Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Consternation, Cougars, and Cinnamon Rolls

Dear John,
 
I finally slept last night. I got a good night's sleep. And that was good in light of today.
 
I was having a good, busy day at work. Then here came Shelly with a package she found on my car. It was a card and note from a young customer (young compared to me, that is), asking me out. You can imagine my consternation. You can also imagine the good-hearted ribbing that followed. The term "cougar" was mentioned. I can't for the life of me put a face with his name. You know I've never been good with names.
 
I couldn't be less interested in dating, no matter what the man's age. I already have a husband. I'm still just as married to you as I ever was. Men-friends are okay, but I have no interest in anything else. Nobody could ever follow The World's Only Perfect Man.
 
So I did the only possible thing. I came home from work and ate three cinnamon rolls. I know I'm not going on a date - that's a no-brainer. But this is challenging my self-concept. I see myself as a widow, and widows are old. It never occurred to me that a man might be interested in me. The last time I was hit on was twenty-five years ago in the Wrigley Field bleachers. I'm not the kind of woman that men are interested in. Except you, that is, and you're exceptional.
 
Please come by tonight so we can talk. I'm trying to figure out how to handle this without hurting feelings, and I could use some male input. Come and save me from more cinnamon rolls!
 
Adore you and only you,
Joan. 


Monday, September 29, 2014

Good News & Bad News

Dear John,
 
I had a good day at work and I feel like I've been run over by a truck. It turns out that it's hard to get over a fibro flare when you work full time - no big surprise there. The best thing is that I now know that I can work during a flare. That's the important thing.
 
I'll be off to bed soon. It would be lovely to get a good night's sleep for a change. The people who think fibro is primarily a sleep disorder may be onto something. These last few nights, as I've lain awake for hours, I've considered seeing Dr. Patel and having a sleep study done. It wouldn't hurt. Except that I'd have to take a day or so off from work for it, so it would have to wait until after the turn of the year. I'll keep it in mind.
 
The other important thing - I should have warned you that there would be another one - is that I enjoy my job even when I feel lousy. That is also encouraging. And I had a day with no mistakes, which is also encouraging.
 
It appears that there is good news and bad news. The bad is that I'm still flaring and feel awful. The good is that I am enjoying work and doing well in spite of the aforesaid feeling awful. It's good to know that I can do this, being as this thing is incurable. I won't feel flare-awful forever, but I'm unlikely to ever feel what normal people consider normal. And flares will always happen.
 
As I said, I'm off to bed. If you can come by tonight, maybe you can knock me out so that I get some sleep. Don't worry - I've already had three concussions, so my NFL career is already over.
 
Love you so much,
Joan.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Cats Need a Snooze Button

Dear John,

It's been a "nope" kind of day here. I slept for two hours last night, was up for 3 with a stomach ache, and slept another two hours before the animals started jumping all over me. I love my little furry alarm clocks, but I do wish I could set their wake-up time.

 
I only did what was necessary today - made the bed, got dressed, emptied the litter boxes, fed the critters. I watched football and got a good bit of knitting done in between two involuntary naps. I was watching the Packers at the end of the first quarter, and the next thing I knew it was the fourth quarter. I slept through two quarters and halftime.
 
This is annoying, but I know it is normal and necessary. I'll take a shower and go straight to bed, and be ready for work in the morning. I had so wanted to get to church today. But for a fibromite, going anywhere on two hours of sleep is suicidal, especially if it involves interacting with large groups of people. And, even without you here to ride herd on me, I am trying not to be self-destructive. I'm taking much better care of myself because I absolutely have to work full-time. I just wish it didn't mean missing church.
 
I'm off now. Like fibromites everywhere, I take my showers at night because they exhaust me so much that I can't take one then go anywhere. If you get a chance, say some prayers for me - tomorrow is Monday so I'll be busy. Sleep well tonight, and know we love and miss you.
 
Love you, adore you, worship the ground you walk on,
Joan.
 


Saturday, September 27, 2014

Drat Glen Campbell Again

Dear John,

I've had a quiet day. I dusted, vacuumed, and did two loads of laundry first thing this morning and got it out of the way. Since then I've knitted - when I was awake, that is. I've slept an appalling portion of the day. I know that I need to do that when I'm flaring, though. When I can fall asleep while knitting, it is clear that a nap is in order.
 
Now I'm watching Notre Dame play Syracuse at the Meadowlands. Syracuse appears to be playing in baseball uniforms. They're in gray, with navy sleeves and knee socks, and red helmets. It looks like they sent the baseball team by mistake. Oops - that baseball team just recovered a Notre Dame fumble.
 

See the tree, how big it's grown.
I took this photo of our locust tree today. I posted it on Facebook so our poor, benighted friends in Florida could see some fall color. My brain started playing "Honey" again, drat Glen Campbell. It hasn't been very long since we planted it together, has it? But there was no relational drama like there is in the song. I love the tree: it's beautiful all year, it doesn't drop anything even in storms, the leaves are too small to need raking, it gives good shade, it's grown fast, and they live a long time. And Elyssa has discovered that it's good for climbing. What more could you ask of a tree? That's why I got another one a year ago. I planted that one with Jim and Irene, not you. And it's growing well, like the other one. But this one is our locust tree - we picked it and planted it and watered it. And see, how big it's grown! Drat Glen Campbell.
 
Enjoy looking at our tree, know that Hunter loves my knitting bag and that I'm watching the game. And know that we all miss you. I can't speak for the tree, but it seems that all of nature should mourn you. Sleep well, and don't forget to pray for your little family.
 
Adore you,
Joan.
 
 
 




Friday, September 26, 2014

A Completely Gratuitous Letter

Dear John,
 
Yes, I'm back. Two letters in one day. Brace yourself.
 
First, Jethro managed to go out without bringing home another kitty. So all is well.
 
Second, I forgot to tell you about last night. I got very little sleep and it was all their fault. The animals decided that they needed to rampage around the house all night. I got up three times to see what they were into that was making so much noise; once I found Maggie playing with the music rack on the piano. And Jethro woke me up three times by lying on me. I wonder if the barometer was dropping. I really have no idea what got into them.
 
Third, I got a credit alert from Equifax tonight. It turned out to be just that I used my Kohl's card a couple of weeks ago. But while I was there I pulled up my credit rating, and it's 806. That's what happens when you get all the mistakes fixed. (No, credit life is NOT the same as defaulting on a loan.) It isn't because of my income; it must be because I live within my income. Anyway, I was excited and had to tell somebody, so here I am.
 
