Friday, September 29, 2006

another new one

I was just trying to be helpful. Yesterday, while I was doing some of my usual domestic chores, I noticed a basket of clothes separated and ready for the washing machine. So being the usual helpful guy I am, I tossed the stuff in the washer and continued vacuuming.

By the time I fnished with the vacuum cleaner, the wash cycle was done, and being the efficient and helpful guy I am, I transferred the wet clothes to the dryer to complete the job. So far so good, right? So why did I get that old familiar feeling of forbodeing while the clothes tumbled warmly in the dryer? Somehow, someway, I knew that I probably had screwed it up. It seems that whenever I try to do laundry, something goes awry. My feelings of dread warned me that this time would be no exception.

Washing the stuff is generally no problem. It's when it comes to the drying part that my world tumbles out of control. You see, there are apparently some very complicated rules about what can or can't be put in the dryer. What those rules are escapes me. I just know that I always seem to break one or two of them. I figure if it's wet, it needs to be dry. Hence the invention of the clothes dryer. Simple, straightforward, nothing complicated about it. Except when it comes to women's clothes. They are, for some unknown reason, allergic to hot dry air. You know, the kind of air you find in a clothes dryer.

Unfortunately some of Mary's precious TOPS were in that load of laundry that I was so efficiently taking care of. How was I supposed to know that her TOPS were so special that they require unusually tender treatment. Hot dry air apparently turns them into mere SHIRTS. (Can someone please explain to me why women wear TOPS and men wear SHIRTS. They look and function pretty much the same as far as I can tell.) So, of course, having made the egregious blunder of mistaking her TOPS
for the lesser species of SHIRTS, I knew that when the mistress returned home later, I would be in danger of receiving another orifice gouged out where I already have a perfectly fine functioning one.

I devised a course of action to try to blunt her coming tirade, sure to be accompanied by excessive wailing and gnashing of teeth. I lay down for a nap. I figured that when she made the discovery of her precious TOPS having been so visciously violated by my careless handling, if I was asleep, or at least pretending to be, she would take a softer approach to reaming me out. Oh, silly man!

When she came home and found me lying on the couch, napping so innocently, she was the kind and loving person I have loved all these years. A tender hello kiss to my forehead and a solicitous inquiry about my day was, I knew, merely the calm before the storm. Dr. Jehkl and Mr. Hyde? Amateurs. Jack the Ripper? A choir boy. Attilla the Hun? Your favorite grandpa.
Hell hath no fury like a women whose TOPS have been abused. The walls shook, the windows that didn't shatter rattled mightily, the air turned suddenly sulfurous (sort of like the UN after Dubya's stint there last week), and an ungodly screech pierced the once tranquil air surrounding my napping place. I clenched both cheeks as tightly as I could, awaiting the attack that was rumbling down the stairs from where she discovered the desiccrated clothing.

My formerly loving, solicitous, and charming spouse was the devil incarnate at that moment. I tried to appear nonchalant and matter-of-fact about the episode, feigning indifference and even attempting ignorance as a defense, but she was having none of it. I will be standing and walking even more slowly than usual for awhile while I get used to the new and larger opening where her wrath was directed and found its mark.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have some SHIRTS that need to be laundered. And DRIED.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

habits, a special cup, and a special daughter

I am a creature of habit. I do a lot of the same things the same way over and over again. There is a certain comfort in that. Surprises are not something I enjoy. Uncertainty is even less welcome. I like knowing that there is a particular order to my daily life to thwart any advancing covert discomfort.

When I get up in the morning I get dressed the same way each time. I always put my pants on by inserting my left leg into the appropriate pant leg first, then the right leg. My left shoe goes on first, but remains untied until the right shoe is on my foot, then they both get tied in the same order. I always have my orange juice and vitamins before my cereal gets put in the bowl. I pour my first cup of coffee and set it to my right on the counter before eating my banana. If I don't have a banana that day, I skip the cereal, because you can't eat cereal without a banana. Mind you, I don't put the banana in the cereal bowl, I just eat it when I pour the cereal. After the cereal is eaten, I toast the english muffin while reading the latest issue of Time or Sports Illustrated. The English muffin gets slathered with strawbery jam (never raspberry, I hate the seeds) and then, and only then, am I allowed my second cup of coffee. That is the breakfast routine during the week. On the weekend everything changes.

