Wednesday, March 16, 2011

It's a dysfunctional day in the neighborhood

The snow is melting a little every day...the view out our living room window, March 16.
  When our sons were little, the late Mr. Rogers used to serenade my boys and I with his famous song, 'It's a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood' while putting on his tennis shoes every day, getting ready to show us around his neighborhood and teach us gentle lessons on his PBS television show.  Mr. Rogers never had a dysfunctional day in his neighborhood.

But I do.

Yesterday was one of those days.  Ever have one?  Where just about anything weird that can happen does?  I woke up with good intentions.  My sleep apnea machine and I have come to an uneasy truce and an understanding; I will leave my Darth Vader face mask on for as long as possible and fight all temptation to wrench it off because I know the CPAP machine is good for me.  I don't have headaches all day every day any more and my aches and pains are quite a bit less than they used to be.  I've finally gotten used to the air pressure I'm subjected to when the machine ramps up, that is, as long as I keep my mouth shut.  If you knew me personally, you'd know that's no easy feat.   I yawned the other day wearing the thing and that wasn't very pleasant, either.  Ditto sneezing.  Or coughing.  Not painful, just weird. 

One thing a CPAP machine definitely puts an end to is Pillow Talk and/or arguments.  We've been married 32 years and often talked (and yes, argued at times) at night until we fell asleep.  Once I have the mask strapped on and the machine is running, any attempt at talking results in air being forced down my gullet at a rapid rate.  So, if I want to say something,  I have to roll over, hit the Stop/Start button on the machine and  remove one of the side clips of the mask and pull the thing away from my chin to talk, and then refasten the clip again and hit the Start button.  Just loosening one of the side clips is faster than taking the head gear off of my head and then having to readjust everything so there's no leaks.  Of course, how many times does a conversation just end without a few more comments thrown in here and there?  There I am, hitting the Start button over and over, unhooking and lifting my mask like an open door blowing in the breeze so I can throw in my two cents' worth.

And who gets the last word?........the guy who isn't wearing the CPAP mask, that's who.

I know, those of you who are in a long-standing relationship NEVER go to bed mad at your significant other, right?  (I always envied the couples who followed that Golden Rule of Relationships...but then I got to thinking about it, maybe I should pity them, because if they never go to bed mad, they must be horribly sleep deprived.) 

So I went to bed the night before last, not mad, but I guess, agitated would be a good word to describe my mental state.   My mind was whirling with worries and swirling with plans.  I've read about keeping a notebook by the side of the bed and when you have a troubled night you're supposed to jot down thoughts on what you can do the next day to alleviate the problems.  Good idea, except I forgot a notebook and pen and then I'd have to unhook myself from the CPAP machine AGAIN, so I decided to just tough it out and eventually dozed off.  Everything always looks bleaker at night.

In the morning I had no notes to follow from the night before, but I had a mission.  I sat down and started working on the income taxes.  (Yes, I know, couldn't I wait a little longer to do this?  Yes, I could, heck,  I have a whole MONTH to go before it's time to file, thank you very much.)   We use the Do It Yourself and Hope You Don't Get Audited Box for tax preparation.  Our finances are so uncomplicated that is only makes good sense (until we get audited).  I was in the middle of taxes when I realized that maybe they weren't going to be so simple this year due to medical expenses, so I went off in search of paperwork and made a few phone calls which led to more questions than answers so in frustration, I decided to go and wash clothes.  Carl would be home in a few hours and I would discuss it with him. 

I headed down to the basement to sort laundry and filled my 1952 Maytag wringer washer with hot water   and decided to give my mother a call while I worked.  She didn't answer her phone and after repeated tries, I got really worried and abandoned the laundry process to go and see if she was ok.  All sorts of things go through my head, did she fall down the steps, have a health emergency?  Who knows?  So, I dug around in the key rack for Mom's house keys and  hooked both of my little dogs to their leashes and three of us proceeded to go to Mom's to see what was up.  Mom's house is 1/4 mile away which isn't that far, but seems like it when you're worried.

