Rain Gutter Woes

It was hot and dry for a long time this summer.  One day, coming in from outdoors, Certain Man remarked to me that the leaves were already falling — and it was only August!  Well, yes, it did seem as if the leaves were falling in great number, but I didn’t know what to do about it, so I listened and noted — but I didn’t run out there with anything to paste them up there more securely.

So we drifted into September, and suddenly, we were slammed with a whole lot of rain.  It came down in torrents, and it came shooting out over the gutters that are along the roof above our back decks, and that resulted in water seeping into our usually fairly dry basement.

Certain Man did not like it.  Not one little bit.  And one afternoon, when there was an especially loud thunderstorm going on, he announced, “I need to get up there and clean those gutters, or we are going to have a flood in the basement.”

I was not impressed with this endeavor.  Not one little bit.  “Daniel, you can’t go out in this thunderstorm and clean gutters!”

His reply?  The usual.  “Watch me!”

“But Sweetheart, it’s not safe.  You could get struck by lightening!”

“You don’t get struck by lightening if you aren’t the tallest thing in the area!” he said jauntily.

“You KNOW that’s not true!  If you are up on a metal ladder, dripping wet, you could be a target as sure as anything!  Please don’t!”

“Hon, you have to understand!  It’s a whole lot easier to clean gutters when it’s pouring down rain because the tide carries everything down the gutter to where you are and you can just lift it right out of the way.  It’s as easy as all get out!”

I said some more things that fell on deaf ears, but then he turned and seemed to head in a different direction than indicated for going out to clean gutters and I thought he was going to heed my advice.  Alas, that must have been a ploy to distract me.

Outside the storm raged on, but I thought all was well until I looked out the patio door and caught sight of him perched high on his ladder, happily cleaning gutters.  The lightning was bright, the thunder was loud and I went to the door to remonstrate gently.

“Daniel Yutzy, what do you think you are doing???  You are going to get yourself killed!  Get down right now!  For cryin’ out loud!  What in the world are you thinking?!?!?”

I caught sight of his face through the downpour and he was ginning, scooping out leaves and sticks and dirt from the offending gutters with great glee.  It was almost disgusting if I hadn’t been so frightened!  And the rain was coming in the patio door.  He wasn’t listening to me.  A sudden flash of lightning, followed by an immediate clap of thunder made me cringe.  I shut the patio door against the summer storm, and tried not to look.  He came down off his ladder to carry it to the other porch deck, and I saw him through the deluge as he came around the corner of the deck and propped it up against the siding. And then he came in, wet as a mongrel pup in a waterfall, and a sight to behold.

“Whew,” I said.  “You got done just in time!”

“I didn’t get done,” he said shortly.   “I quit!”

I couldn’t believe my ears.  “You quit???”

“Yep!” He said in his offhanded, careless way.  “I quit!  That last lightning strike was a little too close for comfort, so I decided to get down!”

I did not dance a jig or even allow myself a triumphant fist pump.  What did it matter as long as he was safely down and inside where he would be warm and dry?  So I gave silent thanks and did not celebrate too overly much.

The gutters got cleaned out another day.  And the next time it rained, Certain Man called attention to the  fact that no gutter was overflowing.  I noticed, and thanked him for a job well done.

The rain continues day after day and as those gutters do their job, my heart gives quiet, humble praise.  Not just for the gutters, but also that Certain Man is safe yet again when it seems as if it could have been so different.

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To Count The Gifts

It’s been a quiet day at Shady Acres.  We came home and ate a quick lunch, and then Middle Daughter and Eldest Granddaughter cleaned up the kitchen while I sat on my chair and talked to my sister, Alma.  I’m feeling like I’m short on family contact these days except for the people who go in and out of our house, and it was a comfort to me.  My out of state offspringin’s and grandchildren are strangely silent, and there has been a lot of clamor from some of the noises that sit heavy on my heart, causing me to feel more than a little GRUMPY.

