31 March 2011

Sharing the Pain

Many of the websites I visit and the blogs I read are MS-related. Most of the time, I don't find them all that depressing. For one thing, a lot of the time they're not about MS. These people do have lives, after all. But even when they're writing about MS, reading them doesn't usually make me feel depressed. Yeah, having MS is crummy and I'm sorry that anyone has it. I wish I didn't have it myself, truth be told. I don't like reading that anyone's having a flareup or that their symptoms are getting worse. It might make me feel sad, but not depressed. The other day, however, I ran across a blog that I found profoundly depressing.

It's written by a 19-year-old girl who takes care of her mother. The mother has MS, and is apparently pretty seriously disabled. The girl is torn between loving her mother, and hating having to take care of her. It was not easy reading. It left me feeling really depressed.

You see, everything she has to do for her mother, Scarecrow has to do for me, and more. How could he not hate it?

Thinking about it, I realized I mostly avoid reading caregiver blogs. It's so hard for me to put myself in caregiver shoes, to imagine doing that job. I don't know how they do it. It's just too hard, and it never stops. It's easier for me to deal with having MS myself than it is to think about what it does to my family. I have no choice, after all. They could walk away, but they don't.

I've tried to avoid having Tuffy take on caregiver chores, to the point of hurting her feelings sometimes, I think. I don't want her to feel that she has to stay here and take care of me, instead of living her own life. It's a luxury we have because Scarecrow takes care of me instead. If it weren't for him, my daughter might be the angry young woman writing that blog. Hating herself, for hating her mother.

So, there's that. It took a serious dose of old-timey music, a couple of books with absolutely no edifying content, and some really stupid movies to restore my normal grumpy, cynical outlook on life. Sometimes it helps to share pain. Sometimes shared pain just makes more people hurt, and what's the point of that?

Tomorrow is Scarecrow's first day at Gloria's Books and Adult Day Care. The adventure begins…

25 March 2011

There's an Outside, Outside!

I really need to get out more.

There are doors that go outside the house. I had almost forgotten.

It's been amazing. For the last three days in a row, the middle part of the day has been sunny and warm. And dry. Sunny and warm and dry enough to eat lunch outside. I had forgotten how much fun that was.

Scarecrow has been working on the deck, replacing some rotten boards. The month he had between jobs seemed like it would be a lot of time to work on household projects, but somehow there's less than a week left. How does that happen?

I'm bracing myself for when Scarecrow heads back to the salt mines, for all that I'm glad he's got a mine to go back to. It's not like I actually do any work when I go with him to work, but with the going and coming, it's a lot harder than staying home. So I'm enjoying these last few days of not-work. And if it's sunny and warm and dry enough to eat lunch outside, how cool is that?

20 March 2011


I sound the alarm!
Sneaky squirrel on our fence,
Come to kill us all!


It's quite a sound. I can't really describe it. The first time I heard it, I thought one of the dogs was in great physical distress; perhaps being disemboweled. Now I know that's not it. It's more like, "I need to be someplace and I'm going as fast as I can, but it's not fast enough."


A moment before, the ever-vigilant whippets might've been perched on the couch, ceaselessly scanning the horizon for intruders. From this vantage point, they can maintain surveillance through both the dining room and living room windows. Although these dogs typically have the attention span of a gnat on crack, they will carry out this visual patrol for hours at a stretch, on the alert for the least glimpse of a tiny paw, or nose, or the flash of a tail.


When one of them spots their quarry, or thinks they do, their legs are scrambling at maximum speed before they even touch the ground. It takes a moment before their flailing limbs gain purchase on the hardwood floor. Imagine Wile E. Coyote, taking off across the desert in a cloud of dust. It's like that. They're here, then they're both heading for the door at maximum whippet speed, which is really very fast. It's like watching a flock of birds, or a school of fish. How do they all turn at the same time like that, without running into each other? It's like two dogs with one brain. Pretty impressive in one way, but in another way, maybe not so much. I mean, two dogs, with half a brain each?


