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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Great Day With Dad

My sister, brother-in-law and I took my dad to The American Watchmakers-Clockmakers Library and Museum in Harrison, OH. nearly a week ago.  It is not only a library that gives individuals and groups tours of the museum but it is also a school for future watchmakers and clockmakers.

My dad, who has suffered a series of mini strokes in the last few years, on top of being in the early stage of dementia, seems to be doing better these days.  This is not only great news for my sister, my cousin and I, who have taken care of him and endured many trials and errors, it is also good news for the assisted living staff at the place he currently lives in.  He still has trouble walking, but the new doctor he's going to now seems to be putting him on the right track, health-wise.  For one thing, she has taken him off some of his medication that was causing side effects inside him that was making matters worse.  Dad still has trouble walking because of the mini-strokes and because of this, my sister arranged to get him a mobile chair, recently, through his insurance.  Dad loves it.  He gets to go places he wasn't able to in the past.

Speaking of the past, I know I've complained quite a bit about dad's belligerent behavior and how it has affected my sister and I's lives but it seems he has finally calmed down and allowed us to help him without debate and angry protests about pretty much anything.

It has also been more pleasurable, recently, taking dad places, other than the ongoing doctor appointments we are accustomed to taking him to in the past and present.  We still have to take him to these important appointments- but now we have an opening- a bright spot, if you will, now, in all of our long suffering lives these past 6 years since Mom passed away.  That sorrowful story has been told, one way or another, so many times on this blog, but I'm going to refrain from getting into it.  I've grown weary talking about it, in truth.  And I'd rather look forward instead of back.  My family and I have all suffered enough.

This is a post of joy and discovery, after all.

The mechanical insides of a working clock.  Yeah, that's my reflection in the glass.

My dad, who was a Master Watchmaker for close to 30 years, before having to close his watch repair/jewelry store in 1982, was delighted that we took him to this Watchmaker/Clockmaker's Museum.  He got a big thrill out of it and it warmed our hearts to see him happy and interested in something again.  Our tour guides were very thorough when they explained where each watch and clock came from and how watchmaking and clockmaking began so long ago.

I might add that my grandfather was a Master Watchmaker, too, for forty odd years.  It is meticulous work, utilizing and moving tiny parts in a mechanical watch.  Sometimes, it may take a minute to fix a watch.  Other times, anywhere from a half hour to an hour.  You need an eye loop magnifier to see the parts, in fact.

After dad closed the store, he learned how to become a mailman, to support our family, and was a rural route mail carrier for 17 years.  I'm very proud of him for what he accomplished in his life and how he went from doing one thing he was comfortable with to something entirely alien to him, learning a new profession, altogether.   My dad was a strong father figure to us, only weakened in his later years by mini-strokes and dementia.  We love our father, through the tough times and the good.

This school, library and museum had many fascinating things within it.  Such as: Clocks from the 17th century.  Sundials from the year 600.  Slot machine clocks from the late 1800's. Ropes and candles, which acted as time keepers and more.  Not to mention a humongous pendulum and ball that sits in the middle of the museum. It is attached to a working mechanical clock tower that sits on top of the building.  All of the clocks and watches you see in the following pictures and video clips come from all over the world.

There are only four watchmaker/clockmaker institutes such as this one in the entire country.

It is my hope that you'll check out the pictures and video clips below.  Enlarge the pics to read about how each time keeping item worked.  The videos are short but interesting.

Rope clock- which would be placed between a person's toes.  It was lit and would slowly burn until it got to your toes.   Each knot would represent a certain amount of time that had passed. A rough way to tell time, I would imagine.  lol.

Regular sundial at the top and a sundial cannon time keeping item at the bottom.
As the candle wax melted, a little bell would drop and make a jingling sound, signifying that another hour passed by.  Created by the Chinese, long ago. 
Below are videos of our various tour guides explaining how some of the watches and clocks worked, where and when they were from and so on.  We also visited a classroom where an instructor/guide was giving my dad and the rest of the family some info on what the watchmaking class was working on and learning that day.  I sneakily videotaped the classroom with my new digital camera when the students and instructor weren't looking.  Aren't I the devious one?  Ha ha ha.

In conclusion, we had a wonderful day. A fantastic reprieve and excellent experience with dad. It was well worth going there not just for us, but for dad, especially. My sister thought of the idea and I am forever grateful to her.  I provided the transportation and I was the camera man that day.  :)

I will be posting the entire album of pictures and videos, taken here, on facebook, soon, if anyone is interested.  Have a great day!


klahanie said...