I’m not allowed to be grumpy.  It’s not that someone has told me that I’m not allowed, but rather that I’ve learned that when this restless, vague irritation puts a foot down in my life, I’m going to do and say things that I’ll regret.  I’m going to confuse people I love, who scramble to try to make me happy again but don’t really understand what in the world has happened.  And, I also know that it’s time to do some heart work, and to be specific about realigning this heart with gratefulness.

There has been much to be happy for.  For one thing, unlike most of the rest of the population, I happen to like rainy days.  I don’t like when storms hurt or displace people, and I’ve been very intentional about praying for the children and the elderly and the handicapped who may be suffering in the weather and who are at the mercy of other people.  But rain on my roof, and dripping off the trees, seeing the pouring rain like a grey skirt sweeping over the lawn, and hearing thunder — well, that’s my kind of day!  So these past weeks, when I’ve prayed for all who have been adversely affected, it’s been nice to also thank God for these days that I truly do enjoy.  I mean, if we are going to have them anyway, I might as well be thankful for them.

Another thing that I’m very grateful for is God’s protection over people I love.  On a dark and rainy Sunday morning, when Hospice nurse, Middle Daughter, was on her way to a death in Selbyville, a large, black dog was suddenly directly in her path.  She lost control upon hitting it, hit a mailbox, and there was considerable damage to her trusty Toyota Matrix.  There was also a very dead black dog, with no collar or identification of any kind.  The police were kind, her father came quickly and brought her and the car home, the insurance adjuster was delightful, and the car should be done tomorrow in time for her to go to work.  This is all a major blessing.  Between hydroplaning and downpours and other dangerous scenarios, our Hospice Nurse Daughter has been kept from bodily harm through the many miles that she has traveled.

There have been happy times of celebrating birthdays this week.  Certain Man’s sister, Lena has been here for about six weeks, and his sister in law, Ruby came to Delaware for Grandparents’ Day at GMS.  Ruby’s son, Daniel’s nephew, Weston, and his sweet wife, Stephanie, combined three birthdays into one grand celebration, and we were fed royally and enjoyed a great time together with good friends and family.  Then this morning, my Aunt Dottie was honored at a “Glorified Coffee Bar” for her ninetieth birthday.  90 years!  Wow!  She is still a classy, beautiful lady, with life experiences behind her that have made her what she is today, and it is easy to love her.  She is well worth celebrating, and it was a grand time together.

Anyhow, I should do this a whole lot longer, but I am truly feeling a whole lot happier.  I have a lot of things that could have happened that I’m mighty happy didn’t.  There are some (well, okay, a LOT of) things that I wish had happened, and didn’t.  I’m still praying for some big things that should happen, at least in my humble opinion, but even if these things that seem so imperative to my happiness don’t come to pass, I will not only praise Him, but I purpose to trust Him.

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The Summer Wanes

The heat is oppressive.

I pull shriveled leaves off my verbena plants and deadhead the expired blossoms and think about this summer.

This has been a summer of change.  It’s been a summer of HARD, HARD, HARD.  It’s been a summer of unfair accusations, misunderstandings, and unresolved sadness over the mental breakdown of one of the individuals in our home, her decision to leave us, and the subsequent cut off of all communication.  I’ve been left with 12 years of memories, not all good, but so, so many that were, and a deep desire to have just a friendship with this individual in whom we had invested so much.  It may be better for her (and us) to have things this way, but I taste the grief as salt at the many places that her person filled.  I shell lima beans, remember that the trash goes to the road on Thursday, keep the paper towel holders and toilet paper spindles filled, and clean her bathroom, and remember the good times and wish for the thousandth time that it was possible to convince someone that doesn’t love herself that she is, not only lovable – but loved!

