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.

“H” is for homophone

25 04 2010

Homophone – words that sound like one another but have different meanings, like flour and flower or mamama and Mom and MoMo and Nana.

I am in an odd vortex these days, trying to multi-task and float between three very different worlds at any given moment.  I will gladly screech to a halt to watch Donny Diva’s daily challenge of learning new skills and discovering the things that he can do.

Then there are those times like a few weeks ago, when the Mrs. wanted to attend the joyous occasion of one of her widowed niece’s finding new love in an old college friend.  The weekend was long.  It started with an extended appointment at the hair dresser’s for a perm and manicure.  The following day, I fetched her so that she could sneak in a quick visit with Donny Diva before spending the night here.  Before 8 a.m. the following morning, we were on our way across the state.  Brunch before the ceremony, the ceremony followed by a cake reception, all topped off by a family dinner at a restaurant another half hour’s drive away, kept us moving through the day.  By 6 p.m., all the fun was over and we were headed back to her place – another three hours away.  Once I got her gladly settled back in her own space, I drove another 2 1/2 hours home to my own bed arriving in time to do nothing more than to fall headlong into its pillowy goodness.  The next day she gladly took my advice and didn’t go to church.  She was pretty much all tuckered out the rest of the week!

I could have easily told her it was all too far away and too far-fetched to attend the wedding.  I could also tell Donny Diva that he’s not up to sitting on his own yet and playing with blocks…he might fall over, he might hit himself in the eye while trying to co-ordinate both hands to clap two blocks together.   It might tire him out.

I had never spent any time thinking about how tricky this space is…trying to be a parent, grandparent, and parent to the grandparent all at once but here I am.  It is a season after all.  Just as quickly as Donny Diva moves on to the next exciting adventure (like crawling!) the Mrs. might not be up to any car rides for some reason.

So for now, “H” is for helping…helping them both find their way and face the challenges that their lives bring them each new day.

And “H” is also for heading out of Dodge.  I need a Best Boy and Mimi fix.  The other day Shop Girl said, “Mom, now I get it.  I get the bond between mother and son.” There was no way of her ever really understanding the things I couldn’t put into words until she started to experience them herself.  I am looking forward to the best “H” I know that will be all the Mother’s Day gift I could want…a Best Boy bear-hug.

counting candles

16 01 2010

Oh this wasn’t just any birthday celebration…no, this one was special.  There was something quite different about this one as compared to the one a year ago. My  83 year old mother got her driver’s license renewed.

Months ago the State of Indiana was kind enough to send out two separate letters reminding us of the need to renew her license.  They sent TWO (count them – TWO) letters outlining the multiple documents we needed to present so that she could get the new SecureID  – “to ensure that you can use your driver’s license to board commercial airplanes and enter certain federal buildings.” Now there’s something new for 2010.

We had to have an original certified copy of her birth certificate.  Fortunately for me, she’d gotten a copy of that back in 1984 when she got the other “SecureID” called a passport when she and Billy crossed the pond to come visit us in Spain.  In this last couple of years of practicing my new hobby of document gathering, it had been filed in a folder with a tab that said “Birth Certificates.”  Imagine my surprise when I found the REAL deal right there for me to use!

We also needed to have a social security card (NO idea where her original is of that), a W-2, tax form, an SSA-1099 form, or a pay stub showing name and Social Security number.  And to prove “residency” we needed two statements issued within 60 days from a utility company, bank, credit card company, doctor or hospital, federal or state agency showing her name and residence.

So the afternoon before her birthday with a wad of documents in hand, we made the trek to the BMV.  It was late in the day so there wasn’t much of a line – save a handful of teens with parents in tow – so we didn’t wait long before our number was called.  The clerk began asking for the docs in a certain order…the birth certificate – check…

Next she wanted the marriage license…”Excuse me, what?”  “The marriage license to prove the name change from her birth certificate to the present…” “OH DEAR GOD.  ARE YOU SERIOUS?”  The ONE STUPID DOCUMENT I HAD FAILED TO INCLUDE!!!  I should have known better by now…after all, my book, The Boomer’s Guide to Dying is about to break into the New York Times Bestseller List.  I could have bloodied my toes kicking myself for being so stupid as to not put the entire fireproof filing system in the car before we left the house.  Never, never, never again…

I get it.  It was my fault.  I needed to connect the dots for the state.  After all, she’s only had a driver’s license in this state since Heck was a pup (click here to figure out where this saying came from) and now we need to start verifying she is who she’s been pretending to be since she moved here at the age of 16 or so?  We can’t connect the government dots that this person has held a valid passport in the past – our most vetted document?  Wait – what is this for?  This makes it secure for us to get on airplanes and to get into government buildings?  Hummmm….will that really make a difference?

