It's official, for my 25 pound goal of rock and rolling, dancing, playing, video-gaming off some my excess pounds the "fun" way, I must admit that we've been way too busy to have much fun, but I've moved so much that I've lost a solid two pounds.
That means I have only 23 to go...that's IF I can keep off the two pounds that has taken me two weeks to lose!
I can tell you exactly how I lost those two pounds. Deputy Dave and I have been at my dad's house most every day this week. He took out an old sliding glass door in my dad's master bedroom and put in a solid core single door. While he is installing the door, I've been cleaning dad's house. The house that my dad refuses to air-condition. So, in 86 degree heat, I am pouring sweat while scrubbing floors and polishing appliances, and unloading old boxes.
Well, "cleaning" isn't the right word to use for all I am doing.
My mother passed away nearly six years ago and since that time, he's not cleaned. Maybe he's run the mop or broom here or there, put in some laundry that's critical to his weekly life and kept his coffee cups washed out, but I am talking about deep HOUSE cleaning in general...that does not get done any more. It's that simple. We don't have family gatherings over there because each room is disorganized and as he puts it, "...that's what he has two daughters for."
The truth is, my dad was never good around the house. He's good around cars or anything with an engine. I would go over there and clean his house for him more often, I like being over there and I love my dad. Him and I are buddies. But, a huge problem between the two of us is his smoking.
He smokes in the house and I cannot be somewhere with fresh smoke or smoke residue. This is not a preference, this is a requirement for me to live as healthy as I can with my condition. Each side of my lungs has previously collapsed and will never be the same. I have bad scarring in my lungs, which could mean a simple pulmonary infection can be deadly. My weakened lungs must be carefully tended to by self-awareness and trying to stay away from lung irritants.
But, over this past week, I've been grinning and bearing it. I've been going to the house and lovingly hand-washing all of my mother's china, silver, pottery and have been carefully wiping down each and every shelve.
Dad has nothing on the walls since mom died...no art work, no pictures, nothing. I'm going to work on changing that as well.
He has his good and bad days with my mother, even though she is dead. He still has one day of crying while remembering good times; wishing they were still having fun together, going on their regular road trips with her still beside him as his happy and perfect travel companion. She was amazing; she had child-like excitement toward any kind of adventure, big or small. As a Polio Survivor and after living one YEAR of her childhood in an iron lung only to emerge with body parts that no longer worked at the tender age of five, that girl grew to be a woman who knew how to savor life.
Dad also has bad days when he's mad at her. I have to laugh at it all because I think he doesn't exactly remember how difficult he was toward her, as a husband. He'll sometimes tell me that he has bad memories and he thinks about her imperfections, but I wonder how deeply he thinks about his contributions toward thoughtless behaviors and decisions that she was forced to endure. I remember quite a few and often felt that my mother was nuts for staying married...so he probably thinks it only went his way, but I think he forgets about just how difficult it was for her to be married to him even when he was acting out of line.
The bottom line is...they stayed married to each other. They loved each other, understood each other and knew how to have good times together...they had a lot of glue between them holding them snug together.
Every day, he walked into a house where his laundry was kept up, even when she was very sick and a clean pitcher of fresh tea sat waiting for him to enjoy a tall glass while relaxing in his recliner in front of the television while mother continued about her day. Obviously, by just looking at the house, you can clearly see that my mother took care of...pretty much everything. Once she died, things slowly fell apart because dad was not maintaining anything. When mom was alive, the house had a severe flood and that woman had that house put back together in record time and it was better than before. She didn't waste time. She was a mover and a shaker, she knew how to get things accomplished and never made excuses. If it weren't for her while growing up, we'd not have been able to live in a decent home. She definitely went above and beyond to do more than her fair share...always.
After mom died, the daily maintenance of the house went steadily downhill. Things in the house were beginning to ruin from dirt accumulation and grime and smoke residue. The house didn't take care of itself or it would still be doing the same thing. It just is not easy to maintain a house and deal with the daily grime that life brings across the threshold. It takes a personality that is willing to stay in motion...always looking for the next surface to clean, the next item to dust and the corners that need to be cleaned.
Anyone who keeps their house clean knows that it takes work. Even if you go to work somewhere else during the day, the house is waiting and it requires MORE work from us. I'm amazed that my mother taught school for many, many years, she'd come home to care for three children, basically on her own, as a disabled woman and she'd clean, cook, have our clothes washed, food purchased from the grocery store and handle her own life. Personally, I think dad should use her teacher's retirement money to pay for a bi-weekly maid to come to the house so his investment can quit going downhill and so that he can give himself and his family home the respect it deserves. Our mom made plenty contributions to that home and you can sure feel her absence these days...when she left, the contributions stopped and the house deteriorated.
