tissue paper morning

29 06 2010

Chaos is about to ensue.  The landscapers will start today or tomorrow.  The painter is moving his ladder to finish the north side of the second story.  There will be no yard to let the Beast out into for the better part of six weeks till we have grass.  It will need to be watered three times a day.  She will need to be walked a million times a day.  I will need medication every four to six hours for the rest of the summer.

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gone fishin’

26 06 2010

I never knew Billy as much of an outdoorsman in the hunting and fishing sort of way but by the looks of this picture – he was either channeling Tom Sawyer and Huck Fin or he enjoyed some time on a bank somewhere.  The Dr. took off earlier this week with some friends for a few days of some male bonding (chest pumping optional) in Wyoming that could have been the setting for A River Runs Through It or Legends of the Fall.  Early next week when the friends head home, he’ll stay behind and be joined by his brothers and dad.  They’ve never done this sort of thing and the opportunity was just too good to pass up.

Meanwhile, here I am.  I always have an imaginary list in my head of all the things I think I can accomplish with him gone.  It’s not that he’s all that much trouble when he is here – it’s just that he needs to eat a few times a day which means if I’m honest –  he’ll fix himself.  He’s become very self-reliant in these days of working from home and never quite sure when my schedule with the Mrs. will have me out-of-town for hours or overnight.  But there is still something that happens when I have the house to myself.

I dream of boundless energy and crews of invisible, off camera  helpers like those TV make-over shows that get done in 30 minutes some how???  Imagine me…no interruptions, moving around efficiently and swiftly, making as much noise as I want and staying up all night tackling project after project.

My list looks like this:

  1. I could paint the bathroom
  2. I could paint the living room
  3. I could strip the 70’s wall paper off the kitchen walls
  4. I could tear down the acoustical ceiling from hell that is also in the kitchen.
  5. I could get every picture album, CD, raw film footage tapes, and any other kind of media that floats around here…organized and in one place.
  6. I could do more of the great work I started in the basement back in February but stopped when there was enough room for the workman to install the  glass block windows
  7. I could clean out 4 bedroom closets
  8. I could re-organize and clean the kitchen cabinets
  9. I could work on the 100-year-old plus double hung windows that don’t work because someone cut the sash cords
  10. I could finish stripping the old linoleum tile off the kitchen floor (a job that has been in process for years and I can ignore until we have company then I die of embarrassment when I see the look on their faces.)

Let’s face it – I have options.  That list could easily double if I wanted to type more.  Time will tell if anything gets done or not.

One of the first things I knew I needed to do was to decide when to go down to the Mrs.’ place.  When I called her the evening that the Dr. left, I was just about to open my mouth and tell her that the Weather channel would surely be talking about the earthquake felt here in MI and the impending tornados headed her way.  Before I could get any of that out of my mouth, she apologetically whimpered, “I hate to trouble you…but I seem to have messed up the TV and I can’t get it to turn on.”   Right then and there I decided that no news was good news – she’d NOT hear about the trembler and she’d slept through the storm warnings a half a dozen other times this season – so what the heck…we’d play the Toto Lotto. So yesterday, my first day of Bliss Week, I went down to the Mrs.’ place – 1 week and 1 day after hooking up the new Comcast digital box.  I wondered just how long it would take before the remote got so screwed up that her TV wouldn’t work.  I may have found her Christmas gift already.  Check it out.

I really am happy that the Dr. has been unchained from his computer screen and gets to breathe real fresh air and enjoy being surrounded by nature these days.  It will refresh his soul.

And I know it would do my soul a world of good to get a bunch of things crossed off that nagging list.  With the fresh motivation that Best Boy and Mimi are headed to town next week – I might just get them all done…that, or I’ll be watching all five seasons of Six Feet Under.  After all, I am also the General Contractor / Supervisor on two projects that will be continuing next week – the painting of the house trim and the landscapers start their three day make-over.  Would you care to place any bets about my making it off the couch?  It would be my version of “Gone Fishin'”.  Oh wait, I can’t fly fish right now coz…





twinklin’

10 06 2010

Last Saturday, I took Donny Diva and Shop Girl down to surprise the Mrs.  I learned a long time ago that it is best not to talk about plans ahead of time so as not to disappoint if things don’t work out.  Besides, if she would have known they were in the car with me she would have gone to Ace Hardware and bought all the baby-proofing gadgets she could find.

While I did my usual duties around the house and running out to get groceries, etc., they just visited.  I don’t know who was more entertained by the whole thing – the Mrs. or Donny Diva.  The giggles and laughs were about equal when it was all said and done.  It reminded me of some of the similarities that Billy and Tractor Baby shared two years ago (you can read about that here).  Before we wrapped up our visit, Shop Girl sat down at the piano with Donny Diva on her lap.  It took him just a minute or two to get the hang of the physics lesson of action-reaction.  Suddenly he was “twinklin’ ” on the piano – that’s what Billy used to call it when Shop Girl would play.

So I guess that alot of what happens in life is that we end up where we started from.  Sometimes our hands don’t work like we want them to.  We need more naps.  Our view of the world as a whole can be limited to what is happening in our house and our most immediate surroundings.  And more often than not, social gatherings can be intimidating.  When we went to a graduation open house the other day, the best Donny Diva could do was to bury his head in a cousin’s shoulder to help him cope with all the people that wanted to kiss on his face.  Eventually he warmed up and all was fine.  It just took a few minutes.

The Mrs. feels like that too – but there was no shoulder to share.   She was at an open house on the same day and told me later that it all made her feel very lonely.  She was very aware of feeling like the “odd man out” as she puts it.  Surrounded by couples, all old friends, feeling like she didn’t belong.  She missed Billy something fierce.

Hearing about how she felt made me defensive.  It gets my ire up when we routinely plow over the elderly but would never treat a toddler that way.  We are impatient with their inability to move like they used to, their lack of desire to do what they used to or just their general state of “winding down”.  A conversation with her can jump from the 1920’s to 2010 mid-sentence and takes all kinds of special abilities to maintain sanity.  I’ll be the first to admit that  I don’t have the stamina it takes to be Donny Diva’s full time caregiver and I get equally tired when I have to deal with the Mrs. for days on end.  But none of that is like  a friend of mine who is being taxed on a moment by moment basis as she is an only child dealing with her mom’s Alzheimer’s.

So all I ask is that when you are out and about running around in your world with all your fingers working just like they are supposed to and mentally juggling a million things at once – if you find yourself in line behind someone with more gray hair than is on your head – be kind.  Be patient.  Be personal.  You may be the only person that speaks to them all day and you’ll turn around twice in life and you will be that old person.  There is no escaping that reality.  There is a new generation stepping on your heels ready to sit down to take their turn twinklin’ on the piano.