Here’s Who We’re Like

sick in bedIt finally came to me who Old Dave and I are like here in sickbay. Remember Charlie’s four grandparents in Willy Wonka? We’re like them. It even SEEMS like there are four of us in the bed, we’ve been in it so long.

us this week livin' in the bed

Yup. Were just here in the bed. I’m normally up at 5:00 but right now it’s 7:30 and I’m just surfacing. Then I know I’ll be back in the bed by 3:00 with aches all over.

David actually did a business dinner last night, but then when he came home at 9pm he shed clothes like a snake sheds skin and was on his back and passed out cold five minutes after climbing in beside me. Also, the poor thing seems to have eaten something at lunch that has made his upper lip go straight out like Daffy Duck’s.

As for me, I’m still coughing like the Little Engine That Could in the part where everyone was pretty sure it Couldn’t. Between 7pm and 8pm last night I wept copious tears while watching my recorded version of last Sunday night’s Downton Abby and so my nasal passages were doubly stuffed.

I thought about reader Paxi’s advice about the Jamison with lemon and honey.

I thought about hitting myself with the green velvet hammer that is NyQuil.

In the end I decided to just ‘go commando’ as teen males seem to call it when they go without underwear. I decided to do without any meds in other words. 60 mile-an-hour winds tore and screeched around the house all night and here I am now in a new day, as here we all are.

It’s kind of pretty out right now with the branches all wet with raindrops, and  they say we might even have a bit ‘o sun by noontime. I guess I’m just happy to be alive, to sum up – and to be honest, staying in bed is actually kind of fun when the company’s good. 🙂

 

Karma

I’m sick now too. First it was a tickle in my throat and then a rumble in my chest, like the sound from the engine room on the Queen Mary. This id what I get for making light of my man’s illness.

I went to bed the other night feeling as bleak as bleak can be, sleeping next to my dead Pope of a husband who had not uttered more than 12 words to me in 24 hours. (That extended whine is here.) But then, the next morning I woke to glory all around me: this sunlight in this room at January’s end. (David’s reclining body in the foreground.)

sunup for the sick

If only I had not, over the last few nights, curled up in the same small nest of bedding as a person who lay spouting like a whale – every cough and sneeze flying straight up into the air and settling in a fine mist all around me.

By evening I had the headache too, and in spite of the 16 kinds of cold medications I took, it was excruciating. In the night I was sure that some evil force had got hold of the plastic-bag-like membrane in which the brain is suspended and was trying to pull the whole thing out through my ear.

This is what I get for making Weekend at Bernie’s style jokes about poor David. It’s my ‘goin’ around comin’ on around for sure.

I had a flu shot back in October so whatever this is it’s presumably not the flu. David, however, did NOT have a flu shot and so presumably does have the flu.

Anyway he’s still pretty miserable. I fetch him tea and toast, but he doesn’t care about eating. Last night we tried to grab a meal out with our girl Annie but he couldn’t even bring himself to have a drink. (what, no alcohol?!) He’s still got that thousand-yard stare, though and now it’s morning again too.

And now we’re home again our workday world with the Poop-Doggy-Dog-Walkers filing past outside our windows, sigh.

I wish we had the view above that we had Sunday morning when we were up north. It sure did raise our spirits, sick or no. But the world these last few days is wrapped in fog and rain – and we’re just here exchanging droplets. 😦

marriage coughs

Sickbay

my zombie mateYou tend to find it sort of funny when OTHER people get sick, perversely enough. When my man got sick the other day I felt so entertained by the sight of his coat just thrown on the newel post when I got back from the store, his dress shirt thrown on the bureau, a puddle of socks beside the bed. “He never leaves his clothes like this! What a rascal!” I thought.

But then there he was in the bed, still wearing his pants, and his belt, still clinking with pocket-change though under the covers. He had that Walking Dead look like the zombies in the gory AMC series. (Well, he lacked the missing lower jaw and the bloody drool – but he sure had that 1000-yard stare.)

I took his temp: 102.3. “You have to take something!” I cried and ran to the bathroom and ransacked the cabinets. Nothing in there of a helpful nature, not a single thing but eye shadow and mustache bleach. Then I ran to the other bathroom where six months ago I found a bottle of Children’s Tylenol. that had expired in 1989. 1989! I did finally manage to locate a lone packet of Theraflu.

“But this is no good,” I said, reading the fine print. “It expired in 2003!”

“Close enough!” he said and I thought that was wonderfully funny. He drank the mixture down – and slept all that night and the whole next morning – right up until the time we had planned to drive north to find out if our place by the lake had turned into a solid cube of ice with this last cold snap.

We shouldn’t go,” I said.

