Sunday, November 24, 2013

Tar, Feathers & Heartbreak

"I want to be tarred and feathered!"

"Tarred and feathered?" I wanted to make sure I'd heard him correctly.


"All right then. But how about you eat your lunch first?"


Paul was sitting across the table from me and my Mom when he made this announcement. I was feeding her a plateful of colourful piles of puree, which she seemed to be enjoying. My nose told me it was turkey, Brussels sprouts, mashed potatoes and gravy, although my eyes disagreed.

The brushing of teeth is not practiced here on people with Alzheimer's because it's traumatic for the residents and very difficult for the nurses. I think they use some kind of fluoride mouthwash, but clearly it's not too effective as within three years of moving in, my mother's teeth were covered with white marks and (they thought) causing her pain - so they pulled every single one out. It was a very difficult decision for my father and sister to make as my Mom was always proud of her pretty smile, but the results were nearly instant. She ate ravenously. No one had known how uncomfortable eating had been for her until then.

We'd made it to the chocolate mousse with whipped cream when Aussie nurse Sue visited our table.

"Hey Sue. So Paul would like to be tarred and feathered today if you have time in your schedule."

"Ah yes. He's been asking for that all morning. I'll check the entertainment schedule for this afternoon, k Paul?"


While talking to Sue I'd moved my eyes away from my mother and in that second she'd leaned in with her chin going for the bite of mousse I'd had hovering there. I inadvertently let my hand dip a bit, just enough that my Mom missed the spoon and got a bite of air. She lit up and laughed her own true laugh, and it warmed and pierced my soul at the same time. And then she was gone. She was here for that one split second and I kept hearing her laugh in my mind over and over again.

"I'm going on my honeymoon. Where should I go?" Rob, sitting next to us, asked Sue.

"Australia, of course."

"Oh that's a good idea. I can marry a koala bear."

"Ha! A koala? What would your lovely wife have to say about that?!"

"She'd say, 'You just married a bear.'"

Sue and I found this hilarious and I for one welcomed the comic relief.

On my way out after the nurses brought my Mom to bed for her nap before my Dad's daily visit, I could hear snippets from people's long lives being mumbled over and over. And just as the door was closing, one clear voice escaped behind me.

"I want to be tarred and feathered!"

I suppose that's better than drawn and quartered.

Friday, November 22, 2013

How Many Calories Does Housecleaning Burn Again??

Daddy's coming home today! WooHoo! Can't wait!

He's arriving at 11:25 P.M. so there's time - in between dealing with clients - to dust, tidy and vacuum, clean the kitchen and bathrooms, sweep out the garage, rake the leaves, pick up the girls from school, bring them to gymnastics, then go grocery shopping and prep dinner before picking them back up...

Text from Daddy: "We're right on time. See you at 2:25 P.M.!"

Oh shit.

My phone had been ringing all morning and I'd spent hours talking clients off the ledge - while dusting and wiping out sinks and any other silent chore I could manage.

You know how when you're cleaning or fixing something, it has to get worse before it gets better? Well I was at the worse stage when Nick's message came in.

At times like these you find out exactly how productive you can be in 30 minutes!


Nick's now been home for two weeks already (in-between-semester break), which is why I haven't been writing. These days it's too rare that I get to spend an evening just hanging out and chatting with my husband. The girls are loving having him around but aren't thrilled about doubling the number of parental eyes in the house. ha!

Ahhhhh! Did I just say that? Unintentional! Ha! Too funny. Okay, so the girls are not too thrilled about the number of parental eyes in the house increasing by 50%.  :)

Although, truth be told, even with one eye he notices more than I do most of the time, so maybe I was right the first time....

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Katniss, Keto and a Dozen Oompa Loompas


Why yes, they're my specialty.

I was surprised to find them on the list of things needed from volunteers for the middle school Halloween dance, but it was something I knew a thing or two about.

This is the first year I didn't help at all and the pumpkins turned out better than they ever have!

Keto, Goddess of the Sea, and Katniss from The Hunger Games

Cofmans, Sturms and Luthys

And, of course, the parents. This was the weekend before Halloween, at the Rocky Horror Picture Show. Not at all on theme, but when a dozen Oompa Loompas show up, no one questions it!