The other reason I'm here is that I'm still having akathesia at bedtime almost every night. Tomorrow night I'm going to skip the melatonin and fish oil that I take at bedtime, and see if that makes a difference. If not, it must just be this fibro flare. It is a common fibro symptom and I've done it before when I was flaring. It's frustrating because lack of sleep aggravates the whole fibro problem.
 
Somebody just set of a HUGE firecracker - either that or the sale barn exploded - and I have Jethro in my lap. So I'd better stop here. I just had to tell you all of this. Sleep well tonight, and pray that this flare ends soon. The good thing is that I've managed to work full-time during it, and I feel very reassured by that. But I'd still like your prayers.
 
Adore you,
Joan.

Let the Yarn Orgy Begin!

Dear John,
 
It's the weekend. I'm afraid to say the I have no responsibilities - the last Friday night that I said that was the night that Jethro brought Maggie home. Let's just say that I'm hoping for a relaxing two days.


I told you that I'm making socks for Christmas presents. The yarn arrived yesterday, so tomorrow the fun will begin. For the next two days I will overdose on yarn and football. Sometime I will need to dust and vacuum and do laundry. But the primary weekend activities will consist of yarn and football.
 
I do wish you'd come by for a visit. You could help me wind yarn and watch the games with me. We could heat up some Skyline chili for dinner and you could give me your opinion on living room curtains. I would be so happy just to sit and look at you. Maybe you could tell me what Heaven is like. And you could give me the latest news from my parents, and your mother, and Gus and Mary, and Ray, and Father George, and then take my love and greetings back to all of them. Or maybe even take me back with you when you go. And the furbabies, too, especially Jethro - he shouldn't have to lose his Daddy again, so let's take them with us.
 
I will probably just spend the weekend overdosing on yarn and football. And I will have a lovely time. But it's nice, just for a moment, to think that you might come for a visit and take us all back home with you.
 
Wistfully loving you,
Joan.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Club of the Living Dead

Dear John,
 
I have a screw loose. You know that two years ago I had my verb tenses confused - I kept talking about you in the present tense and myself in past. I seem to be experiencing further mental deterioration.
 
Last night I found myself thinking about the day you died as the day WE died. I spent some time crawling around in the back of my head without figuring it out. So I went to the experts. I asked the WFFs if any of them ever did that.
 
We appear to have a consensus. It seems that I am being normal again. Several of them do or have done the same thing. We didn't get it figured out, but at least we are not alone. And several of us feel like we're dead and alive at the same time - still here, but just going through the motions.
 
Does that make widowhood a sort of Club of the Living Dead? And if so, do we have to walk in slow motion and act stupid? There are certainly days that I do that. But I am maintaining basic hygiene - I promise.
 
That's all for tonight - just my deteriorating mental state. And, as usual, you're to blame because you forgot to take me with you. And no, I'm never going to let you forget it. You may have forgotten me, but you'll never forget forgetting!
 
Your deteriorating wife,
Joan.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

This Too Shall Suck

Dear John,
 
I had a good day at work, and came home and mowed. I finished just as it was getting dark. I'm not in until noon tomorrow so I don't have to set the alarm. The animals won't let me sleep much later than usual. But somehow it always feels better to sleep without an alarm on.
 
I was thinking today about how I would describe widowhood to someone who hasn't experienced it. Imagining it doesn't work. I married you knowing that I could lose you in a few years, but when it happened it was nothing like I had expected. I knew it would be the worst thing that could ever happen to me. I just had no idea how bad the worst can be.
 
It seems to me that what I couldn't imagine is the immensity of loss. The magnitude was beyond my conception. I lost my husband and my best friend. I lost the companionship of having someone to do things with and to share my life. I lost the feeling of knowing that I meant the world to somebody. I lost having someone to share decisions, responsibilities, chores, joys and sorrows with. I lost financial security - the majority of our income, our health insurance, our retirement money, our savings, and my credit rating. I lost most of my friendships - almost all of our friends are couples, and I don't fit in anymore. I remind my married friends of things they don't want to think about, so most of them avoid me. And some have lost patience with me - they think I should be over it and wonder why I haven't remarried. My widowhood causes them discomfort. Nobody knows what to do with me.
 
I lost my daily routine - waking up with you, brushing our teeth together, talking at the end of the day, saying bedtime prayers with you, falling asleep with my head on your shoulder. It was very hard to get used to never hearing, "How was your day?" I lost the household routines of cooking for you and doing your laundry. Those things are the skeleton of life, what everything else hangs on. When you're widowed, you find yourself with no routine to give structure to your life.
 
The most unexpected part was that I lost my identity. With it went my self-confidence and my sense of purpose. I seemed to lose my own mental and emotional skeleton. Without you, there was nothing to hang my self on. It's as if I had no inner structure or form. I was so nebulous that I couldn't see myself. I was invisible to me. And I lost my past. There is no one who shares my memories. Losing my parents was hard because there was no one left who remembered my childhood. Now there is no one who remembers any of my life. Sometimes it seems like I not only don't exist, but I never existed at all.
 
It's no wonder life's been hard without you, is it? Something would be very wrong with me if this didn't suck. I suppose I'm being normal again - it does happen every once in a while. And I don't think I will tell this to people who aren't widows. They don't need to know. All we widows really want them to understand is that they can't understand. There's no reason to give them nightmares now - those will come soon enough. I think I'll let them enjoy the present without knowing quite so much about what's coming. I'll just try to be there when it's their turn.
 
In the meantime, don't worry about me. It does get better with time. I'm making new routines. The job is giving me new friends and a purpose of sorts. Some days I even seem to get a glimpse of myself. And soon I'll get my winter reprieve from yard work. The hole you left in my life is unchanged, but I am building new things around it. Like I said a few nights ago, the only gift I can give you is to take care of myself until I can come join you.
 
Hoping you can get the date moved up,
Joan.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

God Bless Tuesday!

Dear John,
 
We finally had a Tuesday. With my days off and two days home sick with the tummy virus, it's been two weeks since I worked anything other than Mondays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Mondays at the drive-up are similar to Fridays, and yesterday was complete and full-blown Friday. Today was finally Tuesday. I was ready for it.
 
The day was steady-busy. I only had about 45 minutes all together that I didn't have something to do. But it was busy without being crazy. I was able to work at a reasonable pace. It's been two weeks since I've worked a day that I haven't gone full-speed all day. I'm too old to work ten- and twelve-hour days at full speed. It was lovely to have a Tuesday.
 
