Thursday, May 08, 2008

To make a long story short even longer...

Those of you who read this blog (both of you--LOL) know that I adore my brother Mike. He is one of the kindest, most decent people I have ever had the pleasure to know. You might think that I'm prejudice, him being my brother and all, but anyone who knows him says the same thing.

For years he took care of my mom and dad, moving into their home to provide them with the support they needed. His doing so enabled them to stay in their home for a very long time. When mom passed away, he stayed with dad to ease his loneliness and give him financial support as well.

When dad started showing symptoms of Parkinson's Disease several years ago, Mike took over all of the duties necessary to keep him home. His life revolved around dad and their dog Shasta. He did this for many years until it became obvious that dad could not be left alone during the hours that Mike worked. Dad agreed and we began the paperwork to move him into a nursing home near my brother's work.

Once dad was settled in, did Mike relax and take some time for himself? No he did not. Not a day goes by that Mike doesn't visit dad, always bringing treats for dad and his roommate and often bringing goodies for the staff as well.

While he's on his daily visit, Mike dotes on the residents as well. He fetches them water, finds and returns their lost items, helps them eat, and consoles them when they are sad. He's so helpful, that many of them think he's on staff there.

The staff think the world of him, too. Every time I stop to visit someone tells me what a great guy he is and I've even had them try to set him up with their friends!

And what does Mike do when he's not at work or doting on the residents of the Beartooth Manor? He dotes on his dog Shasta and his two newly acquired cats, Floyd and Cuddles.

Floyd showed up on the doorstep one day and of course Mike let him in and fed him. He came and went as he pleased for several days until a lady showed up asking if he'd seen a yellow and white cat. Mike said that he had and in fact the cat was sleeping on the couch at the time. The woman was quite thrilled to have "Pretty Boy" back and took him home with her.

The next day, Pretty Boy was back. Mike petted him, but did not let him in the house because he didn't want to encourage him. He came back day after day and finally the woman asked if he would like to keep him, since he obviously preferred Mike to her. Mike, of course, said that he would and promptly renamed him "Floyd" saying no WONDER he ran away!!!

Since the first of the year, Mike had been taking care of his neighbor's two cats while she convalesced in a nursing home after an illness. A few months ago her daughters decided that she should move to an assisted living facility near them. It was a good plan, except she would only be able to take one of her dear kitties, so she asked Mike to take the other, which he did!

After Mike officially adopted Floyd, he tried to make him an indoor cat, but Floyd would have none of it. He was used to coming and going as he pleased and he made the most pathetic noises at the door and finally Mike gave in and let him out. Cuddles, on the other hand, was perfectly content to stay in.

Mike works 12 hour shifts, going back and forth between days and nights. He hired a young man to come in and walk Shasta for him, but the schedule didn't work well for Floyd, who had his own timetable and didn't seem keen on adjusting it to anyone else's. Finally Mike came up with a plan.

He put a cat door in between the basement and the attached greenhouse and one from the greenhouse to the backyard. He placed a table leaf (oak no less) between the pool table and the shelf under the window so that Floyd (and Cuddles should he ever desire to leave the house) didn't have to (God Forbid!!) jump all the way up to the shelf to exit the premises.

Floyd was free to come and go as he pleased, but as you can see from the photo, Mike can close the basement window when he doesn't want Floyd to go out.

Problem solved.

Mike calls it....

Are you ready for this?

The Catobahn.


Anonymous said...

Wow. Just reading about his day makes me tired!

Anvilcloud said...

I love the Catobahn.

Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

Your parents were very blessed by your brother's care. Your brother seems quite exceptional. I am sure he find much meaning and joy in doing for others.

Squirl said...

Just stopped by to wish you a Happy Mother's Day!

Ur-spo said...

it is a rare man who caretakes the elderly; most of the time it is 'dumped' onto the women. good for him; and good for him for all he does.

Teena said...

Sounds like Mike rocks!

Mary said...

Mike is an amazing man. I wish I had a fraction of his enthusiasm and energy!

Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

Thank you, Laurie, for sharing Mike's story, He is a very loving man.

seventh sister said...

I hope the cats are grateful...but since they are cats, that is not very likely, is it?

Frank Baron said...

Mike's a keeper all right. Good for him, and good on you for writing about him.

threecollie said...

What a sweet post. He sounds like a wonderful brother and I am sure he considers you a very special sister.

LauraO said...

I really enjoyed this post, and the catobahn is awesome!

fingers said...

I believe you walked past me in Costco last Saturday at about 10:30. Were you there?

KGMom said...

What a great story about your brother--he sounds like a gem.
I love that he expands his circle of care to enfold whoever, or whatever, needs cared for.

Laurie said...

Thomas, I really don't know how he does it...and he tells ME to slow down.

AC, I am so glad you do!

Tossing, he is exceptional and I know he gets a lot of pleasure out of helping others.

Squirl, thanks so much and same to you!

Ur-Spo, he's an amazing man and I am blessed to have him for a brother.

Teena, he so does!

Mary, I do too, but reading your blog, it seems that YOU DO!

Nick, that's it in a nutshell...a very loving man. Thank you!

Sister, that's so true...but I think Cuddles is grateful. Mike says he wakes up at night to find Cuddles starting at him with love eyes. ;-)

Frank, he's a wonderful man. Even if he wasn't my brother, I'd want to know him.

Threecollie, we are very close friends as well as brother and sister. We talk on the phone every night and I spend as much time as I can there helping him with dad and our Uncle John, but he's the strength of the family, no doubt.

Laurao, the catobahn is sooo cool. I am going to try to get a picture of it in use and post it.

Fingers, yes I was there! I was picking up items for my cousin's surprise 55th birthday party. My cousin Kay and I took Costco by storm, as we only had an hour to get the things we needed! I didn't run over you with a cart or anything did I? I apologize if I did. :-)

KG, that is exactly what he does. Now he's taken an elderly woman at the nursing home under his wing. He went and got some tylenol for her last night because he foot was sore. He also brings her boxes of Twix from Costco...what a guy.

Pam said...

I love the Catobahn, too. And your brother! He is a rare and special person.

Pink said...

The more I know about your family, the more I adore them.

Anonymous said...

How terribly cute!

He's full of life isn't he!?

Q said...

He is a wonderman!
Kindness must be his middle name!
I love him too!
Mikes are good people. My husbamd and my younger brother are named Mike...
You must be very proud of him and his big heart.

Ur-spo said...

We want an update and new posts please!

Kristen said...

I'm here...number 21.... that's more than 2.... hooker LOL