-24-2009 12:13 AM

you are a pillar and an inspiration. Really.
Walking the talk is easy when life is good… it’s when the times get tough that we really get to see a person’s strength.
Bravo to you. Walk with pride! (And best wishes to all of your family).

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

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