You see, on Sunday I get to use my special, Sunday-only, coffee cup. No cereal on Sunday. Instead my treat is usually a blueberry muffin. But first, before I pour the coffee into that special cup, I have to sort the Sunday paper into the sections that I read in the order I like to read them, while at the same time rooting out all the advertising and consigning it all to the recycle pile. Of course the first section I read is the comics. Then Sports, Then book and movie reviews. Then everything else. Once the paper is sorted, I take my bluberry muffin and banana into the dining room--I only use the dining room on Sundays when I read the paper--and then, and only then, will I pour the coffee into my special Sunday-only cup.

That cup was a Christmas present from my daughter 26 years ago. She was four years old that Christmas and we had taken her to a special section of one of the local department stores that had been set up for young kids to shop for their family members with the help of a grown-up shopper. Carrie got her five, or maybe it was ten, bucks from me and entered the special area to find mom and dad a present. She came out a short time later with a couple of little boxes all wrapped and ready for the holiday. I can't remember if I got any change back. Maybe she still owes me some.

On Christmas day she gave us each our box to open and in mine was a coffee cup with the word DAD in bold letters. Mary got a similar mug with MOM on it. That cup has become one of my most cherished possessions. That is the cup that only gets used on Sundays. If the house was on fire, that is the one item I would risk becoming toast to rescue. We have a lot of precious artwork and keepsakes and other valuables that should merit my attention in the event of a fire or other catastrophe, but that cup is the first thing that I would go back into the inferno to rescue. I'm not sure why. Maybe it's because that is the first gift that Carrie actually consciously shopped for and selected knowing that I would like it. Obviously, she made the right choice.

What made me think of that cup today, it's not Sunday after all, was that my precious daughter, the Wildlife Veterinarian, the doctoral candidate, the artist, the photographer, the marathoner, the mountain biker, the athlete, the tatooed wunderkind, is having a birthday this week. Happy Birthday, Kiddo. I love you even more than my coffee cup. And that's saying a lot.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

pathetic

If it's Sunday it must be football. I am an incurable football fan. I will watch almost any game that is televised whether college or pro. (I draw the line at the Lingerie Bowl usually broadcast during the Super Bowl Halftime. It's not that I don't appreciate semi-naked, twenty-something gorgeous babes cavorting with the old pigskin. They just don't hit hard enough for me.) So on any given Sunday during the football season, when the Green Bay Packers are on the field, I am tuned in body and soul.

I grew up watching the Packers. My Dad always had their games on way back in the fifties before it became almost a religious obligation to watch the games. And I came of age during the Glory Years of the sixties when the Packers were the dominant team in pro ball. With a background like that, is it any mystery that I live and die each week when the Packers play? I take it personally when they lose, and strut with the cocky confidence of a touchdown scoring receiver when they win.

So this season so far has been a real excercise in patient loyalty. After suffering through a horrendous 4-12 season last year, we, the fans, could only look for any improvement to bouy our expectations for a better year this season. After losing the first two games in humiliating fashion, we could only hope to escape embarrassment today against the Detroit Lions, who showed they were every bit as woeful as our beloved Pack in their first two games.

Somehow the Packers found a way to take the lead and hold on to it deep into the fourth quarter. Then, while trying to hold the ball and run the game clock down to preserve their imminent victory, with just under a minute left, what does Ahman Green do. He freakin FUMBLES THE FUCKING BALL. And those ridiculously opportune Lions recover the ball with more than enough time on the clock to score the tying points. Now, the Green Bay defense is not one to inspire confidence in their ability to actually prevent the other team from scoring. So at this point, I have leaped (such as my impaired leaping ability will allow) out of my heretofore comfy recliner, and, steam blowing from every available orific, I scream and shout and hurl all sorts of horrible imprecations on Green's head and vow to make him suffer the most humiliating and tortuous suffering I can imagine for causing the Pack to lose the game, if that should, in fact, occur. Had I been armed, I would now have a very dead TV.

I am a picture of all that is wrong with the most demonstrative of football fans--you know, the guys and gals who paint themselves in team colors and stomp and roar and cheer anything that even remotely involves their team. My screams and wailing at the unexpected, but seemingly inevitable turn of events, has Mary, who is sitting outside on the deck, begging me to tone it down before the neighbors call 911. Of course I am embarrassing her. The fact that I am embarrassing myself never really registers in my consciousness.