There were breathless moments of panic and despair as we have watched and waited the drama unfold around the foster baby that our family loves so intently.  FOUR times we had a date for when she would be permanently moved.  FOUR times, the plans changed yet again.  The yet unfinished business makes me feel as if I cannot really let my breath all out, but our God is in control of all of this, and He has proven that He doesn’t need a month, a week, a day, an hour or minute to accomplish His Purpose.  He even can redeem a situation when it seems like it’s already too late, and HE is to be trusted.

There have been family issues that have broken my heart.  What should I do when decisions are made by people I love that are so totally out of my control, but it’s obvious that the decisions will lead to disaster, heartache, and shipwreck?  And what about the stuff that’s already done and is irreparable?  Words spoken that damage the hearts of the little ones, divorce, suicide, abortion?  The kinds of things that make me sick with that “kicked in the gut, and I can’t get my breath” kind of response . . .and I can’t fix it!

They say I’m not supposed to.  It’s not up to me.  Then why does it hurt so much?

These are the days when I have been so homesick for my Daddy and My Sweet Mama.  I know that they couldn’t fix things either (and some of the things, I’m really happy that they don’t even have to know about).  But in the roughest places of my life, when it felt like there was nowhere else to turn, they listened, and they prayed and it was enough.  I have always said that my Daddy went to Heaven “all prayed up and prayed ahead” for us and our children, but sometimes it feels like we are running out.  (“Oh, Daddy, what would you say?  How would you pray?  What would you do?”) I find the tears wanting to spill out over the strangest things.  I feel so fragile, and it makes me wish for a reprieve.  It makes me wish for Heaven.  I’ve always wanted to live here in “Light of Heaven,” but I’m thinking this expression of that ideal doesn’t translate into the present as a positive thing.  At least not very well.

I deadhead flowers, pick garden produce, make relish,  and freeze beans.  I have days filled to the brim with plenty to do, and earlier this week, I came home from a very full day and as Certain Man and I were headed up to bed, I realized that there was some talk on our Yoder family Google Group about an “old photo.”

“Wait just a minute,” I implore my long suffering spouse.  “I haven’t checked email all day, and I want to see what this is.”  I flip through the 100+ emails that accumulated there and find the attachment and open it.  “Oh,” I say softly.  And turn the screen to show him.

Daddy and his twin

It’s a photo of my Daddy and his twin, Luke.  It sucks away my breath, and the tears sting behind my eyelids.    Daniel went through all the things a man does, like “Wonder where they were?  Wonder when that was taken?  Wonder what they were doing?  Wonder who was there?  I mean, somebody had to take the picture.”  I just looked at it and looked at it, until I couldn’t see.

It’s a peculiar thing.  Since Mama died, I miss Daddy more than before.  I’ve heard explanations for that often enough to realize that it isn’t unusual  — but it doesn’t stop the missing.  I miss Mama acutely these days, too.  Sometimes I wonder what our lives would be like now if they had continued to live and move and have their being.  It would be different, for sure, and I would never say that I think it would have been better, but maybe there would be more comfort for these days.  One thing that would probably never changed and that was her delight in her babies and grandchildren.  I opened our Wert family google group the other day and had to suck in my breath again.  It was a picture of my Aunt Orpha, holding her newest great-grandchild.  She looked so much like my Sweet Mama, and everything was sweet, sweet, sweet.  She was dressed in a pretty dress that could have been my mama’s.  I  saw her face, so much like that of “her sister next in line,” my mother, and I wept again.

Aunt Orpha

“Someday the silver cord will break,
And I no more as now shall sing.
But oh!  The Joy when I awake
Within the palace of the king . . .”

And so, except for those I love who may not be there,

“Even so, Lord Jesus, Come!”

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It’s All Too True

I had a dream.

I was riding on a fast moving bus with a lot of other people. We were swiftly moving through a city.  I don’t know where we were going, but it seemed that at the time I did and it was destination important.

As I looked out the window, I became aware of a girl on a bike, pedaling furiously to catch up with the bus.  I saw her streaming down the sidewalk parallel to the bus, and she was losing ground.  I knew her.  I loved her.

