Wednesday, August 31, 2016

I couldn't find you!

Jim loves to keep our yard in perfect shape. He mows with our garden tractor on a regular basis, cutting it high so that the grass stays nice and green. I've mentioned in past posts that for some of the outdoor work I have needed to get involved. It has given me a new appreciation for all that he has done over the years to keep our property looking so nice.

We had some new plantings placed recently (long story for perhaps another post; I definitely did not want additional flowers/bushes to have to take care of). The new plantings need frequent watering. Given the drought like conditions, we've been watering almost daily for the last couple of weeks. We're going to back off to every other day. I really need to be out there helping, as he is not able to keep track of what has been watered. Yesterday when I said "don't forget to water the third hydrangea plant", he insisted he already had and then said incredulously "are you saying you don't believe me?" Fortunately I was able to suggest we both check the soil around the plant, and this convinced him it needed to be watered.

Yesterday I headed outside to wash windows along the back side of our house. Jim was headed into the shower, but helped me to get set up with step stool, squeegee etc.  He offered to help, but honestly, sometimes it is just easier for me to do it myself. The compulsion to get everything perfect can drive me crazy. It ends up being quicker and easier to just do it myself.

I was on the next to the last window and I heard his voice calling out to me "Carole! Carole!". He was just rounding the corner from the front of the house. He said "I couldn't find you!!!" I reminded him that he had help to set me up to wash the outside windows, and that I had been outside ever since then. (I felt the need to tell him this so he wouldn't think that I had gone outside without telling him first.)

Jim: "But I couldn't find you! I didn't know where you were! I looked all over. I even looked in your purse!" (???)

Me: "I'm so sorry you couldn't find me. But the good news is that the windows are done and they look great."

Jim: "I just didn't know what to do."

He was OK and calmed down pretty quickly.  Just another reminder to me that the short term memory is not great. When I remind him of things he has forgotten, he'll say something like "oh, yeah", but I'm never certain if he actually remembers, or if he is just going along with what I say.

He has an old style flip phone that he has used for several years. He keeps it in his car all the time. He rarely uses it. We have a land line that I'd love to get rid of, but the land line is what he is accustomed to. We received notice that his old flip phone would no longer work after 12/31. It was a 2G, so we needed to get him a new phone. To make matters worse, because his phone had not been used in 3 months, they deactivated his account and gave his number away!

 We went to Walmart and a very helpful sales person assisted us in finding another flip phone that will work just fine. It is pretty similar to his old one,  which was VERY important in terms of transitioning to this new phone. One problem: it has a button on the side that activates the camera (which he would never use). The positioning of this button makes it easy to accidentally turn on the camera. Once the camera is on, you have to hit the END button to turn the camera off. He will likely never remember that, and I fear it may be a source of frustration for him. I've googled to see if you can deactivate the camera, but so far no luck. We'll see. We've got 2 weeks to return it if we're not happy with it.

We've got my mom's birthday bash this weekend. I'm playing it smart. Lot's of prepared food. Very little food preparation on my part. Costco's chicken alfredo pasta, mac and cheese, spiral ham, cooked turkey breast from Costco that I just have to slice, tossed salad, Japanese cole slaw (that I will make - delicious!), Wegmans loaded potato salad, Wegmans birthday cake, ice cream, and Costco's wonderful chocolate chip cookies. No one will go hungry :-)

Every day I am thankful that I retired when I did. My posts, of course, highlight my observations of Jim's changes. I don't often mention all the fun, happy and silly times that we still have. There are plenty of those times too! And many more to come, I am sure.

It means a lot to me to be able to write these words, and to have such caring compassionate readers who stop by to listen to my story. Thanks for stopping by!


  1. Aw yes, that need to stay close, very close. Sometimes I feel like Bob and I are together like Velcro. You appear to be handling things well. I hope you do have a lot of good times ahead of you.

    1. Thanks Linda. It helps to stay optimistic and take one day at a time. It's that vulnerability that draws them near to us. It helps me to remember that vulnerability he is feeling; it often guides my response.

    2. My mom recently suffered a stroke and is struggling to recover. Every time I am overcome with sadness, fear, and confusion, I try to remember that these feelings give me the smallest sense of what she is experiencing. It is so hard to watch a loved one go through debilitating changes, but you are right, Carole. All you can do is try to stay positive and cherish what you still have.

    3. Thanks Terri. Sorry about your mom. I know she must be grateful to have you close by. Those close connections are so important when a loved when is experiencing health difficulties. It is said that life stressors are cumulative, especially if there are several close together. You certainly have had more than your share, between moving yourself, and your mom, across the country, and now this major change in her health.

      Thanks for visiting my blog. Sending positive thoughts and wishes your way!

  2. I am always impressed how both you and Linda can always find a diplomatic way to help your husbands navigate what has to be scary times for them and trying times for you. You both should be running for office. You'd have my vote.

    1. Only if you would be my campaign manager :-)

      Learning as we go...Linda's blog is a great help to me. When I take the time to remember the vulnerability and how scary it must be for him at any particular moment, it helps me to frame my response more empathically.

      By the way, my humming bird feeder is pretty sad looking these days. I think they have already started to head south. So if you see any of my feathered friends, give them my best :-)

  3. Oh, Carole, once again you are writing my life! Especially that flip-phone scene - it's so humbling to discover what we take for granted in our routine struggles to learn and keep up with new technologies - when the spouse truly can't adapt anymore, it calls on wholly different strategies.
    Hope your big party goes swimmingly, and you have a lot more fun than trouble!
    Thanks so much for writing.

    1. It sounds like we are living somewhat parallel universes. Every journey is different, but it is nice to know when others are living through similar experiences. It makes you feel less alone.

      Just finished a big shop at Costco and Wegmans for my party food. Fridge is full, and hopefully all goes well. Thanks Jan.

  4. Sometimes, a little sense of humor helps. It's either laugh or cry. Enjoy the party.

    1. You're right, you've got to laugh! Attitude is everything. Thanks Gigi.