Hey Kelly,
A timely reminder of some better times with your dad and for all concerned. I know how tough it has been on you, for all of you. Here's hoping that having your beloved dad embrace the inspiration from going to the museum, may have been a trigger, a positive catalyst.
Indeed, my friend, a post of joy. I celebrate with you.
All the best to your dad, to you and all your loved ones.
Stay positive and keep smiling.
In kindness, Gary

Kim said...

Oh, how thrilling it is to read such happy news! You've been to hellenback ;) with your family's trials, your father's illnesses and health, and your own. I'm so glad you had such a wonderful time with Dad!

He must have been ecstatic, spending time in that museum. How sweet of you to take him there. The Good Son, as always.

May he continue to have improved health and mobility, and may your family enjoy these good times together.

Pickleope said...

That museum looks AWESOME! It may make me nerdy, but the Faucault Pendulum alone makes me want to go. All the gears, the glorious gears! It makes me want to get into Steampunk. Not really.
Sounds like your dad is doing good and you and your siblings are being good kids and helping him out as much as you can.

Anonymous said...

Since I've had a really bad week learning about my friend Phyllis passing away. I'm so glad to hear some good news about you, your Dad, and the rest of the family! It's so AWESOME that you were able to break through with him on this level. I'M REALLY HAPPY FOR YOU! Love - Kay

bazza said...

Great positive news and it's really good to read. It looks like the museum would have been a cool place to visit even if there were no connections?
We are about to celebrate a four-day weekend in the UK to celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee; Monday and Tuesday are Public Holidays! We are going to see a procession of one thousand boats on the Thames.
Click here for Bazza’s Blog ‘To Discover Ice’

Anonymous said...

Hot from the desk of Sir Tom Eagerly:
Sir Tom is damping his eyes with a hand-made silk handkerchief as he reads these charming words. He is deeply touched. Apparently.
What is young Bazza talking about? Between you and me Kelly, I think he's been drinking. Toodle-pip!

G said...

What a cool way to spend time with your family. I love old clocks and watches - the shear precision involved is brilliant.

Static said...

That's great news, Kelly. I'm glad things are going better with you and your dad's condition.

I didn't even know that there was a Foucault Pendulum in the midwest. We just learned a great deal about them in my astronomy course at school last semester. The physics involved are pretty mind boggling.

Hey, it appears that the Chinese also have more than just water torture at their disposal, eh? Every time that bell dropped I'd start shadow boxing. Not cool man. Not cool. =P

Anyway... Hello, I made it here finally! Now I go bye-bye. Later dude!

Kelly said...

Yeah, you're right, Gary, it was a nice memory for all concerned. I'm glad you liked the post and 'celebrate' with me. I think it is a positive reminder.

Even a few months, before the museum visit, dad was less verbally abusive. I'm not sure if it's a combination of the cutback on his pills or his depression or what the geriatric psychiatrist said to him, while we were in the room, months ago. But, in any case, the museum visit was a big boost, I think. His attitude was more positive upon visiting there, during and afterwards, when we went out to eat and talked about our time spent there.

Thanks, my friend, for the positive wishes. I hope you know that I continue to wish the same for you and your loved ones. Take care.

Kelly said...

Hi Kim... Sorry for the late response. Between people needing me or wanting my attention, lately and my time on the internet has been cut back, severely. Not that I mind, entirely, but I wish there was some balance to it all.

Anyway, back to being positive (lol), I'm glad you are thrilled that you get to read some happy family news here, for a change. It's been a long road, with Dad and within our own lives, and it good to hit some of these "uplifting" speed bumps every so often.

Yes, Dad was ecstatic, spending time in the museum. I think it was not only a great learning experience for him but it also provided a cathartic time for him, as well.

I thank you, Kim, for wishing him and the rest of our family well. I wish you and your family nothing but the best, too. Take care.

Kelly said...

Pickleope, the museum was awesome! Yeah, the Faucault Pendulum was cool. I'm glad I took pics and videos of it, moving. I took 36 pics, altogether and 3 videos, of the the school, library and museum there. I think I'll get the pics developed, make copies and give them to Dad on Father's Day.

My sister explained what 'Steampunk' is. Lol. I don't know if it's been my severe lack of being on the net or watching much TV, lately, or what, but now that I realize what it is- I like it and I see your connection with the content of this post.

Yeah, I think Dad is doing better in some ways. My sister try to do what's best for him. Thankfully, our cousin, who suffers from Lupus, helps out a lot, too. Some days are hard for her and I feel badly for her because of her own medical condition. Take care. I'll be at your blog tonight, or likely- tomorrow.

Kelly said...