“Stop the bus!” I screamed.  “Stop the bus!  She wants on!”  Immediately the bus pulled over to the curb and stopped.  The doors opened for me and I dashed out, to grab her in the kind of hug she loves, to welcome her onto the bus.

But before I could reach her, I saw her turn her bike away.

“Don’t go!  Please come onto the bus!” I pleaded with her, and started towards her.  But she turned her bike away and pedaled fast and furiously in the opposite direction.  I tried to stop her, but she never looked back.  I stood on the sidewalk and watched as she became a speck in the distance.

And then I woke up.

And wept.

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A Lament

Sometimes I think we’ve lost the Song of Lament.  It’s been hushed and squelched and medicated and ignored and given dance moves and disguised as jazz or blues or another country song.

I wish I could write a song tonight.  It would be a lament.  It would be full of tears and wails and questions.  It would lash out at all the things that are wrong with my world.  Yes, I know.  There’s plenty out there, people I don’t know, suffering injustice and sorrow and loss and reversal.  I know.  Someone should sing a song of lament for this old world and all that’s wrong in it.

But there’s enough to wail about in my own world that I really could write enough verses to keep me lamenting for a long, long time.

I weep for the suicide of Sierra.  The long weeks since she chose to leave this life have been lingering grief for me.  So much promise, so much ability, poured out, wasted. This blood shed wantonly, like a careless sacrifice, never enough to atone for anything, haunts me.  “Sierra, if you were here, you could write a song for me . . .”

I weep for my youngest grandson, Frankie.  Two months ago, in a playground incident, he was knocked off the monkey bars, called the “n” word, and suffered a concussion.  I know that race will always be a factor in the lives of our three handsome grandsons, and I can’t fight all their battles for them.  But in my helpless fury, I ache for the ongoing pain, physical as well as emotional, and wish there was a way to stamp out the hatred that gets passed from the adults to the kindergarteners, first and second graders.  I pray that the MRI gives answers, and I pray that it is something that is easily fixed, and I pray for his heart and the fears that hold him back, and I lament a little boy who, along with his brothers, faces such big issues.

I weep for the marriages within my extended family that are troubled and fractured and seemingly beyond repair.  I wish there were some magic answers and I wish for hearts to be turned towards the Father first, then towards each other.  My lament rises highest for the children — the children! – caught in the confusing mess of divided loyalties, contradictory messages, wanting only for their parents to somehow fix what is wrong, and bring back the homes that no longer exist.  How do you mend the broken hearts?  How do you revive the hope that brought two people to a marriage that now lies broken.  And it isn’t just one marriage.  If only it were just one . . .

I weep for the choices of people I love that will surely end in sorrow and regret.  I know that only God can change the hearts of men, and He only does that as people allow Him to, but I can continually pray for softened hearts.  I pray for circumstances and people placed in their way, strategically, and unpredictably that will turn their thoughts and their hearts towards JESUS.  And I choose to believe that GOD has a plan, but I lament the wasted years, the missed opportunities, the Kingdom Work that would have benefited from the gifts of these people I love, and I lament the loss of easy camaraderie that comes when people believe that God is alive and at work in the affairs of men and share the stories of Grace with freedom and excitement and unity.

I lament the unknown future of a little girlie that we know as Babysweete.  I’ve prayed and begged, and wept and hugged myself to try to keep the hurt that tastes like acid in my throat, from spilling like hot sauce into my stomach.  And my loss isn’t as great as that of my son and his bride and their three sons.  It makes me weep some more – to see their steadfast commitment to doing what they feel they have been called to do, even when they are misunderstood, or things are said that are singularly unhelpful, or their own grief and loss wants them to draw back.  I feel the sadness, bitter as gall in the back of my mouth and my head wants to turn away, because I remember.  I try not to look, but the grief, forty years old, shakes itself from its lair and rises, grizzled and slow, and lumbers across the timbers of my heart, breaking them once again.  And I hear the dirge rising almost unbidden at the strangest times and in the strangest places, and I want to give it voice, and I want to give it volume, but I don’t know how . . . I don’t know how . . . except to write it down somewhere, and then it isn’t quite so scary anymore.