Anyway – then and there, I opted for the straight up license renewal.  We will give the state another $11 at a later date and be able to sleep more soundly knowing that SHE has a SecureID in her possession.

Adding to the excitement of that outing, we tacked on two doctors appointments the next day and put a bow on yet another year by getting a store bought cake topped off with twenty little polka dot candles to mark her milestone.

As she was on her way to bed after the cake and ice cream dessert we had, she poked her head into the TV room and thanked me for making it easy.  She would have been overwhelmed with 83 candles she said.  Twenty was just enough to remember it was her birthday.

I go back and forth with this stuff – personally I wouldn’t be offended at all if my kids never lit the candles on a cake and stuck it in front of my face.  But for her, at least it is a way to mark a special day in the year – a date she doesn’t have to think much about…she doesn’t hesitate a lick when you ask her when she was born – month, date, and year.  And maybe a day made a little less lonely – after all, since the day after she turned 21, she had Billy by her side up until two years ago. She reflected a bit on that too…and was glad to have had those long years with him walking beside her.

What’s it like  when suddenly you don’t really have a wedding anniversary any more?

Anyway, back to where we started…we have three more years till this new driver’s license expires.  I wonder how many more documents it will take to renew the document.  I wonder if the State of Indiana will ask itself if it is wise or safe for her to be driving.  I wonder if we’ll still be able to use those SecureID’s for anything at all.  But if she’s around – there’s no doubt that we’ll be having more chocolate cake and ice cream.  Maybe I’ll do 40 candles for dramatic effect.

white noise

11 01 2010

The Dr. sleeps with the radio on – our local NPR affiliate runs the BBC – all night long. White noise for him, by day (via a steady stream of CNN, HLN and the like) and by night, are voices commenting on world affairs.  After all, it is his bread and butter to know what is happening around the globe.  Sometimes in the darkness, I can tell what time it is without looking at the clock by counting the times I’ve heard the stories on repeat – they are on a cycle that runs three times. Those aren’t my favorite nights.  I don’t blame him for my insomnia because as many times as not, the talking heads don’t bother me at all and despite all the yakking, I sleep fairly well.

A few years ago some friends in LA introduced us to genius little white noise machines that they had in each bedroom.  Just cranking those puppies up regardless of whatever else was happening in the house (usually late night recording sessions involving a dozen or so people in and out- so LA for us artsy fartsy types) the cacophony was so masked that sleep was just an instant away.  I was officially addicted.  Once back home I got one of these by Brookstone called Tranquil Moments ® Sound Machine for Sleep that sits on my bedside table.  There are nights when both the radio and the white noise machine are going.  If I’ve been working with words during the day then I need to quiet the voices at night. No more words – no talking…just noise.

If it is too quiet I am distracted by the constant hum of the tinnitus I think I’ve inherited from Billy.  Oh, it could be meds, it could be impending deafness inherited from the Mrs. or it could be insanity…but I can hear it right now throbbing it’s way through the veins and vessels in my head like little subway trains using my ears as tunnels.  The word in Spanish is a perfect onomatopoeia for what it sounds like to me – zumbar: to hum, buzz or whirr.  (When pronounced in Castilian that “z” becomes a “th” sound.)

The subject of white noise came up when Shop Girl’s friends from Spain were visiting.  She has a nice machine in her bedroom and suggested the use of said device for the jet-lagged duo so as to drown out Donny Diva’s squawking for a midnight snack.  They just guffawed at the preposterous notion that you could actually sleep better by piping noise into your ears.  It is all around us whether we notice it or not…on planes, in the malls, in office spaces…almost everywhere.  I love the fact that to muffle certain noises all you have to do is add ALL noise to it.  That IS white noise.

