Perhaps some of you remember that old John Denver song:
If you ask how I’m doin’ here without you,
I’d like to say I’m doin’ fine and I do,
but we both know the truth is hard to come by,
and if I told the truth, that’s not quite true.
“Some Days Are Diamonds, Some Days Are Stones.” I’ve had occasion to remember it more than once these past three weeks. “Not quite true” hardly begins to say it.
As the 75,002 or more of you know who read this column religiously (is there any other way?) Other Half has been missing from this hearth and home for more than three weeks at this point.
That’s a rather significant point. Life without her, even when she was only firing on one cylinder for the last few weeks she was here, thanks to some interesting medical machinations (more will be coming on that), is a rather different proposition from when she is here.
OH is a force to be reckoned with even domestically. She not only wears the pants in this house, she has the only pair. She would argue strenuously (the only way she knows) that this gives a very distorted view of her personality. There would be many who would agree with her.
There might be others who would say that she is a lady of strong views who does not hesitate to state them. To be fair (and I’d be fair, since she’s coming home in a few days) she listens to and respects the views of others. She has the intelligence of Stephen Hawking on brain steroids and the determination of an English bulldog on everything. She would object to that as well, pointing out to anyone who doesn’t know the difference that she’s average.
You people will never get to read the last paragraph because she’s never going to let me print it. Whatever it is that you’re reading, let me assure you it’s a pale version of what it was when I first wrote it.
I’m being unnecessarily hard on OH simply to make a point. Life in this house is very different when she isn’t here. By the way, she’s doing extremely well, thanks to the surgeon who operated on her, but no thanks to the fellow who wouldn’t. You’ll hear more about that.
I should hasten to add that I’m not alone, thanks be to God!
No. 1 Son would point out that my thanks should be directed more to him than to some deity, the nature of which very few can agree on. Son would say that the ancient alien theorists are probably as close or closer to resolving that question than anyone. We watch that program, “Ancient Aliens,” religiously (is there any other way?).
Son is worth his weight in gold, as is Daughter No. 2, who lives close by, and the other two for reasons pertinent to them. As Son observed the other day, “You and Mom raised us right.” Can’t argue with that.
But Son is here 24/7 these days and there’s no way we could have managed without him. No doubt Daughter No. 2 would have wanted to move in lock, stock and barrel, but that would have meant considerable disruption to her own family.
Son and I have been coping, after a fashion, and without the direction supplied by the CEO. (Wish I could think of suitable words for that anagram).
For example, our diet differs significantly in the absence of said personage.
OH does not believe in a baloney-based diet. I think of baloney as a staple, same as potatoes and moose stir-fry. Son, because I raised him right, agrees wholeheartedly. Therefore, breakfast is usually several thick slices of bologna fried nice and crisp, and four or five eggs. I’m never sure how many are in the scrambled lot — I just eat it gratefully.
Lunch is probably the leftovers from breakfast. Supper, because we need to vary things a little, is usually Kraft Dinner and baloney. I learned to love that combination when my sister used to bring it to me for the seven months or so I was in the Miller Centre. She knew I would have starved to death on hospital food.
Cleaning house is another challenge. We learned — from watching OH master the same technique — to tie a mop to the front of my chair and push it across the floor. I kid you not. But whereas she covered all areas in that fashion, I manage to swipe about one half of the surface, something that’s painfully obvious when the sun shines on the floor. If she had had a power chair, like me, Other Half could have mopped up Springdale Stadium between periods. Or she would’ve had a mop tied to the Zamboni — and insisted on driving it herself.
It is worth several dollars of anyone’s money to see Son standing in the doorway of my room most mornings with both arms piled high with laundry. It’s all washed properly — blues and whites separated, towels separated from everything else, socks and their companions separated from each other forever.
He offered to iron the collars of my shirts, since I expose myself to the public fairly often. Perhaps I should rephrase that. I appear before the public fairly often. He claims there’s no need to iron the front of the shirts since they’re always hidden under the V-neck sweaters I like to wear. Smart lad.
With the help of kindly neighbours who have presented us with meals of various kinds, we are coping. Two kindly souls went one better. They cooked supper, brought it in and stayed to help us eat it. Even blessed it and us. What more than that could one want?
I want OH home again.
Ed Smith is an author who lives in
Springdale. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org