I also got a good night's sleep last night for the first time in a week. The fibro flare is on its way out, so the pain was low enough to not wake me up every hour. You remember I've been having akathesia at night? Well, I finally figured out what was causing it. It was the Benadryl that I was taking to help me sleep. It felt good to get up after actually sleeping for seven hours. It was seven instead of eight because last night was the beginning of the new season of Big Bang Theory. Tonight will also be short because the new NCIS is on at 8:00 and the first episode of NCIS New Orleans is on at 9:00.
 
It's so inconsiderate to have prime-time shows on in prime-time, isn't it? We were always odd about time. When we went on vacation and could sleep whenever we wanted, we went to bed when it got dark and woke up at dawn. We're diurnal creatures. That's why we hated it so much when Indiana started going on Daylight Stupid Time. We loved the times the sun REALLY goes up and down, and it was great to have all the television shows on an hour earlier.
 
This job has returned me to diurnal behavior. When the television doesn't interfere, I go to bed at dark and get up before dawn. And it's good. Especially when we get at least one Tuesday every week. Wednesday is quite a lot like Tuesday, so I expect another good day tomorrow. And we'll see if I manage to last to the end of NCIS New Orleans.
 
Propping my eyelids open,
Joan.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Of Bruised Shins & Cat Shelves

Dear John,
 
If you come for a visit after dark, be careful coming through the living room. I rearranged the furniture yesterday. It's pretty much the way it was when we first lived here. The only problem is the cat tower, and its days are numbered. Not that Jethro is giving up his kitties! But the tower is huge and is showing wear-and-tear.
 
I've been looking for alternatives, and I'm leaning toward shelves. I wandered the internet looking at cat shelves and found some great stuff, but all very expensive. So I went on Pinterest and found loads of great ideas for very little money. Pinterest is becoming my new Google.

Of course, it won't be as elaborate as these pictures. I'm thinking of white floating shelves with carpet squares on the tops. I can arrange them on the living room walls so that the cats have a pathway of their own, up out of reach of the dog. And I'll have to put a larger one up, maybe with sides, for their food dish. That one REALLY has to be out of the dog's reach. I may link it all up with a shelf or wooden valance over the windows.

It shouldn't cost a lot. And I can start small and add on. As soon as they have a place to eat and a way to get there, I can find another home for the cat tower. Maybe Jen's cat would like it. And I'll have to get a scratching post for Abby - she loves to use the sisal supports on the tower.

When the tower is gone, the room will be wonderful arranged this way. It will be better for me to sit farther away from the windows in the winter. You know I've been looking at curtains; now I can get long ones, which will look better, and insulated. There won't be a glare on the television from the low winter sun. And let's face it, I'm just ready for a change. It was getting bored.

That's all the latest! Just be careful if you come through the living room after dark. Bless you, you never minded when I rearranged the furniture, and I know you won't mind now. So come and see. Just don't bruise your shins walking into something.

Adore you,
Joan.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Joy of Plumbing

Dear John,
 
It's a cool, rainy Sunday afternoon. I'm watching the Colts rout Jacksonville, and the dishwasher is running.
 
And that's the exciting part - the dishwasher is running. I discovered Wednesday that I needed one more piece of pipe that I couldn't get locally. I picked it up at Lowe's yesterday, and this afternoon I completely re-plumbed the kitchen sink. I had fun, as always - plumbing is like working a three-dimensional jigsaw puzzle. It's amazing how much more space I have under the sink now that the garbage disposal is gone. I may actually put in a shelf. Anyway, everything is tight and dry, and I will have clean dishes tonight. I've never had a dishwasher as full as it was today.
 
I spent the rest of the afternoon ordering yarn. I'm making socks for everybody for Christmas. Wednesday and Thursday I browsed patterns and chose what everybody is getting. I made a tentative yarn list Friday night, reviewed and revised it today, and got my order in. I should be knitting socks by next weekend.
 
And that makes me very happy. It's taken over two years since your death for me to get back into knitting. I believe I'm back to normal now - I'm wanting to stay up into the wee hours of the morning so I don't have to put my needles down. And this is good. There are lots of projects in my head that will have to wait until after Christmas. It is a great joy to be knitting again.
 
About half an hour ago I had a moment of panic when I realized that I didn't know what I'm getting you for Christmas. But I can't get you anything, can I? You already have everything. The only thing I can do for you is take care of myself. So I'll try to do that for your Christmas present. I'll keep searching for the line between self-indulgence and self-discipline, keep balancing my responsibilities with the need for self-care, continue to grapple with fibromyalgia and a full-time job. I will care for myself for your sake.
 
So come for a visit to show your appreciation! At least come and look at the new pipes under the sink! Stay long enough for the animals to climb all over you. And let me fall asleep with my head on your shoulder. You can have a snack off of clean dishes!
 
I'll leave the light on,
Joan.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

How I Went Swimming at Walmart

Dear John,
 
I started the day at work and ended it by going swimming at Walmart. Let's attack this chronologically.
 
This morning was very busy. I went full speed all morning and never sat down. But Saturday is only four hours, and everything went well. I came home and ate a piece of cheese, planning to go shopping in Goshen and have lunch with you. After I fell asleep eating the cheese I decided to bow to the inevitable and take a short nap, and woke up almost an hour and a half later. I must have been as tired as I thought I was.
 
I was later getting to Goshen than I'd planned. The rain had started, so I didn't get to eat with you. I went to Lowe's for sink pipe and 40-gallon garbage bags. It was sprinkling off and on when I got to Walmart, so I looked at the radar and decided to take my raincoat inside. (It's your mother's old one from LL Bean.) When I got through the line I found a crowd around the exit door. We were in the middle of a monsoon. It was raining so hard you couldn't see the street, with howling wind and lots of cloud-to-ground lightening. All the smart people were staying inside and waiting for the worst of the storm to pass. Not being very smart, I went back to the cashier for bags big enough to protect the bags of dog and cat food, zipped up the raincoat, and went running out into the storm. Of course, I was parked at the farthest possible point from the store. I loaded groceries into the trunk of the car while standing in water up to my ankles.
 
I dodged several downed branches on the way home. Jethro was frantic and the cats seemed relieved that the designated driver was here. I fed them and myself, and the storm is well past us now. All the warnings have been lifted. The temperature has dropped considerably. I'm sitting by the windows with a cat in each window sill and the dog on the floor, wearing my white brushed-cotton nightgown that you got me at Muriel's in Holland.
 
It should be another cool, lovely night for sleeping. The next time I change the sheets I will probably put the flannel ones on. The days are in the 60s, but the nights are cool enough for flannel, especially since you aren't here to warm up your side of the bed. I'm still not used to sleeping alone, you know. I haven't been in the bed without you since 1978. And, as we've said before, you're a hard habit to break.
 
