Daily Archives: August 3, 2014

Rub

Lying still, smiling like the dead under his champion's hands, I close the faces of old friends in my mind. At last a snarled night unknots itself from my stomach...

Anniversaries

What is it about anniversaries of significant moments in our lives; both good and bad and some that are both at the same time? Is it the mind that remembers these times? Is it our heart that keeps these dates … Continue reading

Fitness Update August 2, 2014

Why a Fitness Update on a Bipolar Blog? As I remind you every week, over 80 percent of people with serious mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and major depression, are overweight or obese. Much of this has to do with medicines that reduce the metabolism. This contributes to them dying at three times […]

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This Is A Test And Only A Test Of The Emergency Broadcasting System (Not Seriously)

Testing whether this post will show up on the Facebook page I set up for this blog as certain family members were complaining about my posts being on MY page.Filed under: Bipolar Disorder

The Art Of The Deal

Day One of our garage sale is done, now all Will and I have to do is get through Day Two and then box up what’s left and donate it to charity. It’s definitely been worth doing so far, but of course it’s a social occasion, and social occasions tend to be hard on Miss Bipolar here. However, I have found it within my power to not only be really, really nice to people—which I usually can do without too much difficulty—but I even say “thank you” and “have a great day” when they paw through everything in the garage and then declare that they’re not interested. Smooth operator, I am.

However, I am lousy at standing firm on my prices, and when folks want to haggle I usually cave in just to get rid of the item. I let one lady talk me down from $15 on one of our extra chairs, which was totally a steal at that price because it was a nice chair. It also happened to be too small for either of our butts, so it really was of little practical use at any price. She walked away with a bargain, and we got seven bucks out of it. Did I mention that I’m an easy mark?

Will, on the other hand, is far better at this haggling business. He too can be talked down on prices, but at some point he digs in his heels and won’t take a dime less. It occasionally costs him a sale, yet not as often as one might think. This time, we had a very knowledgeable twelve-year-old visit us who examined Will’s model kits with a practiced eye; since he had only $23 to spend, he asked Will how many of them he could buy with that amount.

He drove a hard bargain, that kid…..he and Will went back and forth, back and forth several times, with the end result being he got four model kits for $17. Meanwhile, I sat there watching them like a cat at a tennis match, amazed at the boy’s fluency with the English language (what, no grunting in monosyllables?), and Will’s ability to hold his own. Everybody won on that score—the kid kept some of his money, and we have four less items to haul to Goodwill. Oh yeah, and we’re $17 richer.

Then there are the folks who literally come in with a fistful of dollars, see something they want desperately, and pay any price you ask. These are few and far between, but when they come along, it’s just like Christmas time. This is how we got rid of Will’s collection of dragon figurines, which have always creeped me out. (He kept them down cellar in the Man Cave, where I seldom venture.) This fellow not only bought all 26 of them, he also bought one of our eagle sculptures and a coffee cup. Grand total: $152.25. BINGO!! That pays the electric bill!! We could’ve closed up shop at that point and called it a day, but we stuck to our 9 AM-4 PM schedule and sold a few more things.

Now we probably won’t make much tomorrow because it’s Sunday and people are either in church (which is where WE normally would be, too) or getting ready for the week ahead, but we’ve already done better than I anticipated. The last such sale we had netted us about $80 over a three-day weekend, which barely made it worth all the work we put into it. So we were both pleased and surprised to have doubled that amount in only one day…..even though the money is for business, not pleasure. 

Thus continueth the saga of the Garage Sale of the Decade, as we’ve come to call it. (Well, it is the Garage Sale of the Decade, because we haven’t had one in at least ten years.) It’s a huge pain in the patoot, but by gum, it’s gonna pay the electric bill AND the garbage bill if we’re lucky. Yippee! 

 


Talking Shop

I don’t know whether you’ve noticed, but I’ve noticed, that I haven’t been posting.

Lord knows I’ve wanted to.

Blogging serves many purposes for me, as I’m sure it does for you: catharsis, self-expression, connection, community, dialogue, intellectual challenge, exercise and sharpening of one’s writers’ craft teeth, etc.

But: things around here have been less than peachy.

Dad had another stroke a week ago, was in a coma for a couple of days.  Then he began his struggle back into This World.  He’s not quite as “with it” as he was before–and he wasn’t too “with it” then either–but sometimes he knows where he is.  Thankfully he still knows who I am.

While we thought he was dying or about to die, there was a certain amount of drama (really?!) on the part of my mother, who actually hugged me and wept on my shoulder for an uncomfortable while.  I do feel sorry for her, but not that sorry.  But it’s not as if I would push my mother away while she’s having a dramatic sad moment, or a sadly dramatic moment, being about to lose her husband of sixty-six years.

Life is now a patchwork of caregivers and nurses coming in and out of the house.  That’s good, because I cannot help with physical needs other than the food-related ones.  I can prepare food, and help him eat it; and if he’s too “out of it” to get his food into his mouth, I can feed him.  Some days he’s able to feed himself, and some days he’s just too exhausted.  He’s hungry, but he just can’t manage the eating part.  I never realized how complex the act of eating is, until this experience of watching Dad’s stepwise loss of the mechanical ability to manipulate food, even with his hands, let alone utensils.

Once it’s in his mouth he can usually chew it up and swallow, but sometimes he needs his food “blenderized” and sometimes he just can’t eat at all.  I know that’s part of dying.  And sometimes he absolutely refuses to eat, and that’s part of dying too.

We try to keep him hydrated, at least.  He’s on a medicine that decreases the fluid in his blood, taking some stress off his heart, which does make him feel better but causes increased urination, so getting the fluids into him is important.  I know, it seems paradoxical: on one hand, taking the fluids out, on the other, shoving them in.

The other day we were sitting alone together, watching the afternoon coming in through the brilliant greens of the forest canopy, and he said:  “You and I need to go up into the woods and talk shop.”

I know what he meant.

We have always been best buddies, even when times weren’t so good, even though he served as my own private “Flying Monkey” who tried to explain away my mother’s evil ways.  I always came back, for my dad.  Here I am!

Just about every night, starting from…when?  Maybe after I got back off the road, when I was seventeen–every night when I was visiting and would be staying over, my dad and I would sit up late drinking whiskey and “talking shop.”  We would solve the world’s problems, solve problems for worlds that were entirely theoretical at the time but in fact exist now, and dig deep into authors, poetry, philosophical genres, the nature of human existence, art (of course), artists (same), relationships of all sorts….and now and then my mother would stick her head down the stairway to ask us to please “keep it down.”

I do salute her for allowing us those times together and not throwing a monkey-wrench into things, which she is quite capable of doing.  She knew that those late-night rap sessions were sacred.

The only time my dad and I ever got into a shouting match was oh, around 3 am when we were both three sheets to the wind, and somehow or other we fell into the topic: “Does God have a sense of humor?”

He staunchly and solidly maintained that God does NOT have a sense of humor.  The Holocaust.

I equally stubbornly held that God DOES have a sense of humor, because WE exist and that is the ridiculous proof!

Neither of us would budge, and having put a good dent in a fifth of Bourbon whiskey, the volume worked its way up until we were actually shouting at each other in earnest.  Luckily my mother yelled down the stairs for us to “knock it off down there.”  We sheepishly toasted “to Life” and stumbled off to our respective beds.  We never did resolve that point.

So, we need to go up into the woods and talk shop.  Some more.  Soon.