I thank you, Kay, for commenting on this post and leaving an uplifting comment, at that. I'm sorry that you lost such a good friend, recently and I wish you well in dealing with it. I think, as days, months, and even years pass, the pain associated with the death of loved ones remain- but is somehow "dulled" a bit. It's weird how it works. But that isn't much of a solace to you now, I know. I'm sorry.

But yes, it was awesome that we got to do this with Dad and his mood was better or has been better these days. Even though, last night he called, he was somewhat despondent again. His moods seem to change with each day. I thank you for saying that last part in your comment. It means a lot to me. Take care. You know you can communicate with me at any time about anything.

dcrelief said...

Kelly, this is such a warm and loving post. My parents have both passed, but I can empathize with the struggles of maintaining support; they can make it difficult :) Yet we do our best to love them through it.

The gift of the mobile chair is wonderful. I'm sure he must have enjoyed the renewed independence and mobility that age or accident removes. I hope he continues to improve.

Well, I certainly enjoyed the 'tour' through your eyes. I collect watches, but nothing like this! ~And what a great Father's Day idea; photos to treasure.

My highest regards to you and your family; wising more joyful and peaceful times to come,


Kelly said...

Man, I'm way behind on responding. My apologies! I've been too busy gaming, facebooking and doing outdoor activities. Living life, basically. But, anyway, yeah, Bazza, even if there were no connections... the museum, school and library is fascinating. Dad really enjoyed it- as we all did. I think I'll get the pics developed and give them to Dad for Father's Day, coming up.

I checked out the Queen's Jubilee on CNN. The BBC channel was probably broadcasting the event, too. There was a lot of celebrating and expense for the event, wasn't there. Fireworks. Elton John. Paul McCarteny. An old lady dressed in gold. :) Heh heh. Quite a deal!

So did you enjoy having Monday and Tuesday off? Seeing one thousand boats on the Thames river would have been cool.

Kelly said...

I agree with you, Sir Tom. I think young Bazza has been hitting the hard stuff again but don't tell him I said anything. :)

I'm glad you were deeply touched, Sir Tom. As long as you're not indecently touching yourself as you're reading this at the moment, then it's okay with me. Toodle-pip!

Kelly said...

Hey G, thanks for dropping by. Yeah, it was cool. Everyone was on their best behavior, that day, too, so that made it extra cool. :)

I know, for a fact, that working on watches is very meticulous work. I would watch my dad put his eye loop magnifier and work on watches every day after school. So many tiny parts!

Kelly said...

Hi Static. Yeah, Dad has become more tolerable to be around and his health, in some ways, has improved. My sister I have ideas as to why his behavior and health has changed but I won't go into it here.

So you took an astronomy course in school last semester, eh? Did you learn anything new about Uranus? The rope time keep thing is what kinda freaked me out. I can't imagine keeping time by having that space between your toes being burnt every hour upon the hour.

Glad you finally made it! As you might know, I've been kinda preoccupied, myself. Whenever I get the chance to get on the computer, though, I'm either doing the facebook thing or gaming but not much else besides checking out Youtube and listening to Internet radio, occasionally. Take care.

Kelly said...

Thank you, Dixie. Sorry it took me so long to respond. I've been a bad lil' blogger. :) If you check out my reply to Static, you'll find out why. Sort of. :)

Yes, it is a struggle to take care of an adult who can longer adequately take care of themselves. Health assistant care workers can only do so much and the rest is up to the family. And we didn't expect, after just losing Mom almost seven years ago, to be taking care of our father in this capacity. He started getting Dementia and a wealth of health problems way too early in life. He was in his early 60's when he was showing the first signs of trouble. From then, he has been quite the handful until just recently.

Yeah, since he has officially and finally had his license revoked, the mobile chair has given him back some of the independence that he was always worried about losing. It's a good thing I own a truck to transport it around. :)

I'm glad you enjoyed the tour. You say you collect watches, eh? Dad had collected a lot of watches in his lifetime. He has sold most of them off. It's too bad that you and he couldn't have known each other, at the time when he had them, to compare watch collections. :)

I wish you and your family the very same. Take care. Thanks for your kind words.

bazza said...

Don't apologize, Kezza. Living your life is much more important than Blogging!

Kelly said...

That's for sure, Bazza. You're right. Oddly and humorously enough, for some other folks out there, the opposite is true. Lol. Take care.

DocStout said...

Glad to turn up here after months away to find that you are doing well and still updating. Take care of yourself, Kelly. Gonna catch up on your archives, and someday soon might even write something new over at my mostly defunct page!

Kelly said...

Hey, I'm glad to see you're still kickin', too, Doc. I was beginning to wonder. Are you doing okay these days? I'm doing well. I take big breaks now and then from blogging. sometimes you get burned out or too busy, ya know? Thanks for catching up on some past posts. I'll be sure to check out your blog. It would be great if you wrote up something new. I liked what you had to say. Have a great weekend, Doc!