There is another kind of white noise affecting my life these days – snow – drowning out voices in my head telling me what I should be doing.  It’s either been here by the foot or along the lakeshore by the multiple feet or dumping right along the southern edge of the lake, making stretches of the highways impassible or not advisable at best.  It almost seems like I’ve been on vacation with this extended time at home since Christmas.  The Mrs. has survived just fine thanks to the kindness of a good friend from church who stepped in during my absence – doing a grocery run and sorting through a week’s worth of pills.  These people have saved my skin on more than one occasion and I am very grateful.

There have been moments where adding just one more voice of worry to the chorus ringing in my head (“Is she eating enough?,” “Has she remembered to take her pills?,” “Will she try to drive somewhere in this weather?”) has begun to work like a white noise machine.  By adding more things that I can’t do anything about – it’s actually calmed me down and relaxed me in a weird sort of way.  It’s helped me to focus.  I have more energy.  It’s like getting eight hours of uninterrupted sleep!

Maybe it is because I’ve turned my nervous energy toward my own basement for once and have donated about a dozen boxes of stuff and thrown away an extra eight bags of garbage in the last two weeks.  I can hardly wait till next week when I get started on a new facet of my winter project. I found a place that will take the twenty-plus boxes of books collecting dust and donates them to schools and libraries around the world.  To think that someone can actually USE all those tomes we bought instead of spending money on groceries during the Dr.’s years of graduate and post-grad work –  really makes me happy.

With each box and bag I carry out of this house – it is like white noise music to my ears.  By Spring, maybe Donny Diva and I will both be sleeping through the night.

slamming doors and behinds

26 11 2009

If only old houses could share with us the mistakes people have made over the years and save us some grief.  On my trip down to fetch the Mrs. I was listening to an NPR interview with Amy Dickinson of Ask Amy.  The subject matter was the gracious comeback using as an example the most recent blast from Martha Stewart toward Rachel Ray and Ray’s gracious response.  I’m not a fan of either one particularly but I was interested in the whole situation in light of gatherings that will happen around a stuffed bird today.

I know that I’m on high alert.  I’m tired.  I’m annoyed.  I’m stressed.  There will be off handed remarks – not intended to hurt but considering the fragile state of affairs – they could wound.  I will consider before I speak.

There will be families gathered all over the nation today.  Some that barely see each other save for special days.  Others who see each other too much for comfort.  There will be words, silent digs, people intentionally pushing “red buttons” and feelings getting hurt – old wounds opening again and again and again…and people wondering at the end of it all why it is that they put themselves in these positions year after year.

My hope for this Thanksgiving is that we allow each and every person around the tables where we will gather – to be themselves.  That we not try to change them, to judge them, to mold them into something we think is right.

We have maybe a 12 hour ordeal in front of us.  Twelve short hours out of our lives to be gracious, kind and loving.  I will do my best to weigh each word and response to the never ending questions that will come my way.  I will try to be a grown-up and put myself in someone else’s shoes and wonder how all this will look to me 30 years from now.

cross bearing

10 09 2009

katcrossIt is barely 9 a.m.   My Dunkin’ Donuts extra-large cream and sugar (treats I give myself for the pain I’m enduring) isn’t half sipped yet.  We have a doctor’s appointment in less than an hour for the Mrs.’ flu shot.  During the early evening hours she’ll gather with some “gals” from church for a Bible Study that meets once a month.  Now that summer is on the wane, things are getting rolling again.

There were some moments of panic last week as we tried to find the assigned book.  I don’t know what I’d do without the interwebs at my finger tips when I’m there and she is here.  I called up her local bookstores and no copies were to be found.  They’d be in next week.  She had chapters to read and had to get at that NOW.  Amazon came to the rescue and little does Best Boy know that he bought her the book.  While gathering the parts and pieces of the former life fun-box (xBox) that was recently sold to a cousin at a greatly reduced price…I found an Amazon gift card tucked in the black hole of the coffee table drawer.  Surely it was an abandoned gift left behind on his quick escape to new vistas and a new LA life.