“It’ll be fine,” he said.

“Ok but I’m driving,” I said and I did drive the hour and 45 minutes while he lay in the front seat like the dead guy in Weekend At Bernie’s.

Once there he got right in the bed again, this time still wearing his coat. (Couldn’t blame him; the house was freezing.)

I took his temp. 102.1. I thought we had other meds here that maybe didn’t go back to 1989 and so we did. I got some of them into him. As I approached the bed he held one hand out.

“Death of a Pope,” was all I could think. He looked like Pope John XXII always looked, one hand out, blessing everything in sight the way he did – only of course David looks nothing like that short fat saint of a man. (Except he’s half Italian so actually there IS a slight resemblance. See? )

pope john the 23rd

It was so sad being up there at that joyful family place there with him sick. He spoke not a word for 48 hours. This is widowhood I thought, and felt so bleak watching stupid Friday night TV and trying to keep my spirits up . It was a frank relief when ten o’clock came and I could sneak into bed beside him.

I killed the last light and darkness leaped into the room and encircled us. Strangely, I felt better then, there in the woods, in winter, the cloaking night all around us, the two of us and the deer and the trundling possum.

Let go,” i told myself and for once in my life I did, and was instantly asleep and dreaming.

SO Cold!


flasher on skis by Zahn

How cold was it this week in my part of the world? So cold the flashers were describing themselves.

So cold the posts of your earrings were turning your ears into something resembling two frozen apricots stuck to the side of your head. It was so cold it the fillings in your teeth stabbed you with an iron pain the second you opened your mouth. So cold the tiny hairs in your nose grew tiny icicles.

I didn’t leave the house for a full 36 hours during the worst of it.

I needed to buy milk. “Forget the milk,” David said. I needed to go to the Apple store and have one of those nice One-to-One sessions with my new Mac. “Forget the Apple store!” I told myself and rescheduled for next week.

I needed to work out at the Y, which sits on a windy hilltop 100 yards from where I would have to park my car. “The heck with the Y for now,” I also thought and went to the third floor and made myself get on that treadmill that Dave’s pal Frank talked him into buying 15 years ago.

Being inside did have a few good effects: I cleaned. I sorted stuff. I made and hung new curtains for the living room windows which up until now looked like a face with no eyebrows.

See? This is Before: Pretty blah, right?

pale sad swags before pic

And this is After: pop!

new dark swag empire sofa

Anyway ….We could only bear to stay downstairs until around 4pm when everything on that floor grows arctic. (It’s an old house, what can I say, with a three-story hall that carries the heat RIGHT out through the roof.)

We ate supper every night on the bed and were under the covers by 7:00.

It actually wasn’t a bad week, take it all around, and today they say the temperatures will moderate.

Sigh. I hope so. Tell you the truth my ears are still kind of a funny color.

But at least the spider webs over the windows are gone.

And running on the treadmill was sort of OK but the truth is I can’t wait to get back up on that window hilltop for Zumba’s particular brand of torture

zumba in hell

Six Things

making a listTry this: Try making a list of six things you feel good about – even on days you walk through frigid puddles of slush. I try to make a list like this every couple of weeks, whenever a whinier self threatens to get the upper hand.

Right now I’m drawing up mine as fast as I can write. I find it feels more ‘true’ or accurate if I ambush myself this way and compose it on the spur of the moment.

Below then, without further talk, what I have as today’s list of Six Things I Love.

  • I love seeing packs of girls with ponytails jogging, as they do for Cross Country practice. I love the way their hair switches back and forth with each step. They remind me of so many young horses cantering slow and easy over the landscape.
  • I love it when I overhear people talking to themselves. Last Monday I heard a man say “Fat Chance!” to his car door. The week before, a woman walking into a store passed me saying to herself, “Your gloves are in your pocket. DO NOT LOSE THEM!”  Of course I always need to be sure the people really ARE talking to themselves and not to unseen others on their cell phones; but when they are, they give me such a great peek into their minds. It makes me feel like the two heavenly spirits in the movie City of Angels, who perch atop tall buildings in LA and, with alert and compassionate expression, ’listen in’ on every thought that passes through the wee mortal heads of the motorists in the traffic below.
  • I love that first bite of the forbidden cookie that I have decided to go ahead and eat anyway. The second bite is great too, and the third is pretty good as well, but by Bite Four I’m having second thoughts. Which brings us to Number Four:

  • I love the way my mate lets me foist the rest of such cookies off on him. I’m like the little kid who takes a bite of that one chocolate from the chocolate box, grimaces and surreptitiously spits it into the waiting palm of his parent. I love the forbearance of the man who will finish eating what I only thought I wanted to eat, when the idea of eating it was really what compelled me.
  •  I love the day’s first sip of coffee –  that’s Five –  and finally…
  • speaking of the day’s firsts, I love these dark winter mornings when I rise early and look out to find the rest of the world still sleeping, even the winter birds not yet tuning their instruments. The world just feels so cozy to me then, as if we’re all in a snug cabin in some ancient Hobbit-y forest.

