This is the “new regular”.

As I noted in my last Day Log, my world turned upside down two weeks ago when my elderly mother was taken into hospital and the decision was made that she could no longer live alone in her home. I had a great deal of support from other noders at that time (and I thank you, one and all) but all I knew then was that I was exhausted and feeling overwhelmed. One of the support messages I received said that I would “become familiar with the new regular”.

I am still exhausted but now it has become normal. Part of the “new regular”? The dog is a bit miffed because I spend so little time with him these days apart from his early AM and late PM walks around the block. Sorry, Bronco, that’s the “new regular”. Breakfast and lunch are something I eat in the car while driving somewhere. “New regular”.

Apart from that, things are starting to fall into place. I work as the local administrator of a non-profit organization which means that, except for a part-time assistant, my entire staff consists of volunteers. The first thing I did was to inform them what had happened in my life and how it would affect them   :   “You made a commitment to this organization and I am asking you to honor it in the strictest sense. If you can’t do your shift for any reason, please find a suitable replacement.” So far only two people have been unable to report for work and both arranged for another volunteer to cover the time slot. I have not had to hold down the fort because a volunteer failed to report for duty.

It has worked so well I have been able to visit a number of ALF establishments and have decided on the one my mother will be transferred to after leaving the rehab center where she is now. She understands that it will be a "studio apartment" in a very nice ALF instead of a bed in a nursing home. It all depends on how much she can do for herself.

She is working very hard in her physical therapy sessions so she can regain the muscle tone she lost in the past few months. She is up to 60 to 80 steps with a walker and today, for the first time, she returned from the dining room to her bedroom in her wheelchair without assistance. That is progress.

At her house I’ve cleaned out the fridge and pantry, double-locked all windows, installed relay lights in various rooms, and informed the neighbors of what is happening. For now, everything else will remain the same as far as the house is concerned. It’s her home and it will be there if she wants to visit it.

Her mail is re-directed to my post office box; the various home deliveries and routine services that had been in place (except for lawn care) have been cancelled. She’s given door keys to a number of people so they could enter house without her having to go to the door; I had a locksmith change the locks. Her friends have been notified, and this week she is beginning to have visitors other than me and my daily stop with clean laundry and fresh news.

One last item as part of the “new regular”   :   The night before she went into hospital she had spent the night in her recliner chair because she was unable to move and it was “too late to bother you”. She stayed there until she telephoned me at 4:30 A.M. and,

All night long our clock kept striking the hour and the half-hour, and every time it did I said, “Thank you, clock, for being here with me.”

”Our clock” is a Seth Thomas mantel timepiece that has spent several generations in my father’s family. I took it home with me because it has to be wound every eight days. It “pings” on the half hour and strikes on the hour. Every time I hear it I am reminded of my mother. Thank you, Clock.

These twelve to fourteen hour patrols offer plenty of time to think. Normally I spend this time in completely undirected musing, daydreams, and mind-wanderings. I have, however, made an effort of late to meditate on particular subjects, to try to explore notions less aimlessly. I fail mostly. And even when I manage to lengthen my attention span a little, the meditation tends not to be very fruitful. What few interesting notions I come up with usually are spurred by either some kind of input or sometimes just spontaneous inspiration (which is akin to divine favor). So that sucks.

Anyway, I was thinking one day about my natural cynicism and my default reluctance to do anything. Because there is a strange thing I have noticed: I enjoy things a lot more than I think I will. Often I will not really feel like listening to a particular album, but I'll put it on for lack of anything better, and end up enjoying it quite a bit. It's the same with reading, video games, movies, bowling, eating, pretty much everything.

I refer to the disparity between how much I expect to enjoy something and how much I actually end up enjoying it as my spiritual inertia, and since inertia is a property of mass, the conclusion I have come to is that: my soul is fat.

To remedy this situation, I'm putting my soul on a healthier diet, and an exercise regimen. I'm not exactly sure what these entail exactly, but here's what I've come up with so far:

  • No more (spiritual) junk food. I suppose this means less exposure to rampant consumerism, and more resistance to my own consumerist impulses.
  • More veggies. I hardly ever read any kind of nonfiction that's longer than a magazine article, and even many of those I lose interest in halfway through.
  • Variety. When I can get the chance I'd like to listen to more classical music, more jazz and blues. Maybe I will even give rap a chance. Not country, though. That stuff just sucks.
  • Exercise. I think exhaustively contemplating one subject at a time is a good start, but I also want to generally start assenting to more, to overcome my natural reluctances and just do more stuff.

So, I suppose that's my New Year's resolution. But only because it happened to occur to me this time of year. I mean, it's just as arbitrary a day to start stuff as any other day, right? And if you're going to improve yourself, why not start immediately?

January 1 came and went mostly uneventfully over here. On New Year's Eve, we finally got our two beers and shot of Bacardi as per the Commanding General's Operation White Hoof, which we were first promised sometime in early November, then Thanksgiving, then Christmas. I sold mine for Poker money.

The next morning, as I smoked my first cigarette of the year, I noticed a rainbow hugging close to the midmorning sun and I tried to imagine an impossibly high wall of water tearing across the Earth, destroying indiscriminately, killing thousands upon thousands, extinguishing all those tiny lives like candles. I wondered if the tsunami could be seen from space, and I wondered how many of those people went to Hell. I tried to distinguish as many individual colors as I could and it occurred to me how empty God's promise to Noah really was. If you think about it, an omnipotent being promising not to destroy the world in one particular way is akin to a man with an arsenal at his disposal promising not to kill you with one particular weapon: meaningless and absurd.

Every time I hear mention of this event I am filled with fresh amazement, disbelief, and horror. Catastrophe on this scale really serves to put stuff into perspective.

I (again) got caught making poopy when we took incoming a couple of days ago and I could actually hear the mortar round whistling as it hurtled toward me, but I couldn't manage to work up any strong feelings about it. I considered the physics of a mortar round for a while, imagined the simple and clean parabola, full with latent violence, connecting us with the enemy in a fourth dimensional kind of way. In the context of a world that will wreak so much death on a whim, us trying to kill each other a handful at a time just seems silly, like children bickering over some trinket.

I wiped my ass as if in a dream, went inside for cover and dozed off to the Eels' Daisies of the Galaxy, punctuated by the bass-drum thumping of our return fire, thinking about our mortarmen retracing the insurgents' parabolas with outgoing, and dreamed an insane dream about cutting my chest open to look at my heart.

Previous Next

You know, as I sit here pondering the huge generosity of the western world, my fellow countrymen and those around the globe as they open their hearts and wallets to the victims of the tsunami in Asia, I gotta wonder...

What exactly have the terrorist groups such as al-qaeda done to help here? For all their preaching about the evils of western society, I think it's at times like this when they should be paying close attention to us.

It wasn't that long ago that the Australian Embassy was bombed in Jakarta, and here we Aussies are less than six months later donating millions of dollars towards relief operations, sending doctors and forensic specialists to the affected areas, including Indonesia.

It just struck me as something to think about.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.