Screaming, “FINDERS KEEPERS” I got on line and ordered the book – even paid for 2 day shipping so that she’d have plenty of time to ponder. But we were somewhat screwed by the Labor Day holiday that left us without mail delivery.  It wasn’t in Tuesday’s mail either.  But later in the day, via Fed-Ex or UPS (she never told me which) she called me to excitedly announce that she’d be able to get her homework done.

All she does is read.  She reads like a fiend.  In another stroke of luck, her brand new blended lenses came in from the eye exam she had two weeks ago.  She’d had an exam a year ago and spent the majority of the following 12 months closing one eye to read because something was wrong with one of the lenses.  She was just pulling in the driveway coming from the eye doctor’s office when I arrived yesterday.  My brain being double dumbed down from life…it never occurred to me to call the doctor and complain six months ago.  What kind of a caregiver am I??

Anyway, sitting beside me in her blue recliner I notice that she is stifling some sobs.  Something in that 10 page chapter on Joseph has her thinking about Billy I’m sure.  She wants to make sure she has time to absorb it and she’s read the same chapter three times in a day and a half.  Even though she’s done so well this year, I feel that her loneliness is heavy right now.  She keeps finding Billy scribbles – little notes that don’t mean anything but they are daily proofs that he existed and still walks beside her in some strange fashion.

I’m in a hurry to get home.  I did some basement duty yesterday and I want to get back to my own world of messes.  But today I give pause.  Before my own world spins into new galaxies in a month or so with the arrival of the Awaited, I try to be unselfish and sit here quietly talking about her behind her back.  Just me sitting in the chair keeps her quiet, reading with reddened, watery eyes.  She needs that but maybe doesn’t know it.  And I need to be quiet, beside her and maybe I don’t know that either.

wee small

5 12 2008

img_3806Not to worry.  I’m not spying on my neighbors, it’s just that this vision represents the breaking of dawn.  Like I just got done boasting about a post or so ago, I have been able to enjoy  a new dimension of sleep that I’ve not enjoyed much in the last few years.

When I was time-card-punching for a living, I’d have to be downtown sitting at my desk after parking 5 blocks away, changing into my uniform and finding my way to the “front of the house” (that’s hotel speak for anyone who has direct dealing with the public) before 7 a.m.  There was a season (I refuse to say how long that was…it could have been years, it could have been once!) that I’d be at the YMCA waiting as they unlocked the doors at 5 a.m. to get a work out in, run home to shower and change and still open the Business Center by 7.  What was I thinking???

Needless to say, that’s not my life in a lot of ways anymore.  The YMCA part is being seriously reconsidered – especially in the winter when lack of sunshine puts in peril my very existence.  The least I could do is to get the endorphins flowing.

There are times that the old pattern sneaks back in (or if there is a full moon and I can never sleep anyway) that I’ll be the first one up, tend to the animals (this isn’t unusual around 4 a.m.) make myself a stiff cafe con leche (latte to those of you who only learned “coffee” speak from Starbucks), and go back to bed for how ever many hours I can take.

I did that this morning and now I’m deeply disturbed.  My most vivid dreams happen in that after-a-night’s-sleep-have-coffee-go-back-to-bed space.  For the first time since Billy’s departure – I dreamt that I walked into their kitchen and there he was at the table as fit as a fiddle with a huge smile on his face, loving every minute of the surprise.  I asked him what he was doing and he said he’d come to get her.

Then there was more.  It didn’t include him but it was like flying around with the ghost of Christmas Past to see her go through a disturbing journey to the end.  It’s still too early to call her but Lord knows I will as soon as I’m sure she has her hearing aids in and cranked up.  

So I’m a tad haunted today.  Regardless of the circumstances, it was good to see him.  Time to go make my bed.

la pareja

2 12 2008

img_3824La pareja – the pair-a him and a her.  In Spain that could refer to two kids – a boy and a girl- deemed the perfect family set-up. It also means a married couple, like this little duo that was waiting for me at a flea market in southern Portugal years ago. 

It’s hard after 60 years of being a pareja to not think of yourself in those terms.  She has struggled in these three months every time she has signed a birthday, anniversary or sympathy card.  Her hand just automatically writes “we” – then she starts to cry.  This week she’s been working on Christmas cards – at least addressing the envelopes anyway.  She will have to be fully present and thinking when she gets to the point of signing just one name.

