She liked it!  She actually liked it.  Those of you who have been reading this blog for a while know that I struggle to provide tasty meals for Mary Ann.  I will eat almost anything (except Okra, Oklahoma friends may remember).  Mary Ann, however has a discriminating palate.  That is a classy way of saying she is an annoyingly picky eater! She has been a phenomenal cook when she still used the kitchen.

I can hardly claim the high road here.  I am a hopelessly unskilled and lazy cook.  Give me a four gallon pot and a refrigerator of odds and ends, a few cans of beans and tomatoes and I can make a pot of soup that is nourishing and filling, if not tasty.  I am pretty much the only person who will eat the soup that I make.

People keep telling me that all I need to do is follow a recipe.  They forget to mention that there need to be ingredients purchased, seasonings on hand and enough experience to understand what the heck the recipes mean.  They tend to leave out instructions for things “everybody” knows how to do.  Then there is the issue of getting things for the meal all done at the same time, so there aren’t cold mashed potatoes with a hot roast.

Anyway, she liked it.  She had wanted a pork roast.  She usually doesn’t suggest meals, especially now that words are very few.  She picked out the roast. at the store.  Of course the choices did nto include a pork roast like the ones we used to have, the ones with the bone, lots of fat, and the tenderloin still attached.

I browned the roast in a pan with some olive oil.  Then put it in a large rectangular glass baking dish.  I surrounded it with large hunks of cut onions, red potatoes cut in half, and a half cabbage cut into quarters.  I put salt on all of it since so many veggies would need it.  I sprinkled a little garlic powder on all of it.  I covered the roast with dried thyme.  I deglazed the browning pan with some beef broth.  (Are you impressed yet – “deglazed” — am I cool or what?)  Then I poured that over everyihing, added a little more olive oil on top of the veggies and cooked the heck out of in the oven for a couple of hours.

It was good!!!  She liked it. I liked it.

We also had a windfall.  Don and Edie brought over a meal from the Baptism dinner.  Today, Shari who stayed with Mary Ann this evening brought over tonight’s supper.

Gratefully, our Daughter, Lisa, has made a number of items for the freezer that I only have to thaw and heat.  What a blessing.  She did that while she was here with Mary Ann when I headed to Oklahoma for the three day retreat.

There are lots of people who find themselves in the position of lacking certain skill sets to fulfill all the needs that emerge because of the circumstances that they are in.  When a household has a couple of adults and some children in it, the tasks get either divided or shared, depending on the skills each adult has.  Even in households with two or more adults, there still may not be some skills needed to sustain the household.  In that case, the people in the household earn money to pay someone who does have the skill set that is missing.  Plumbers and electricians come to mind as those who might be paid (now or later, if an unskilled household member tries to fix whatever it is).

People whose life circumstances change may find themselves lacking needed skill sets.  It happens when there has been a divorce.  It happens when a spouse dies.  It happens when  a key member of the household becoms disabled.  It comes with the territory for anyone who happens to be the only one living in the household.

There is inside maintenance, outside maintenance, accounting and money management, automobile maintenance (what and when and whom do you trust).  I am sure you could add lots to that list.  For Caregivers, the task is often complicated by the sheer wieght of dealing with all the personal needs of someone else as well as his/her own.

I have to admt that in my case, many of the missing skill sets are not ones that couldn’t be gained with a little effort.  Therein lies the rub.  Effort is in short supply.  Yes, a lot of it is just laziness.  I have not always been adventurous in learning how to do new things.  I am a procrastinator, and as a reault, I often just don’t get the learning process started on a new skill in time to do what needs to be done.

The skills that are necessary to full time caregiving include food preparation (unfortunately — especially for Mary Ann), managing a household, managing finances, good decison-making (lots to be made on your own), medical diagnosis, communicating effectively with medical professionals (both listening and talking), basic CNA skills in assisting in toileting, showering, dressing, feeding, washing hair, basic household duties such as washing clothes, making beds, cleaing the bedside commode, cleaning up after meals.  Those of you who are Caregivers can, I am sure, add at least as many more tasks that come with the territory.

So, as do each of us who have total responsibility for keeping a household functioning, I do what I can do, find others to do the things that I am currently not equipped to do well, and ignore the rest.  Just don’t look to carefully if you come to visit.

Actually, I have decided only to have very low maintenance pets in the house to keep us company.  At the moment, we have only Dust Bunnies as pets.

Today went reasonably well for Mary Ann, but there was a lot of sleeping, in spite of very loud sawing and banging on the outside walls soon to be removed.  I hope she sleeps tonight.

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