I took over the food in our house a couple of years ago.
Miriam had the cupboards stocked/overstocked/understocked with a lot of stuff. Gallons of this and jars and jars of that.
So I did not begin from the actual beginning.
But here I am with a motorhome and empty cupboards. No sale, no sugar and no tea. Just empty cupboards. Of course all of these things are at home in Idaho, but that is there and we are here.
Besides, there are a lot of things daughter buys in bulk and the cost is low and the supply fairly high. We will go back to Idaho next week for a week or so, and I’ll gather up all that I can, but I don’t want that kitchen to be depleted either. So I’ll not take THE jar of cinnamon, but maybe half of it in another smaller jar.
I went grocery shopping tonight. This is not a low food cost town. Everything is higher than I have been paying, sometimes by a wide margin.
So I came back from shopping with a few bags of stuff, but not the variety I would like. Since we have company here this weekend (father’s day and all of the daughters, the sons-in-law and most of the grandkids).
No point in buying fresh mushrooms or salad stuff.
Another bird photograph from a guy who does not photograph birds often or very well. It is a red and yellow bird, and it has a name, but that name is unknown to me! Thankfully, he sat there patiently while I did the photography thing.
Yesterday we finished the plumbing in and out of the Motorhome/Whale.
That may not seem like it should be a big deal, but having to go get enough water to make tea is not a great sign.
Yesterday after we finished installing the drain line, I emptied the waste water tank in the Whale. Then we hooked up the fresh water. Such luxury. I came inside, turned the water heater on, and took a luxury shower.
Then I went into a funk about what I am going to do besides take care of Miriam.
Daughter has lots of space outside and we have lots of ideas, but not too much cash, so I was perplexed. There is not room in any motorhome for an art/craft studio, and daughters house is full of people and people stuff.
So I agonized. Last night while writing in my journal in the book store, I came to a simple conclusion. Most of my tools will fit into a single tool box. My supplies can fit into series of proper sized totes and boxes, and all can fit into a space in the "basement" in the Whale and be moved in and out as needed.
In graduate school my professor impressed me with the idea and goal of doing "small" pieces of art. Pieces that are easily handled and maybe even stored in our small spaces. I will continue that direction.
My envy resolve was tested again. The case worker said she decided that at the mid point of her life she would buy something a bit more sporty this time, and that she did. Daughter four once had an Eclipse. It was one very fast piece of joy. Hers was a stick shift and you would have trouble shifting gears fast enough. That aside, I think it is a beautiful car, but I controlled my emotions and merely admired this one. Of course I lifted the image from a place called top speed.
Most things turn out to be less awful than we guessed.
Today's interview with the case worker was one of those.
I spent a lot of energy worrying about it and it went well. She was a pro and asked the questions with care and skill. She would look right at Miriam and ask her question. "Miriam are you having trouble dressing yourself?
Miriam would, of course, say NO, but daughter and I would look nod our heads. The case worker would look at both of us and enter the answer on her computer. Miriam displayed out all of the symptoms. It was classic and really sad both. Here she was, a college graduate, and she did not even know the month of the year.
This was not about her eligibility for help, but rather about how many hours daughter will be paid to look after her. We won't know for another few days.
Meanwhile Miriam seems to be settling down a bit. Once she figured out (I told her) the basics of the plan here, she seems to relax a bit, but not very much.
I bought a new set of sheets, ran them through the laundry and put them on the bed. This evening I bought a few groceries so we can begin to eat in the bus.
But Miriam was in a snit all day. She kept asking the same rather insolent questions, and arguing with the answer. This afternoon my patience was about exhausted and Arline sensed that and sent me to the bus to take a nap and make the bed. I spent a couple of hours doing just that.
Tomorrow we have an appointment with the case worker. How Miriam will react is a guess. When she was interviewed about the guardianship papers a couple of years ago, the questions asked were not threatening, and she did well. My guess is that careful questioning may be the key and I can only hope!
These are big changes we are making, no question, and if she is dubious, that is OK too.
We all make peace with changes, in time, at least.
Daughter christened the motorhome the "Blue Whale." When she noticed the juxtaposition, she added that it was "The Blue Whale and the Gold FIsh." This is about the extremes of wheeled camping! Big diesel powered motorhome with multiple plumbing and electrical systems, compared to the tear with nothing but storage and a good bed. There is a place for both!
When Raymond proposed to Debra the pieces fell into place.
She had, she explained to the shell shocked Raymond, been planning her wedding since she was 12 and he was the very last piece of the puzzle. That was the beginning of the story (not the series) of “Everybody Loves Raymond.”
So it is with us, one of the last pieces of the puzzle arrived yesterday in the form of what has become known as “The Blue Whale.” The whale is a largish motorhome, lent to us by our wonderful friends David and Lynda.
Since they were here for the night, they slept, Jonah style, in the belly of the whale last night. Tonight is our turn. They slept in their sleeping bags, I’ll put sheets and blankets on the bed.
Miriam is a bit bewildered by it all. We did not tell her everything, but I have in the past, she just does not remember.
The next part of the puzzle is Miriam. Can we tame her anxieties? Can we convince her that this is a move for her benefit?
I keep asking her: “Do you trust me?” Then add: “You know I will never do anything to hurt you.”
This blog began as a spot to vent about my life with Miriam and her time with Alzheimer's disease.
She was diagnosed in '99 and her decline has been quite slow. In fact some of our best years of our long marriage have been these recent years.
Alzherimer's, at least her version is a disease of waiting. One shoe drops and it can be a very long time before the other one drops.
So life goes on.
At the beginning of this blog I told the story of our courtship and marriage, about out family and our personal journey with this disease. The part that scares the most is the anticipation as the disease slowly progresses.
So, I will touch on that subject from time to time, but the entries will tend toward comments on life. I'll leave politics and religion for others to worry about, not that I don't have strong opinions!
I have my hands full just looking after my wonderful Miriam.
We met when we were 6, began dating at 15 and have been together since. We will have our 56th anniversary this June.
We have four wonderful daughters. Smart, independent, awesome. They have given us 7 grandsons and 4 granddaughters. None of them are little any more. The oldest is 28 and married, the youngest is 14.
Until this last fall we lived in a hosue I designed and built in the '70's and it is pretty weird and wild, but very comfortable. Last summer the girls came to the conclusion that I really did need help dealing with Miriam. Now we live on a couple acres with daughter 1.
Life has been good. There is not much I would do different even if I could. We are rich beyond belief but chronically short of cash!
And, unless stated otherwise all the photographs are mine.