Monday, November 13, 2006

Watch out! Here come the Liberals!!!

Is it true, I haven’t earned a penny this year? For that matter, since May 2005?

How many can claim that distinction?

10:00 p.m. Jackie and I just finished cleaning the kitchen. We had watched “Masterpiece Theater’s” presentation of Silas Marner – probably from the 70s, with Ben Kingsley as Silas.

We sat with our dinner plates on our laps. I can’t recall ever dining that way in Ted and Jackie's house. Ted was not feeling well and went without (except for some ice cream!)

I’m beginning to see the challenges Ted faces with Jackie: she frequently can’t remember from one moment to the next what our intentions or plans are. She and I prepared dinner of Caesar salad, mashed potatoes with gravy and re-heated prime rib. In the middle of the preparations, a pipe fitting disconnected from the garbage disposal, making a mess under the sink.

Finally, I could be of some help in helping clean up the mess!

We watched some Fox News earlier, and it was almost hilarious to hear the hysterical opinions of their “experts” – the Democrats are bringing into their leadership extremists of the worst kind, LIBERALS!!!

"Give it a rest guys, they don’t even take over until January."

Jessica returned my call after 8:00, and it was a delight to hear Jackie and Ted get a chance to talk with her. “Now you have our number,” Ted said, implying that she should try calling again. She’s a “social butterfly” she told them. She seems to have adopted the term I’ve used to describe her a number of times.

***

Reminisced with Ted and Jackie, mostly with Jackie today, asking more about their lives. Learning about the childhoods in Alhambra and San Marino. Jobs in L.A., Alhambra and other areas. The Cameron Way years and the life-long friends they met there. Office intrigues in the days of “secretaries”. Their working class parents and relatives. Ted’s mother borrowing money from him – he started working at 10 years old.

Eager to help in some way, I offered to re-load the wood stack in the garage, then filled the woodshed and consolidated the woodpile under a tarp outside. Ted wanted the pine needles raked off the roof, but refused to allow me to do this when it was wet, and it rained on and off all day.

Ted admits he believes in control and doesn’t like it when he doesn’t have control. This makes it difficult to help, because things must be done a specific way in their house. It’s better to not do something, than to do it incorrectly.

A fellow working for a medical equipment supplier delivered a device to exercise Ted’s knee while lying in bed. I noticed the tall fellow with the ruddy complexion, and a shake in his hands. Alcohol? Who knows, but that’s the first thing that comes to mind.

A trip to the post office and grocery. I drove the Cadillac (a first for me.) Found myself always accompanying Jackie to keep an eye on her. Several times she misplaced her glasses today. A minor issue, but a symptom of her condition.

Before sitting down to lunch, got Jackie out for a walk. She keeps a good pace. Blustery afternoon with sprinkles. Nice.

I talked pretty frankly with Jackie and Ted about the dementia. It seems Jackie must develop tools (and has) to help her remember things. She writes notes about the day’s activities along with any appointments or plans.

I asked many questions, because I feel a likely candidate for such a disorder, as my memory seems so feeble. I’ve relied on notes for so long, I fear my memory has been weakened by this crutch.

Jackie says as long as she can play bridge, and enjoy good food and conversation, she’ll be happy.

They have a great community here, and they all help one another. But many are passing, many suffering from age-related ailments. These folks who have chosen to live in the relative isolation of Graeagle, will increasingly need the support of their families.

I hope we’re all up to the task, the responsibility. After all, they have given us so much over the past 26 years (for me, 24 for Jessica!)

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