Monday, February 27, 2017

In Memorial for Memorandum Monday

Back last summer, my first day of work with the volunteers was at the previously pink house. I didn't get the story on the owner for quite some time, I just knew we were siding the house. Since pink isn't a standard color in siding choices, someone had convinced her that tan was the way to go and we'd do pink shutters in the same color that the house was originally. See, I can do sentimental and I was totally down with that.

Later there was a story of a divorce and her ex dude spending all the money that was needed to fix the house on gambling. See, Sue was sick. Very sick. She was putting up a valiant fight to live as long as possible with ALS and had moved into the house her Grandma had owned which was pink. Several not for profit groups had decided to merge funding and help her fix up a house that needed a lot. Siding, a roof and a new floor plan inside that allowed for accessibility were all on the agenda. At the time, Sue was walking down her wheel chair ramp with a walker and driving herself to town. We'd all wave, talk for a bit and go back to siding. See, that was also back when she could talk and before ALS robbed her of her voice.

A project that only gets a day or two a week and depends on how many volunteers show up takes a bit of time. This was a good thing though as her son was working on the back of the house. The back porch was tipped and in the process of falling over. It needed quite a bit of work. He also built a little ramp down for the dogs and a dog door. See, Sue was a big part of a local rescue so he was sharing the backyard with some of those rescues, one of whom thought it funny to pee on the post he was working on to level it. I have a theory that Sue always got the very hard luck cases.

The dogs were a big part of the project. When we were in the back, they were in. When we were in they were out. And then there was Puppy. At some point in the fall when we were long past siding, a group called and wanted a volunteer project. Since the garage was still pink, I thought that painting a nice small one story garage would do the trick. My coworker and I went over to check out the garage. There was a huge fence attached to the one side of it and as I was looking over that fence to see the other side of the garage, a rescue dog named Maryjane attacked Puppy, who was Sue's lap dog. I was pretty sure Puppy was a goner.

Sue was old hat at dog fights, but her it took her a minute to wheel herself out on the porch to throw me a spray bottle since nobody was gunna get in the middle of two extremely angry dogs. I of course was yelling my lungs out to get them to stop, but since when does that help a dog fight. Thankfully the spray she threw me worked and she managed to get the much smaller dog Puppy into the house.

I went in to check on them both, heart racing and tears in my eyes. Thankfully Puppy was hanging out on the couch and seemed to be mainly in one piece. I pointed to a tear in his neck to show Sue when the little bastard lunged. Seemed he still had some fight left in him and he bit my finger! From that day onward, every time Puppy saw me he growled, howled, or menaced me in some way. Everyone else could get near him and pet him even. Not me. Even though I saved that little turd's life and have the scar on my finger to prove it, I was the cause of his trouble in his little dog brain.

Right at Christmas, our crew was invited back to paint inside. Several walls had been removed to make the whole downstairs wheel chair accessible. We also painted a bedroom to ready it for a hospital bed. All the while, Sue would call in lunch and try to get us to do shots with some Christmas liquor. It was hard to hear her, so by then she had taken to texting what she wanted to say.

Last week when I was down and out with a cold, I got the very unfortunate text message that Sue had passed. It wasn't unexpected. I mean I totally understood that ALS is a death sentence, but I wasn't ready. We still had a little trim work left to do in her house. I hadn't rushed it because she had left at one point in an ambulance while we were there working and needed to stay in the hospital a bit as she had trouble breathing. As she left, she told us to keep working with a wave of her hand from the stretcher!

I thought that the longer we stretched out the little trim work we had to do, the longer she would stick around to see it get done. Just a couple of days before she passed, friends installed that pretty front door. They video taped it so she didn't have to get up to see it since by then she hanging out in the hospital bed. She truly loved her previously pink house.

Thankfully last week I rallied in time for her Celebration of Life. The room was jam packed and at one point I helped put out more chairs. Sue was one of those people who had a huge impact on the lives of many, including my own. Not to mention they had bar filled with donated bottles of wine and liquor and tables full of food in true Sue fashion.

We did actually do that shot with her. All the bosses came over to check out the mostly finished house one day in January and we did shots at work. That same day she showed us her casket pose with a bunch of fake flowers. She was a one of a kind lady and in fact, all the contractors that worked on her house were terrified because she hinted quite strongly in their presence that one should drag her upstairs for one last fling. She's off to menace the angels leaving her Granddaughter with the house. We wrapped up our trim work and said our good byes but will keep Sue in our hearts. As for Puppy, that's another story. I won't miss him one bit.

A little story about Sue for Sian over at From High in the Sky who hosts us for Memorandum Monday.


  1. What an amazing lady - and a thoroughly interesting story. She sounds like she had a great, and original, personality.

  2. I'll raise a glass to her myself, later on tonight. What a story.

  3. oh what a touching story, so sad, but what a character she must have been... sending a hug for your loss...

  4. So right now my eyes are burning because sometimes when I get teary and start rubbing them some sort of product I put on my face must cause the burning.. so I'm reading... swiping my tears... winking and blinking and trying to type... I think I'll do a shot in Sue's name... do you think she'd mind if I used tequila for mine?

  5. Oh, that is happy and sad and terrifying [puppy] all in one. Not a good week when you had a cold to get that news. But that's always the way I reckon. Hope things have settled since then. Soooo.... was it YOU who passed their cold onto me? HUH! It was SOMEONE!!!!! It sounds like Sue had the perfect send off, too. The way it should be:)


I LOVE comments. Come on. Leave me one. They make me smile!