I asked Mary Ann if she wanted to go out to lunch.  A ridiculous question, since she always wants to go out.  The sun was bright.  The temperature headed for a balmy 33 degrees.  All but the major thoroughfares were still in pretty bad shape, but it was doable.

We ate at Perkins, then headed for some errands.  Excluding a pit stop at the house, we were out from 11:15am to about 4:30pm.  I guess we had a lot of pent up need for running errands.

We had an appointment this afternoon that related to obtaining the means to accomplish a project here at the house.  While we have limited resources, there is a need to do whatever we are able to do to make our environment as pleasant and stimulating and nurturing as possible.  Most of the days we have left together will be spent here at home.  It is reasonable to expect our freedom to get out to diminish as time goes by.

We have a wonderful, calming pondless waterfall that has been installed in our back yard.  There are probably thirty or more trees surrounding the area behind the house.  There is a secluded feel to the space.  The problem is that we can’t see any of it from inside the house.  We have to go out on to the back deck to enjoy it.

Town homes are close to one another and often have very limited window space.  One reason we chose this home was that it had more natural light coming in that most of them, but it still is very limited.

Before we added the deck, there was a small patio under a portion of the roof in the back corner of the house.  When we built the deck, it included that patio area and extended into the back yard.  We are going to enclose the area under the overhang so that it will become a sun room.  The interior walls will be removed other than a column to support headers that keep the roof properly supported.  There will be a six foot by nine foot area added to the interior space.  There will be sliding glass doors flanked by windows the same size as each panel in the sliding glass doors.  There will be light!! By the way, yes, there will be Vertical Blinds to provide privacy at night.

Through those glass doors and windows we will be able to see the waterfall and plantings.  I will be able to see the birds that come to the twelve to fifteen bird feeders clustered around the deck.  Mary Ann is just not comfortable spending time outdoors. This way she will be able to enjoy the waterfall and back yard from inside the house.

I won’t deny that this project, along with the waterfall, is an attempt to satisfy my need to enjoy the outdoors.  We are here inside this small living space all day long every day much of the time.  This project will bring the outside in so that our cabin fever might be diminished even when we are homebound.

This afternoon the commitments were made.  The project should begin some time early in February.  Who was it that said his goal in retirement was to spend his children’s inheritance?  Sorry, Kids!

Since we were out for most of the day, there were no nap times.  What is odd is that while Mary Ann has slept pretty well the last couple of nights, having had one or two long naps during the day, she seems unable to get to sleep tonight.  There has been almost constant motion in the bedroom.

Since there were no naps, I have not had any time to spend with the online Ignatian retreat today.  Mary Ann did get in bed early tonight, even though without sleeping.  When she first laid down, I read an email that included a link to a YouTube video of the Taizé community singing in worship.  That link took me to a treasure trove of Taizé music with video or slides.  I spent the next hour trying to listen and watch.  That music touches me deeply at a Spiritual level.

I used the word “trying” in describing that experience, since Mary Ann’s movements caused me to hop up every few minutes.  In between times helping her with the television remote or adjusting the covers or using the commode or having a drink of water, I watched the monitor wondering what was coming next.  I found the conflict between the deep feelings I was experiencing through the meditative music and the constant attending to Mary Ann to be almost unbearable.

It is just a part of the Caregiving task for anyone who is attending to another’s personal needs.  What is so difficult is that the person in need becomes the constant center of attention, with no opportunity to just relax and focus on something else.  Any other focus needs never to draw attention completely away from what she is thinking or feeling or needing or doing or considering doing.  The pieces of Taizé music are anywhere from two to five minutes long.  I was not able to listen to even one of them all the way through without at least one trip to help Mary Ann.  This time after she goes to bed is the time I count on to disengage a bit and focus on something to stimulate my mind.  I have been up and down more that a dozen times while trying to write this post.  It is at times like this that the task of full time caregiving feels the heaviest.

I will head back to the bedroom now in hopes that there will be some sleeping that will follow.  The odds are not good for that happening.

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