When I got there, the house was locked, but before I used my key, I went to her garage and saw that her car was gone.  Oh.  Yes, I know, she's 90 and still drives, but she handles a car very well and only drives on the back roads to our little town of 3000 people.  The other day an acquaintance took me to task over my mother driving a car yet.  "How can you let her drive?  Don't you know that's unsafe?"  Well, when do you take the keys away from your parents?  I didn't have to with my late father because he knew he couldn't handle driving long before we did and had me or Mom take him places.  Mom, on the other hand, has all of her faculties about her yet and likes to go to town to attend church and buy groceries.  And in this case, as I found out later, go to her tax preparer.

How safe is she on the road?  How safe are any of us on the road?  How about the 16 year old with the new license?  How about the people text-messaging when they're supposed to be driving?  Or shaving? Or drunk drivers?  I don't have the right answers. 

I have adult children living at home and an elderly mother living in her own home and sometimes I get a little frazzled with trying to learn how to Let Go and when to Step In and when to Butt Out and when to Do-Si-Do and Allemande Right---I could use a square-dancing caller to talk me through my life, which would make things considerably easier.

So, since I knew Mom was out and about, I went back home with my dogs to finish my laundry.  That was when I realized I had grabbed Mom's house keys and left my own on the table.  Never fear, I had another set hidden in the vicinity, but to get to them, I had to wade through 3' tall snowbanks and dig awhile.  I just found the keys when Mom drove in to ask if I'd been worried about her.  I said, "Yes!"  She was sorry, she forgot to tell me her plans.  She came in the house to chat for awhile and then headed for home and I headed for the basement.

It was a nice day and I decided to hang the laundry on the washlines.  The snowbanks are a little higher than I thought, but half of my wash dried in a few hours.  The other half is still out there.   I've said it before, but I'll say it again, I love the smell of fresh line-dried laundry. 
Towels, anyone?

I managed to finish the laundry just before Carl, Dave and Joel all got home from work.  Carl and Joel went up to my mother's house to do some plumbing and put in a new sink for her and I was back to working on the income taxes for a bit.  I had made chili the night before so I didn't have to cook last night, just reheat.  Sometimes I think ahead.

About a half hour later, one of the dogs needed to go outside for a bathroom break, and since it was getting on to sunset and was still pleasant out, I walked both of the dogs up to Mom's one more time to see how the sink progress was going.  They were just wrapping up the job and on their way home for supper, so after they went home with Carl's car,  I visited with Mom for awhile.  The sun was set already when the dogs and I walked back home again.  We ended up eating a very late supper when some company dropped in for an unexpected visit.  Good thing I made the chili ahead of time.
This morning, I let the Girls out to go to work.

Screech Kitty brings up the rear.  He supervises them. 
Back to the crocus over the septic tank: L-R: Crystal, Ashley & Francie. 
I hope today will be a little more calm.

We don't need another Dysfunctional Day in the Neighborhood.

It's a dysfunctional day in the neighborhood,
a dysfunctional day for a neighbor, 
Would you be mine?
Could you be mine?

(Aren't you glad you're not my neighbor?!)




xoxoxo said...

Oh look at those flowers! I think I planted my new bulbs a bit late and in all the wrong spots.
Don't forget to get the pen/paper next to the bed! Then you can have your conversation on paper :)

Toni said...

When does the dysfunctional part start?? I have tried the pen and paper next to the bed, too, to get gardening thoughts out of my head so I can go to sleep.

Sandy said...

I love reading your blog.. you tell the best stories... your mom, bless her heart is still going strong and driving?.... Sounds like a beautiful day in your neighborhood to me!! Oh to have your worries right now....

Karen said...

I have a whole lot more worries on my mind, but nothing I can write about. Things will work out for the best, they usually do.

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed your blog very much.My husband just got a CPAP machine 5 months ago. He says it's his best friend and won't leave home without it (when we go visit the kids for the week-end),he couldn't stand the mask, said it was too claustraphobic and after two sleep studies ended up with "nasal pillows". He sleeps so well now that he feels much better all day. Did you try the nose ones?
It seems like I know you, I love to collect "trash" and turn it into flower pots of some sort! Your gardens are much prettier than mine cos I just plant & plant with no rhyme or reason!