Addicted to you,
Joan.
 
P.S. - Tell your mother thank you for passing her raincoat down to me!

Friday, September 19, 2014

We Are Experiencing Technical Difficulties

Dear John,
 
There is a great sound of cows mooing somewhere south of us. I have no idea what is going on, but there are lots of unamused cows out there behind DeWayne's house.
 
I worked my long shift at the drive-up today, 7:15-6:15. It was busy but not frantic, steady with very few breaks, and went by quickly. We had some computer difficulties around 5:30. And that got me remembering.
 
Remember that summer in college, when I had the externiship in ICU at Greenville General? They were working on the step-down unit across the hall one day and accidentally cut all power to ICU, both regular and backup. Thank goodness we had a couple of windows high on one wall. We had twelve beds, everybody was on at least two IVACS, and most of the patients were on ventilators. We didn't have nearly enough hands to do what had to be done, so we hit the button and called a code. It was noon and the unit was just down the hall from the cafeteria, so we had an immediate influx of bodies. The residents weren't thrilled when we put them to work bagging the ventilator patients. But when we asked them if they could regulate a levophed drip by hand, they suddenly became pleased with the ambu bags.
 
The outage lasted over half an hour and all of our patients were none the worse for it. It is amazing that they all survived. I've always been proud to have been a part of the team that managed that with no loss of life. And today I told Tammy and Frank that after that, I wasn't going to get worked up about a computer failure. Customer service went on, the general ledger will straighten out on Tuesday morning, and nobody died.
 
So that was today's excitement, such as it was. And it jogged some good memories. Now I'm off to bed, since I'm working in the morning. After that I need to get that last piece of pipe for the kitchen sink. And I need to get to Goshen either tomorrow or Sunday for a few things that I can't get here. I'll see how I feel and how hard it's raining.
 
Off to bed now - sleep well, and think about us!
Joan.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

How I Defied Gravity and Courted Poverty

Dear John,
 
I defied gravity today. At my age, it is notable any time that I defy gravity. So I am noting it.
 
My tummy bug has been lower-GI. At 2:00 this morning it moved uphill. You can imagine my delight. I was up until 4:00, to the exuberant enjoyment of all the critters, who celebrated my discomfort by bounding and crashing all around the house. I still had hopes of getting to work until the alarm went off at 5:45, I sat up, and the room swam until I lay back down.
 
I slept until 8:00, then repeated the animal-laptop-cuddling-in-bed routine. Bless their hearts, the animals are so delighted when I do that. They come and purr and cuddle all over me. I read Psalms and did morning prayers in bed, too. And I've done as little as possible all day. Tomorrow is Friday and I am determined to get to work no matter what. It's terrible to be short on a Friday and Connie is already off tomorrow, and I can't afford any more days not working.
 
You can see what I did today. The brief times I was awake, I sat on the couch in pajamas with a cat in my lap, a knitting book in my hand, and a glass of Ginger Ale. This time it was Hunter, but they've all taken a turn. Look how much he's grown! He's still long and lean, and he must be over fifteen pounds now. He turned two earlier this month. (I know Hunter and Abby were born in early September a year apart, so I've assigned them Mama's birthday on the 7th.)
 
The gastric issues have settled a bit except for nausea and right upper quadrant pain. I do wish this would run its course and be gone. I need to work, finish the sink, and buy dog food. Please pray for my tummy! I need to stop courting poverty, and any more defying gravity at my age is unnatural.
 
Adore you,
Joan.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Framing Guilder

Dear John,
 
Today has been about pipe dope and roundworms - just a normal day around here.
 
I did take it easy this morning. My tummy has settled, but I'm still dealing with a fibro flare. I slept in, got the laptop and paid bills, and snuggled with the animals until almost noon. After breakfast I went to the hardware store and got sink supplies. I installed the drain and would have finished it, except that the T-piece that I have won't work with the rest of it. I'll go back tomorrow after work and see if I need a new T-piece or if I can get an adapter. It isn't difficult - it's like a three-dimensional jigsaw puzzle.
 
I took Maggie in for her three-month check-up. She's doing fine and growing like a weed. She's up to 3.9 pounds. June thinks she may stay small, maybe get up to 6-7 pounds. That will be an interesting contrast to Hunter, who must be over 15 pounds now, and Abby, who is not far behind. She does still have roundworms, though, so I have medicine to give her tomorrow. But the local tapeworm infestation is over, thank goodness.
 
I'm heading to bed soon. I'm going to try to take good care of myself for the next few days. I have a long, busy schedule at work, a sink to finish plumbing, a fibro flare in progress, and Guilder to frame for it. I'm swamped.
 
Love you buckets and buckets,
Joan.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Bed, Tea, & the Internet

Dear John,
 
I was home today with a tummy upset. It started at work yesterday (Margaret gave me bathroom breaks, bless her!), and hung on through today. I'm off tomorrow, so I'll have plenty of time to recover and get uncontagious.
 
I've had terrible fibro pain today. I don't know if the tummy bug triggered it - any illness can trigger fibro - or if the fibro flare came first and it was pain that had my tummy in an uproar, since pain always goes to my lower tummy. Either way, I spent a good bit of the day in the bathroom and the rest of it sleeping on the couch. The tummy is better tonight and the pain is worse, so it was most likely a bug.
 
Tomorrow afternoon I need to take Maggie to the vet for her next-month check-up. The plan for the morning is to visit JJ at the hardware store, get what I need, and replumb the sink. And I hope I can do it. But if it has to wait, we'll all live. I have to work Thursday, I have the long shift on Friday, and I'm back on Saturday, and the first priority is to feel good enough to do that. I'll have to wash some dishes by hand if I can't run the dishwasher tomorrow, but that's not a problem. I will evaluate it in the morning. And since the sink is unusable as is, it won't be a problem if I start it and can't finish until the weekend. Maybe I'll get to the hardware store and see what happens from there.
 
Tonight I miss you even more than usual. You always made me feel better just be being here. Curling up on your shoulder is the world's best analgesic. But I'll curl up with Jethro and his three cats, and know that you're praying for me. If all else fails, there's always the internet! It's good company when pain keeps you awake.
 
Missing you,
Joan.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Conclusion: I Must be Breathing

Dear John,
 
It's been a gray, cool, rainy day. I wore one of my cashmere sweaters to work, the light blue one that you bought for me in Cleveland when we were there for your brain surgery. I got several compliments on it.
 
