I really should change the title of my blog to Shrunken Horizons because if I stood still long enough I would go in reverse. Looking after an AP requires a mindset that accepts that no matter what you try to do it will be forever at the pace of the oldest member of the household. This, of course, in our case is living life in the slow lane with a one hundred year old woman who is soon to be one hundred and one years of age.
I have discovered that I am not good at slowing down so much. It means I become almost dormant, struggling to just deal with the simplest of household tasks. Suddenly even changing a bed is something I will put off until tomorrow. I have called this my ‘mañana syndrome’ and am finding it encompassing our whole existence because existence it is.
I still spend a great deal of time cooking and because of the RMR diet it is an essential to make meals from scratch and fortunately the pleasure is still there once I get started. It is motivating myself in this rarified and stagnant zone that is so exhausting but do it I must. I get enormous pleasure at just seeing the colours of peppers, chillies, onions and celery sautéing in a pan, smelling the addition of the herbs and spices that add such depth of flavour. I still avidly peruse recipes like others read magazines or books, that is when I manage to drag myself away from Gin Rummy or WordScape on my phone. That’s another issue that has come from combatting boredom, I spend too much time on these games. I do have my knitting but it isn’t easy to do it with two Jack Russell Terriers sitting on me so I have to choose my time carefully.
Our lives in the slow lane are a continual mental challenge and we are constantly fighting to find ways to not let life slip by unnoticed or unfulfilled. The LSO does his printmaking, although he too finds it hard at times to be self-motivated and he does love his pike fishing but this season it has been very sporadic due in part to the weather conditions.
At least there are signs that Spring is around the corner. It really is a time to feel renewed and invigorated and that is something the LSO and myself definitely need in our lives. We do need a break from the AP and hopefully that will still happen too with her having a month in the wilds of Scotland with my cousin and his wife but we are not sure just when.
In the last post I had vaguely wondered how long it would be before the AP could no longer pretend to be a dear old lady whilst we have had our farmer friend eating with us every evening. Not much longer it would appear, as inevitably we experienced a dose of her unreasonable behaviour only a few days ago. She had a hair appointment and was given the time it was occurring and the time of departure and as usual she didn’t listen because she was utterly focussed on herself. Nothing new there but it resulted in her getting everything mixed up, trying to leave an hour earlier than was said and we were to blame for her getting it all wrong. She stamped her feet, screwed the face up and stomped back into the living room to sit for a further hour with her handbag on her knee. It really is like dealing with a recalcitrant child but at least with the child you can explain how the display of bad temper is unnecessary. The AP is not suffering from dementia and is more than capable of being surprisingly normal with a little effort even given her great age but this makes it more difficult to accept. It’s a minor occurrence but because we have put up with so many it is definitely irritating. These displays are seldom seen by others and most think of her as a bit of a sweetie. They couldn’t be further from the truth!
But since I refuse to be irritated for long and I have adopted the laid back approach, withdrawing mentally and physically from any given situation, she has to stop behaving badly. It’s good that something works in our favour for a change.
Weight-wise I am still on a plateau but I am not worrying about it for the time being. It is so cold and frosty at the moment and some days so desperately grey that although I am continuing to keep as much as possible to the diet I do slip a little. My main weakness has been potatoes and that has surprised me but I guess when I am cooking warming dishes such as Caribbean Lamb Shanks it just cries out for a creamy mashed potato to mop up the delicious gravy. I know I should consider a creamy cauliflower mash instead but somehow that doesn’t have the same appeal. Even the thought is hard to resist and occasionally I just don’t and sneak a small spoonful of mash onto my plate. Chips cooked in duck fat have a similar effect, oh dear, maybe I should do new potatoes with everything as they don’t worry me as much!
I am also aware that more exercise would be beneficial but life seems packed with tasks that are not allowing me time for myself. I know things will finally change just as inevitably Spring will arrive and with it a fresh approach to everything. So for now I am paddling along and not being too bad or hard on myself when I just have a tiny slip here and there.
