Monday, November 26, 2012
I’m telling you, having dogs (next to having kids) is the world’s best assertiveness-with-kindness training. In the time it took for me to do my morning ablutions, Honey and her black-wolf husband Nubio tore the stuffing out of my warm winter quilt while romping on my bed. The interruptions to life’s best laid plans never end!
Yesterday, after thoroughly enjoying myself at the Glen Muse Yuletide celebration, I felt fortified to spend the evening with my elders. Turns out my middle sister, the Boolie bully I lamented about in yesterday’s Post, was right. Our old parents do need more help.
When I managed to get my mom to unlock the door (by calling on my cell as I banged on the door) I stepped from the cold outdoors into a sauna. I’ve done home health care and end-of-life care off and on for almost fifty-years (since I was thirteen) and thermostats turned up to 100 degrees are a given for this job. Skeleton thin elders with poor circulation are always cold.
My dad was lying back bundled up in winter robe and wool socks in the special huge ugly sturdy $900 easy-chair my bully sister insisted on buying many months ago. Our parents were furious when she planted it in the center of the living room but now of course my dad dozes in it all day long.
The whole scene is like a European home frozen in time fifty years ago. The radio, turned to a classical music station, is fifty years old. If you open the kitchen cupboards you will find items like the flat wood silverware holder that came along with us on the ten-day boat trip from Holland to New York. My mom plays Dutch childhood songs on the piano for hours on end. There is no TV, no computer and they never check the answering machine Boolie bought them eons ago.
My mom always wants to know if I have a boyfriend. She laughed and perked up when I told her I had a date the other day with a very handsome man twenty years younger than me. My dad insisted he’d already eaten so I reheated a left over sweet potato for my mom, slathered it with raw organic butter to try to get some calories in her.
While she eats we banter back and forth about the ludicrousness of life. At one point her mind slipped and she asked if my dad was my father. “Well, ” I said, “if he isn’t, I advise you not to tell him!” She laughed so hard I got on a roll and asked her if she’d like me to take a paternity test. Our love for naughty jokes never ends!