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11/27/09

Thanksgiving Thoughts

Last Thanksgiving was spent in Hillcrest Convalescent Hospital; Mom had been admitted the day before. It was the fourth day after her fall and back fracture. Seems so long ago and like yesterday at the same time.

That fall saved my sanity, maybe hers too. Without it, more than likely, she'd still be not taking her meds, still be unhappy, we'd still be at each others throats.

So I guess, a day late, I'm grateful for a fracture and for a diagnosis of dementia. How weird is that?

More Cat Crap

Saturday, November 27, 2009

Look at her. Isn't she cute?

But Lillie Langtry here has put me off female cats forever.

Don't get me wrong, she is very sweet tempered and the best behaved of the bunch. She doesn't scratch on the furniture or carpets, doesn't climb on top of the mini blinds, or get on the table. And if she does happen to slip up, one "No!" and she's down.

Totally opposite from the boys, who do not think you're seriously talking to them unless you're advancing rapidly in their direction with a squirt bottle. Your butt must completely and fully disengage from the chair - if it doesn't, they sprawl out across the table in full grooming mode.

So what's so bad about her?

Well, she has a meow like a banshee for one.
She never shuts up for two.

There you are reading, jazz on the stereo, the boys sleeping on the couch instead of the table for once; everything calm and mellow.
Suddenly, up on the back of the chair and right in your ear "MEEEEOWWWW!!" Oh sorry - did I scare you? Wait, why are you holding your chest? Hey, how come you've collapsed on the floor? Maybe you didn't hear me - let me climb right up your chest and YOWL right in your face. "MEEEE--OWWWW!"
Apparently, that's feline for "Feed me NOW!" Or "Brush me NOW!" Or perhaps "WTF?! All the squirrels have gone off the deck! Find me one NOW!"

She has a large vocabulary and enjoys employing it. One of her nicknames is Gator Girl, because, obviously, she can sound just like a baby alligator.
There's also the whinging "mmmmmmnnnnnnn" [my least favorite] meow, the "wah-wah-wah" welcome-home-come-and-get-your-headbutt meow. The sharp "meowmeow!" meaning - hey-there's-a-squirrel-on-the-deck - good job loser human! The "arm arm arm" barking meow yay-you're-getting-up-finally (and feeding me), and the "aoooow aoooow aoooow" in the middle night howling at the moon meow.

There's growling too, a nighttime activity accompanied by galloping down the hallway with a toy mouse in her mouth and a weird, eerie, muffled meow (hard to talk when your mouth is full) which can in no way be replicated with letters of the English alphabet. It has freaked me out more than once.

She is the most catlike of the three (not a bad thing per se), the most cautious, and the most picky. Nothing more fun than following a little cat around the entire house at 5:30 AM with a bowl of food - because the little coquette can't decide where she'd like to dine today.
She doesn't come when called and will not perform any tricks - there is no treat worth the indignity.
Hummpf she says, let those stupid boys do tricks for food, I'm off to my voice lessons.

Just Wait 'Til I Get to Be Your Age!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

That's what Mom said to me yesterday as I was leaving. It made me laugh pretty hard, but she didn't get it. Ah me.

She was pretty lucid yesterday (not really the right term, but for lack of a better one...) and her hair was clean! Miracle of miracles!

We went to the cafeteria; she had ham, greens, mashed potatoes, and fresh pineapple chunks. The lemon meringue pie went home with her for later. I had a piece of sweet potato pie and some unsweet tea.
One of the servers who works in the cafeteria has an annoying voice: high, loud, nasaly, plus she runs her words together. She's probably the sweetest person in the world, but yesterday she was getting on my last nerve. I couldn't understand what vegetable Mom wanted, all I could hear was green. There were greens, green peas, and green beans. You see the dilemma. It was crowded, I was feeling pressure to get a move on, and that woman kept saying "Caniheppew, caniheppew, caniheppew".

Later when I came back to the table with the tip after paying, Mom asked me when she was going to get something. I thought she meant more food, then I figured out she was talking about money. She wanted to know if I paid for lunch with my money; she only had $2 (she was right). I gave her $20 and told her not to spend it all on poker.
She said she didn't poke.
Maybe she will when she gets to be my age.

11/19/09

The Present

Thursday, November 19, 2009

As I waited for a friend at lunch today, I was reflecting on my friend Warren's blog entry of November 13 called "Moments" about being in the present.

I am rarely in the present, this second, this second, this second. Usually I'm in the future - what am I going to do tomorrow, what's for dinner, etc.

But my mother is now forever in the present; she doesn't remember the past and can no longer formulate the future.