They drift sideways as they take the turn from the dining room into the kitchen, scrabbling for traction on the much-abused hardwood. Imagine the Doppler effect on their doggy siren as they negotiate the chicane through the kitchen and laundry room, and jostle for position as they approach the (narrow) dog door. Not being able to keep up with a whippet I never actually see this part of the pursuit, but Jasmine, being at a significant weight disadvantage, probably gets bumped out of the way. The slap of the door flap, and they take off across the deck.


By the time the whippets race the length of the house, yowling the whole way, the squirrel is long gone. I haven't actually heard the squirrels snicker and chortle from their place safely beyond whippet reach, but I'm sure they do.

A couple of minutes later our tireless guardians trot back inside, hop back up on their perch, and the whole thing starts again.

And there's the male robin who, impelled by his annual case of testosterone poisoning, is determined to drive his reflection in our kitchen window away from the territory he has claimed. Every time the dogs hear him bonk against the window, they go streaking outside to keep us safe from robins. Since the robin starts bonking against the window as soon as it's light enough for him to see the evil interloper, the ever-vigilant whippets begin the day by tearing outside, taking the sheets and blankets from the bed with them.

Ah, spring.

*Apologies for the riff on Doggy haiku

17 March 2011

Learning about Lightning

They say lightning never strikes twice in the same place. It makes sense, if you think about it. How much of a place is likely to be left, after it's been hit by lightning?

But me, I don't believe it anymore. Lightning can strike the same place twice. It may not happen very often, but it can happen. I know it can. Because it did.

On April 1, Scarecrow starts a new job that is absolutely amazingly like his old one. Who knew there were two book distributors in the Seattle area that would allow him to bring his disabled partner to work with him every day? It's way the heck the other end of town, so it will be the commute from hell, but how can you complain? Well, I can, of course. I can always complain. I'm really bad that way. But it beats the heck out of not having anything to complain about!

We still have some insurance problems to work out. Smaller problems than we were looking at before, for sure, but anything having to do with health insurance is always a pain in the butt. So there's that. But still.

Timing is everything, isn't it? Our old washing machine, which had been making an ominous clunking sound for some time, finally started smelling funny and filled the utility room with smoke. The new machine has many buttons, and can wash dog beds. Scarecrow likes.

02 March 2011

Why Would You Want to Go Anywhere Else?

It looks like the snow last week is going to be the highlight, weather-wise, of the next couple of weeks. This is looking gloomy, even for Seattle, even for this time of year. Gloom, gloom, gloom.

It was Scarecrow's birthday yesterday. His first day of unemployment, which took some of the fun out of it, but still, having a birthday is better than not having one. And it's not like birthdays seem to have much of any effect on him. Although, as a 'nom de blog', Scarecrow is a pretty good fit on many levels, I could just as well have gone with Peter Pan:
I'll never grow up,
never grow up,
never grow uu – UP,
not me!
And the Yakima Fruit Market is open for the season. It always opens around Scarecrow's birthday. And since it's between our house and the vet clinic and the library, we go by there often. (The vet clinic and the library are close together, which is convenient.)

Scarecrow is going to talk to somebody about a job tomorrow afternoon, which means a couple of things:

  1. He had to get a haircut. Well, he may not have had to, really. I think this is going to be pretty informal, but still, it's the done thing. I can't remember when he last cut his hair. Probably when he was refereeing wrestling, when Tuffy was in junior high (she's now a junior at UW). Anyway it was long enough ago that he had a waist-length ponytail. 'Had' being the operative word here.
  2. This meeting is way the heck the other end of town – several towns, in fact. It will take a couple of hours, at least, what with getting there and back, and Tuffy has to work, so we're doing the home care thing again. It's the safest thing to do. I need to get used to the idea. It's not really that bad. Really. I know I'll get used to it. Eventually.
  3. The meeting might lead to a job. And that would be good.