Sometimes when I first open my eyes upon another day, I say, "Oh God, not again!"
When I first opened my eyes upon today's morning I was being summoned across the hall by my dad.
"I need to take a bath."
Judging by the smell of poo in the room and one look at the bedside commode, I'd say he was right about the bath. His leg has been acting up so what I wasn't sure about was whether or not I was going to have to climb into the shower with him, like I do the dog.
Right off the bat I knew I was grateful for two things .... Clorox and room deodorizer. Later I said a prayer of thanks that Dad was indeed able to shower unaided. The day may be close when that isn't the case. It isn't here yet. This morning, however, there was a bit of discussion about how to help him pull on his pants.
"Here, let me help."
"You're in my light, I can't see what I'm doing."
"If you let me pull your pants up you don't need to see."
And so on....
It may sound like I'm trying to do too much for my dad. Hovering, and taking away his independence. I don't think that is the case, though I suppose my motives should be questioned. In the last week two of my elderly neighbors have fallen and landed right smack on their faces. One lady looked like a poster child (senior?) for elder abuse. The good news (and cause for gratitude) is that neither broke any bones. Thank you, Jesus!!! The reason I try to do things for my father is because he often looks like a plastic PlaySchool Weeble Wobble and I am selfish. Toy Weebles wobble, but they don't fall down or so the ad used to say. 92 year old wobblers, aren't always so lucky. I'd rather help him before the fall instead of picking him up after. According to a left-brain thinker who has each hand hold and step planned to a "T" before he moves, he doesn't need my help in walking across the room, climbing into the shower, or as previously mentioned putting on his pants. I can only hope he's right.
Another reason for a smile, i.e. gratitude, today is Dad's canary. According to the man who raised Ernst (short for the family tradition of naming every canary we get Tennessee "Ernie" Ford) he is a champion German Roller. I think this means that he's supposed to be able to make 4 different bird sounds on command. In fact he doesn't sing quite like the others we've had. This bird's song has more of a Bavarian lilt to it!
That's when he's actually singing. When birds molt they stop singing. Ernst is on his 3rd or 4th molt of the year. I think it has something to do with the number of hours of daylight he gets. Since he resides in the dinette where all our meals are served, he keeps human hours, not avian. Contrary to a few of my nicknames (Robin Redbreast or Cuckoo Pigeon sister) I'm not a bird, thus have little knowledge of what it feels like to have feathers falling out all the time. I think it might be itchy because all three of our birds scratch themselves a lot. Which, I think, is also the reason Ernst loves his bath so much.
He totally cracks me up. I put clean water in his cage first thing in the morning. After he's had his breakfast and mid-morning snack he hops over for a little drink of water. As if testing the water, he sticks his beak in first. Then dips his head a little further in and splashes some water on his shoulders (do birds have shoulders?). Next he jumps from perch to perch trying to decide what he's going to do. He knows and I know what his decision is going to be, but this is apparently part of the Tyrolean Bird Bathing Polka. Eventually he throws caution to the wind and jumps in, sits for a minute soaking up the complete divineness of the water, then unreservedly begins to dunk himself with great bird delight. Water goes everywhere. The other birds are often encouraged to follow suit with their own finch version, which is a lot like head banging but water is involved. The cats often sit nearby watching the show. Probably thinking how nice it will be to eat a clean bird, as opposed to a scratchy bird.
I am often at the table with dad doing our morning duet - dueling crosswords. I must say watching Ernst take such pleasure from something as simple as a bath, makes me grateful for the opportunity to make his life so good. Some seed, some fresh broccoli and clean water, does it get any better than that? I'm guessing if you're a bird, the answer is no.
Wishing for you time for a nice leisurely bath, help drying your back if you need it and something to make you smile.
P.S. I'd finally had it with the paragraph spacing on blogger, and the fact that sometimes the space demon would rather double space sentences for no apparent reason. I went to the help line and found several other bloggers who have the same complaint and none of them seem to have cracked the spacing code. There were a few unkind opinions of the little man who lives inside the Blog site and controls how the post that one has just written, likes the way it looks, and publishes only to find it all askew for all the world to read. I'm grateful to know it's not just me.