Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Things That Weren’t

There were a lot of things I was going to share with you last week – when I got stuck waiting for a train to pass through town and got fascinated by the “urban art” – how beautiful some of it was and wondering how the graffiti-ists ever found all the time to do it; how every household, especially mine, needs an alpha mom more often than they think; how Spawn (hereafter to be called “Spot” – if I remember) has gone ahead with his legal name change; a sweater I’m knitting; cool stuff from my women’s group and my knitting group, but…

There’d come a call from the nursing home and then from the hospital, and everything extra had to stop. “Your Dad fell and seems fine,” “Your Dad fell and has a cut on his forehead, so we’re sending him to the hospital,” “Your Dad’s temperature is elevated and his breathing is congested and he’s groggy, so we’re sending him to the hospital.” And, “his leg is swollen, hot, and red, so we’re sending him for a Doppler.” On and on. He’s still alive, and doesn’t seem as bad as so many calls would indicate, but there are small signs.

He’s stopped being aware of where he is geographically – doesn’t realize we’re in the same city and state and keeps thanking me for making the long trip to see him. He doesn’t like his nursing home because they have too many rules and he can’t go bike-riding or out for a walk (which he hasn’t done for over 15 years anyway, since he can’t even walk); he forgets that my sister hasn’t visited for some time and talks about the last time they spoke as if it were yesterday. Time and distance and reality have collided and combined into an alternate reality for him, which is more obvious and sadly disturbing than ever. He has slipped another mile down the tunnel towards the end.

I am trying to figure out if now is the time to call my sister and tell her to come back for the last good bye before he passes. His health, fragile though it is, is comparatively stable, but his mind is leaving. I’d hate to wait until he was no longer able to recognize her and enjoy her company.

I was able, this weekend, to spend a few hours with Bunny at the mall, buying far too many good-smelling things at Bath and Body Works, and sharing a fruit smoothie with her before we assaulted Linens N Things for a turkey lifter and some bathroom refurbishments. Unfortunately, I seem to have subsequently come down with stomach flu and am taking the hint from God and Nature to lie down and rest.

So, I’m just going to have to admit to and take a hiatus for a while from blogging. If I get a chance, I’ll post the little things, and I’ll certainly keep you posted on the big things.

Wish me well.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Sharing Middle Age

My neighbor lady friend and I went out the other day. She’s a few years older than I am, but my family goes through menopause early, so we’re about even on the hot-flash-o-meter. We were enjoying our cranberry scones and raspberry flavored coffee (it’s the ONLY added flavor I can stand in coffee), and I said, “I hate being middle aged.”

“Why?” she asked. “You get to be cranky, curse in public, and rearrange the furniture on a daily basis and blame it all on menopause!”

“Hair. In. The. Wrong. Places.” I responded with a corresponding grimace.

She nodded wisely. “Oh, I know what you mean. I had one on my chin that was not there when I went to bed, and when I woke up it had grown enough to have a CURL in it!”

“I hate those,” I sympathized.

“Oh, and when I pulled that bad boy out, I swear the root was 18 inches long! I felt the back of my HEAD sink in a fraction of an inch when it finally came out!” she said. “Where was yours?”

“I woke up yesterday morning and went to brush my teeth,” I said, “and when I looked in the mirror, it looked like Tufty the Nose Mouse had nested in my nostrils. I was so shocked I screamed, and then I couldn’t bring myself to explain why to my husband.”

“Has he started sprouting that gnome like ear hair men get?” she asked. “My husband has, and on those days when I decide I hate him, I have a really mean urge to put hair gel on it while he’s snoring and freak him out. Of course, he’d probably never notice.”

“Not so much, mostly it’s either end of the alimentary system that’s getting him,” I said.

She rolled her eyeballs and said, “In English, Wordsworth.”

“Teeth and hemorrhoids,” I responded.

“HEY!” yelled the guy in the booth behind us, who had been hidden by the back of the seat. “Enough already! I’m only 32, and I really, really don’t want a reason to drive off a cliff before I have kids!”

My friend and I looked sagely at each other, and she told him, “Oh, it’s the kids that will put you on THAT edge. Grandkids are the reason to stick around.”

I’m pretty sure he said a nasty word before turning back to his blueberry muffin.

Oddball Word of the Day

amaranth (AM-uh-ranth) n. an imaginary flower that never fades or withers

(from the guide to MMMW edited by Laurence Urdang)