Finding myself living with my mother and sister is a somewhat interesting experience—all of us living as one big happy family in the same mosh pit—errrr, I mean house.
In the two and a half years since Special K passed I have rediscovered living solo. I could get back to my slovenly ways. Being married to Special K for those 10 years certainly taught me to appreciate that living with the expectations of others weighing on your behaviour does have advantages.
Another advantage was Special K was always willing to help me look for anything I had misplaced: keys, boots, camera, anything. The only requirement was that I had to listen to her tell me how hopeless I was for losing stuff. Luckily Pam and I agreed which way the toilet paper was supposed to unroll, something still under negotiation with Mom and Ginny.
One thing Special K did insist upon was keeping things neat and tidy. My definition of neat and tidy prior to marrying Pam was to have things neatly piled around the house. I could generally find what I wanted fairly easily. Living alone allowed this system to work.
Every few years family or friends might come by to spend a few days or a week. To make room for them the piles would get boxed up and stored in a closet. This is when my system broke down. Having other people around tended to upset my file pile system; this is possibly the reason why I lived alone for so long.
But Special K’s version of neat and tidy involved the functional use of horizontal spaces so that the tables and counters were repurposed as display areas for things like vases of flowers, family pictures and such—often positioned on nice little lace doilies. Alternatively the horizontal space simply disappeared from the house entirely.
Grocery shopping days presented both danger and opportunity because of her aversion to clutter. The challenge was bringing seven or eight bags of groceries in from the car and plopping them down on the kitchen table was in clear violation of the Appropriate Use of Horizontal Spaces Rule.
If things were left scattered around like that for too long Pam would start to get a little edgy. Sometimes a little nervous tick down at the corner of her mouth would show up. But the opportunity could be cashed in on by my simply offering to help put everything away as soon as we arrived home. It only took a few minutes using the Many Hands Make Light Work Rule and I would get credited with points too. Bonus!
Living with others in close quarters requires some give and take. One thing I have discovered about my sister Ginny is that she too uses horizontal spaces to put stuff down on. She will put literally anything anywhere. And you know what? It annoys the heck out of me now.
Another new thing to get used to now is the wander alarm we bought for mom. Even at age 93, gravity still applies to her and we are concerned about falls if she is walking about without her walker. So her bed has been wired up with an alarm so that if she gets up we will be alerted. If she is having a restless night she might get up four or five times, though. These days I am sleeping less; but sleeping better.
Take care of someone who loves you ….