Last week when she was here for Thanksgiving, there was an afternoon that she was snooze/reading on the couch while I was quietly working on my computer.  Suddenly she startled awake and looked at me quizzically.  “What’s the matter, ” I asked.  “Oh, I was just thinking that this was a long time to leave Dad alone in the house.”  Then we half laughed remembering how back when they could still travel, they would leave their ancient dog in the basement with food and water for days on end.  Skye was happier there, knowing they’d come home – then she’d eat like there was no tomorrow after she was “rescued”.  

But the “she” of the pareja always remembers that the “he” is so much better off where he is…thinking that he probably doesn’t even care about all this any more and is having so much fun with his extended clan of family and friends that beat him to the punch.  Sixty years is a long time to walk beside someone and suddenly turn off the internal radar.  I’ve gotten the strangest looks in the evening when we are in her space watching TV and I’m in his chair…the other day I cleared my throat or coughed or something and caught her staring at me. Almost like the lights behind her eyes weren’t quite on.  I sat there a moment waiting for her to speak but the look on her face said that she couldn’t even find the words.  Finally it came out that whatever noise I had made – sounded just like him. 

If you’ve ever had a pet for years and suddenly they’re gone – you know the experience of thinking they are in the room or will be there at the door when you come home.  Few of us have had a pet that lasts 16 years, let alone a partner for 60.  

So if you get one of her cards and it looks like she has tried to re-write a portion or has crossed something out – I hope you’ll understand. I don’t even do Christmas cards so my hat is off to her for even attempting to put herself through the exercise of signing a single name that will stab her heart with each stroke of the pen.  But I dare say this is all part of the process…it will become the new norm with a little bit of practice.

talkin’ turkey

26 11 2008

Somehow I’ve always related Thanksgiving with a time that I do a year-in-review.  Maybe it is to prepare me for those unexpected “let’s share around the table something you’re thankful for…” situations I so often find myself in.  I know it makes more sense at the turn of the new year but I can no longer account for how my brain works or doesn’t for that matter.

This has been one busy year…but don’t I feel like that every year?  All I had to do was to go back through my iPhoto library and email account to see what has been going on in the previous dozen months to remember.  Alot has gone down – some good, some not so good, some hopeful and some really depressing.  It really is easy to get sidetracked and just focus on present circumstances (like the call 10 minutes ago from the car repair shop advising of a $1000 fix). That is not a place for my creative brain to dwell if I need energy.  

So where have we been…what makes me hopeful…what am I thankful for – even if it is being thankful just to be done with something:

A magical night when the gypsies came to sing.




The hope of a movie to make and options on book rights secured…even if there is no money in sight yet.  Just the dreams can be enough. ‘Coz that’s what Dot&Cross boys have taught us to do.


A relatively quick and “easy” time at hospice.


Uncertain days ahead but certain of the task at hand.


Hundreds of thousands of miles traveled across some of the most dangerous places on the planet and safe returns with pretty little baubles in hand.




Not more than four visits to the hospital..maybe a couple more between all of us…but none that kept us there days and days.

Shadows that aren’t scary.



Lots of songs and movies “in the can”.


Very unsexy but necessary house repairs on a foursquare built in 1905.


Days that Bella gets a bath.


And the courage to jump into the raging river of the internet in my own little lifeboat called “1eyedmonkee”. 

For these few things I’m grateful and for the ones who share the journey holding me up.  There are a million more things I’ve failed to mention…but what will I blog about for the days and minutes to come if I tell you everything right now? 


baby steps

19 11 2008

img_3938I just had a panic attack.  When I got here yesterday, I noticed that the power cord to my computer was being wonky.  The battery was on a recall list a couple of years ago and when they sent me a new one, it never really has been a battery I could use for any length of time.  If I get unplugged, I am seconds away from being advised that I am about to go on reserve power and everything risks being lost.  Whatever.  