So there it is; that’s my list. Now you draw up one, and just SEE if it doesn’t make you smile, frigid ankles and all.

half eaten cookie

Ah, the Play Place

Play Place

Some people might find spending 90 minutes at a McDonald’s Play Place akin to working for 20 years on the chain gang, like Jean Valjean does in Les Miserables.

hard time for jean valjean

I’m not one of those people. To me going to that room of brightly-colored interconnecting tubes is just the thing when I have charge of my two young grandsons. I find it does them good: the climbing in and out of them, the hollering gaily to other children, the swinging themselves round and round the sturdy steel poles that hold the structures up.

It’s a metaphor for life the way they ascend up out of their grownups’ sight. We old people all sit down below, holding their coats.. We can’t get at them with our big old grownup bodies. All we can do is pray they’re OK .

Used to be when we came here the littler one of these guys would climb up inside and then just sort of slow down in there and start pondering things. Oh God  he takes after me! was all I could think, since I was always sitting down in the outfield WHILE THE KICKBALL GAME WAS GOING ON; just kind of easing down onto the ground to run my fingers through the grass and dream. Was that what he was doing, when he‘d park himself inside that final slide-tube and just secretly remain there, like an intestinal blockage, preventing all the other little ones from getting by unless they clambered over him?

Add to that the fact that he’d sometimes be crying.

But none of that happened yesterday. The bigger one continued his ministry of niceness, finding out other kids’ names and offering to give them a boost up. He has been like this since he looked like this at age five and kindly asked me, when we were in the bathroom of his house once, if I needed for him to reach me a tampon . (That shows what life with a houseful of women will do for a child!)

eddie ready for snow

And the little one, seen below here?

david with yoda at the Play Place

This time at the Play Place, he neither wept nor created any blockages. He just sat right with me and his Yoda toy as we ate and only much later disappeared up into that place where adults cannot follow.

The two are in kindergarten and third grade now and I find myself wondering: How many more times will they want to come to the McDonald’s Play Place with old TT which is what they call me?

Who can say? There are things we cannot know as well as places we cannot go. I think on my tombstone it should say: “It was enough to have held their coats.” 🙂

Scattered

oops

Sunday morning I sat with a group of people at a round table as we talked about the wise and foolish decisions we have made in our lives; how you don’t always know at the time which kind you are making. (This was at church and we were parsing the parable about the builder who builds upon rock as against the builder who builds upon sand.)

Because we didn’t all know each other some small talk entered into our discussion and it was revealed that one of our number had moved here recently from the south. Somebody asked him if people in New England where we all live really are standoffish.

I can’t tell because I was born here. Also I’m pretty sure I am not standoffish myself.

But most of the people at the table were not New England born and they said right away that we were prickly – prickly! – but once you got to know us we would be your friend for life. Your real friend, they said, not a surface friend, which I took to mean a friend you can relax around; a friend to whom you can admit how sad and screwed up you sometimes feel.

I know I love people who freely admit they don’t have it all together. The effort of presenting that perfect façade otherwise is so, so…. immense, you know? Think of how you agonized as a teen about whether you fell within the bounds of normal. Think how you worried about your clothes. I had only one pair of hosiery the fall of my 10th grade year and along about October they got a run in them. I stopped it run with clear nail polish but you could still see it when I sat down and my skirt rode up, so I spent the two months – from October until Christmas vacation – pointing to the run and saying “Darn! Look at this run! My desk must have done it when I went to get up!” Exhausting stuff all that subterfuge!

Maybe all this is just my way of saying to you guys that I’m sorry for all the mistakes in my copy last Friday (since corrected.)  I must have been in one of those waking sleeps when I posted that flawed version for a better edited version. It’s like I was in one of those Ambien trances you hear about where people get up and mow the lawn at 3 in the morning and remember nothing about it the next day. Anyhow my blogger pal Brian let me know right away with his signature “Dude! Typos!” alert in the subject line of his email. What I would do without Brian I do not know.

I accomplish a lot in the course of a day but I’m often sort of scattered. As I looked at picture of Inaugural gowns for yesterday’s post I had to smile at this one below, showing the wardrobe of Frances Cleveland, old Grover’s wife: One full gown and then two gowns that are only half gowns. That’ll be me any day now: stepping out into the thoroughfare minus my skirt.

forget something frances