Denial - Not a River in Egypt

My Aunt Winkie, cousin Angie, and Angie's husband came to visit Mom November 1 & 2.
Winkie is 15 years younger than Mom, only 5 years older than me. I confess, we are close in years only.
She called me on Nov. 4 to say they'd been to visit and I asked her how she thought Mom was doing, compared to last year when she was here. She said her memory seemed a little worse, Mom did introduce her as her daughter, but other than that she seemed fine.
Holy crap.

When I asked Mom on Nov. 7 if anyone had been to visit, she said no. Of course, when prompted - did Winkie come visit? she remembered. They went to the mall and Captain D's (my mother loves her some shrimp); Mom said they must have done that without me, I didn't do that stuff.
She thinks Aunt Florida's (Angie's mom) has been dead for years, but she just celebrated her 95th or 96th birthday.

Yea, she's just fine.

Moving on

Friday, November 13, 2009

I've called several times this morning because it's nail salon day at Walmart, but the phone's busy each time.
At first I think she's on a call, but when it's still busy after a hour and a half, I suspect something is wrong with the phone.
There's no answer when I knock; the TV's on. I check outside to see if she's having a smoke, not there.
When I enter the room she's awake, lying on her bed. She looks at me like she doesn't know me. I ask several simple questions like, was she taking a nap or had she not been up yet (she had all her clothes on). Then I just ask if she was taking a nap (no choices). Had someone called her that morning? She just looks at me - totally blank.
Not angry, just a lights-are-on-but-no-one's-home kind of a look. It's kinda weird and a little scary.
I explain that I'd gotten a busy signal for a long time; there's no dial tone on her phone. Her little Christmas tree has been plugged in and the router for the phone is unplugged (she has phone service via the cable company). Ah ha! After a few unplug/replug of the router and phone cord, she's back in business.
She seems to be coming around now and is a bit more coherent - does she want to go get her nails done - yes. Knows where her purse is, knows what coat she wants to take.

The young man who does her nails today is very sweet, joking around with her, getting a different chair so her back is supported. He gets a big tip.
I wonder if her disability is apparent to other people. I try not to be a "hoverer", but I am protective of her.

Then we go to the hair salon in Walmart because frankly, I can't stand her hair being dirty one more second. It takes a long time; there's only one person working and she's doing two color jobs at the same time.
Mom always tells the stylist she doesn't want to look like me. I think she means she doesn't want her hair as short as mine, cut over her ears. That's what I'm choosing to think she means anyway.
We eat at lunch at Andy's, a burger place in the same shopping center, because it's nearby. It's 2 PM and she probably hasn't eaten today, she has to be starving. It's a 50's style diner, old car pictures everywhere; she recognizes the T-Bird.
My dad used to have a black '55 Thunderbird - he loved that car. Then along came me and the car had to go.
Somehow we get on the topic of dogs/Mookie and she says she wishes she could see him again. I say he's found his forever home and we can't visit him anymore and wait...

I know, she says.
And then we move on.

11/17/09

Clever Title Blockage

Every time I think about Mom's house in FL, I'm plunged into despair. It's been on the market for 1.5 years with not even a smidgen of interest.
Do we replace the roof or not? No guarantee it will sell or even rent if we do and she's out $6000.
Lower the price, people tell me, but again that's still no guarantee it will sell, plus it's real hard to come back up in price. She needs that money. ARRGGGHHH! I'm like a hamster on a wheel. I'm sick of talking about it, sick of thinking about it.
We're going to have to crack open her last CD very very soon; property taxes are due, she lost her Homestead Exemption, so her taxes are $1500 more than they used to be.
Sigh...

How to Sleep with Cats

I once said, comparing Mookie (dog) to my cats, that they were well-behaved-bottom-of-the-bed sleepers. And they are...in the summer. Winter sleeping arrangements are a bit different.

Picture this:
Queen size bed. Laying on my right side, right arm tucked under pillow, left arm stretched out in front of me. Snuggled alongside said left arm is the biggest cat, Oscar, furry cat butt in my face. He gets extra bonus points for his tail either being in my mouth or right up under my nose. From time to time, because I'm not petting him in my sleep, he will endeavor to take a piece of flesh from my left thumb, purring all the while.

Meanwhile behind me, Finn is kneading the pillow as if it were an Olympic sport and he's looking for a gold medal. Occasionally my scalp will get in his way, but no worries, he's not deterred by blood. If scalping fails to illicit a reaction, he'll climb over the top of the pillow and pat my [hopefully] closed eye. Usually his claws are contained when he does this. If that fails, he will stick his wet little nose on my mouth. Having gotten the desired response, which is apparently me bellowing swear words and swatting at him, he moves down and lays his solid brick like body behind my knees.

His co-conspirator, Lillie, is in front of my knees, now I am effectively pinned beneath the blankets so that I have to pull my legs straight up (no small feat) and outside of the covers if I want to turn over.

And that is how you sleep (or not) with cats.

Watch some funny cat related animation here : Simon's Cat