It has finally arrived, Spring has landed with a truly incredible burst of sunshine and warmth typically just as the schools go back for the Summer term. After weeks and weeks of grey, wet and thoroughly depressing weather it is a real pleasure to wake up to clear blue skies. The land has also sprung into action with blossom bursting out all over and the fields are full of tractors and massive pieces of farming equipment sowing and planting at speed.
We are halfway through our break from the AP and the LSO and myself are enjoying our freedom despite the pressure put on us by the new boiler work. Although the diet is not exactly on hold it is a bit intermittent. As well as eating out we have found it difficult to deal with the lack of movement on the planned improvement. It has finally got underway beginning over a week late and stuttered along for the first few days as the builder fitted in other jobs that had also been held up by the bad weather as well as his dental appointments. It is just not true that doing this keeps the clients happy and we were beginning to get increasingly upset by the delays and the lack of action. I eat when stressed. I know it’s all a bit pathetic really but sadly true but I will get my act together again.
Hopefully the small building will be completed by the weekend and the new boiler and tanks should be in place and up and running by the end of next week. Well, that is in an ideal world which unfortunately is not inhabited by builders it would seem.
Never mind, at least for another two weeks we can still enjoy having our personal space back, eating what we enjoy and doing things spontaneously.
…..you don’t always see them but you know they are always there. This rather lovely statement was given to me earlier this week as a gift to hang in my studio and the best thing of all about it is that the friend who gave it to me really means it.
Our eighty year old farmer friend was also waxing lyrically the other day and saying how important friends are and when you find someone to love hang on to them because they are extremely precious. All wise words and all true. The world would be a much emptier and lonely place without friends. Friends care for you and accept you for what you are; they are not critical or manipulative but are there when you need them. I had always considered the AP a friend before she came to live with us but that feeling has sadly long gone, driven away by her selfish determination to dominate us. She constantly tries to be in charge when in fact she is here as a guest and should have more respect for us and the fact we have put our lives on hold to look after her.
The house is a pleasure to be in at the moment and the LSO and I are enjoying being able to do what we want and eat what we like and it’s a great feeling but our planned boiler replacement is still delayed because of our awful weather and that is worrying. We only have a small window of opportunity to work in and that is gradually becoming eroded. A friend is coming to stay in ten days time and I can see us boiling water for washing and if the weather doesn’t improve, huddling around the wood burner to keep warm. I think I heard the LSO muttering that we need to put the summer weight duvet on but that might not be such a good idea at the moment.
My cheery statement that Spring is in the air in a previous blog seems to have been in part a bit hopeful. Still, despite the weather I am thoroughly enjoying our short spell of freedom.
Is this truly the start of a real transformation? I completed the first fast day and will do the second one tomorrow but today and yesterday I didn’t feel the urge to snack during the day. Is a miracle taking place?
I even find myself contemplating with enthusiasm salads, high protein meals plus vegetables, fruit and only a few carbs. I haven’t approached the knitting box yet but that will happen. We are getting a new puppy at the end of next week and the preparation is taking up a surprising amount of time. Perhaps all this is the reason for this apparent sea change.
There is no doubt that as the time to collect this sweet little Jack Russell approaches we are all smiling more, even the AP is looking forward to the new arrival but the organisation is a bit like the homecoming of a new baby, well that’s a bit of an exaggeration perhaps. It’s certainly not as expensive.
Bad enough though from organising a gate for the bottom of the stairs to new car boxes, a playpen, toys, pee-mats, heat pad for bed, tiny harness, collar and lead, Adaptil plug to keep us all calm to sundry other soft cuddly items; the list seems endless. The LSO is busy sorting the dog cupboard out which is groaning under the weight of adult dog food and now puppy food and a variety of sugar and fat free treats. The LSO may need colour coded bags for the different training treats when out walking although the new addition will not be trekking as far as the resident JR for a little while. It will certainly be interesting to see how our lovely even tempered ten year old Jack copes with this new arrival.
Anyway, all in all its an interesting time and just to make things better the sun shone today and what a difference it makes to everything. It has been a good time to start the diet.