An old tradition of ours is pizza Tuesday. I know. I know it is supposed to be taco Tuesday but neither of us are super huge fans of tacos. Although if we wind up at a Mexican restaurant and there are some very good ones in the Cincinnati area, Cheryl will order tacos. Some of the Hello Fresh meals are Latin American in flavors. Neither of us grew up with that but the La Rosa family has been in business for sometime and some scenes from the Rain Man use Pompellio’s as back drop. Sorry I have digressed again.
We used to frequent a small pizza joint nearby (run by a family of German dissent or Latvian if the spelling is different) that we liked. We tried several nights during the week and ultimately landed on Tuesday as the least crowded. It stuck. Over time it became “Anything Goes Pizza Tuesday” because sometimes one would rather have a hoagie or a hero sandwich or a calzone or maybe just a salad. Cheryl did not care as long as there was pepperoni somewhere. The only exception being a steak hoagie sandwich reminiscent of Pasquale’s. Sadly, the Pasquale’s of our childhood is no longer.
Lately we have moved Anything-Goes-Pizza-Tuesday to a newer use of an old italian restaurant near where we live. They opened just before the pandemonium and we supported them with carry out orders during the shutdown.
Pizza Tuesday has developed into a social affair with friends and neighbors. Sometimes Cheryl’s family shows up. Sometimes anything goes.
On this particular night Cheryl’s cousin Donna showed up. We had been trying to get together and on a whim I called her and invited her to Strong’s Brick Oven Pizzeria. She came. My cousin’s widow, Linda showed up. We had a great conversation. We got home later than we usually did. Sadly, we had no leftovers and that is too bad.
It was a time to connect and make new connections. The pizza Tuesday reminder list is getting longer. Cheryl had a good time and told stories.
When we were young Cheryl was a very good seamstress. She impressed me by making me and the boys a couple of shirts. I have no idea of the amount of work, effort and skill it takes to make other items of clothing but the year she made us custom fitting flannel shirts for Christmas I was super impressed. I still have a couple. The rest overtime I managed to wear out and fray most of them beyond repair. I can tell you that there is nothing, nothing better than a well tailored shirt. If you have ever had a shirt made for you, shirts off a rack are never the same again. Although I never owned one I can understand why men could spend thousands of dollars on a hand made suit. No wedgies in your armpits or elsewhere.
Today for whatever reason she has decided the pillows need to be trimmed differently. Here we are in Joann Fabrics. It is hard for me to understand what she is thinking. She has a hard time expressing her thoughts. It is overwhelming like a lot things these days. I really do not know how to help her.
The plan that I conjured was to get outside before the inclement weather turned up. Maybe a walk even though it is cold the wind is still. And afterwards we can have some lunch somewhere. It is Sunday and we have no plans.
But she found her stash of earrings when she was putting her clothes on. I was in full on waiting mode in my little office hide away hoping to not get frustrated and jump in to speed her up. This is January in Ohio and it has been weirdly warm for a couple weeks and that usually means the crap is coming. I became anxious and went back to check. She was messing around with her earring stash. I reminded her we were going to take a walk and have a little lunch somewhere. Oh yeah, that’s right said she. She came out of the bedroom with a bunch of her earrings in a box to take to the jeweler for repair that they did not need. I pointed out that it was Sunday and her favorite jeweler is closed today. She said maybe we could go sometime this week and I readily agreed.
Let’s go take a walk and get lunch. Okay she said.
That all went out the window as we got into the car and she told me about Joann Fabrics and pillows and fringe and trim and once seam binding. Happily I knew what all of those were but had no idea why she was telling me or what she had in mind. I had a lot of questions. I reluctantly drove toward Joann Fabrics instead of our favorite park to walk in. Switching from earrings to pillows left me dumfungled.
I drove to Joann Fabrics and later after we had absorbed enough of the ambiance, we went to a close by Cracker Barrel for salads and pillow talk. This was a soft talking day and Cracker Barrel was a bad pick for quiet conversation but they did have a nice wood fire going near where we were seated.
Later when we got home she showed me the green pillow that she had been talking about. I think she made this waiting for one of our kids to get big enough to be born. I do not remember which one but this pillow has been in our household for several decades.
I often find hope and inspiration in song and poetry. Today while reading blogs of others I tripped over this from Filosofa’s Word. Kermit and his rainbow song.
To me and I suppose many, poetry and song are the same thing. A song with a melody that is catchy enables a poor poem to live. A sweet expressive poem often needs no accompaniment. Sometimes the music is first and inspires the poem. Sometimes the poem is first and inspires the melody.
A favorite poem Desiderata sort of sums up life. It has no metre. It follows a prose format. I find it to be calming to my heart. I have not read it for a while but reading Jill’s blog page about caused me to do that today.
Carpe Diem and keep connected to everyone around you.