What is the most ridiculous part of all my screaming and carrying-on, is that at the moment I am doing all that ranting, I truly believe that those tiny little figures running around inside my TV can actually hear me, and that what I am yelling about will actually make a difference to them. I have taken leave of all common sense and have totally lost any semblance of dignity that I might still have left. But none of that matters, because as the final Hail Mary pass by the Lions falls harmlessly to the ground in the endzone, the Packers have indeed finally won the game.

All is well and all is forgiven. My blood pressure has returned to normal. Until next week.

God, I am pathetic.

Friday, September 22, 2006

where'd it go

Is it Friday already? Where did the week go? Suddenly it went from Monday to Friday without much of a stop, or even a slowdown, inbetween. There were so many things I had in mind to get done this week, and here it is too late to do them all.

The reason I'm so negligent in my accomplishments this week? Who the hell knows. But I suspect my lack of "doing" has at least a little to do with the adjustment in my PD meds. With the change in timing and the dosage levels, I find myself getting "jumpy" at odd times and needing to sit or lie down for a few minutes at odd times during the day. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Today my need for those frequent "sitdowns" has nothing to do with the fact that the Ryder Cup is being televised all day and I just happened to have the TV on. Honest. I still got the kitchen cleaned and the floor washed. It just took an hour or so longer than it normally would with my constant need to sit down every time an enthusiastic roar went up from the crowd watching the matches. I really needed to rest at those times. Honest.

Of course that does little to explain my inability to get it done the rest of the week. The fact that I don't even miss playing the occasional round of golf has me concerned. Frequently, when I am unable to get to the golf course for whatever reason, I will at least go out in the backyard and hit some half wedges (the yard is big enough), just to satisfy the old golf jones that inhabits my soul. But I have been unable to summon the necessary motivation to do even that.

I have in mind at least five different sculptures and other woodworking projects, but just can't seem to get down into the workshop to work on any of them. The energy just isn't there, so the motivation is hard to come by. I feel totally bereft of any of my old work ethic. I used to be able to accomplish enough everyday to satisfy even the toughest taskmaster (read, Mary), but now I would rather take a nap, and work be damned.

You can only imagine what it feels like to have your muscles twitch and vibrate, leaving you with the inability to totally control what you want those muscles to do. It's' not completely debilitating, just annoying enough to keep you from doing anything easily and without having to think about it. The new medications and dosage are supposed to make those tasks easier. I'm still waiting for the new regimen to take effect and giver me back my mojo.

Until that happens I will continue my dereliction of duty and work on deepening the dent in the recliner seat. I feel a nap coming on. Oh, yeh, and the Rider Cup is still on. Coincedence? I think not.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

...furthermore

In my last post I vented about the lack of solid, specific answers that candidates for public office give when asked for their stand on whatever issue is brought to the table. The other thing in our political campaigns that drives me crazy is the preponderance of negative ads that the candidates feel are necessary to win our votes.

Why do the candidates, or at least their campaign managers and staff, feel compelled to drag their opponents through a mud bath, hoping that the dirt will stick and make us turn away in disgust? Shouldn't a candidate be talking about how wonderful he is himself and not denigrating the other guy? Isn't it better to talk about your own strengths and ideas and intentions when in office, than to question and tear down your opponent's very existence?

I'm not particulary impressed to hear accusations that the other guy has had intimate relations with barnyard animals or has fathered a half dozen three eyed mutants with an alien. I want to hear what you are going to do for me, not what you think about your opponent's personal hygiene. Attacking the incumbent's voting record is ok as long as it is factual and not just your interpretation of his sorry lack of intellectual prowess. Bipartisan bickering is standard and to be expected, but taking the high road when touting your own qualifications seems to be an impossible task for most office seekers.

We claim to be a civilized society, but if you were to judge us by our campaign strategies, you would have to conclude that we are a long way from achieving that level of civilization. What a joy it would be to hear only reasoned debate and lofty ideals expressed in the coming campaigns. Is it that far a reach?

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

specifics, please

With the election season upon us, there are many opportunities to hear the candidates for the various offices spout their rhetoric, trying to convince us that they are the perfect person to carry our banner into the legislature or govenor's chair or the local sheriff's office. Whatever. The point is that there is a surfeit of verbiage and little of substance behind the spewing of bullshit.

