Sunday, September 3, 2017

How it Really is...

Subject: Aging
     Let me introduce you to the life of a couple, both age 81+. The couple has been married for 56 years. There are unspoken rules and chores that developed slowly to be their way of life. They have their routines.
     They sleep in separate beds and have for over 20 years. She snores, tosses and turns, he passes gas and it wasn't a good way for peaceful sleep. She likes covers at all times, he doesn't want any sometimes. He gets up several times a night for trips to the bathroom. She never does. They both make their own beds and help each other in the changing of the bed sheets. The bathroom is a private place. It is cleaned by her every week.
     The night before each morning she prepares the coffee pot so all he has to do is plug it in.  The dinner dishes are washed by him and the cleanup is his. She puts them all away the next morning. She prepares all meals except Sunday morning when he cooks his bacon, eggs and toasts the English muffin. He eats cold cereal every other morning and she eats cereal or yoghurt every morning, or just a banana.
     He retrieves the mail and goes through it while she prepares lunch and he waits. The telephone is unplugged so it won't ring during lunch or their following naps; his in the recliner, hers on his bed because she can sprawl. (Her bed is twin size.) She does all record-keeping and filing. She does most of the telephone calls. Appointments for generator, propane heater and other home service needs are made by her. He writes the checks for the bills. He controls the thermostat on both the AC and the propane gas heater. He empties the dehumidifier. He burns the papers and takes out the trash for pickup.
     He does all of the vacuuming and window washing. There are 12 windows, each having 6 panes and a storm window. The 13th window contains the air conditioner. He is the "gofer" when a trip to town is necessary for items such as milk, beer, vodka, or hardware. She sorts the laundry and he loads the baskets in the car. He takes them into the town laundromat and she washes, dries and folds while he returns home. After 1 1/2 hours, he returns to reload the basket and bring it into the home. She puts it all away.
     She does all of the baking, freezing and dehydration of fruits and vegetables. She prepares all meats and fish before roasting, etc. He services and maintains all motorized equipment and tools. They each do a little work in the flowerbeds but a lawn care business does the grass mowing and weed whacking. A hired man cleans the gutters, rakes the property in both the spring and autumn and does general yard cleanup. Interior high beam cleaning is done by a professional.
      Together they cover the porch furniture for winter storage and then prepare the porch for summer in the spring. Together they move household furniture to clean and dust. Together they go grocery shopping. He loads the reusable filled bags into the shopping carts and he loads them into the car and then into the home. She puts it away.
     She rolls the pennies, nickels and dimes and he cashes them in at the bank. Quarters are saved for the laundromat. They never have fought about finances and both are considered frugal, to a fault. The dentist appointments are made back to back twice a year. The doctor appointments are individual and each attends to his/her own.
     Each one has physical limitations. Some are not age related. Old injuries and surgeries have left their marks. Each does a lot of sitting - he in a recliner watching TV, mostly car racing and cop shows. They both watch nature shows. She likes detective shows. She reads and is on her laptop computer for several hours a day. He putters in the outdoor shed and she often does crafts at the kitchen table.
     Mornings start around 6:15am for him and 7am for her. Bedtimes are usually 10pm for him and 9:30 pm for her. Each morning they greet each other with a "Good Morning" and each evening "Good Night."
   Privately thinking, she sometimes wishes her parents had told her how it really is to become old. She has decided not to tell her children about it either. It is a fact of life and each one experiences it differently. Besides that, it is negative to really describe the true trials and tribulations. "Oh my aching back" will have to suffice. A common question is  "Have you seen my eyeglasses anywhere?" AND...our mantra is "I WILL NOT FALL!"

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