I'm enjoying the cooler temperatures. The leaves aren't changing yet, but the soybeans are turning. The leaves won't be far behind. We're supposed to have lows in the 40s and highs in the upper 60s for the rest of this week. We'll go up into the 70s over the weekend, then come back down again.
 
I only had the heat on Saturday night, then I opened the windows because the heat was running so little that the house was stuffy. The windows are open about an inch at the top, but it smells so good inside. It will be a while before I put the flannel sheets on the bed. But the winter blanket is delightful to have, in addition to my four vibrating heating pads that sleep in various positions on and next to me.
 
The cool temperatures are making me want to start a new knitting project. I've been working on dish cloths, and I love that, but I'm ready for a new challenge. I need to look over my patterns while KnitPicks has this sale on. It's time for winter nesting. Thank you for enabling my knitting. We loved going to yarn shops together. You always encouraged me to buy yarn that I fell in love with - you said that it would be gone the next time I went, and I would find something to do with it. And you were right. You always wanted me to be me. Thank you for that.
 
I'm off to bed in a few minutes. I'm tired from the weekend and want to get to bed early tonight. I needed to go back to work to get some rest, after all that yardwork and housework. Everything looks so good! If you haven't been by to see it, try to come tonight. You know where I leave the key!
 
I'll leave the light on,
Joan. 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Foisting Myself on You

Dear John,
 
I know - twice in one day. What was that I said about not foisting myself on you? I take it back.
 
I wanted to show you this photo. Justin started a Facebook group for Indiana Orthodox, and used this as the cover photo. You never got to see the church finished on the inside, and this is such a good photo. Brian's artistic skill is amazing, isn't it? The stars on the ceiling are in the position they were in Goshen on the night of the Nativity. It's beautiful in the daytime, like this. But it's absolutely breathtaking at night, when there is only candlelight. We've done well with our little pole barn, haven't we?
 
Oh, and please pray for my friend JoeJoe. He's going through a worse kind of grief than mine - the break-up of his marriage. I have the consolation of knowing that you didn't want to leave me. Our present separation isn't as total as it looks, and I have the hope of being with you again. He's living without any of that right now. And no, you don't know him, so stop wracking your brain. We met on Pinterest and he's become a dear friend. So please pray for him tonight, and for the next little while.
 
Love you, love you, love you,
Joan.

The Demise of the Ninebark & the Garbage Disposal

Dear John,
 
Good morning!
 
Yes, it's Sunday morning. I didn't get a chance to talk to you until 10:30 last night, and you wouldn't have wanted to talk to me then. I've had some sleep and some recovery, so I have pronounced myself fit for human companionship.
 
Jim and Irene were here yesterday, and a great time was had by all. I met them at Lux CafĂ© for breakfast, then Jim came back here to work and Irene and I went to the farmers' market, then to Meijer for a new litter box. They needed fly swatters and couldn't find any in Springfield, so I took her to the hardware store here in town. With the sale barn and all, Topeka is fly central. We always have fly swatters here.
 

Coming soon to a flowerbed near you -
in case you've forgotten what a dwarf barberry is!
Jim built and hung a new gate to replace the one I'd made fifteen years ago. It matches the gate he made last year and is lovely. And he fixed the latch on last year's gate so it will be easier for me to open. While he was doing that, Irene and I weeded, deadheaded, and cut back all of the flower beds. And we got rid of those three ninebark bushes that were such a nuisance. Irene cut them down to the ground and we hauled them to the town compost heap. I still need to dig up the root balls. I think I'm going to replace them with dwarf barberries - THEY won't need to be cut back a foot every month. Jim hung the quilt I made for your mother over the table in my workroom - it looks like it was made for that spot.  Then we cleaned out the garage and rearranged the west side, and I took us all to El Zorito for dinner.
 
After dinner we had a brief funeral service for the garbage disposal. Its demise is too complex to detail here, but I'm glad it's gone. I'll spend Wednesday re-plumbing that side of the sink. Jim was a bit concerned about me doing it, but I did all of the plumbing under that sink so I'll be fine. I'll check with JJ and be sure I get what I need for the dishwasher connection, and I'll need new pipe dope since what I have is five years old. But it should be no problem. Until then, I won't use the right sink or the dishwasher. No problem there. I covered the hole so Hunter can't get his head stuck in it. So all is well. The disposal kept jamming because of corrosion, so I'm much better off without it. I hardly ever used it, anyway.
 
Then I fed the animals and got ready for bed, and the fibro hit. I don't mind talking to you when I'm hurting, but this was major akathesia, where you feel like jumping out of your skin and screaming. Since I love you, I wasn't about to foist myself on you in that condition. So I went to bed. I slept until 10:00 this morning and feel reasonably human now.
 
To sum up: Yesterday was wonderful. I had a great time and we got an amazing amount of work done. Everything except the end of my nose hurts and the house looks terrific. Jim and Irene are so encouraging, too. They remind me that it's okay if I can't keep things done by myself to the standard that we could together. Have I ever told you how much I love your family? I may have mentioned it a time or two. Thank you for making me related to such wonderful people.
 
Be sure to stop in when you come by to see the house! Adore you,
Joan.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Keep on Trudging

Dear John,
 
It's 10:00 on Friday night. I'm in bed with the dog and the laptop, and the cats are arrayed in various window sills. It's 53 degrees and the windows are open just a few inches. Tomorrow night's low is 40. I think we've seen the end of summer.
 
I worked my Friday in the drive-up and mowed when I got home. It's getting harder to finish before dark. The grass was long today since it's rained almost every day this week. I mowed last Saturday and needed to mow Tuesday after work, but it was pouring rain so that didn't happen. When I got done today it was too dark to trim.
 
One of my widowfriends posted this today. It's her anniversary, as you probably know since I'm sure you men hang out together. This is very much what it's like here for us. We're in our widow's weeds trudging through the bleakest landscape imaginable, with nothing visible ahead of us. And no, I'm not unhappy today. This is just our reality. This is everyday life for us. We smile and laugh and enjoy our friends and families, and make the best of what we have here. But inside, this is what our lives are like.
 
I'm glad we widowfriends have each other. Other people can't possibly understand this. We are alone but not alone. And that is good. Please keep praying for all of us, and especially for her on this difficult day.
 
Trudging toward you,
Joan.
 




Thursday, September 11, 2014

Cool Nights & Winter Blankets

Dear John,
 
I had a busy half-work-day. The animals got me up at 7:00. I straightened the house, vacuumed, changed the sheets, did laundry, ran the dishwasher, and cleaned the bathrooms. Then I had breakfast, took a shower and a nap, and went to work from 12 to 5:15. A nice busy day.
 

