Sunday, June 18, 2006

when I'm 64

Well, Happy Birthday to Paul McCartney:)  I know many are making a fuss that here he is turning 64, and is divorcing.   I say, well, that's sad, but he is alive, he (and she) still have those around him who care about him and love him.   Two of the former Beatles are dead.

My father is quite past 64 years old (hmm, 1933 from 2006 is 73 so yes, that's older).   I'd LOVE it if my dad could return to that level of vitality, from when he was 64.   Heck, if he became like Paul McCartney, wow, that together and clear-headed, I'd be THRILLED:)   Instead, I cried today.   I went to the grocery store alone, without him.   Not as if I can't go to the store, any store, without him.   It's more that I wonder what that signals, if anything.

It's now 97-98 F degrees outside.   I forgot to reset Dad's air conditioner to warmer, but it wasn't TOO cold in his home from when I'd set it previously.   He was wearing a (dirty) sweater, and dark pants that hid any stains/dirt, but that were unzipped.   Mind, this is a man who always cared about his appearance.  Not overly so, but would be appalled to not have his clothes clean and decent, and his pants not zipped.   He tried to zip up his pants and couldn't do it.   I went the route that they didn't work, not that he couldn't do it (he usually can and likely will be able to later just got flustered then I think).   I wasn't going to zip them up, nor would he consider asking me.   I suggested he just switch pants to maybe even the shorts I'd just brought him for Father's Day.   No, sigh, he'll just wear his long jacket.   At least it was his clean one, I think.   But, um, no, it's in the 90's.   He didn't wish to take off his sweater even.   We tried to fix the "braces' for his pants (huh? oh, braces = suspenders, gotcha Dad).   One of his arms wasn't underneath that strap, so we had to take off the sweater to fix that, and I happened to be sure he took it the rest of the way off (tho forgot to take it home with me to wash).   Uh-oh.   The t-shirt was stained.   The new one, sigh, for his birthday.   He put it on 2 weeks ago and I did visit last week, but he must have put it back on.   Where are your new clothes, Dad?   Why do I have to change everything, why can't I wear these?   Fine, forget the t-shirt, but the pants still were unzipped even if held up now.   He didn't seem to comprehend, being he'd just tried to zip them and fixed the braces, weren't they okay now, he didn't get that they were still unzipped.   Dad, if these pants won't zip up, then you need to get a different pair on.   Where are the clothes I bought you?  Upstairs, okay, let me get them.   They were strew from the bag on the stairway.  I'm sure he remembered trying to carry them upstairs.   I refolded them and put them on a downstairs chair near the stairs, grabbing a new t-shirt and 3 pairs of pants to chose from.   He'd had time to think, balancing himself there against the wall in the hallway towards the backdoor.   He just wanted to go.   Dad, the police won't like you going out with your pants unzipped, and we don't want the police bothering you.   It was too much for him.   He decided to just stay home instead.  

So he sat on the only somewhat vacant spot in the living room, on his couch, and we talked about what we wanted me to get him at the store.   I finally wrote them down, including stamps as we never remember stamps, either of us, which means me having to remember to mail his thing.  Let's get stamps, "Oh, yeah, I've been wanting stamps."   Fine.   So, I go into the store by myself this time, the "walk for Alzheimer's" table near the entrance.   They didn't ask me if I'd donate, and, emotionally,  I had to just walk on by.   They were there 2 weeks ago, too, and as I walked out w/ my dad and his broomstick as his walking stick is too short, I almost dared them to ask me to donate.   And I support their cause even.  

Okay, so, shopping for my dad now, what does he like?   I know.  I've known him my whole life.   Plus I have a list.   This would have been so good for him mentally.   I'm glad I still had him think up a list, at least do that mental exercise.   And some things for M, including yogurt that does not have gelatin in it, as geletin is made from horse hooves.   A salad bar salad for my dad, and one for me, I figured we'd at least eat that together.   They were out of pistachio ice cream, but I know his ice cream loves, and he is counting on ice cream more than that flavor, so I got him butter pecan.   And lightbulbs, and I forgot to get stamps ringing up his order, and forget them ringing up mine.  LOL.   The guy behind me had just 2 items, but let me get the stamps as my third transaction.   Bless him:)    This guy, Gregg, rings up my dad and I every week, and is also a manager I think, or should be.   He and Jim, mostly Jim, are my main points of contact at that store.   Gregg seemed to remember I had two orders, but didn't ask where my dad was.   I'm rather glad he didn't.   Or, maybe I'd just say, oh, he wasn't doing so well today.  Jim would ask, but Jim and I go way back, from before Megan was born even.   I might have cried even, but, I could tell Jim.   He talks w/ my dad often, remembers my dad being healthy in mind and spirit.   Jim will talk about books now, as his degree is in something literature-related, and my dad loves to read.   He gave me his # once in case I needed help with my dad for anything.  He was at one point going to stop by occasionally to see my dad, but then hesitated.  I understand.  We talked about it, too.  Once, I had to get Jim to help me get my dad to buy a new razor/shaver (Dad had been shaving awkwardly, hit and miss on his face so some shaven spots and some not).  

I took back to my dad's house the book he's been saving for Jim.  Jim hasn't worked Sundays it seems for a couple months now, but, I took it with me there just incase, like my dad has been doing weekly when we go together.  

My dad was sitting on the couch w/ a blanket over his lap when I arrived back there, with those pants still on but apparently embarrassed now that his pants won't zip.  Oh, and he had lightbulbs, just scattered about the kitchen.   Next visit, I'll see about getting some new bulbs put in.   He didn't ask, and I forgot, but I think that's the issue more than that he didn't have any.  Oh, well, they were on sale.

I didn't even tell my dad about yesterday tho I guess I could have.  I think he'd have liked that.   I didn't stay to eat with him, as I had no place to sit.  I did pick up some of his plastic grocery bags, but not the trash.   We've discussed that he feels capable of putting his trash into bags, and then I can carry them to the curb for him on trash days (but, it hasn't been picked up still).    He asked me to bring him his cheese and his bread and his checkbook (he paid me back for most of the groceries; I didn't give him the full price as, well, it's Fathers Day, I wish I could have afforded to have paid for it all).   It ticked me off a bit that he didn't get the things himself from the kitchen, but whatever.  It's Father's Day.   I do not mind helping him out, it's when I'm enabling him that bothers me, as that has been an issue in the past.   I'm realizing more and more, though, that he's becoming increasingly incapable (hence our conversation last time about the trash).   That's worrisome.  (And, yes, he's been sober, even cigarette-free.)

No more hikes on the C&O Canal, even on beautiful days.   I don't even know if I should stay bothering to think about taking him to a restaurant.  His hair looks fine now that he let me get him a haircut, and his beard is growing but at this point still looks fine.  But, he'd need to look presentable, too.   Heck, I really should get him in for a physical even.

Two things he advised me of growing up that have mattered -- the length of time / # of years one can be late in filing a tax return before the IRS will not send a refund / one becomes ineligible, and, that some people cannot see the beauty in a tree, specifically in the silhouette of a tree.   Yes, I do agree:)   Ah, yes, and a third one -- carry alcohol in a vehicle only in the locked trunk so that if there is an accident of any kind, I couldn't be accused of having been drinking.   Not like I need that often, but hey.  

I miss my dad, who he really is.

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