There are two things that stand out for me about this week. One is, I suppose, a milestone and the other… well, it’s just hilarious.
Anyone who has seen earlier posts will know that my Mum has Alzheimers and that we take turns in looking after her in her own home. My day on duty was always Sunday but now I have her Friday evenings too. The problem is that she still associates my presence with Sunday and she associates Sunday with a particular green suit.
Unlike my sisters, being a male my Mum insists that I’m out of the room when she gets ready. That has led to a difficulty. No matter what I lay out on the bed for her each Saturday morning, she ends up in her green ‘Sunday’ suit because of her ‘Declan/Sunday’ association. This was the week that I finally came up with an ingenious solution.
With the necessary approval from my fashion-conscious Mum, I got a nice blue print skirt, blue blouse and blue cardigan ready. Then, instead of laying them out on the bed, I took the clothes out of the room with me. I’d prepared warm, soapy water and a towel in the ensuite and I got her to throw out the night clothes she’d taken off to be washed so that I could be sure she was in her birthday suit. Moments later I could hear her splashing about quite happily. Then I heard her call out.
“I’m washed now. Where are my clothes?”
“I’ve got them here. I’ll give them to you one by one so you can get dressed. Okay?”
So far so good. I was delighted. I opened the door a crack and handed in her underwear. Then I waited a minute or two.
“Have you got your underwear on?”
I repeated the procedure with the blue blouse.
“Have you got it on.”
“Nearly. I’m just trying to get the buttons done up.”
“Do you need a hand?”
“No… There. I’ve got it.”
“Okay. Here’s your skirt.”
I handed it in through the gap.
She had no difficulty with that.
“Okay. Is that it?”
“No Mum, I have your lovely cardigan here.”
I passed it around the door. A few moments passed.
“What shoes will I wear?”
“I can come in now and help you chose them if you want.”
I opened the door and my mouth dropped. There she was in her green suit. Of the blue clothes there was no sign.
The other thing that stood out this week happened when I had an unexpected free class in college. I went to a coffee shop and ordered an Americano. Then I sat down, took out my laptop and wrote the first passage of my new book “Sticks and Stones”. I’d been carrying the story of the Pins and Needles sequel around for weeks but had been afraid that, for some reason, it wouldn’t translate to the written word. After an hour I was done and I’d written something I was very happy with. There’s another 89,000 words to go but I’ve laid the foundation. I had a thought. There was a copy of Pins and Needles in my bag. I took it out and wrote on the inside cover something like: “Here in this cafe on whatever day it was I’ve started Sticks and Stones.” Then I signed and dated it and, when nobody was looking stuck it between a bunch of other books on a bookshelf for someone to find some day. Maybe it’ll just sit there and nobody will care but there’s always the chance that my next book will be great and that book will make a fortune on ebay…