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Literally and figuratively, in blog world. I have started blogging in Wordpress. All my previous and brilliant posts, along with your sparse but equally brilliant comments, have been imported into my new blog site mamainsqueeze.wordpress.com. I am very excited about this move and promise to visit this site occasionally but I dearly hope you will move over there with me as I have newly committed to try to consistently describe what its like to be me (and there are thousands just like me situationally speaking). Although I am often messagey I hope you laugh a bit occasionally as we roll along. That's mamainsqueeze.wordpress.com . Click the "About" tab and enter your name and your email and your comment. Thank you for being a fan.
Ok, we moved to a new house. Weirdly, there haven't been too many complaints about the 71-72 degree constant (dare we hope to edge toward 70?). But... the floor is travertine in most of the house which is unbelievably cold, even to me. So everyone's feet hurt. Of course it has been in the forties which for Central Florida is a bit weird and unsettling and might have something to do with the ridiculously cold floors! But my dad has now taken to wearing the same sweatshirt, with hood, in the house for days and days and days with nothing underneath. Its as if one layer of clothing is all he can stand. Maybe multiple layers are just too heavy. Hard to know but he thought his comforter was too heavy. So we took the comforter off and now he has three blankets... but apparently those aren't too heavy. We can't completely ignore the muttered comments about the north pole that occasionally waft our way but the overt and personally directed complaints are in remission for the moment. This house, blessedly, appears to hold temperature a bit better than the old one which helps I think since it doesn't really go up and down. It has been so cold and wet that we have been spared the "if you don't wear shorts when its 50" conversation and, even better, the sight of my dad in his heaviest ski parka with nothing else on but jockey shorts. This latter visual is my teen son's least favorite in all the world and for now, gratefully, we have revisited long pants.
I keep saying I'm going to be consistent but that's the only thing I've been consistent about! it would be so nice if life was not so messy and complex but, rather, allowed us enough time to do those things we really enjoy. But... life gets in the way of life, yes it does. And it is messy and complex. The cats have it right. Sleep, eat, hunt mice, and again. So I would cook, sing and write; and again. Unfortunately that's not how it is right now. We have moved. We have, at least apparently and momentarily, pulled our teenager back from the brink of academic disaster. Etc. etc. We have technology to fight with, I have found that this activity sucks up hours and hours each week. E-mail that doesn't go through, computers that won't connect, phones with a bad signal, and on and on. Its amazing the number of distractions from the core pleasures life can offer up. Work is a major diversion; and it sucks up a giant amount of time. It used to seem to be everything, now....not so much. On the back side, it feels as if I should be doing something more pleasing and self-sustaining. But money is good too. So, I will try again. And you all will say... yeah, sure.
So my very few dear friends, I have not been so consistent with this blog. Although I promised to be. But a choice had to be made between consistent blogging and consistently being available for life and consistently getting a little sleep. Surprisingly, I chose the latter. In August, when this blog went to sleep, my dad broke his hip. We didn't know it at the time and it is a long and sordid story but the interim result was that he acquired a severe narcotic induced dementia that, although it has resolved, left it clear that there was non-narcotic induced dementia as well. It became clear that this was of some long standing and a little worse than we thought. In the meantime, however, there was a week long hospital stay and a month of rehab/nursing home. During this time life became work and nursing home and not much else. Little time for family, self, friends or blogging. I went from work to nursing home to take out to teenage homework, to bed. My dad is home, not happy but home, at our house. Along with him has come caregivers and a mind boggling number off appointments with various doctors and therapists. More on the caregivers another day, it has been a trip! More on the calendars, it continues to be a chore. But I keep trying to chronicle this life; difficult but filled with wonders nonetheless.
Ok so here we are, it was about six months into the extended family experiment. My husband comes home from work to have lunch which he does with some regularity. Its about 1 p.m. As he is making himself a ham and cheese sandwich my father walks through the house and he is stark, staring naked. My husband is a bit taken aback but figures he will just go into his room and close the door, or put on pants. But no, my dad goes about his business wandering to and fro, naked as the day he was born. Finally, unable to stand it any longer, my husband asks if he could put on pants. The response was...no! At this point in the telling of the story I was pretty much flabbergasted. Maybe he is starting to feel so comfortable here that he feels he should be able to do as he pleases, or at least as he did in his own home when he lived alone. My husband made the point that if he could not walk around naked, then nobody else should be allowed to either. Later in the day, at a clothed moment, I finally had to weigh in. I explained to my dad that my teenage son lives here too and he might have feelings about the naked grandfather thing. Additionally, my son's friends are here; a lot. And I know they would have feelings about the naked grandfather thing. Certainly it's too much information for me. Now its a few months later and we have mostly solved the naked thing, although there is the occasional lapse. Now more often he wanders about for the better part of half a day in his underwear. I do tell him when there are going to be children, or guests, about and he will get dressed. Frequently he complains about how cold my house is (I have sacrificed and turned the thermostat up to 75 which for me is Saharan heat). His solution for this is unique. He still wanders about in his underwear but wears a winter fleece jacket; understand I live in Central Florida where it is generally never colder than 60 even at night. He can often be found at the dinner table in short tennis shorts and a flannel lined windbreaker. Of all the possible problems that I imagined or anticipated when we decided he would move in here, daytime nakedness was just not one of them, it was quite a surprise. He cannot believe that I am hot all the time, he thinks I am making it up. We often suggest that he might not be cold if he wore pants; he just doesn't believe.
There has been so much written about my generation that we have lots of labels in the popular press. We are the baby boomers and we are the "sandwich" generation to name the two biggies that come to mind. I like to think of it as just squeezed. And of course this economic downturn (read catastrophe) we are currently experiencing is adding to the squeeze. Police officers, at least in New York, used to have an expression that someone was "squeezing their shoes". I have always loved this expression, I find that it perfectly captures how I feel at times. And now is one of those times. As I have written before, my father came to live with us about eight months ago and there are so many observations and subjects to talk about it is hard to know where to start. And as I have often written about, I have a teenage son now beginning his junior (read hell) year of high school in a very difficult program (and no I am not pushing him too hard). My dad is quite competent in some respects. He still balances his checkbook, no matter how long it takes. He still takes his shirts to the dry cleaner but it is a half day expedition. He has terrific difficulty with his computer, phone, tv and cable box. He is alone during the day, mostly, so he waits for me to return home for his social interaction and to tell him where the "x" went on his computer. My son, the other half of the "squeeze", managed to do very poorly in school last year. He agrees that he can do the work, he agrees that he didn't really try, he says he's ready to try but doesn't really know why he didn't. He will require a great deal of structure, help and motivation to make it through this year. You get the idea, I am in the middle. They are squeezing my shoes. My husband is great. He is kind and helpful with my dad and does everything possible for my son. But my dad really only wants to talk to me, he gets pissed at everyone else (gets pissed at me too but not quite as much). And my husband simply isn't good at the school thing. So he cooks comfort food that isn't really good for me but is made with great intentions. I often wonder what I am supposed to be learning through all this. Usually one thing jumps right into my mind...patience. Apparently I didn't have enough because I am learning more, it is greatly required. Retirement seems a very long way off.