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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Doing something


Some of me fell back into place recently. I woke up from one of the four hour, dead unconscious naps a week ago. I lay there a few minutes, listening to the birds and the children and I said to myself, so get up and do something. I sat up and thought about it for a minute. I got up, with purposeful action still in mind, cleaned the kitchen and resurrected the sweater I left off in March.

I have to do a deal of tinking on the ribbing I had finished, and as I picked out stitches I realized I still give a darn about the world, the one around me, and the round one I live on. The big world is in a worse mess than when I left off last March. And, I just realized, the bastards stole my birthday. I was 74 on March 31st.  But, I was unconscious from a craniotomy performed a few days before. Or, it may have been the very day I begged nurses for water. That was not a nice story.

Stephen Hawking says earth is ending, and he’s certainly right. That, actually, is interesting to read about. Not good, but boggling. That’s one big chunk of ice about to break off an ice shelf in Antarticia. That, and its consequences, will happen in my life time. The world will last longer. One of my favorite doctors and I had a discussion about drugs that have an adverse effect over time (name one that doesn’t), and I said “but, I’ll be dead by then.” Bring on the CAT scans. I can’t live long enough for the radiation to kill me.

Meanwhile, back at home, nice drains were installed, seed sown, straw distributed thickly. A violent windstorm the next night swept the straw into huge piles, and sent grass seed to the next county. Laura reseeded and moved the straw back. I bought a reel mower, and Laura has been maintaining the established grass around several local trailers. This is less grass than the miniscule front yard of my childhood home, and it looks nice, all the same height. And, the neighbors say Thanks. Like me, none of them can mow.

I asked management if we could rake the straw, as the maintenance guys don’t seem interested. I also pointed out we are mowing the lawns, so the maintenance guys should stop cutting through the side yard on that nasty riding mower. The entire interview with management went well. 

Laura raked a lot of straw into rows, and management sent one of the maintenance men down to collect it into a huge trash can. I’d said we’d bag it and take it to the curb, so I thought that was really nice. Until the other maintenance man came through, at high speed with the damn riding mower, made half a dozen passes, turfed the new growing grass into mud. He attempted to climb the small hills, failed, and made them a mess, too. This all happened near quitting time, Friday.

On Sunday we bought a roll of several hundred feet of yellow tape. On Monday I took my case back to Management, and my complaint of ruined seeding and turfed hills was seconded by the secretary whose unit is across the street.  She even revealed the maintenance guy uses my yard to “cut through.” I volunteered to reseed, if I could protect the work with tape. Management agreed. My neighbors on both sides helped Laura with the tape. I will have grass or know the reason why. My schmoozing neighbor reports the lawn mower operator is unhappy. All is well.


I rest my case.
Before the cowboy on the tractor came through, it all was lush, like the bit at the back.



Monday, June 19, 2017

Several liberations

I went early to visit my friend, and left, exhausted. To stop at one chair to say a word is to be expected to stop at each, I discovered, and did. My usual twenty minutes turned into close to an hour. Sadly, instead of nailing one of six handicap parking places at the curb (and, I can parallel park!), I had to drive well into the lot to find a place. Getting into the building and back out was a trial.  

Actually, I was dumbfounded on arriving at my floor and finding many men, and wives, moving along. A lot of men visit their mothers on father’s day, I found. Back home near noon, I simply fell on the bed in a daze.  I was so physically tired I had no strength to move the cat, or lift my legs to his other side, so my heels hung over the bed, and woke me several hours later, with my feet asleep.

For a few more minutes I dozed. Then I felt myself leaving the land of marshmallows and cotton. My brain said “You need to get up and do something.” I got up and cleaned the kitchen. Then I took the chair, turned on HGTV, and resumed working on the sweater I put aside six or eight months ago.


Wednesday the sewing machine will be liberated from the hospital, and tomorrow—ta-da—Laura takes the test for her temporary driver’s permit. She is over the moon, and studying from an app she put on her phone. I am so curious to see how she does. She has the booklet, and I do remember it well. We’ll see what sort of app it makes.


Friday, June 16, 2017

The visit


We visited my friend in a care facility last weekend. Laura and I hurried down the hall, smiling at all the old ladies. My friend was so happy to have company. My visits are shorter and shorter every time, because Jean gets tired and frustrated with the struggle of remembering who I am. Perhaps I need to make friends with more people in the hall; so many want to be visited.

I left, ruefully considering the halls are empty, but the walls lined with old women. The twenty years I was a mother, their dad and I got the children to their grandparents almost weekly. When the girls left home, and my dad had passed away, mom came to visit often, and to stay. I visited my grandmother, drove her to family gatherings, even to my dad’s funeral.

(Dad did not like Gram; nursing her family’s insults of him being a “poor shanty Irishman.” Mom intended not to have Gram at the funeral. She told me she didn’t have time to go get her. I did, but didn’t tell Mom, who was surprised. Later, Mom thanked me.) Sometimes you need to get over yourself.

Laura is going to Pittsburgh this weekend, with our friend Kay, who bought the old house. They’re going to Ikea, to purchase either a bed or a table for a rental home of Kay’s. I confess, I no longer remember which, though I suppose they could be interchangeable, in a pinch. (You should avoid brain injuries; recovery is so slow as to be miniscule.)

How to strike up a conversation? Should I pretend to be looking for something I lost? I could find it later. Or just be straightforward. “Hello. My name is Joanne. I’m here to see a friend, but I need to rest a minute. What’s your name?”


I can’t go until Sunday, so any other suggestions are welcome.