I sat down to write this post, but Luke decided he wanted to cuddle. Luke kept rubbing against me and touching my face. He lay on my arm and wiggled on the keyboard. I tried to push him away, but when a cat decides to cuddle, resistance is futile. I stopped writing and cuddled him until he decided that he had had enough. Now that he has gone off to sleep in the window, I can get back to writing.
I have wanted to go to the Hospice thrift store for more than a week, but every day we wake up and are too unmotivated to go. This week, especially, we have been tired and unmotivated. But yesterday morning EJ and I finally made the effort to go–mostly because I really needed to buy some jeans because mine were wearing out and getting holes in them.
I hate buying new jeans at a clothing store because there are too many choices. Not only do I have to make sure that I get the right size, I have to get the right length. I have shorter legs so regular length jeans are too long. There are also choices like boot cut, or narrow cut, or classic cut, or wide cut, and how high or low the waist is. Always, in trying to make sure that one part of the jeans fit, I lose track of the other parts so I get them home and it’s “Rats!” these aren’t right!” Sometimes, even when I have somehow managed to choose all the right size, length, and “fits,” they still don’t fit right. Grrrr! But at the thrift store, the selections and quantity are very limited so I don’t feel overwhelmed by choices. If I do buy jeans that don’t feel right, it’s not so bad because I only paid a few dollars for them. Yesterday I was successful in buying jeans that fit wonderfully.
I also bought some t-shirts because my t-shirts were all getting stains and holes in them–even my favorite yellow shirt and my favorite teal shirt. The stains are mostly from food splashing on me when I cook or from being sloppy when I eat. The holes are from cats who like to ride around on my shoulders and dig into me to keep their balance. I think thrift shops are like treasure hunts because a person doesn’t go there with the expectation of getting a particular thing, but is always surprised at what she finds. I found quite a few t-shirts, including a NASA one (I love space), an Ireland one (my ancestry is mostly Irish from both parents), and a baseball shirt. I think baseball shirts are cool and I have wanted one for a long time even though I am not really interested in baseball. I never bought one at the stores because they were always too expensive, so finding one at the thrift shop for a few dollars was a treasure. When we got home, I showed EJ my t-shirts and he thought they were all wonderful. “You did good,” he said. But when I showed him my baseball shirt, he said, “The CARDINALS??? You bought a CARDINALS shirt?” because our state team is the Detroit Tigers, not the St. Louis Cardinals. Going into my storyteller mode, I told him that the Cardinals was the PERFECT shirt for me because I think cardinals are beautiful birds and I love it when they come to my bird feeders.” Go Cardinals!
I also bought JJ a couple of things: a couple of shirts and a long-handled luffa sponge back washer. He had asked me to get him one, and he loves the one I bought him (only 75 cents!). EJ bought a tiny teapot (he loves teapots even though we have no space to display them), some kitchen utensils, a cooler to use for fishing, and a cute little Delft dish. When we got home, I was trying to find my keys to open the door and a bag slipped out of my hands and fell on the porch. It was the only bag with anything breakable in it. The Delft dish broke. After an initial incredulous “You broke my dish?” EJ remembered that it cost less than $2 and he accepted the loss graciously.
When I was doing dishes yesterday, I looked out the window and saw my neighbor working on his riding lawn mower. He started it and a cloud of smoke puffed out of it so he opened the “hood” and began working on the motor. I thought, “So…the rebellion of the Rebel Scum lawn mowers is spreading.” My neighbor got his mower going after a short time…but who knows for how long? EJ said earlier in the day that he would mow our lawn in a few days, but I told him that it really is my job and I would do it. I am the one who can best do it–I mean, EJ has to work so much and JJ doesn’t have the strength–so I will try again to mow the yard. But if it breaks one more time, I QUIT.
I spent the afternoon paying bills. Then I walked to the post office to mail them. I took Danny with me, so he actually got TWO walks yesterday. He was a lucky dog.
This morning I started making challah bread as soon as I got up. Challah bread recipes make two large loaves, and many times we are not able to eat them before they go bad. I decided today to make four smaller loaves and freeze two of them for next week’s Shabbat. My friends tell me they often freeze challah bread and it works well. My bread turned out beautifully today.
While the challah was rising, I also made two homemade pizzas–one big and one small. I used to not like homemade pizzas because I thought the dough tasted too “bready.” Several years ago, I began searching for a good pizza recipe. I found some pretty good ones, but last fall I found an absolutely delicious recipe at AllRecipe.com. I made the pizzas today hoping to have some for leftovers tomorrow, but my family devoured the big pizza and I don’t expect the small pizza to last through the day. It was a good plan that didn’t work.
JJ’s sleep cycle has been messed up ever since he began Chemo. He now is awake all night and sleeps until late afternoon. He hates sleeping all day so this week he asked me to wake him at 1 p.m. When I wake him, he always moans that he is too tired. Since there is no reason for him to get up and he needs sleep, I always reassure him that it’s ok if he goes back to sleep. He has told me that he doesn’t want me to give up trying to wake him up even though he always goes back to sleep. Today, I asked him if he wanted to celebrate Shabbat with us. Although Shabbat doesn’t really begin until sunset, we always have our meal at noon so EJ can participate before he goes to work. At first JJ groaned that he was too tired, but he really loves Shabbat so he forced himself to get up anyway. He went back to bed at about 4 p.m.
JJ often feels impatient and frustrated because he feels he ought to be “back to normal” but he is still very tired and has little strength. A friend who has also been battling cancer, wrote me at FB that when she told her “naturopath” (who fights cancer with natural methods) that she expected to be further improved than she is, he said “no, she wasn’t ‘out of the woods’ yet, and that recovery was–and needed to be–slow and steady.” My friend says that she has been told by other cancer patients that ‘normal’ may be very different from what it once was, and life will never be the same again. “And that would apply to you and EJ as well because you have lived through the trauma with JJ and experienced it vicariously.” I shared my friend’s message with JJ and I think it really helped to reassure him that he wasn’t just being lazy or anything. Hearing this from another sources adds weight to what we’ve been telling him.
Last night when EJ came home from work, he said he found out why a co-worker had suddenly quit last April: Twelve years ago he had been diagnosed with testicular cancer–the same kind as JJ–and had beat it, but it has returned with a vengeance. His cancer, which is now Stage 4, has wrapped around his spine and paralyzed him from the waist down. EJ reassured me that the difference between JJ and this co-worker is that the co-worker has drank, smoked, and done drugs in the years between cancers and JJ does none of that. But I always feel a stab of fear when I hear that someone’s cancer has returned, especially if it’s testicular cancer. I think that’s one of the ways that cancer has changed our lives. Before JJ got sick, we never imagined that our son would get cancer, especially not as young as he is. But after he was diagnosed with cancer, it has forever moved from “unimaginable” to “possible.” I think that the fear of “possible” will never totally leave us.