I had the opportunity to watch and listen to a debate betwen the two candidates for govenor here in Wisconsin the other evening. The subject for the debate was the economy. The Democratic incumbent was really quite masterful in his answers to the questions posed by audience members. He was able to cite real accomplishments in the economic arena during his tenure so far in office. His arguments for the tax cuts and expenditures initiated during his term were at least founded on facts that were verifiable. He had figures to back his statements. Whether you, as an elector, decide to believe him is a matter for the voting both. The point is, he sounded like he knew what he was talking about, answered the questions specifically, and was able to present his stance in a reasonable and believable manner. He was, in short, convincing.

The Republican challenger, however, was left looking like a slow horse trying to catch up in a race on a muddy track. His "answers" to the questions were a constant repetition of the same song over and over. I will cut taxes. Our taxes are too high. I'll attract business by cutting taxes. Not once did he offer any specific ideas on how exactly he expected to accomplish all those tax cuts and still have enough money in the coffers to run the state. Not once did he answer a question to the point. Every time he said something it was simply a variation on the tax cut theme. Granted, he was an animated and engaging speaker. A real showman. Convincing in his sincerity. But showmanship can only carry a candidate so far. Sooner or later he will have to come up with some specifics in order to win any support beyond the blind sheepish followers of the party line.

I fear this sort of non-answering is endemic to our electoral process. Somehow we have allowed our candidates to get away with burying their answers in a mound of obfuscation and rhetoric. We are too content in accepting ring-around-the-rosy verbal games that tell us nothing, but make us feel good during the process. And then, when the seducer has been elected, and we realize we've been seduced, with our mental pants around our ankles, we object to the seduction and wonder what went wrong.

It is encumbant upon us all, during the campaign season, to accept nothing more than the best from our candidates. We simply can't allow them to lull us to sleep with their lullabies of faulty reasoning and manipulated facts. We must demand from them clear and precise answers to our questions. If we demand, and settle for nothing less than specifics, we will be far better represented in our government offices. We deserve no less.

Monday, September 18, 2006

sports nirvana

For any real sports fan this time of year is heaven. The baseball playoffs are approaching, the college football season is in full swing, and the NFL is gathering momentum, and the Ryder Cup is upon us this week. Games and more games. My eyes are bleary and the remote is overheated. And I love every minute of it.

I must have watched all or part of at least six college football games on Saturday and all or part of four NFL games on Sunday, and here it is Monday and there is another NFL game on tonight. Throw in a bit of several baseball games on ESPN and FSN and a golf tournament while flipping through the channels avoiding commercials, and I had a sports junky's version of a weekend long high.

The fact that my Wisconsin Badgers struggled getting any offense working in Saturday's game mattered little, since their defense was absolutely stifling in their game against San Diego State. My beloved Packers took another hit to their pride, losing at home again to the Saints. At least they showed some life on offense, though their defense was worthy only of the toughest middle school team you can name. Maybe if we could combine he Badgers defense with the Packer's offense we might field a team to make us proud. My expectations for the Badgers are modest this season, expecting only a middle of the big ten conference finish. I know they will be competitive in all their games. The same can't be said for the Packers. I have no expectations for them at all, other than they don't get thrown out of the league for incompetence. Still, I will watch every game and scream obscenities at the tv while my blood pressure peaks each Saturday and Sunday until this madnesss ends in January.

For a golf nut--I admit to such insanity--the Ryder Cup competition this coming weekend is the highlight of the season. You don't have to be a golfer to appreciate the heart and toughness the players bring to this competition. They are representing their country which beings a whole different set of pressures to bear on their game. The matches can be totally riveting and filled with a kind of tension that is unlike any other sport. To those who say that these players aren't athletes and that golf is merely "a good walk spoiled," as Mark Twain insisted, I say try it one time, and after you make a fool of yourself trying to hit that little white all, come back and talk to me then. You will have a far greater appreciation for the skill it takes to play the game well. This is one time when I would rather watch the game than be out on the course playing it myself.

So many games, so little time. What a problem. But don't feel sorry for me. I'm doing my best to work my way through the season's abundance. While I might just overdose at some point, at least I'll know I gave it good run, and that my sensory overload was my own choice. I have yet to succumb to the fantasy football jones that has infected so many fans, so there is still hope for my sanity. And while I admit to being a weekend couch potato sports junky, I rarely watch any sports on Tuesday or Wednesday. I have to catch my breath sometime.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

the week that was

With the passing of another anniversary of 9/11, the past week has seen a lot of revisiting of the troubling memories of that day. All over the world people are recalling and reliving the horrible scenes that are etched indelibly on our brains. And yet, the worst part of all those recollections is the realization that we are really no better off now than we were then. And maybe worse off.

