(Talking Heads reference)
For some reason, I really got after it this weekend. It had nothing to do with Thanksgiving. I do not operate that way. Frankly, about this time of the year, I search for places to hide. I know that my wife is going to find excruciatingly unpleasant things for me to do (like have fun), so I try to find places to hide. It does me no good, of course, because she knows where all of my hideouts are, and I end up doing her bidding, anyway. But, this had nothing to do with that.
And, fortunately, it had nothing to do with chemotherapy and steroids. I simply got after it.
Really got after it.
After everything that has happened, and having a big strong young man living in the house as well (my son, for those of you who are even more deviant than me), I am not so much inclined to climb up ladders unless I have to. But I did. Cleaned the gutters all the way around the house. I am not saying I cleaned the ground of the detritus left behind, but I cleaned the gutters, and secured them where they needed securing. The detritus: that is what that big strong young man is for :).
I washed and dried every single piece of clothing in this household that needed such treatment, as far as I know (and yes, I even ventured into my son’s room, feeling more or less like Indiana Jones, among the relics and the booby traps).
I made the White Room a White Room again, rather than a parking place for my plants over the winter (by hiding my plants all over the house hoping that no one notices them and complains…and here’s the deal about that…I recommend cultivating plants highly. At the highest pitch of my own anxiety and panic, I found that growing plants, something I have never been able to do, suddenly seemed natural to me.
My father has a green thumb. My father-in-law worked in a damned greenhouse for the city, for crying out loud! He had a green thumb. Me? I could look at a plant and it would die. Maybe not right then, but as soon as I started to feel good about it, it would die. Once I talked to a plant and it killed itself, hanged itself with loose macramé that it tied, somehow, into a noose.
After the anxiety and the disease, something happened. Do not ask me what it was. I would answer Patience. That is as good as it gets with me. I stopped over-watering the little ladies and gentlemen, and also did not make them come crawling at my feet for water. We reached a happy medium. She was happy, but it took me and the plants awhile — and maybe that joke will take you awhile as well:).
We reached an agreement, how’s that? We decided that if I treated them more or less in a kindly manner, then they would do some splendid things for me in return. It was a good deal, and I took it, and it has paid dividends. Even my mother-in-law, whose husband was the greenhouse manager, asks me to come over and pot her plants. Something I need to do, by the way.
No nasty jokes, please. She is my mother-in-law, after all.
There is a down side to this. Is it not true that there really is a yin/yang going on in the universe? Do you want the bad news or the good news? I’m just wondering. Because when I learned how to grow plants, they started teaming up on me (and, more to the point, teeming up on me). Suddenly, the White Room, the fireplace room, the room of comfort and ease, was a tropical forest, and one that, other than me, people of supreme significance in my house, if you know what I mean and I think you do, were not so happy with.
Me? The first time I saw this room, I envisioned wooden benches with iron rails, foliage out the ass, a veritable garden of meditative delight. I was, alas, alone in that vision. For awhile. Cancer does buy you some leeway if you work it properly.
At some point, I suddenly had the room of my dreams (less the wooden benches with the iron rails, those replaced by a futon, but that’s a start). Jungle Room!
At some point this room was simply inundated with greenery! So much so that you could not even get to the coat rack that is also known as my exercise bike (my request), so much so that you could not get to my son’s friend’s golf clubs (those had to go). So much so that if you saw a book on the shelf that you had not yet read or wanted to revisit, you could not get to it! I was in a sort of botanical heaven.
Of course, I had to fix that. You cannot have a fire if such a thing will burn down the house. Plants must be moved, golf clubs must be moved, exercise bikes must be moved, even some stray books must be moved. But I digress, and I think only Proust, perhaps has had a larger parenthetical :)).
I cleaned out the White Room, and we can have a fire. As I mentioned to someone today, we could always have a fire in there, but now it will not be the kind that warrants attention from the authorities.
And it is getting cold.
I can’t wait! When we bought this house I told my wife, as we were searching, “You can have anything you want, but I have to have a fireplace and a deck.” Simple as that. I got all of that and more, but I digress again.
I’ve digressed so much that I’ve forgotten what we were getting into here. That happens to me a lot now. They say that Chemo Brain is the real deal. The professionals have now sanctioned us to be a bit ditzy following chemotherapy, and the first question you have to ask yourself is, why was I ditzy before they explained what it was? The second question, I suppose, is who do they think they are?
They are now saying that Chemo Brain, which they once thought might last for six months, then a year, and then two years (it is sort of like an auction, isn’t it? and I’ll bet that the big bidders are insurance companies) may, for some folks, have a permanent effect. That is no excuse to quit your job or act like an ass, unless you want to. Personally, I would save it for birthdays and anniversaries, when it really matters.
So, I got after it this weekend. I have the December thing coming up, and I do not know if that had something to do with it, but I was compelled to get things done, small things, mainly. My wife said, a compliment, I think, “I noticed your touch”. That could be good or bad. Did I leave a palm print on her, um, derriere?
No, she was talking about the little things that mean a lot, I hope. And I do not know why. Maybe this is the door back to reality and the real world and I am finally stepping back through it? Hello, world! If that is the case, it’s been awhile!
Maybe I am finally getting the effects of the last chemo, the surgery and the following infection and all that followed out of my system. I am prone to buy this theory, myself. Still: Hello, world!
I feel that I am back. I am being productive and alive. I like it.
December, I think, will seal the deal, but I am, for the moment, energized, and enjoying it.
After that, as the guy sings, dreams walking in broad daylight.