The only thing missing is you . . .

Fall has made its appearance. It was gray and drizzly all day, and I don't think the temperature ever got out of the 50s. I'm sitting on the couch wearing a winter nightgown. Of course, it's me and the windows are open, but only a couple of inches at the top. The house smells wonderful. Two nights in the 40s have done for the petunias - it's time to clean out the window boxes.
 
Tonight will be good sleeping weather. This morning I put the winter blanket on the bed. I'll snuggle under it with the cool breeze coming in the window. Jethro will lie down beside me, Hunter on my side, Abby on my feet, and Maggie on my hip, and we'll sleep well. But we'd sleep better with you here. Look in on us tonight.
 
Come keep me warm,
Joan.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

On Youthening

Dear John,
 
It was Merlin who youthened instead of aged, wasn't it? And Mork, too, I suppose. I seem to be doing something similar.
 
A few days ago Jen said that I'm looking younger as my hair gets longer, and I agree with her. Today I was chatting with a customer my age, and he was floored to find out how old I am. He said he would have guessed ten years younger.
 
I know work makes me look good because I enjoy what I do. The longer hair seems to help - it may be breaking the age stereotype, or that my dark hair shows up more, or that the style is just more flattering. And losing thirty pounds doesn't hurt. I'm not sure what it is. But the consensus is that I don't look my age.
 
I remember when somebody was trying to sell me a very expensive system that was supposed to make you look twenty years younger. She ask me if I wanted that, and was shocked when I said no. I never wanted to look younger than you did. After all, nobody was ever going to mistake me for a trophy wife. I get aggravated now at commercials that ask if you would like to wake up looking younger - again, I say no. I've lived these years and earned my age, by golly, and I want credit for it. I like being this age. The only thing that was better about being younger was that you were here, and no facelift will bring you back.
 
So I'll wear my almost-59-years gladly. I'm proud to be a Boomer. I was born in the middle of the last century. I've seen a lot of history. If I look younger than I am, well and good. But youth isn't the aim of my life. As I said last night, I'm just another aging hippie in a turquoise bandanna.
 
The photo is just a glimpse of what we could be if you'd come back and get old with me!
 
Wishing you were here aging with me,
Joan.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Remarking on Something Remarkable

Dear John,
 
I think something remarkable may have happened today. And so I am remarking on it.
 
We were having a fairly slow day at work so I had some time to think. I don't remember my train of thought. But suddenly the idea came to me that my death would be a loss to the world. It seemed to me that I have value.
 
You want to Gibbs-slap me right now. Don't worry - if I ever say any of this to Jen, she will take care of that for you. It sounds obvious, in a way. Every life is unique and contributes to the whole. But this is the first time since your death that I've thought of myself as having value. I never worried about that before your death. I had value to you, and that was all that mattered to me. Feeling worthless appears to be one of the prevailing problems of widowhood; we've lost the person we gave our lives to. It's part of the identity crisis that we all go through.
 
Today I wasn't thinking about people who would miss me or skills I have. It wasn't that concrete. I was aware of myself as unique, as somebody who can't be replicated and will never walk the earth again. It was about the essence of me-ness. I know that I'm making no sense at all. It doesn't make sense to me, either - not the sense of logic and the real world. For once in my life, it isn't about logic. It's an awareness of myself as having an intrinsic, existential worth. I don't believe I've ever felt that way before.
 
This will require further pondering, which I hope produces clarification. Or, at least, something in understandable English. It's too nebulous now for language. I'll let you know if I can find words for this. Instead of my usual crawling around in the back of my head, I may need to visit my heart. It's much less tidy and less familiar to me. It may be my soul that I need to explore.
 
I will keep you posted on whatever-it-is. If you have any insights, please let me know. You know my number, so text me! You always have known me better than I know myself. Does the world really need one more aging hippie in a turquoise bandanna?
 
Not-quite-so-worthlessly yours,
Joan.


Monday, September 8, 2014

And All the People Said, "Aahhhhhh!"

Dear John,
 
Hello from the land of low humidity! And when did I leave Indiana, you ask? Don't worry - I'm right here. We're into September now, storms came through, and the weather is lovely. We'll have two days of 70s and low humidity, one day of storms, then a week of 60s. The populace had breathed a collective sigh of relief.
 
The seasons are turning. It's dark when I get up now and almost dark when I go to bed. When we go back to Standard Time, I'll have to start leaving  a light on for the animals. I'm glad we have windows at work - it will be dark when I get there and when I leave. For now, I'm watching a beautiful sunset and listening to the crickets. I shouldn't have to mow many more times this year. The petunias are reaching their end and the sedum is nearing its peak.
 
All the forecasts are calling for a winter even more severe than the last. I'm still looking at curtains, and am leaning toward insulated ones. It's a relief to know that I won't have to shovel this year if I don't want to. I can walk to work - even in deep snow, I can get downtown much quicker than I can clear this driveway. As long as I have feet, I can get to work. Thank you for buying me good winter boots! I can wear those and some old jeans, and carry respectable clothes to put on when I get there. I won't miss trying to get to work in Goshen when the roads are bad.
 
Hunter just crawled into my lap and made typing extremely challenging. And I don't really have anything to say tonight anyway. But that never stopped us from talking, did it? So here I am to say nothing and enjoy doing it. Say nothing back to me!
 
Adore you,
Joan. 

Sunday, September 7, 2014

I said STEELERS!

Dear John,
 
I'm wearing my Polamalu jersey and watching my Steelers beat your Browns - all that's missing is you. The Steelers were up 27-3 at the half and it wasn't really that close. Sadly, the Browns offense has shown up for the second half and just scored their second touchdown, to make it 27-17. So there's hope for you and I am a bit concerned.
 
I'm taking a fibro day. I got up for church, and was so exhausted that I sat down and cried. So I stayed home. I don't quite know how to manage this. My body seems to need one day a week to go down, stay home, and do nothing much. Some weeks I can do that on a day other than a Sunday, but sometimes I can't. This week my other day off was Thursday, and I had a doctor's appointment in South Bend. I try to do chores on the day that I work my half-day and on Sunday afternoon, but sometimes that isn't possible, especially during mowing season. I need and want to go to church, but sometimes I just can't do it.
 