If anything, we as a country seem to be more polarized than ever. Those who support the actions of the current administration are adament in their resolve that the actions we took immediatley after the terrorist attack were, and still are, the correct ones. Those who oppose the course of action taken by the President and his cohort are just as convinced that we got it all wrong and are able to point to too many instances of wrongheadedness and misguided forays into international relations, resulting in the quagmire we find ourselves stuck in . Neither side is willing to concede any ground. Neither side is totally right or totally wrong.

I am willing to grant that some retaliatory response of a military nature was called for after 9/11. Going after Osama bin Laden and his al Queda organization was the right thing to do. It still is. But to include Iraq and its leadership in the same response without real and convincing evidence that the terrorists were aided and abetted, incouraged, funded, or given safe haven by Sadddam Hussein is irresponsible and an unconscienable breech of intelligence. It's like two neighbors fighting over damage to one's property. You knocked down my fence so I''m going to break all your neighbors windows across the street in retaliation. There is no connection between the two actions. Invading Iraq was like that. No connection. No reason. No excuse.

What we had was a president who was pissed off and wanted to flex his military muscle, to show off how tough he was, to kick sand in the face of the bad guys. So he chose to believe the trumped up allegations that Iraq had heinous weapons of mass destruction and was about to use them. Nevermind that the allegations proved false, that no wmd were found, that the whole thing was a big mistake. Some mistake. We now have lost the lives of more than 2600 of our soldiers and countless Iraqi casualties to a president who refuses to back off the position he created for us.

There is no easy end in sight. Five years ago we were thrust into a world we didn't want. Bad decisions were made due to bad information and bad leadership. Now our world has become a more unsafe place for all of us. Will we be having this same conversation in another five years?

Monday, September 11, 2006

9/11 again

On this fifth anniversary of the infamous attacks that changed our world, there is nothing more that I can say that others haven't already said, and said more eloquently than I possibly could. I only know that you and I will never forget that day and the horrible consequences for the world that resulted. Peace remains tantalizingly out of reach, a sisyphusian task that drives us on in the hope that we can all one day get along and stop trying to destroy each other. Right now that hope is all we have. Maybe before the next anniversary of this date we will be closer to seeing that hope for peace and understanding realized.

dreary days well spent

It's been cold and rainy and generally just dreary for the past few days. So much so that I haven't been out of the house since last Thursday. Time can fly by sometimes and before you know it the realization that you've been housebound for 4 days hits you.

The time has not been all frittered away with nothing to show for it. I did repair the living room ceiling where water damage had occurred as a result of a roof leak. I had cut out a 16" square of the ceiling to identify the leak's source (successfully repaired), so I had to call on my skills as a drywall finisher to make it all look good again. Then I decided that as long as the living room was sufficiently disrupted, I might as well repaint the complete room, ceiling and walls. I can't remember the last time it was done, so it seemed like the right ting to do. Mary of course, was ecstatic at my ambition and took full advantage of it. She chose the color, ran to the store for the paint, and encouraged me while staying properly out of the way.

Once the painting was completed, Mary embarked on a deep cleaning of the room, with a bit of minor assistance from me. And I mean deep. The hardwood floors were scrubbed, the couches were cleaned (including the undersides), the books were not just removed from the shelves, but cleaned nearly page by page (dozens of books), the bookshelves themselves were taken down and cleaned and polished, new lampshades were stuck on the lamps, all the artwork on the walls (photographs and drawings done by either me or my daughter Carrie) was tended to, the fireplace screen and hearth were left sparkling, the woodwoork polished along with the coffee table and end tables.

So the time over the weekend was not exactly wasted. Yet it seems like a lousy way to spend a few days that could have been better spent outside doing anything other than cleaning. The only thing that kept me going was the realization that the weather was lousy and not conducive for any outdoor activities.

Plus the fact that I am having a bit of difficulty dealing with a small change in my daily meds, kept me from getting too active. Dealing with the new parameters of my PD had me taking long breaks lounging in the reclliner watching a lot of football on the tube. PD bad, football good (at least the football that didn't involve the Packers).

So despite the drearyness of the weather, the time over the weekend was well spent. The best part was that I earned a lot of brownie points on the domestic front. Mary has been treating me with more than the usual affection. Amazing what a bit of drywall, paint,, and elbow grease can do inside while it's raining outside.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

comparison

While engaged in my regular exercise routine this morning, riding, or I should say, pedaling, the stationary bicycle, I couldn't help comparing that "go fast and get nowhere" futility to the same amount of effort I put in on the road when riding my touring bike around the cottage back roads.

