I just got back from my run. First time in a long time. My lungs hurt and feel congested. They seem to collect sediment. I'm sure most of my breathing is pretty shallow - that's a stress thing. I can't imagine what it would feel like if I smoked. Thank goodness that's one bad habit I never picked up. I've been working on my cussing. Cutting back on it, I mean. I didn't cuss that much before Mother died. I'd go in spells. Usually depending on who I was around. That reminds me of a funny story. Here goes...
It was the middle of busy season (a/k/a tax time) and I was working on a big audit. There were about 12 of us sitting at folding tables in an unfinished office space. Think gray. Gray walls, gray floors, gray weather - it was February. We had an unbreakable deadline. As in, drop dead. If we didn't finish by the end of the month, we'd lose the client and heads would roll. At that time of year, we had a standard 55 hour work week, but we were pulling 65 or 70 on this audit.
Since we were sequestered from the clients' offices, we didn't exactly follow professional protocol. With our work habits, at least. Especially on weekends. We'd come to work in t-shirts and jeans, listen to the radio, munch on junk food, etc. Trying to agree on a radio station could be contentious, so my best buddy, M, decided to use his headphones. Remember Walkmans? You know how, when you're wearing headphones, you tend to speak really loudly since you can't hear yourself? Well, we were all sitting there, concentrating on icky stuff like GAAP and GAAS (don't ask), silently grinding out workpapers and clearing review notes. Out of the blue, M shouted, "Fuck!" We all jumped about three feet out of our chairs. There was stunned silence. Then M looked around and saw us staring at him, bug-eyed. Needless to say, we all had a good laugh after that. Hmmm, I wonder if this is that funny to anyone else. I guess you had to be there. Humor is inversely proportional to the circumstances. Why else would such lame jokes get such big guffaws at income tax updates?
But I digress. Back to my run. I took my usual route. It's a crisp, sunny day. Perfect for running. It was carpool time at the elementary school nearby. It's always sweet to see all the little kids with their backpacks and lunchboxes, laughing and playing on the playground while they wait for their parents to pick them up. That used to be the best part of my day. Picking Kiddo up from school. Seeing his face light up when he saw me. Hearing about the things he learned and what he had for lunch and what he played at recess. Wow, that makes me get all misty-eyed.
I live in a great neighborhood. Besides all the kids (not counting the hoodlums in hoodies who banged on my door the other night), there are moms pushing babies in strollers, dogs being walked by their masters, crazy middle-aged women flying kites in the field, carpool drivers honking horns at the crack o' dawn. Oh, don't forget the old people doddering around, getting lost, and being rescued by The Daddler. It's a regular slice of life.
I was rounding the corner on my last stretch before the end of my run when I saw three men in dark suits carrying casserole dishes and plants to a house. Someone had died, obviously, and the funeral had just ended. Then it hit me - the contrast between that and the baby I'd just seen being strolled. I thought about being 50. I'm probably more than halfway finished with my stint on this big blue planet. Mostly, I'm content with my life, but sometimes I feel like I'm in a holding pattern. Living with my 80 year old father. Just the two of us, since Kiddo's seldom home. Weekends are especially hard.
I try to focus on the good things. It could be much worse. Alzhiemers, incontinence, wheelchairs, oxygen, falling - those are things I don't have to deal with. Even though I complain about all the medicine and doctors' visits, The D is in pretty good shape. I think he's better now than he was before Mother died. He's gained 30 pounds since then. I'm extremely proud of that. Some of that is from too much fast food, but I've also done plenty of cooking. Especially lately, since my client load has gotten much lighter.
I think about everything we've made it through, including the awfulness surrounding mother's death and funeral, The D's horrible case of shingles and the upheaval of moving him in with me and then six months later, moving everything to a new house. It seems like a bad dream. I still have flashbacks. I can see my sister choking me at the hospital, my relatives saying hateful things to and about me, D crying out in pain when his case of the shingles was so bad. There's lots more. If I looked back to the beginning of this blog, I'd probably be surprised by how terrible it was. I was so very angry and hurt and sad. I'm grateful to have gotten through it.
I worry about D's health. I'm not ready to lose him. Unless he outlives me (which is entirely likely given that I'm so accident-prone), I'll have to experience that. I'm sure I'll never be ready, but of course, that's probably not possible. Come to think of it, though, I was ready to let Mother go. Seeing her in so much pain and so afraid was unbearable. After we upped her pain medicine and sedatives at the hospital, it took a couple of days for me to realize that she would never wake up. She lived another five days. The doctors kept saying it would be any time, but it seemed like it would never happen. I felt like I was suspended in some sort of miasmatic abyss. (Sorry. I've read too much Ann Rivers Siddons - she abuses those two words.) When Mother finally died a few days later, I felt an overwhelming sense of relief. I'd gotten a head start on my grieving. Maybe that's because I had to make the decisions. No. It's just the way I am.
Well, one thing's for sure. However Daddy leaves me, I won't have any say about it. I just hope it's quick and painless. That he doesn't need professional nursing care. That he still takes his morning constitutional and walks to church every Sunday. That he gets in my way and bosses me around whenever I try to do something involving yardwork. Checks the mail and rolls the garbage can up from the curb and keeps a watchful eye on the neighborhood. And that he still has his dignity.
In the meantime, I'm going to do my very best to live in the moment. Enjoy my time with him. Take care of my responsibilities. And take better care of myself.
Welcome to my world!
My life's been crazy since my Daddy moved in with me immediately after my mother's death in October 2010. My one and only kiddo headed to college at Carolina at the end of August. So...I lived on my own, for the first time in my life, for a total of a blissful six weeks. Then, I started the parenting gig with my dad. He's a combination of a grouchy old man, a surly teenager and a temperamental toddler. Needless to say, I get very close to the brink of insanity sometimes. I get through life by finding the humor in difficult circumstances. And for some reason, I wind up in the weirdest situations. I couldn't make this stuff up. So I wind up having lots and lots crazy adventures which make great stories to share with my friends. Writing about my life is so therapeutic. My ramblings range from funny to sad to angry (full of cuss words) to sweet. While my focus is dealing with the trials and tribulations of being a parent to my Daddy, I have lots of random, totally unrelated posts. Whatever's on my mind. I love to make people laugh, and I'm happy to think my readers will get my strange sense of humor. And maybe, people who are in my situation will be encouraged. That's all I can hope for...