Dixie said...

Happy Father's Day ~ to you and your Dad!

Kelly said...

Thank you, Dixie. I hope your Father's Day was a happy event, as well. My Father's Day was great and without any negative incidents. We took him out to eat, gave him pictures, a shirt and a printed copy of what I wrote on the particular blog post. In the Father's Day card, I expressed how proud I was of him. It seemed like he had a nice time with us. Take care, Dixie.

THE SNEE said...

Hi Kelly,

I loved reading about this museum and am thrilled that you had such an incredible day with your Dad. I had no idea that you descend from a family of watch and clockmakers. It is one of my most favorite areas!!!! Thank you for telling us all about this museum. I can't wait to visit one day!

As you might have noticed, THE SNEE is on an unofficial summer hiatus. Life is keeping me busy, and blogging is suffering. maybe the fall will bring me the time and concentration I need to write again.

THE SNEE said...

Hi Kelly,

Blogger is giving me comment Grief! I left two comments, and they got deleted. if you see them in blog space, please show them the route to your blog.

Anyway.....I loved reading this post! First , I'm thrilled that you got to spend such a positive day with your Dad. Second, I didn't know that you descended from a family of watchmakers???!!! I love time pieces, and anything to do with time, navigation and history...a small fetish of mine. I can't wait to visit this museum!

You sound good, and I do get to keep up with your bit on Facebook. as you noticed, THE SNEE, is on a bit of a hiatus. satire news is alive and well, but I'm too distracted to write. Perhaps fall will bring inspiration and concentration

THE SNEE said...

Hi Again!

Blogger cut me off again! And I haven't even been drinking.

I hope you have a fantastic summer. I will look forward to seeing what dear ole Asmodeus is up to. I'm sincerely happy to hear about your Dad.

take care and cheers,

THE SNEE said...

Hi Again!

Blogger cut me off again! And I haven't even been drinking.

I hope you have a fantastic summer. I will look forward to seeing what dear ole Asmodeus is up to. I'm sincerely happy to hear about your Dad.

take care and cheers,

Kelly said...

Hi Rebecca,

It's truly great to hear from you again. Both you and your latest blog post stories and satire news have been sincerely missed. I can easily understand your sabbatical or 'hiatus', however. The real world, like you know, already, has a way of keeping you away from the little joys of blogging. I have been on an "off and on" sabbatical in the blogging world, too. Farcebook is easier to play around with, but even that is beginning to be as unreliable and frustrating as Blogger.

You do me an awesome service and pay me an incredible compliment with your comments regarding my time spent with dad at the watchmaker's museum.

Kelly said...

Yes, Rebecca, the museum was fantastic. There are only a handful of these types of museums left. It also serves as a school for future watchmakers. We were able to watch their class work and take pictures and movies of the instructor and the class as the instructor spoke and illustrated the lessons of the day.

I thank you for the many comments you left on this post. It's very much appreciated. And yes, I am a descendant of watchmakers. At first, Dad wanted me to get into the business, but he later told me that it might not be the best idea because so many people were turning to cheap, digital, non-mechanical, throw away watches as time passed and just before he closed his doors to his jewelry and watch repair business.

That's interesting that you have such an avid interest in timekeeping pieces. I do, as well. This museum/school and others like it across the country offer a wealth of example of strange and wonderful time keeping inventions.

I took a picture of a clock/slot machine, too, from the early 1800's... along with many other pictures not seen here. I believe I put the entire collection of museum pics on Facebook in a photo album, in case you're interested.

I'm sorry you had trouble with Blogger cutting you off. I hope you and your own family are doing well, Rebecca. I've checked in on your FB wall and noticed you put up a few nice family photos. Everyone looks happy. Judging from the pics, I'm assuming you're content, as well.

We have just adopted a particularly spunky kitten, btw and we are planning a trip to Hawaii. I can't wait for the excitement and beautiful scenery of our upcoming cruise trip to four of the islands of Hawaii. We're supposed to sail by an active volcano. :) No kidding!

Take care, Rebecca. Please, keep in touch. Great to hear from you, my ol' blog pal. said...

I think Dad is doing better in some methods. My sis try to do what's best for him. Fortunately, our relative, who is affected with Lupus, allows out a lot, too. Some times are difficult for her and I experience poorly for her because of her own healthcare problem. Take care. I'll be at your website this evening, or likely- the next day.

diets said...

That sad tale has been informed, one way or another, so many periods on this weblog, but I'm going to keep from getting into it.

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