A Change in Mood

We have had a long string of good days over the past three weeks. We were bound to experience a change. Today is the day. I didn’t notice anything different before making our morning trip to Panera. In the car on the way over, she didn’t want me to talk. I complied. Before getting out of the car, I asked her if she wanted to know if she wanted to take her book of crossword puzzles inside. She hesitated a moment and then said she didn’t. While we were there, she was frustrated as with her jigsaw puzzles. Over the past few weeks she has had even more problems than usual but had learned to simply hand over the iPad to me to get her back where she wanted to be. Today, she was just disgusted. At one point, she gave me a look that meant she was ready to go. We got in the car to go home. As we approached the house, she asked if there weren’t somewhere else we could go. I asked if she would like to go to Barnes & Noble. She say, “Anywhere. I don’t care.” I had wanted to go by Walgreens and select some photos for printing and suggested we go together. She accepted. That really didn’t do the trick either. It did, however, pass a few minutes during which she didn’t seem frustrated or depressed.

I decided to go for an early lunch at a restaurant where we usually eat lunch on Saturday. This Saturday we have another engagement; so I thought that might be a good option for us today. The primary reason for my selection was that it is almost 25 minutes to the restaurant. I was hoping that the drive would give her time to regroup. I took my iPad in with us and showed her pictures of our recent trip to Texas. She seemed to enjoy that.

Upon our return home, she asked if she could pull leaves. I told her that would be fine. She did that for about thirty minutes and then came inside. In a few minutes, she came into the kitchen where I was working on my computer. She had her iPad under her arm. She was obviously ready to get out of the house. We got in the car and went to Barnes & Nobel and spent about 45 minutes there before leaving for our regular hair appointments. She is finishing up right now as I am writing this post. Tonight is opera night at Casa Bella. I hope that will give her a lift.

The Sitter as Guard

201711-01 (9:01 pm).

Things continue to go well with the sitter. There are two actually, one on Monday and another who comes on Wednesday and Friday. For a variety of reasons, this is the first week that I have had someone for all three of those days. Today Mary was on duty. She had greeted Kate outside before checking in with me. I gave her a gift card that she could use if she and Kate wanted to go over to Panera. Mary went outside to be with Kate while I got myself ready to leave to donate platelets.

Before driving off, I went out to the yard to say goodbye. Kate was on the ground cleaning out a flower bed. I told her I was leaving and said, “ don’t have to worry about you, do I?” She answered emphatically, but with humor, and pointing to Mary, “No, I have a guard.” I left feeling all was well. I’m feeling good.

Halloween in Our Neighborhood

I don’t think I have ever commented on Halloween in our neighborhood. It’s a very big deal. We moved into our house in July 1997. Not long after that, I met some of our neighbors during one of my morning walks. They asked if the previous owners of our house had told us about Halloween. They hadn’t, but they informed me of the large crowds of children that descend on our street. I appreciated the warning but still didn’t buy enough candy. I had to run out to buy more an hour into the evening. I didn’t count the trick-or-treaters, but based on the amount of candy I had bought, I guessed it to be nearly 300. It has dipped a little in years when we have had inclement weather, but it has grown tremendously since then. Last night was our biggest crowed. I estimate that we had over 800 before running out of candy at 8:15.

Prior to living in our current house, we had lived on a busy street and rarely had more than 5-10 trick-or-treaters. Knowing that Halloween would be a quite different in our new home, Kate suggested that we also offer water. I laughed and made fun of what I thought was a silly suggestion. After all, what child would want water on Halloween. Kate got the last laugh on this one. I discovered that plenty of children and their parents appreciated having water as well as candy. I estimate that about a third of the total number also have water.

The success of the water and the candy has required us (me) to focus on the logistics of serving such large numbers. First of all, we need to remain outside the entire time. There are simply too many people. There is an almost constant stream. Sometimes tey are in groups of 10, 15, or even 20. We also have to have plenty of cups, a 5-gallon water container, a table for the container and cups, and a method of dispensing as efficiently as possible, and a plan for refilling the water and supply of candy. Kate has been the dispenser of water while I take care of the candy.

That has gone rather well until the past few years when the number of trick-or-treaters reached 500 or more. This year it was clear that Kate will not be able to handle the water in the future. Indeed, I suspect that by next year, she may not even sit outside with me. If so, I will arrange for someone else to help with the water. Even before her diagnosis, she was having difficulty doing things that required a designated series of steps, like those required for fixing a meal. Thus, she had some difficulty getting water served without spilling it, pouring water in the unused cups as opposed to those that were used and then placed back on the table, locating the supply of cups even though it was in clear sight of her, etc.

The good thing is that she never displayed any sense of frustration. It took much longer to serve the water than it should have, but it didn’t bother her or the people who were waiting for water. The latter is another indicator of the importance of the water itself. They were willing to wait, often with as many as 8-10 people in line.

As we have every year in the past, Kate and I both had a good time. I am glad we had another successful Halloween although I am sad thinking that it won’t be the same next year.