I had a long list of useful tasks, the sort I don’t have time to do when working.
It started off well: on Monday I gardened. In fact this wasn’t as much fun as it sounds, because although I weeded one little bed (and got stung by nettles), most of the time I was shifting leaf mould and garden compost around – not ideal for someone with a bad back. But still, it was progress. Then in the evening I had a meeting with the trustees who own my childless, widowed, confused aunt’s sheltered flat. She used to be a missionary doctor and so she has no money to speak of; her church bought the flat for her to live in and trustees are in charge of it. The trouble is that she now has dementia and decisions have to be made. Then I went and spent the night with my mother – I do this three times a week – who told me at length about her various ailments.
On Tuesday I had to go down to my aunt’s flat in the morning because the carer who cooks her dinner for her had phoned up on Monday afternoon to say that there was hardly anything in her fridge or freezer to cook: mainly butter and chocolate. This did indeed turn out to be the case. I had a chat with the warden, who was worried about her, and then I went and did some food shopping for my aunt. In the evening we heard that one of the guinea pigs belonging to Daughter 1 and her husband was ill. This is more serious than it may sound, since SIL – though a lovely young man – is fragile: he suffers from depression and obsessive compulsive disorder. He’s been relatively well since a year past November but was very unwell for two years before that. And he and Daughter 1 are sensitive souls and responsible pet owners who really love their guinea pigs. So they wanted to borrow our car (they don’t have one) to take Pumpkin Pig to the vet college out of town the next day.
On Wednesday they did this while I had a nice day out with friends and did some useful things later. The vet college diagnosed kidney stones and kept Pumpkin Pig in for treatment, warning them of the huge sum (think of an amount you might think excessive and then multiply by at least 10) that this was going to cost. One thing that causes SIL only slightly less stress than his pets being ill is the spending of large sums of money. Then the lady who comes in to give my aunt her evening meal phoned to say that she couldn’t gain entrance to the flat. (We subsequently established that my aunt was just asleep.) Then I went up to my mum’s for the night to hear about her symptoms.
Mr Life was also ill, by the way: he had a bad cold and cough. He got a bit ignored in all this, poor chap.
On Thursday morning, Daughter 2 phoned to say that Brownie Pig was exhibiting the same symptoms. What unbelievable bad luck was this? Then the warden of my aunt’s sheltered flat phoned and said that my aunt had had a fall and had probably broken her hip. I took distraught D1 and SIL out to distant vet college for further diagnosis of kidney stones, in-patient treatment and predictions of vast costs and then went to visit confused aunt in fairly distant hospital. She had indeed broken her hip.
On Friday, I had a friend for coffee and then went and visited my aunt. She was remarkably cheerful. Then I went up to spend the night with my mum and hear about her ailments. This was Daughter 2’s last day of work, she and most of her architect colleagues having been made redundant because no one’s building things at the moment.
On Saturday, I took D1 and SIL back to distant vet hospital to collect the two guinea pigs and see D1 and SIL hand over a sum which would make a nice dent in the national debt. (We gave them half. We remember paying a silly amount of money for Cassie being hospitalised when she was a kitten – only the guinea pigs cost MUCH more. But it was worth it to fend off (we hope) our SIL’s meltdown – quite apart from our lovely D1’s feelings and the question of the piggies’ continued existence.)
Then I drove to Daughter 2’s flat (she has a mortgage to pay now, of course; perfect timing) to lend her the car so that she could drive to a wedding up north.
In the afternoon, Son and his girlfriend came from Glasgow to visit confused aunt in hospital, which was very nice of them. Daughter 1 also went. Son and girlfriend collected my mum and they all stayed for an evening meal, which was also nice. Son had some cat time.
Daughter 2 enjoyed the wedding and delivered the car back this morning. She had a bit of a nap and some cat time. By the afternoon, alas, when my mum and I visited confused aunt, she didn’t remember that Son and girlfriend had visited. Mum and Daughter 2 came to an evening meal tonight but Daughter 1 and SIL were too anxious to be able to leave their (we hope) convalescent patients.
So all this is why my list of useful tasks to be accomplished that week didn’t really get much shorter. Tomorrow I go down to confused aunt’s flat to remove the food I bought her from her fridge because she’s not there to eat it. And then on Tuesday, I’m back to work.
I suppose it’s all part of life’s rich pageant.
I failed to remember while uploading these pictures that one has to do them in reverse order, but...
... and this is just a blog, not a PhD dissertation....
... but the D2 photos were taken today...
... and the Son, Sirius and Mum photos were yesterday. Look at Sirius's limp wrists.
He's such a butch cat.