A long weekend made longer…

After the upheaval of last week, the weekend should have been a good time to relax.  Alas, plans had been made for Dada to travel and plans were fulfilled without fail.

As I type this, it is Day Three of Dada’s trip to visit his father.  J is confused, but calm.  Miss Pipa the Cat is hiding in my closet (which seems to be par for the course these days,) and sorties to seek food, water, her litter box and a hand to pet her when she’s in the mood.  TGG has been working.  I have been recovering from the roller coaster ride that was the trip to the Emergency Room while trying to keep things going around here…

The hot flashes are not helping.  (That seems to be a recurring theme, doesn’t it?)

Today and yesterday we experienced the sort of misty rain that doesn’t seem to increase or decrease.  It’s just there.  You can tell it’s raining because you can see raindrops in the small puddles on the street, but the dirt looks semi-dry and you -foolishly- step on it and realize it’s just very organized mud.  Such a bold excursion resulted in new (old) slippers for J because he never lets me look at the soles of his and today he was compelled to inform me (through much emoting and a rather dramatic discarding of the slippers and socks) that his were split and he’d stepped in a puddle…

What was he doing outside in his slippers?  This is the question I ask every time.  I’ve asked this question with PECS, sign language, interpretive dancing…he shrugs me off and keeps going outside in his slippers.  In J’s defense, he is far more civilized than TGG, he who always complains of how his socks are full of holes, but keeps running out to the car to help with groceries IN HIS SOCKS!!!

So J is walking around wearing Dada’s slippers, and these (sadly) are in only slightly better shape than the recently deceased (rather odorous and no longer cushioned inside…at ALL!) slippers J used to love.  As a sign of the slipper gods, L.L. Bean sent me a catalog yesterday and it had been forgotten in a corner until the whole split-sole and mud in the socks incident…then J, his feet now clean and powdered and re-shod, handed me the L.L. Bean catalog.  I half-expected a page to be flagged with a post-it note!

After the walk-in-the-mud fracas and the quick recovery, we did our Wii run (to the tune of Ryan Adams and The Black Keys, no less,) and then it was bath-time.  The memory of mud on the feet elicited another vigorous close encounter with his bar of soap and a brush, and yet another heavy sprinkling of baby powder.  While Dada is away (until Tuesday evening,) I have been trying to soothe J without coddling him, and it seems to be working.  Every day I remind him that Dada is away seeing his own Dada, and that he will be coming back soon; we look at the calendar and count down, and whenever Dada calls, I put him on speakerphone so J can hear his voice.  J looks at the handset and smiles, and signs HELLO and GOOD MORNING and DADA, but seems so happy to hear him that he barely speaks.  The smile says it all, I guess.

This evening, before cooking dinner, J had me being the jukebox.  He would pick a song from his iPod and I had to sing along; little by little, he would turn the volume down and giggle as I sang (rather badly, by the way) and gestured broadly.  I was lucky that I remembered the lyrics to all his selections because he tends to replay the song from the beginning when one makes a mistake, a lot like Henry Higgins without the rather impatient and petulant “a-GAIN!”  In less than half an hour I was dragged from Barbra Streisand to Celine Dion to Meatloaf to Regina Spektor to I can’t remember what else…by the end of it all, I needed a tall glass of water and two Tylenol, and the neighbors were probably begging for mercy.

So we are surviving in spite of the weather that keeps us inside (because when we do go outside we come back messy and there’s carpeting between all doors to the exterior and the closest bathrooms,) the break in the routine (no library, no trip to town, no excursion to the Farmers’ Market,) and the absence of Dada.  J does kneel on his bed and looks out the window to check if our car is back, and he flutters about when it’s early in the morning and TGG has to go to work, but he’s being very prudent in his reactions.

Coping strategies?  Doing the dishes by hand rather than throwing them in the dishwasher.  There’s a togetherness that develops as one scrubs, rinses, sets to dry, someone grabs a kitchen towel and then all gets put away.  I don’t mind doing this with J as long as he doesn’t expect me to sing while I do it.  Last night I made the mistake of playing Marilyn McCoo’s version of One Less Bell To Answer in honor of Hal David (because I was big on the hairbrush-as-a-microphone performance of his songs,) and today J found the CD and was playing it while we had breakfast.  Unless you’ve tried to sing in her or Karen Carpenter’s range, especially while eating scrambled eggs and biscuits, you don’t know how bad this was…  I felt like I was in the middle of “trying to whistle while eating a soda cracker” schtick on Bozo the Clown.  I declared a moratorium on singing until “the evening,” and thinking (foolish me) that J knows MORNING, AFTERNOON and NIGHT, but that EVENING is murky enough to buy  me time, I let it go at that…

J knows EVENING.

Let’s hope he doesn’t discover Renee Fleming or Beverly Sills before Tuesday evening…



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