Those country roads offer all kinds of diversion in the form of not just scenery, but the wildlife that inhabits that scenery. On past rides I have encountered the ubiquitous whitetail deer disappearing magically along the roadside, flocks of wild turkeys oblivious to traffic bearing down on them while they sauntered across the road, Sandhill Cranes pecking at something presumably edible in the fields, Blue Herons squawcking their disapproval of being disturbed, ducks searching for a bit of water, any water, too many squirrels, chipmunks, and rabbits (both roadkill and the live variety) to mention, circling hawks looking for lunch among those non-roadkill critters, sneaking fox obviously up to no good, even a bald eagle soaring majestically and keeping watch over it all. Though I have yet to see it, my neighbor ran into (not literally, thank God) a black bear along side the road. I'm happy with just hearing the report; I don't need first hand knowledge of its existence. Of course, you have to throw in the feeling of warm summer air rushing by, the pine smell of the surrounding forest, and the sight of dappled sunlight poking through those trees. When riding through such an interesting world, the miles fly by unnoticed until, after an hour or so, 15 of them have registered on the odometer. So I get exercise for the old body and execise for the eyes, ears, and nose as well.

Pedaling frantically on the stationary bicycle, however, offers no such sensory delights. Instead I get a more than ample dose of Sportscenter on the TV in front of me.

Kind of a toss-up for a sports fan like me.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

when progress is a bad thing

I just returned from a visit to my doctor, the neurologist, who is treating my Parkinsons Disease. This was not a regularly scheduled visit, too soon for that, but one I felt I needed to address some concerns that I have. I won't go into a long explanation of PD and its symptoms. For that you can go to Parkinsons Disease Foundation for an in depth look if you're interested. I just needed to update him on the progression of my symptoms and see if there is a need to change meds or routine.

For me it has been nearly 7 years since the onset of symptoms, 5 years since I began treatment. Since beginning treatment I have stayed fairly consistent in the medication dosage and the level of progression of the disease. But over the past couple months the meds have been, what we with PD call, "wearing off" before the next scheduled dose is taken. That means that symptoms become more apparent and bothersome and the need for meds becomes more frequent. But taking more than the regularly scheduled dosage of medication can cause other problems that eventually can exacerbate the underlying condition. Thus the need for an adjustment of dosage or a change in meds to deal with the new parameters of the disease.

So after a long talk with the doctor, (who is a nationally known expert on PD and who is also an avid woodworker, as I am, and who is Lithaunian same as me, so I trust him completely) we came to the conclusion that I have stepped off the plateau I was on and moved into the next phase. We agreed to try a new approach by adjusting the frequency of medication and maybe trying some new meds that could have a different and, hopefully advantageous, affect on my synptoms. Time wll tell if we made the right decision or if we need to find still another approach.

Sometimes progress is a good thing, sometimes it's not. In this case I'm leaning toward "not."

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

back in the saddle

With the passing of Labor Day the old daily routine is back in force. Mary is back at work teaching English to high schoolers and I am back to being the domestic god of this relationship. There is a certain comfort in falling back into the routine we have established over the past few years. There are not a lot of surprises, but knowing what each day will probably bring means peace of mind. She goes to work and I stay home and work. She gets her students to read short stories and I get to cook. She interacts with 150 students a day while I get to interact with my vacuum cleaner.

Don't get me wrong, I don't mind taking care of the house work (at least some of it. Mary still cleans the bathrooms and insists on doing the laundry). We each contribute what we can to our life together. She takes good care of me and I take good care of her. It seems to work out. The fact that I am not contributing income to our partnership really doesn't bother me a whole lot, since there is not much I can do anymore because of this Parkinsons thing. And Mary never ever complains about that.

Now that the summer vacation is over and we will be spending our time at home rather than at the cottage, I can get back into my workshop and attack some of the projects I've been thinking about. I have a bunch of sculpture ideas percolating in my head and some furniture pieces that Mary wants me to make. So for the next 9 months or so, until Spring and the inevitable move to outdoor activities and a return to the cottage on a frequent basis, I will be busy. The few hours a day that I have the energy and physical capacity to work on those things is precious, more so because those hours are diminishing as my PD is progressing. Progressing, yes, but thankfully slowly so far. I'll continue to do what I can, and be happy for the opportunity.