There are more verses that could be written into this lament.  I could call one “OGA.” I could call one “drought.” I could call one “Schedule.” I could call one “Stubborn.”  I could call one “Pain.”

But it wouldn’t do any good to go on and on.  My Sweet Mama used to say, “If you smile for a while, You’ll forget that you are blue.”  (She would even sing that to me now and then when the situation warranted it. That wasn’t any fun!)  The funny thing about a lament is that, when you get done, you really do feel better!  And I do.  A whole lot better.  So much better, in fact, that my previous intention of writing this all down and trying to think up some minor key to express it all is far less attractive.

I have been very honest with you all tonight — you’ve seen the rawer side of this Delaware Grammy.  I am not always happy.  I don’t always feel grateful.  Sometimes I feel like an honest, loud lament would be a pretty good expression of my heart.  (Do they still have professional mourners in the Jewish circles?  Maybe I could hire someone!)  Now that this is written down, I think I’ll go to bed.  It’s later than I intended, and my mornings, though not as early as they once were, still come sooner than I like.  We are supposed to have rain tomorrow.  And for this we can petition all this Delmarva Peninsula.  “Lord Jesus, send the rain!”

And honestly, with or without a lament, I’ve learned that giving thanks is still the best antidote for any heavy heart.

And so, through the choking of my lament, my heart gives grateful praise.

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Where Have the Words Gone?

Sometimes I think they may come back.

The Words.

The Stories of laughter and grief and tears and joy have always filled my life.

My heart, still filled with grateful praise, has longed for the familiar expression of my days.

But the words were gone.  Lying awake at night, sometimes, fitting them together in my head, I hoped for a chance to put them down, but in the morning, the sequences were gone, and the words just did not come together the way they always have.

They did not walk away by themselves.  They were stolen.

Stolen by the very things that fill the stories of my life: The grief.  The laughter.  The happy days. The people.  The Fatigue.  And even that double edged sword that we call HPPA.

There have been plenty of stories.  And some were started, carefully crafted, and then discarded because, in my sadness or anger or resentment or hurt, the words were not helpful.  If writing it down doesn’t help me, it’s not going to help anyone else, either.

Words.

I’ve always loved them.

I hope they come back because I really miss them.

I think there just might be a chance.

Either way, my heart gives grateful praise.

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Of Stomach Bugs and Families and Birthday Parties

The phone rang in the last 15 minutes of Bible Study last week.  Middle Daughter who usually answers the phone on such days, was in the woods, helping her father clear some property.  It’s rare for the phone to ring on Thursday mornings, unless it is an emergency (or a telemarketer).  For some reason, this felt urgent, so I excused myself and went to answer.  It was Youngest Son, Lem, and he sounded concerned.

“Uh, Mom,” he said, “I just got a call from Jessica, and Stella is throwing up dark stuff, and we think we need to take her to the hospital. I’m  on my way home from work, and we are going to decide what we are going to do!    Please pray for us!”

I was immediately concerned.  Stella, our almost five month old granddaughter, had caught a stomach bug from somewhere.  Her parents had her to the pediatrician the day before and were following strict instructions, but it seemed that a brief reprieve had turned into something more serious. Strictly breastfed, a dark vomitus was not a good sign.  After promising that we would pray, and murmuring some words intended to reassure, I went back and finished the minutes we had left. “My girls” ever ready to support and care and pray, promised to do so, and then we were done.

It was then that Stella’s other grandma, Lynn, called, and asked if I knew what was was going on in Washington.  I told her that Lem had called, and she said, “I would just like to get in the car and go over there and see if I could help in any way.”  I’m pretty clueless, and I didn’t really think about going over there at all, but then I picked up my phone and realized that Lem had messaged me a little earlier (before he called) and had said, “Any chance you wanna make an afternoon run to DC?”

