"To talk of many things:
Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax--
Of cabbages--and kings--
And why the sea is boiling hot--
And whether pigs have wings."
Don’t know why that piece of poetry from Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There happened to come to mind just now, except that Mom and I are thinking of moving in together. Talk about two opposites, well, we beat everything you’ve ever seen!!!
Mom worries about EVERYTHING!!! Given any situation, she does not look at the pros and cons, she looks at worst case scenarios!!! Me, I’m oblivious to anything. Will it work? Won’t it work? What happens if it doesn’t work?? Who care! Let's just try it. I’m a bit like Scarlett O’Hara: I’ll think about that tomorrow. Or, more precisely, I’ll think about it when it either does or doesn’t work. She will look at every bad thing that could conceivably occur and then invent some extras just in case we haven’t thought of all of them.
I think her blood has thinned out a lot from the 81 mg aspirin she’s been taking, though I take them too. Plus, older people don’t seem to feel the heat as much, as can be attested to by all those seniors in Florida. So Mom is constantly cold. Her house feels like a furnace. Me, well, I’m usually hot all the time. They laugh at work because I’ve got my window open constantly. Even on snowy days when it’s too bad to go driving to work, or even walking to the mailbox, I’ll sit in my office at home in front of a wide-open window! “You’re from the North,” my neighbor will call out to me from the parking lot below. “What gave it away?” I ask. “Uh, Southerners wouldn’t be sitting in front of an open window on a 30o day,” he’ll reply with an incredulous sound to his voice. “But the sun it out,” I’ll resoibd happily. He shakes his head and walks home. We have that conversation repeatedly, just about every time it snows, actually.
Today it snowed, and it’s been really, really cold. Mom said she was wearing just about every piece of clothing she owned. She had on layer over layer of clothing, topped with a scarf my daughter once knitted, and even went to bed with a hat on her head. “The temperature in the house says it’s 71,” she commented, “but I’m still cold!” I my house the thermostat is seldom set above 65, and today I haven’t even gotten dressed because it’s much cooler to sit around in my nightgown with no socks and shoes on.
I like to have everything at hand when I’m working. That’s why my office is such a mess, I guess. So all my appliances are sitting right out there on the kitchen counter, ready to use at all times. Mom has a few appliances on her counter, but even those she unplugs after each use. So when she’s done making toast, she unplugs the toaster; if you make coffee, you unplug the coffee maker, and so on and so forth. “Why do you have to unplug everything?” I ask. “Because they could cause a fire.” She look s at me like I haven't got a brain in my head. And then she’ll l;aunch into the tale of the one person whose microwave or curling iron somehow suffered from some internal combustion or something, taking down their whole house in flames. Never mind the millions of people who have never had that problem; but it COULD happen, so better safe than sorry, is her motto.
“Why don’t you unplug the stove,” I’ll say sarcastically. “That’s electric and it cooks things too.” Well, obviously the stove is different, but I haven’t yet figured out how.
Remember that open window I spoke of that I love so much? Well, I have my bed positioned directly under a window so I can sleep with it open and aim my CPAP-covered nose in that direction. My mom says that's okay for me, my bedroom is on the second floor, but open windows are not allowed at her house at night where it's all downstairs and anyone could could break in. Yeah, condos in Yadkinville are notorious for break-ins. Right. I had a friend who lived for years on one of the main streets in Yadkinville. Not only did he NEVEER lock his car doors, he even left his keys in the ignition! "Aren't you afraid it will get stolen," I asked once. He smiled condescendingly at me. "This is Yadkinville," he replied, and that was all the response he felt it was necessary to give.