So this morning, sitting where I am NOT within 15 minutes of my friendly neighborhood Apple Store, I couldn’t get the plug to light up and tell me it was connected in the way I need it connected.  But fortunately, I am my father’s daughter (somewhat) and decide to check the other little connects down the cord and maybe just maybe if I hold my mouth just right, I might have found the culprit.  I cannot be here for four days this week with no computer.  It would have been worth the tank of gas and a four hour road trip to head back to GR to buy a new cord.  That would have been easier than downtown Chicago, but I’m safe, at least for this post.

As difficult as knowing whether or not our economy is officially in a recession,  I think I’m in the anger part of the grieving process.  I’m not, however, expressing it in a typical fashion that would have me saying, “Billy, why’d you leave us?,” but it’s coming out more in a phrase resembling, “Billy WHAT the FAT!”  When I was here last week attending to things that are important to the Mrs. (like outdoor Christmas lights…), I got woefully behind in the steady paced progress I would like to make on the other fronts.  

My mantra is “one bag at a time”.  One bag of garbage – one recycle bin full to the top with “unnecessary plastic items” – (to quote Nanci Griffith in her reference to things you could only buy at Woolworth’s). My goal each week is to make sure her garbage bin is full to overflowing. Baby step cleaning.  Baby step digging.  Baby step sorting. Eventually we’ll all see the progress but it won’t be an overnight thing.

Last night I took aggressive action against empty boxes piled in the basement.  Tiny little ring boxes, a shiny red box hidden inside a plastic bag to keep it shinier, a huge box from a snow blower that is now living in Cincinnati – boxes of all shapes and sizes.  These boxes once served some purpose and were waiting their next assignment.  Well, I’m sorry to say – their next assignment is to become brand new boxes after they spend some time at the “rehab” center, spa soaking and getting roller massaged.  

As I was slashing my way through the mess, I devised a little contest.  The oldest box prize went to one from gas regulators – addressed to NIPSCO on 15th Ave in Gary.  OK – even if he brought that box home on the day he retired (1983) it would have been a mere twenty-five years old. Twenty-five years of mold from a damp basement…I think I’ll have bronchitis in a week or so. The smallest – went to one of those ring boxes.  There were two and I gave the prize to the silver and white striped one because it was cuter.  The sturdiest box award went to a Bonita banana box which could have served as its very own boat from Bogota it was so strong.  

Anyway – in preparation for this chore I bought myself a serious…a really serious, box-cutter last week, knowing I’d have to attack that space sometime.  It is so serious that it doesn’t even have a retractable blade.  It just juts out there screaming danger to all who come near.  

I’ve had some box-cutter experience at the boutique where Shop Girl hangs out. It is shameful to see how much packaging goes into sending things to stores but at least the stuff gets recycled. One day last winter when I was still working at the hospital and was on my way to interpret for a therapy session, I decided to make a quick stop to say “hi”.  There were boxes to break down and I just love the feel of a weapon in my hand so I made use of my time and got busy.  Ohhh, I could just hear my dad’s voice in my head that I was doing something wrong when before I knew it I had cut across my thigh – slicing open my black cords and just nicking my skin.  Yikes.  That would have been hard to explain in the emergency room being an adult over the age of 50 and all.

Well in my haste last night (or anger? or frustration? or glee that these boxes are going to stop harboring mold and mildew?)…I now have two half-inch slits in my jeans…and one little tiny scratch on my thigh.  Oh Billy’s voice is screaming at me for being so stupid.  He’s yelling as only he yelled…not with terrible words…just those kind that are really recriminating.  Like “only a knuckle head would…”

There were so many boxes cut up and ready for recycling that I couldn’t even take them out to the curb.  I don’t need to give the neighbor anything more to talk about.  They come up with things on their own.  So I will load them into my car, along with bags of leaves for the city compost site and take a little drive.  Besides the sun is shining – and it’s going to be a whopping 45º today.  Good for melting the 9″ of snow that fell two days ago.

The only crazy thing that gives me pause is when I see his writing on some of these boxes…even if it says, “his and hearz buks”  – a clue to the last few years.  But my time in the dungeon was profitable on another front – at least I found a decoration or two that she’d not seen for years because he’d been the last one to put them away – then forgot where they were.  

“Baby step – baby step to the elevator…” Thank you Dr. Leo Marvin.