Losing my mom has proven that behind every good man is indeed a good woman. There is some good that came from all of this...seeing all of this before my eyes in such a highly personal way makes me want to be a better woman for my own man.
Of course, if something were to happen to me, Deputy Dave would still be living in a nicely kept, clean house because he is capable of taking care of himself that way. Maybe it's because he's ex-military, but he would always be neat and organized. He'd probably have his days of being in the dumps, but overall, he would not let things disintegrate around him. I think the dust would finally get to him and he'd find his inner-feather-duster self so that it would be kept at bay.
My dad was so cute the other night as I was removing five years worth of dust from a book shelf, he went to the laundry room that I had just overhauled with a good cleaning and brought out a nice feather duster that he claimed to "love." Deputy Dave and I got a good laugh out of that one, along with my dad. I told him, "I think the part you love most about that feather duster is NOT using it."
But, if I were gone, Deputy Dave would still be holding gatherings and be preparing the Thanksgiving turkey...the girls would take care of all the side dishes and desserts that I love to make. But, the point is, he would know how to live; he would know how to get things done, even if they are things he doesn't do now...it wouldn't stop him from doing it alone. He would take charge and still be a great family leader. On the other hand, my dad slipped into his cocoon, letting everything around him crumble; he created a world surrounding him that was his choice. Since he kind of changed mom's house from welcoming to a place where all of us three children and our own children feel the signal from him to stay away, we adapted and we all see each other elsewhere. The love is still strong and solid, but his home is no longer a place to go and to remember Grandma anymore. That saddens our heart. My mother would be devastated that her own children and grand-children could not go visit and step inside a non-smoking house. But, the desire to make that happen on his end is not there. So, in other ways we give her our respect.
In the meantime, I am exhausted physically and emotionally from having several days in a row of being over there cleaning and seeing so many things my mother treasured being buried beneath layers of neglect. And I am feeling the congestion in my lungs from working with so much smoke residue, and often fresh smoke in the air since my dad kept smoking in the house, even knowing we're on our way to his house to help out. He's addicted, but he could be more thoughtful, maybe he'll get it one day. It just limits my ability to stay longer as I would like or to come more frequently, as I'll like. When my mother was alive, the house was a non-smoking house because we all knew how quickly the walls, ceilings, furnishings, etc., become permeated with the smell of smoke residue...it's a bacteria and it spreads. The science side of our family understands this concept and this is why we can't even let our clothing from our visit be destined for anywhere but the laundry room upon our return. Gotta get the smoke residue off of our clothes and bodies and I must wash out my mop of hair every day that I've been there.
So, I wish he didn't smoke in the house at all. I know I'd thoroughly enjoy going over there to help him out and to even cook him a meal every once in a while, but he makes it impossible for me due to my health complications. Dad is hyper aware of my serious lung troubles; he's sat with me in the hospital as they told me my lung was still collapsed and that the chest wall was filling with blood. He knows the battles I've been through, but all I can say is that his addiction is stronger than any desire to do what is right for us to be able to enjoy a healthy visit in the house I grew up in.
Oh well. I'll do what I can and then keep working in my own controlled environment where I do not have to breathe in smoke from the person sitting next to me and lighting up nonstop.
Deputy Dave was a smoker for 17 years of our marriage, but he quit. During his smoking days, he never smoked inside the house. He did his best to sit outside so that the wind would blow it away from him and his clothes, he always held his cigarette out far from his body...all of this was also because he had an allergy to smoke. Kind of humorous. One day, he got sick of it, literally. So, he quit, cold-turkey. He lived with us three gals who gave him constant hell over that smoking habit and eventually, it helped to nudge him to quit. But, he had to do it for himself because he was kind of like my dad...he wasn't going to do it for us girls.
Today, Deputy Dave is a reformed smoker and they are the worse ones around! He smells old smoke residue much more quickly than anyone else and he always tells me that he can't believe he lived like that for so many years. It took several months after he'd quit for his sense of smell and for his tastebuds to become fully functioning again after he quit smoking. He likes not being controlled by a paper stick and he sure is glad to not be spending money on such an expensive product.
He's no longer a paying sucker!
To those of you who smoke, I hope you just do it away from the loved ones. I struggled to breathe one time too many because of being forced to sit in cars, etc. with my dad's heavy smoking. It made a terrible difference to my lungs. If you smoke, be a quitter! You'll love being a quitter!