This galvanized me into action, I checked my calendar, and it was free.  I called Daniel to see if it was okay with him if I went.  He thought it would be fine.  Then I tried to call Lynn to see how long it would take her to get ready.  She had taken her troubles out to the garden to work out some of her feelings and to pray for her beloved grandbaby.  And she had left her phone inside.  It took a while to connect with her, but when I did, she was more than ready to go to Washington.

“How soon can you be ready?” I asked her.

“I can be ready now,” she said.  “Or at least in ten minutes.  I can be ready when you get here.”

While I was waiting for her to call me back, I had gotten the bright idea of throwing the ingredients for a beef and barley stew into a container, and measuring out the ingredients for a small batch of bread that I could mix up in Jessica’s Kitchen Aid mixer.  I was almost done collecting things, so I told Lynn that I would be there in another half hour.  It was a little longer than that when I finally pulled out of my driveway, and then stopped to pick her up, and we were on our way.

The ride to Washington was pleasant.  We chatted, commiserated, and wondered how “our baby” was doing.  We heard that she was at the Children’s Hospital in Washington, that Youngest Daughter, Rachel, who works quite close to Lem and Jessica’s house, had actually taken Jessica and Stella to the hospital and Lem had joined them there.  The baby was dehydrated, and they were running other tests, starting IV’s and doing labs.  Shortly before we arrived in Washington, we got a text from Rachel, asking us to please disinfect the house when we got there.  “It’s super contagious!”

A kindly neighbor let us into Lem and Jessica’s house, and Lynn grabbed the Lysol while I opened windows.  The day was sunny and bright and very windy, even in downtown Washington.  It wasn’t long until the house was full of breeze and the smell of Lysol.  Then Lynn and I got busy and got the soup started, and the bread going.  The Beef and Barley stew that I make is heavy on the onions, and because I’ve heard tell that onions are a great fighter of germs, it seemed appropriate to make this particular favorite of Lem and Jessica’s.  We gathered up all the laundry that had been puked on and anything that wasn’t pretty much tacked down and started the first of two loads of wash.  All the while, we waited for updates and progress notes from the Washington Yutzys.

The updates kept trickling in, and about the time that the bread came out of the oven, we heard that Rachel was coming home.  She breezed in and gave good reports, said that it looked like Stella would be released, and that everything had come back clear except for the “mild to moderate dehydration.”  The dark in the barf?  They thought that was probably a small tear somewhere in the esophagus from the projectile vomiting, because blood work was normal, and the x-rays came back fine.  When would they be able to come home?  “Soon” was the response, but, as Stella’s daddy texted somewhat ruefully, “that could be hours by hospital time!”

It was around 7:00 when they finally pulled in.  Stella was sleeping, but looked pretty good.  She was allowed to have something to eat, so Jessica nursed her a little bit and then brought her out for me to hold before I left for home.  And that is when it happened.  Suddenly, with no warning, she projectile vomited all over me, all over the floor, all over herself.  The poor little thing emptied her tummy of everything in it.  So then it was a mad scramble to clean everything up, to give her a bath, and her Daddy went forth to procure a prescription that had been given them.  I wiped myself off, decided that when Lem came home, I was going to make my departure, and get myself on home.  I put away the last of the soup, washed my big pan, and got everything ready to go.  Lem came home, and they got the first dose of medicine in her, and I left.  It was a little after 8:00.  Lynn had packed to stay overnight because she guessed, rightly so, that she might be needed the next day.

It was a busy couple of days at Shady Acres.  Friday was a usual day with some extras thrown in, and then Saturday, it was birthday party time for our oldest granddaughter, Charis.  Everyone was coming here, and I was so glad that I didn’t need to go anywhere.  Rachel and her boyfriend, Rob, were coming for the party, as were some very good friends.  Tacos were on the menu, and I was to make the meat and the drink – southern sweet tea and homemade lemonade.  I felt grumpy all day, for some reason, just a little edgy, and the longer the taco meat cooked, the less I liked it.

