Christmas 2016 ~ Day Five

December 27

Christmas 2016 ~ Day 5
I am tucked into Tim and Cindy’s cabin on the Island, after 9+ adventurous hours with mom, accompanied by dark cherry and almond infused chocolate, and a really good glass of wine. I don’t even know how to begin… Following, not necessarily in order, are the highlights of the day.
  • Mom’s first call this morning, answered by my sainted husband, made it perfectly clear, despite packing the truck yesterday in order to return to the Island, she had ZERO recall of our destination today. She asked her standard, “What’s on deck for today?”  
  • Mom’s second call, also answered by the best husband in the world, was in regards to which ferry we were taking to the Island. The Sainted One told mom which boat we were catching. Mom, because she was looking at a January 2017 schedule, begged to differ with the information she was given. My husband (the guy who will be canonized during his lifetime), tried to explain that I’d made a reservation for the sailing, and further, that when making a reservation online, the system won’t lie to you about the ferry schedule. She replied with, “NOW, YOULISTEN TO ME!!!!!, Oh, what’s today’s date?” Hubby told her it was the 27th; she backed right off as she then realized she was looking at the wrong schedule.
  • After the above, wait for it, mom called her neighbor on the Island and asked for a ride from the ferry to her house! I discovered this while checking email waiting in the ferry line. Mom’s neighbor got my reply letting her know I was still bringing mom back home.
  • During the drive to the ferry landing mom asked countless times, “Which boat are we taking?” Once in line, she suffered various levels of anxiety about getting on board, despite being reminded we had a reservation.
  • As I drove aboard the ferry, Mom uttered, “I haven’t been on a ferry in soooo long.” I didn’t say a word. December 23rd, and twice in late November don’t seem that long ago to me. Short term memory mashup…
  • While on the boat, mom asked, “Now, when are you going to take me back?” I’ve learned not to hesitate too long when stunned by questions like this, lest I get barked at. I took half a breath and said, “Mom, we’re going to the Island right now.” She did one of her ‘hand to forehead’ moves, but I could tell she was distressed over this slip.
  • Mom did remember to call her neighbor from the boat to say she didn’t need a ride. As soon as my phone regained cell service, mom called and left a message.  She fussed that she ought to walk off the ferry and go home with her neighbor should her neighbor be waiting. This was where I had to remain very mellow with my mama, and let things play out. There was NO WAY I was going to let my mom walk off the boat knowing her neighbor wasn’t waiting to collect her. The pain in the ass factor to attempt to pick mom up amidst the 200 cars exiting the ferry would have been a nightmare. I am thankful I didn’t have to get tough with her! I sure do think about my father in these moments… I remember when he’d lose his patience over similar ditherings. I did not fall too far from the tree.
  • Mom asked me multiple times if was Friday or Sunday. Once she was unclear on the month, thinking it was January.
  • Mom asked countless times what was happening tomorrow. I gave her an unwavering answer: ‘I’m leaving on the early boat, and won’t see you in the morning.’
  • When we got to mom’s house she asked if we could unload the truck in the morning. I reminded her I’d be leaving the Island early the next day, wouldn’t see her in the morning, and needed to unload right away, while there was still daylight.
  • Mom complained twice each about recent dinners out at two local Island restaurants. She then suggested we go out to one or the other of them for dinner. I was resigned to dinner out (and more complaining) when she started the fire, which meant we had to eat in…
Mom’s house was really cold when we arrived. There’s no central heating. She got the stove and fireplace going, and I offered to head back to town to pick up something for dinner. As we set about to prepare a simple dinner of rice, steamed mussels, sautéed prawns and a salad, it became clear that she was having a challenging time sequencing things, and judging how much rice we’d need.

  • She started by putting about a ¼ cup of rice in a pan. I suggested we’d need more, which surprised her. She added additional rice, but got the water:rice ratio wrong. All of a sudden she was adding more uncooked rice to the pot to soak up excess water! The results would make Gordon Ramsay raise an eyebrow.
  • After she started the rice, and we sat down to take in more TV news, mom asked me, “Did I start the rice?” I assured her she had, but she had to check.
  • Seafood takes very little time to cook. Mom’s focus was on the mussels. Mine was on the salad. I encouraged her repeatedly to make salad before we steamed the mussels. After the third attempt at suggesting this sequencing, she acquiesced to my logic.
  • We always eat in the living room and watch what PBS has on offer. Mom couldn’t figure out how to seat both of us at the coffee table, and said we’d have to eat in the dining room. I was able to get our place settings arranged on the coffee table to her satisfaction.
  • Mom asked how Tim and Cindy were when I returned from town and dropping things off at the cabin. I told her I hadn’t seen them, and she replied, “Oh, I thought you were going drop in to say ‘Hello.’” We knew our plans didn’t include Tim and Cindy this evening a few days ago. Mom kept circling back to Tim and Cindy during the day asking if we were getting together with them in the evening, that she’d give them a call, did they know I was staying at the cabin, did I know they were in town, etc.
  • Mom complained almost incessantly about her new load of firewood. It’s ‘stove wood,’ meaning it’s cut a little shorter than usual cord wood. She went on and on about how if it was longer, it’d put out more heat. Kind of like how she admonishes me for failing to keep my stove glass squeaky clean… More heat gets through clean glass according to her laws of physics. The mass of cast iron surrounding the glass doesn’t contribute to the heat output at all…
  • She’s waiting for a bill for the wood. I’ve seen the check clear the bank for the wood.
  • Mom asked me, “What’s the name of the outfit I buy fuel from for the stove?” She couldn’t remember, in that moment, the supplier or that the stove runs on diesel.
  • My parents always used Dial soap. Mom still does. There are always the ends (25% or so of the original bar) of a couple of bars of Dial, as well as the newest bar, in each soap dish in the house. This has always struck me as very odd. We use our soap until you can barely see it before breaking out a new bar. In mom’s bathroom soap dish there are 4 partially used bars of Dial soap adjacent to a new one!
  • I managed to toss at least 10 charity requests into the fire this evening without notice. The monocular vision thing we’re told happens with dementia is really true. Mom just doesn’t see anything outside of a narrow band right in front her.
  • I also managed to sneak a Costco sized bottle a Caesar Cardini salad dressing out of the fridge, placing it in the back of my truck for future disposal. The dressing has been in residence since before my father died, almost four years ago. I worry that an accident will take my mother’s life. Perhaps I ought to be more concerned about food poisoning.
  • There wasn’t time or space to do a sweep of the house. I need to return in February to gather documents for taxes, which will provide an organic and sanctioned way in which to go through each and every little piece of paper, hopefully disposing of 80% of the impressive accumulation.

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