Becoming ~ Redux

It is a year on down the line and some things are clearer and some things not so much…..

I have had many small adventures, theatre, symphony and other cherished music.  Live performance is critical to my happiness.  I have spent much time with loved female friends and have talked to the dog and the cat at great length.  I have watched my son becoming, in a very real sense, the man he will always be while being intensely grateful he is my child.  His help and support this past year has made my life manageable as I swing madly from fierce to afraid and learn how to do things I have never had to do.

I have learned to clean the pool, I have learned to dispose of dead animal cat gifts, I have learned I cannot change the light bulbs in the kitchen or the air conditioning filter.  But I have found people to help me with what I cannot do and I accept that there is much I have to do.  All this has shifted my perspective about what my life will look like in the future, what I want to deal with and what I don’t or won’t.  BAM, everything changes.

I have understood love and I have not dated.  I have taught children about God and in the process found my faith stronger. I have begun a crooked walk towards possible retirement and the financial realities that I will face.  I have made music with people I love and in that creativity have found immense joy.

How odd to think that one morning I will wake up for the first time in about fifty years with no need to rise and go to someone else’s employ.  Probably the most exciting and the scariest thing I have ever contemplated.  If I can stay in the idea that this is a great opportunity and that wondrous things still await me at this late time in my life, it will be amazing.  And so I work on creating options, possible paths for myself, knowing that at any moment, BAM, a totally different path may appear.  Stay in the moment but plan….faith is the antidote to fear.

Things I Want My Son To Know #11 ~ Know How To Live On Your Own

I am amazed by how many young women, and men, simply don’t know how to do basic things, don’t have basic life skills. You should never be in a relationship because you can’t balance a checkbook or iron a shirt; these are not good reasons to pick a mate. And yes, you can pay people to do a lot of life skills things, but you may not always have the money for that, or wish to spend it on that. There are often far more important things to spend your money on; choices to be made. So it is important that you know how to live on your own and take care of yourself.

Remember we have always said there is nothing worse than a single man’s bathroom. If you want a second date, know how to clean a bathroom, especially the toilets. It not hard and you won’t catch anything. Spray, swish, wipe and don’t forget the underside, outside and the floor around the base!

Know how to cook a few basic meals. Remember you can put almost anything in a basic cream sauce and be impressive; butter, flour, milk, a little chicken, some rice, you are a genius. Spaghetti, eggs, salad, you know you can.

Know how to manage your own money, balance your checkbook and invest your savings intelligently. Shop sales and remember, never pay full price just because you want something today. Save something every time you get a paycheck. If you do you will retire with enough money to live. You will be able to help your children when they need it.

Know how to iron your shirts, when you have a job interview you need an ironed white shirt, always. And depending on where you work, you will need one for work sometimes. And know how to iron your pants. I hate to say it, but if you actually hang things up with a crease, they need less ironing. Maybe when you don’t have someone to iron for you, you will hang them up.

Know how to make good coffee, a reasonable cup of tea, a box of brownies. Know how to make your bed and run the washer/dryer. So many life tasks, so little space to write. Generally, be a competent self-sufficient human being. Know how to suit up and show up, feed yourself, do your bills and clean your house. Don’t depend on people to do these things for you. That way you can rely on yourself and find the people that enrich your life in real and special ways; not the people you need so you will have clean clothes.

Caregiving and the Kitchen Floor

So I have been a little busy, haven’t posted in a few days. And there is so much in the world to write about these days its hard to know where to start! But lately my self absorbed self has been focused on the kitchen floor; literally and figuratively.

So the first thing you have to understand is that my father’s nose runs all the time. It has for years. He has been to every specialist known to medicine and nobody can find a reason for it, much less a cure. Our primary doctor here, who he doesn’t trust and I like, says sometimes it just happens to the elderly and nobody really knows why and there isn’t much you can do for it. My dad has tried every over the counter symptom relief despite some dire contraindications, with no result. So this runny nose is not the usual sniffle that the phrase “runny nose” brings to mind. His nose runs long clear mucous strings.

Now when my dad’s nose runs he is clearly aware of it. Sometimes he has a kleenex, sometimes he doesn’t. Sometimes he has a napkin of preferably, for him, a paper towel, sometimes he doesn’t. Sometimes he will attempt to get one of the above choices, sometimes he won’t. It is apparent that while this condition annoys him very much, he doesn’t much care about how this condition might affect those around him.

Let’s just put aside the visual aesthetic for a moment (not that easy to do mind you). This discharge is now to be found on our cabinets, the microwave handle, the refrigerator door, etc. This is not to mention the dishes that he rinses and puts back in the cupboard, claiming they are washed clean (no soap ever touches them).

Most distressing to me is the kitchen floor. Now I spend a lot of my time in the kitchen. Not only do i cook most days, I feed cats, I put away groceries, dishes, etc. Our kitchen floor is tile and I spend a lot of barefoot time in the kitchen. Not so much anymore. I watch this drip direct from his nose to my kitchen floor. I hand him a tissue/paper towel/napkin as fast as I can but often it is not a matter of how quick I am but a matter of how little he cares. Sometimes he will take the offered paper, other times he will just get mad as if somehow asking him not to share snot is a personal affront. I can no longer bear to walk barefoot in my kitchen and the cabinets have to be wiped down daily.

In the same vein, when he fixes food, he leaves it everywhere. The counter, the cabinets, the floor. First step, all containers are left open for someone else to close. All foods are left unrefrigerated for someone else to put away. All surfaces are left dirty for someone else to clean. Now it is his caregivers’ job to follow along behind him and clean up but again… not so much. So in addition to the snot, the floor is always covered with food.

The final insult is almost funny. He has taken to “helping” to clear the table, which is great; can’t complain. But the placemats, which are covered with food, he brushes, blows or just tips up and slides the food onto the floor. The other night, the event that precipitated the need to write this blog, was the tipping of all the bread crumbs and corn kernels onto the floor. Picture picking up the placemat and turning it on end so that all the debris simply lands on the floor. So now we have snot, cooking debris and the detritus of a meal, all on the kitchen floor. Too bad we can’t just use a blowtorch.