I kept thinking that I was just good and sick of smelling tacos when I suddenly felt like I was about to toss my cookies.  I suddenly remembered that “Highly Contagious” business and with a sinking feeling, I knew that something was amiss.  I kept on working at trying to get ready, but I probably wasn’t much help.  Finally, after most of the guests were here, and I felt like it might be a kindness to them if I didn’t stay around, I mouthed to Daniel across the room, “I’m going upstairs!”  He nodded understandingly, and I made my way up to the comfort of our big old bed.  How wonderful it all felt!  I found an old prescription of Penergan in my dresser drawer and swallowed the recommended dose of two teaspoons, and then I slept.  I got awake around ten of nine and discovered that almost everyone had gone, and I was sure I was going to throw up.  I wished for a bucket of some kind, but finally sat on the porcelain convenience and held the trash can.  Eventually, the urge to throw up passed, and I gingerly descended to the lower level where all the guests were fully departed except Rob and Rachel, and they were cleaning my kitchen.  I sat on my chair and watched the transformation.  Deborah had a break from work, came in and tended to BL and OGA, then went to document her Hospice visits.  Rob and Rachel left to go back to Washington.  Eventually, Certain Man said he was going to bed, or did I want him to stay downstairs with me?  No, no.  It was fine, he should just go on, I was going to sleep on my chair and see how I  felt.

I slept good until around 2:00, and then woke suddenly.  I felt a lot better.  Almost no nausea at all.  I did need to go to the restroom, so I hauled myself out of my chair, and cautiously made my way across the dining room and kitchen to the bathroom door.  Huh!  The light was on.  There was a double whammy when a most unpleasant wall of odor hit me when I opened the door.  I looked across to the room shared by OGA and BL.  Huh!  Audrey was not in her bed.  But there were black deposits across the rug, and a cowpie on bed.  About then, Audrey stuck her head around the edge of the dresser and said, “Mare-ann.  I got trouble!”

And she for sure, did!  I sat there, all miserable on the potty, and looked while she tried to explain.  I was cross and irritated.  Then I went around the corner and looked, and there was a bunch more on the floor by the closet!

“Audrey!  How in the world did you get all that poop over there by the closet?”

She looked at me with her owl eyes.  “I ‘on’t know!  She insisted.  “I was just going to get another pull up!”

It would be so easy to be really impatient with this botheration.  I’ve explained and explained to OGA that the pull-ups are supposed to stay up until she gets to where she is going, even if she is in a hurry,  but when she thinks she is going to have an accident, she tries to save time by pulling them down on her way to the bathroom.  With her pullups out of the way, there is a great splaying of fecal matter all over the floor, all over anything in her way.  So I understand about the trail of poop on the floor between the bed and the bathroom – but into the closet?

“I was getting a new pull-up,” she said, as if that explained everything.

Oh, so that is what it was.  She had messed the one that she was wearing, and wanted to go get a clean one from her stash, and apparently was struck by an attack of diarrhea when she bent over to pull one out of the bag.  “From now on, Audrey, when you have an accident and want a new pull-up, don’t try to get one from the closet.  Just grab one of Linda’s from the bag beside the toilet.  It’s the very same size and it won’t matter at all if you use one of hers under those circumstances.  At all.”

She gave me her stock answer.  “Okay!  I will!”  But she probably won’t.  She is fiercely territorial when it comes to these sorts of things.

But what was with that big cow pie on the bed???  OGA has two protective pads on her bed.  One is disposable, one is washable, and somehow (don’t ask me or OGA, because “I ‘on’t know!”)  they both had been pushed back just enough for this large deposit on the bed.  Through the sheet, and staining the thick, comfy (but thankfully, waterproof) mattress pad.  There was not a single bit of anything on either pad.