I really can't complain. It's amazing, with the fibro, that I can work full-time at all. I'm getting by with my income as it is, but I can't manage with less that full-time pay and benefits. I suppose I just take it one week at a time and juggle things the best that I can, and continue to learn to pay no attention to what other people think. Even without you here to supervise me, I am respecting my limits. I can't afford the consequences of ignoring them. The animals are delighted to have me at home. I sat in the bed for Psalms, prayers, and Facebook this morning, and all four took a turn snuggling in my lap.
 
Notre Dame won 36-0 last night. It would have been 37 except that the last 6 points were a touchdown on an interception as the clock ran out, so there was no point-after. I won't know until I've seen them against another good team if they are that good, Michigan is that bad, or both. But the game was great fun to watch.
 
I'm having a lovely weekend - Kentucky-Ohio and Notre Dame-Michigan on Saturday, Pittsburgh-Cleveland and Colts-Broncos today. And Thursday night we'll have Pittsburgh-Baltimore, the hated Ravens who shouldn't exist. I will be happily overdosed by the time Jim and Irene get here next weekend. If you can arrange a visit, next weekend would be perfect. Your sister really misses you, especially now that your mom is gone. She and I are both only children now. And I hate to nag, but you never did text me your phone number. You can wait until after the game, if you're busy watching it. But you probably have much better things to do, don't you? I can watch for both of us. But the concept of Heaven without football seems to be a bit of an oxymoron.
 
Go, Steelers!
Joan.

PS - In case you missed it, the Steelers just won 30-27. Your Browns tied it in the second half and didn't allow any Steeler points, until a field goal as the clock ran down at the end of the fourth quarter. I'm glad my Steelers won and sorry your Browns lost. They looked great in the second half, so you may have some hope this season. I know - with the Browns it's always a rebuilding year. But they have a new coach, so we'll see. And I'll cheer for them against everybody else! It was always so much fun to watch this game together, and I missed you today, but the game and the memories were great. I love you so very much!

PPS - You know I said I'd be watching more X-Files re-runs? I just watched "Jose Chung's 'From Outer Space'." We loved that one, and I still do. It's brilliant and funny. Again, the only thing missing was you. Remember, it's got to be the planet Venus. :)

PPPS - There's just no getting away from me today, is there? I'm watching the Colts and Broncos now. It's past my bedtime and I'm working tomorrow, so I don't know how long I'll hold out. I sat down expecting to cheer for the Colts, but I can't do it. I'm not exactly cheering for the Broncos, either. I'm really cheering for Payton Manning. I just can't help it. I wouldn't be sleeping now anyway, since I seem to have developed some kind of tummy ache. Too much football in one weekend, you ask? Impossible. There is no such thing as too much football. As I frequently told you, I'm so glad I married a man who liked sports. Anybody but you would have been a perennial football widower. The doors are open, if you can come by for the rest of the game! 

Saturday, September 6, 2014

We Were Right for the Fight Today

Dear John,
 
On, on, U of K. Okay, as a college fight song, it could have better lyrics. After all, the second song I learned as a child was the Georgia Tech fight song, all three verses. Now, THAT is a great fight song. Notre Dame's is good if you can turn off the parody of the lyrics that we all learned in high school and still plays in all of our heads. But UK is my alma mater, and that's my fight song, and I do have an attachment to it.
 
UK was right for the fight today. And the game was on ESPN, so I got to watch it. I worked this morning, came home and had lunch, washed windows, and have watched football ever since. I saw on the guide that UK was playing Ohio, and I though it was Ohio State, but it was Ohio University. UK won 20-3 and looked good.
 
The game was at Commonwealth Stadium. This is the first time since you died that I've been able to watch a game there. I enjoyed it this time - the good memories were louder than grief today. We went to every game for three years. And those were some ugly games in those years, too! Today looked much better. A couple of years ago they were talking about tearing the stadium down and replacing it, but they decided to renovate instead of replace, and I'm glad. They are adding on to the top of it - the elevation drawings look great. Construction is going on now; they expect it to be completed for the beginning of the 2015 season.
 
We did have our storms last night, some strong, but for some reason the dog wasn't particularly bothered by them. It's 70 degrees now, with much lower humidity than we've seen for a while. The windows are open, the cats are in the window sills, and the dog is outside. I'm sitting by an open window, watching Notre Dame-Michigan, and talking to you. This is as good as it can get until I get to you. Tomorrow your Browns are going to lose to my Steelers. I have free NFL whatever-they-call-it tomorrow on Direct TV, so I know I'll get to see the game. And I wish so much that you could be here! I could text the play-by-play to you like I used to when you were at work, if you'd just let me know what your number is. We don't even have to Skype - texting would be great. You know my number - text yours to me and I'll tell you all about the game. And everything else, probably! I hope you have unlimited texting.
 
Notre Dame is up 7-0 in the first quarter. I'm going to go put on pajamas and get out my knitting. Feel free to drop by - you know the game will be on here!
 
Love you even more than football,
Joan.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Stormy Weather

Dear John,
 
I had a good Friday at work. I was in the lobby, which was unusually slow for a Friday. It was quite a change from last week. Tomorrow I'll be back at the drive-up.
 
It's been hot and humid all day. Everybody that came in was talking about how good the air conditioning felt. Going outside and getting into a black car that had been sitting in the sun since 7:15 was about as unpleasant as I expected it to be. I went to the pharmacy and grocery store after work, and at 5:45 it was still 93 by the bank thermometer. Tomorrow's high is supposed to be 73 so, as you can imagine, we're expecting strong storms tonight. We've had a couple roll through already, with high winds and heavy rain. The biggest line should get here around midnight. You can imagine my excitement. I will probably be working tomorrow on minimal sleep.
 
I had trouble sleeping last night because my hands hurt so bad. I really am trying to rest them, and it's quite a challenge. At least I don't have any rooms to paint this weekend! Hunter must have known last night that something was wrong. During the worst of it, he jumped up on the bed, walked up my legs, snuggled a bit, and lay down draped across my ribcage like he does so often. It was inexpressibly comforting last night. It relaxed me and I went right to sleep. Bless the furbabies! They take good care of me. Your little family is good at looking after each other.
 
I'm going to head off to bed early tonight. When the storms get here, I expect to have three cats arranged in the windowsills watching the lightening, and one German shepherd shivering in my lap. So I'll get as much sleep as I can before they start. I'll be up at 5:30, and that comes very early. Sleep good tonight, where there are no storms or frightened animals. Please pray for you family - for my hands to heal, for Jethro to not be afraid of the storm, and for the cats to continue to bear with their non-feline family members. We love you very, very much.
 
Kisses and cuddles,
Joan. And the furbabies.
 


