Dad Week – 7/7/2023

Dad had open heart surgery a few weeks ago. After his surgery, he went to residential care where they took care of him around the clock. Once he was cleared from residential care, he was going back home. It just happened that my sisters were both on vacation that same week. Nobody was going to be around to take care of him. Lucky for all involved, I am able to work remote with my job.

On Friday morning, Sonora and Danelle dropped me off at the Kirkwood train station. I would work on the train while I went to KC for the week.

For somebody like me that doesn’t travel this way often, it was torture. I wanted to spend my time looking out the windows and watching the scenery. Of course, I did randomly look outside and use my GPS to see where we were, I was getting stuff done. I’ll say that I was impressed with the WiFi on Amtrak. It had a better and more consistent Internet connection than my cell phone.

I was a bit surprised that the train was as full as it was. I learned why when I arrived in Union Station in Kansas City. In the middle of the station was a huge gathering of Taylor Swift fans for some event. It turns out that she was performing a concert at Arrowhead Stadium and the fans came from all over to see her.

I was fortunate to get out of the station and outside where my brother Henry was waiting for me. We had a great chat as he drove me to dad’s house. You might be thinking, why did you go to KC if your brother is there? Easy answer is that we wanted around the clock care for dad. Since I could work from the house, it would be easy to make sure that he had help if anything came up.

When we got to the house, if you didn’t know better, you would think that Dad was just fine. One moment a goof ball.

Not long later, he was sleeping!

Besides taking care of dad, I had a few projects while I was there. The biggest one was moving dad’s home office from the second floor down to the piano room. Dad wanted to make sure that he could come down the stairs and hang out on the first floor of the house all day. This was a great idea and required lots of moving furniture (thanks for extra hands Henry) and equipment. Then getting it where dad wanted. In the process of cleaning, I found some glasses that made Henry and dad go into incognito mode and say crazy things. They still make me laugh!

I  might have worn them for some work meetings myself…

I did anything I could to make dad’s life easier that week I was there. I can honestly say that I saw him noticeably improve health wise each day I was at the house.

It worked out that Hiatt and kids could come and visit. Michaela and Sean even stayed overnight to hang out with grandpa. We watched more k-pop videos than I knew existed and learned about the history of every group.

Here comes the mystery glasses again!

My dad loves gambling and goes on occasion. Knowing that he enjoys it, I decided to teach him and the kids how we do it at my house. First was to purchase a bunch of candy to use as currency. Then we give the kids candy to bet with. I like to play Blackjack (21) as its easy to understand. We start out pretty strict and let the kids see how easy it is too lose. Then as the dealer, I start helping them. I’ll look ahead at the cards then ask them if they want to hit while shaking my head NO cause I know they will lose. Eventually I run out of candy and everybody is laughing.

I helped grandpa make a special meal for the kiddos. We called it “Greasy Grimy Gopher Guts”. Basically you take uncooked spaghetti and push it through hot dogs, then cook the spaghetti as usual. It didn’t go over well with the kids, but I thought it tasted fine!

Holly got back from her trip and came over before it was time for me to head home to St. Louis. She brought her kiddos over, but I didn’t recognize them at first…

And I mentioned that dad was feeling better. By Friday, I felt safe leaving him alone for a bit and met a remote co-worker, Adam Orr. Adam took me on a quick tour of downtown KC and lunch!

As much as this trip felt a bit like work when I left on the train, by this point, it felt amazing. I feel privileged that I could take time to provide care for my dad. I feel closer to my family and friends! Eventually Henry came and took me back to the train station for the ride home where I could look out the windows and enjoy the journey!

Hogan Haake