“I really got a mess!” announced OGA from somewhere beyond the reaches of my bewildered brain.  I wanted nothing more than to just retreat to my chair.  I looked at her “real mess” and groaned inwardly.  “Audrey, I’m sick,” I said quietly, almost under my breath.  I ached all over, and it was an effort to even lift my arms.  She looked at me like, “Well, what  am I gonna do???”  It did no good to try to explain.   I thought, briefly of Certain Man, asleep upstairs, and of Middle Daughter,  also sleeping, but on call for her hospice job, and decided that I needed to get busy.

“Did you get yourself all cleaned up?” I asked her.  I saw that she hadn’t changed her night gown.

“I tried to,” she said, matter of factly.  “I fink I did!”

“Come here,” I said.  She came, and I saw that she really hadn’t gotten herself cleaned up, at all.  And there was stuff on her nightgown.  I first of all cleaned her, and instructed her to get a new nightie and pull-up and to sit over on the pottie until I got things cleaned up.  She meekly did as she was told.  I got the carpet stain remover, and the scrub brush on a long handle and set to work.  I sprayed all the spots and then, while it sat a bit, I took care of the bed, wiping off all the loose matter, and then covering it all up with the disposable pad, face down, and added a clean washable pad,  “We’ll strip your bed in the morning,” I told OGA.  “This is covered well for the night, and it will be fine.”  I scrubbed and scrubbed the spots on the carpet and she watched from the bathroom.  When I had them fairly well scrubbed into oblivion, I got clean towels to put over the spots for the rest of the night.  “Are you done?” I asked Audrey.

“Yeah, I fink so, ” she answered.

“Then let’s get you into bed,” I said.  “I think it’s all ready.”  She ambled over to her bed and looked at it critically.

“It needs ‘at other pad,” she said, petulant and critical.

I looked at the bed.  “What other pad, Audrey?”  I asked wearily.  She was impatient.  I should know!

“‘At other one,” she insisted.  “‘at goes on the top.”  Oh.  Her disposable pad.  A couple of months ago, she had gotten struck with a great jealousy over the fact that BL has a disposable pad on top of her washable pads, and wanted some for herself.  I had explained that they were expensive, and that she didn’t really need them, but she was adamant.  She did need them.  She wanted them, and when some good quality ones became available free of cost, she was the happiest gal around.  I thought about the fact that it had appeared that she had pushed it back before making a mess on the bed, and I wanted to tell her that she wasn’t getting any more tonight, but I was tired, and  it  was easier to just get the extra pad.  So  I fished it out and spread it out.  I did not waste the opportunity, though to instruct her as to how the pad was to be put on the bed, so that it hung down a little over the edge of the mattress to catch any accidents.  She again, said, “Okay!” with her resigned, martyred air, and she climbed into her bed.

All this time, BL had been whimpering in her bed.  I Kept reassuring her that as soon as I was done with OGA, I would take her pottie.  I surmised, and rightly so, that she just might need to go to the bathroom, too.  Then I put her back to bed and covered her up and my job in the room was done.  I checked to see whether both ladies were comfy, and then came out to the kitchen.  A terrible smell followed me from the other room, and I decided to light some candles, and at  least try to get the smell out before morning.  I lit a Bath and Bodyworks one in the bathroom and two new in the kitchen.

Then I went back to my chair and slept until morning.  I’m so grateful that cleaning up that mess didn’t affect the delicate balance of my stomach.  I really didn’t have anyone to come to my rescue, and I was able to get it all done without throwing up.  I snuggled under the warm blanket of my chair, and gave grateful praise.  I really was feeling better!  I had a day to rest ahead of me, and hopefully by the time Monday morning rolled around, I would be good as new.

And that is the news from Shady Acres, where Certain Man has been keeping a respectful distance, the children are mostly absent these days, and this Delaware Grammy has gotten a much needed break!

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