Thursday, September 4, 2014

How I Stumbled into Popularity

Dear John,
 
I've had a fun day off. I had an appointment with Joe (he's sending me to a urologist - no surprise there), and had some shopping to do while I was in Mishawaka. I needed new slacks because I've lost so much weight that my old black and navy pairs were falling off of me, and I haven't had good brown pants in years. So I went to Kohl's and Macy's and got three pairs of pants and one top, all on sale. Then I went to an accessory shop in the mall and got some headbands and hair clips, and had a lovely talk with the salesclerk who is a nursing student at St. Mary's.   
 
You know my weakness for peasant tops and long skirts - it dates from the first time they were popular in the 60s. They're back in style, which I like, but today I saw a lovely peasant top that they wanted $98 for. This is not in the spirit of the early peasant tops, is it? I laughed and kept walking.
 
I'm a leftover earth-mother hippie, and all of a sudden my style has become popular again. Turquoise is back, peasant tops and long skirts are everywhere. Hippie has segued into boho. I'm still selective because my style is simpler than most boho. But what is fashionable is giving me options that I'm not used to having. There are stores I can go into and feel at home. It's strange.
 
So I will continue to grow out my hair, wear denim and long skirts and peasant tops and bandannas and tie-dye, and laugh because what I've always been has become popular. I will enjoy the availability of suitable clothing as long as I can. When leather and miniskirts come back, I'll return to making my own clothes. Who knew that whatever-it-is-that-I-am would be stylish?
 
Bless you, you loved me as I am. You never needed to label me or bring me up-to-date or change me in any way. You loved me in peasant skirts and a turquoise bandana in college, and you still do. You never tried to make me look or act sophisticated. Of course, if that was what you'd wanted in a girl, you never would have been interested in me in the first place.
 
So go to sleep tonight knowing that I'm still the same old me. And I have some new clothes, and in a smaller size than I've worn in years. I will boldly go where I've always gone - as far as fashion goes, anyway. When I get there, you'll have no trouble recognizing me. I'll be the only one in Heaven in a turquoise bandanna.
 
Keep watching for me,
Joan.


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

MOM!

Dear John,
 
I'm working on this sibling thing. And I have no idea what I'm doing because I was an only child. I could use some help here.
 
I have four furbabies with four very different personalities. I finally understand how mothers can love all of their children equally though in different ways. I don't have a favorite, I love them all the same amount, but they are so completely different. Each one has a special place in my heart.
 
I'm also feeling my way through the female-dominant thing that cats have. It was pretty simple when I only had one female. But now I - sorry, Jethro - has two females. This could get a bit tricky. When I come home I pay first attention to whoever comes and meets me first. That is usually Maggie. Then Abby won't speak to me for an hour or so because I petted Maggie first instead of her. Hunter, bless his heart, holds himself above all pettiness and welcomes any loving at any time. Jethro and Maggie get jealous of whoever I'm petting and try to push their way in. Tact is required.
 
In spite of all this rivalry, they love me and each other. I try to give equal time to all of them. At night I welcome all cuddlers to wherever they want to cuddle. I don't have enough hands to pet all of them at the same time. Maybe I should use my feet. I can almost hear them yelling, "Mom! He has my felt mouse again!"
 
Mostly, I just laugh at all the silliness. And I love watching them play together. They groom each other and take naps together. So I suppose I'm overthinking it. It's really fine. But don't hesitate to send along any suggestions.
 
Love you great bunches,
Joan.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Monday + Tuesday = Ouch

Dear John,
 
This will probably be short. I'm tired and it hurts to type. We really need to Skype.
 
Today was Tuesday after a Monday holiday, and at work the days are additive. Monday plus Tuesday equals insanity. You know the goal is for me to finish processing the night drop deposits before 9:30, and that is usually no problem. Today I finished it at 11:30, and had a line of other things waiting to be done. The morning went fast - when Emily came to relieve me for lunch I was surprised because I thought it was around 10:00. Things reverted to near-normal in the afternoon, to the great relief of all.
 
You know my fibro has always been primarily upper-body. That's good, because I haven't had any trouble walking and standing like lots of fibromites do. But my hands and arms have been quite painful since Friday. I worked the drive-up alone that day, mowed Saturday, and painted Monday, so I expected discomfort. I'm trying to find my limits in light of the hand-and-arm demands of this job. I've been taking Motrin, and I've needed stronger stuff to be able to sleep the last three nights.
 
So stop typing, you say? And you're right. I'll give my hands and your ears a simultaneous rest. Thanks for listening so patiently every night! And please pray for my aching hands and arms. Sleep well, and know we love you.
 
Adore you,
Joan.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Labor Day Labor

Dear John,
 
You were AWOL this morning - I had to move the furniture all by myself. Shame on you.
 
I did what I'd planned and more. I got that second coat of paint on the workroom walls, rearranged the furniture, then rearranged most of the things on the shelves. Now that the china cabinet is in there, I can put the yarn behind cat-proof glass. It's easier to get to and it looks pretty. Then I swept and mopped. Four loads went to the basement. While I was on a roll, I cleaned the kitchen and the laundry room.
 
The workroom trim still needs to be painted - I may call Chuck and have him do it. I'll tackle lots of things, but it would be a good idea to have a professional painter do that. And I need to have somebody hang the new closet doors in there. I'll get Chuck to give me an estimate on painting the doors while he's here. I'm trying to be realistic about what I can do while I'm working full-time. I have less time but more money - it may be worth paying him to do that.
 
I'm attaching this photo of Maggie that I took tonight. I swear she grew three inches overnight. This morning she walked across the bed and I though she was Abby. I knew there was a growth spurt coming by how much she's been eating the last few days. But I didn't expect that much all at once! If you want to see her while she's still a kitten, you'd better hurry and get here. She's already lost her kitten fuzz and has real adult cat hair now. And I think she's going to be long-haired. Her coat is really beautiful.
 
All this growth is also tiring her out. She's slept almost all weekend. Except, of course, in the middle of last night. I woke up with her pouncing on me. She'd sit on my feet and pounce on my knees, or on my side and pounce on my arms. You get the idea. It's normal, healthy play for kittens as they learn how to be predators. And it's completely adorable. But slightly less adorable at 3:00 in the morning.
 
Speaking of which, it's bedtime for all mammals here. Jethro is already sound asleep at my feet. I'm back to work tomorrow so I'd better join him. Even though you weren't here to move the furniture, feel free to stop in and look at the results. As I was cleaning up after painting, I found myself looking forward to you coming home and seeing it. So, come home already!
 
I'll leave the light on,
Joan.