on again off again finnigan

8 08 2008

I was channeling Anne Sullivan to pick up on what this conversation was all about. No Helen Keller here just something about the flood light on the garage. I knew that one worked and the other didn’t. He went on and on with half words that it wasn’t the light bulb itself and it was the thing inside the thing that saw the other thing that went on and off.

“OHHHHHH…now I get it. Silly me – why am I so dense sometimes…yes…I’ll get that fixed asap.” A glutton for punishment I am not, so I will wait till he’s asleep because there is only so much “helping” I can take. Besides I had a theory. After dark last night when they were squared away in bed (sort of…that is just the beginning of a long process with him up and down and in and out and over and under). Reminds me of that one girl when she was little – wanting to suck every last niblet of fun out of the day – when she’d get overtired…there’d be a firestorm till she dropped off mid-scream. They on the other hand had been as snug as bugs in a rug for about an hour…usually a safe bet.

Out comes the ladder, in goes the new flood light and voil√†! Problem fixed. I was sooo proud of myself…silly Billy sometimes just can’t take his own sage advice _”If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. I went to bed with the satisfaction of a job well done. Till I got up this morning to walk out in the full sunlight to find the light still on.

Oppps…he had said, “that one thing that holds the one thing that…” I had NOT followed instructions. A quick trip to the hardware store for that one thing. Up the ladder I went (making sure he never saw any of this to preserve whatever integrity I might have intact) and THEN the job was done and done right. Sometimes those photo sensor dawn to dusk things just get tired of knowing which is which. I’ll know soon enough if there’s not some deeper issue yet to unfold.

And because it’s dusk – this is the hardest part of Billy’s day. His manifestation of “sundowning” is early afternoon till after 8 p.m. of panting, pacing, tugging, complaining and more general unhappiness. But I felt like I’d been dodging bullets all day long…at least the afternoon. We had taken him with us to one of mom’s doctor’s appointments.

He declared that he just wanted to sit in the car and wait – not go into the waiting room with all those sickies. Ok – so we made sure he had on a pair of pants, shoes and a shirt and we were good to go. It didn’t matter that he still had a Breathe Right strip stuck to his nose (he thinks they are magic and if he thinks they are…so do I). I was going to take her in – get her settled and go back and wait with him in the car (I’d left the windows down, the radio on to a nice “Christian” music station)…only to finish letting the receptionist make copies of insurance cards and like an apparition – he was inside. Back outside I went to take the key out of the ignition. Won’t be doing that again soon but it was a nice experiment.

Naturally we waited longer to see the doctor than seeing the doctor. Long enough for me to look apologetically at other patients in the crowded room as he started panting. The tie-dyed mini-hippie kid couldn’t skooch close enough to her dad. And I couldn’t make eye contact with him when the 60 something “2kool4skool ” gma with a rats’ nest of platinum and purple dyed hair piled high on her head waddled by. Nor could I not help but notice when he started making wild hand motions to my mom who was sitting across the room trying to give her a heads up that there as a brand new baby being carried in …and he couldn’t stop grinning.

When it was all said and done and he’d not wandered off (hasn’t to date but still the largest looming fear in my mom’s mind) during our time with the doctor, I thought we’d all deserved a hamburger for good behavior and delivered the announcement with a note of triumph in my voice until he said, “I’m not much on hamburgs anymore”. My brain felt like it was an 18 wheeler careening downhill and the brakes had been slammed on. “Ok, so where?” “That one place that your brother-in-law likes”…(scramble, scramble, brain scramble…)”Culver’s?” “Yeah – that place”

If I could tell you the times I’ve tried to get him to go there with grunts and groans and he doesn’t like stuff there and the fries aren’t right and the … and the…and the… “Culver’s it is!!” I exclaimed. Mom and I were throwing invisible “high fives” celebrating our reprieve from MickeyD’s. Here’s to hot dogs, root beers and thick fries.

Now as the shadows lengthen, Billy paces, complains about his pants being too tight only to pull them off and I discover he’d worn them over his pajama pants all day coz he was “told to put those pants on!”. It’s almost dark now – I think about that flood light – will it be on tonight? Will it work? Did I fix it? This I can’t fix – no way of knowing if tomorrow is connected by any thread to today. Next time I suggest Culver’s – that light could be out. He knew that that thing connected to the other thing is what was going wrong on the garage light…but who knew MickeyD’s had become a thing to turn your nose up at in one short week…or so we think. God bless Billy’s heart – he’s just an on again off again finnigan wearing two layers of leggin’s on a 70 degree day and just like that thing connected to that thing over the garage not sure if it’s day or night- is he on? is he off?. Sometimes we just can’t tell till it’s pitch black outside…