The Duchess asks, What’s up, Old Woman?
I need to explain why life has been hard to live lately. Why I have not had time or energy to post.
Here’s the bad stuff:
We had an unpleasant letter from Jerry’s brother, Bert. It was hostile and incoherent. We are not sure why he wrote it. The body of the letter was typed, and we are sure he didn’t type it himself. Some of it was written in scrawling, almost illegible handwriting. We hear from a friend who keeps in touch with him that he is not doing well. He is in and out of hospitals. Jerry has tried to call him but he doesn’t want to talk to Jerry. We worry that he is being taken advantage of by people who want to get money from him and are not really concerned with his health and welfare. Jerry is hurt by his hostility.
Then there is the computer disaster. While my son (the recently divorced one) was using my computer – perhaps on some questionable site – it caught a virus and I lost a hard drive and a lot of files. The ones I miss the most are all the pictures I took after September. Jerry had backed up everything before that.
And there is Jerry’s face. He is having fluorouracil treatments for skin cancer. So, wearing a rubber glove, I have to smear a poisonous cream on his scalp (his bald head), brow, cheeks and nose. It kills cells: cancer cells first, then the outer skin layer. He is beginning to look like hamburger. I am told that women have this treatment in order to make their skin look younger. They must be crazy.
I grieve for my divorced son’s pain. He misses his children terribly. The wife who divorced him is the only woman he has ever loved, and he has loved her since he was 14 years old. He tells me, his eyes brimming with tears, that he can no longer think about his past life without hurting. She is in all of it.
I wake up in the morning worrying alternately about Ben and Bert. Then I remember that I can’t touch Jerry’s face because it is anointed with poison and is becoming sensitive and sore. We have 10 days of treatment left.
Though this may be the season to be jolly, it is also the season to be nervous and harassed with buying presents, putting up a Christmas tree, and all the other things that come at Christmas time that are stressful. Not to mention the cold, damp weather. I had the poodles clipped but the groomer cut them so close that now they have to wear little red coats when we walk them. They look really silly, though they don’t seem to mind the coats.
I am facing the fact that very soon I will have to have my cataracts “done.” I can barely see to drive at night, and I can no longer read small print.
But life goes on, and it’s not all bad.
Not much can be done about Bert. Jerry continues to call him and to call friends who may know how he is doing.
Ben, my divorced son, is staying with us and looking for work. He probably has a job. He is waiting for a background check to be completed. In the meantime he has signed up to take an English course at the local community college, and he is doing yard work here on the island, working out at the gym on the Indian reservation and reading voraciously. He is on a diet to lose weight and in general is heavily into self-improvement. He even washes dishes for me after dinner. When the job begins he will live in our condo in town. His children will be here for a few days at Christmas.
Because of the computer disaster I now have a new computer. This is something I have wanted for a long time. My old computer was too slow to edit movies from my camcorder. Jerry has installed a new hard drive in the old computer and as soon as we figure out how to get it to accept Wi-Fi we will give it to Ben to use for school. I hope he has learned his lesson about iffy sites.
Jerry and I are immersed in the 19th century. I call myself a 20thcentury woman, but in my head I often dwell in the 19th century. We are watching a series of Teaching Company lectures on Victorian England. We had read a biography of Queen Victoria’s life up to the time of Albert’s death. Now we are reading an account of the eruption of Krakatoa in 1883 by Simon Winchester, which really details colonial life in the late 19th century. On my Kindle I am reading Trollop’s “The Way We Live Now” and I am completely engrossed: carried out of present troubles as I follow the many iniquities of Augustus Melmotte and Sir Felix Carbury. The Kindle makes it difficult for me to skip ahead to see how things turn out, so I am actually reading every word. It’s a lot more fun that way. And I can make the print big enough so it’s easy to see.
I am looking forward to a visit from my other son and his wife next week. They will be here for Christmas, and all of us on this side of the Atlantic will dine at my grandson’s house on Christmas Day.
I count my blessings. Things could be worse.
So that’s about it, Duchess.