It seems to me that I spend a lot of time waiting for the next thing. I started this about a week ago. I did not know where to go after the first line. But late last night after I finally convinced Cheryl to lay down I realized that sometimes I am waiting for life to smooth out for a bit.
Care partners often do not realize how important it is to have relief.
I wait to find out if Cheryl is going to organize her office.
I wait to find out about if we are home or if we need to fix that by driving home.
I wait to find out if getting to bed is next or if this is a late night.
Things are more mysterious at night and I am tired and on guard against argumentative discussion.
Last night we drove around to get home again. Because I was bored I picked a different circuit. That was a mistake on my part. I realized my error after I turned and she said, “This is not the way.” Oopsy. Now she is concentrating on landmarks which caused me to start a running commentary about streets and where were. Luckily she came with me and said we have to turn left at the light.
It is such an odd disease. Cheryl slept very soundly last night and because of that so did I. I do not remember awakening to visit the bathroom at all. I must have but I have no memory of it.
Today she seemed really good. She was struggling with a BM and I worried that she may be focused on that tonight. It is only 11:28 so there is still time but the “I need to go home” was strong. I tried another suggestion about asking where to turn and how to get here. She was not sure of the way. We got back from our little circuit. She was okay with being here. She told me to be careful when I went home. She pointed the way to Galbraith Rd.
She walked around the house while I garaged the car. She was still unsure of “home”. But it looked a bit like home to her. It seemed like I was winning. If I could have charted it, the pattern was more like the markets of the past few weeks – up, down, up, up, down – yadda yadda yadda. Hard to judge. Up? or off?
It was a constant running commentary to help her with PJ’s. I lied that I had reported where she was staying to her mother. I lied that her mom was okay with staying here. I lied that I sent and email message to everyone telling them where we were staying. I said, “I love you.” she replied, “I love you too, Jan.” She noticed her mistake. I ignored it. It is unimportant and she is very tired.
Eventually she succumbed to tiredness and laid down in bed.
The night is still young and the morning is not here yet.
Carpe Diem the connection to the addled mind inside.
We had a great visit from all the kids and many of the grandkids. On New Year’s Eve I spontaneously asked our children if they had anything special planned for New Year’s Day. I asked if not would they like to gather around our table for a meal in the afternoon. I suggested about 4-ish. They all said yes.
I stole this idea from Frank C. Church. Thank you, Frank for a spontaneously good time.
Who can tell? Maybe a new family tradition? Traditions have to start somewhere. They are kept up if everyone has a good time participating. Zachary certainly had a good time. He had not seen grandma’s marble race before so Mom and Gavin helped him put it together.
Most importantly Cheryl got to have everyone at her house. She smiled and laughed at the conversation and activity. It was simply wonderful to see her smile.
Her smile and laughter are less as we head on our journey of Parkinson. Yesterday was very special to her and to me.
Asshat is one of my favorite terms for “stinker”. When I read it in a book it makes me giggle internally.
Today I was an asshat. Cheryl had a rough night. She spent a long time feeling something in her bowel that would not happen. Sadly one of the often not talked about symptoms of Parkinson is constipation. This condition is treated with various devices, more veggies, extra fiber, fiber enhanced foods, docusate sodium (stool softener), Miralax, psyllium husk powder, and others. The result of many of these maybe all is an emergency. And sometimes a declogging device. We have been down this road many times.
Why I did not recognize it last night at 3 AM is beyond me. Maybe not.
I was an asshat. Today I am trying to recover from my overnight asshattedness.
Teasing and associated humor — We have been married more than a half century. That qualifies us as an old married couple. At one point we could finish each other’s sentences. I could understand what she wanted by a look. We would banter and tease each other. With Parkinson that is all gone. Mostly. For maybe an hour or two after breakfast mild banter can occur but later in the day she will start thinking that I am picking on her. The switch is sudden. Sometimes I miss it.
Implication, inference, analogy — the parkie brain seems to struggle with inference. But she will still do it to me. The garbage can is near full. Instead of, please take the garbage out. We all do it.
With dementia and memory loss issues it doesn’t work.
Linear logical thought
Ability to follow directions (recipes)
Stick-to-it-tiveness, persistence — the opposite of apathy– is completely gone. I have not had to deal with a child that has ADHD, so, I have no comparison but many of her behaviors seem to mimic this disorder.
Intimacy is very different and difficult… I make no reference to sexual intimacy. That left us a few years ago. These days it is necessary for me to intrude into toileting. Never when I said I do did I think I might have to keep track of bowel movements. It is typically a very private event. PD however brings with it the side benefit of constipation. Memory issues do not help. Self reporting does not accomplish what it might if she could remember the last time she pooped. Hanging on to feces for long periods can send one to the hospital. PD patients should do all in their power to stay out of the hospital.