“There’s nothing on TV,” my mom states, “and I’m bored.” I, on the other hand, am addicted to TV. I love to read, write, watch TV, and am seldom, if ever, bored. Besides, I’ve got a million projects in the house under way. Not finished, just under way. Which brings up another problem: Mom needs to have things done immediately, and I’m a card-carrying member of the procrastinator club. I misplaced my cell phone today. Now, I know that’s not an unusual occurrence for me, but today I had good reason. See, I was on the phone with mom this morning, working on the computer to cancel some insurance for her. When we finished, I went downstairs to get some food, taking my phone with me. I was up and down stairs all day doing a variety of things. When I went to look for my phone, it was …. Well, missing! Now, since I’d been up and down stairs all day, it too could have been in any of those places. So that’s where I looked: Upstairs, downstairs, upstairs, downstairs. I looked everywhere! Couldn’t find it anywhere!!! I was so desperate I sent an e-mail to my office and asked them to call me so I could track it down! Before that occurred, however, a neighbor called. Thank goodness it wasn't on vibrate! And there was my phone, sitting in the my daughter’s old unused bathroom. Well, I never would have looked for it there. We haven’t used that bathroom since she moved to Arizona. The water isn’t even turned on to the toilet because of the leak she had when she lived here. Oh, yeah, I suddenly recall, That’s why my phone is in there. I went in this morning to survey all the work that needs to be done and promised myself that I’d finally get around to fixing that toilet TODAY! Then I went downstairs and started going through cookbooks, then emptying bookcases, then sorting craft items for a future yard sale. I totally forgot about fixing the toilet. Yeah, I’m just not the do-it-immediately type person.
I read recently about the difference between convergent and divergent thinkers. Convergent thinkers sort things out, categorize them, prioritize them, and tackle them one at a time. Divergent thinkers treat them all with the same priority and work a little on this one, a little on that one, and some on the other, all at the same time. Guess which thinker I am. Mom will get focused on one thing and can’t concentrate on anything else till that one thing gets done. She’ll call with a computer problem and it’s so funny. I’ll be trying to walk her through it one step at a time and she’ll be following directions, talking at the same time about what happened previously, and missing half of what I’m saying because she’s so fixed on the problem at hand. “Okay, Mom, now put the cursor there and click on your right mouse button. Okay?” “Okay.” “Now, a window will pop up that says so-and-so, but don’t click on anything yet,” I’ll say. “Oh, I’ve already clicked on such-and-such! What do I do now?” “Well, now you’ve got to get out of there because you weren’t supposed to click on such-and-such.” And on it goes. We’re like Laurel and Hardy, with her forging ahead without an idea of what she’s doing and me flapping my tie up and down looking really dumb.
So now comes the BIG decision: If we live together, where do we live, your place or mine? She’s got two bedrooms and one bath; I’ve got two bedrooms, two and a half baths. She’s got a big kitchen; I’ve got a bigger living room. She’s got lots of windows; and I have … not! But most important of all, she’s got one floor; I’ve got two, and the showers, well, they’re all UPSTAIRS! Hmm, not a good place for a shower when one of the members of the family can barely get around because of her arthritis. So do we put in a chair lift? My knee is getting to the point where that’s starting to sound good even to me.
The ideal situation would be if we could sell both homes and get a one-floor, three bedroom/two bath house. Yes, that would be ideal. Except for the 30-year mortgage that would attach to it. I don’t believe I want to work another 30 years. Let’s see, I’d be about the age my mom is now. Of course, if they keep making Social Security retirement age further and further away, I might have to work another 30 years anyway. Might as well have a house we could both be comfortable in during that time. Wait, that’s my divergent brain working again, isn’t it? Now it’s not just a choice between your place or mine; now it’s yours, mine or ours? Yikes! I think I’ll table that decision, play some Jimmy Buffet and read the Jabberwocky while I contemplate fixing Becka’s toilet once more, juxtaposed against the decisions to paint now or replace the thermostat with a new-fangled one first, or should I re-do the popcorn ceiling in her bath, or take out the popcorn in mine to match hers, and don’t forget that paint I bought for the kitchen; perhaps I should start tearing off the wallpaper today. Yeah. Now that’s a plan I can work with!