Friday, June 20, 2014

Am I a monster...

Becky called me tonight, because she had a bit of undivided-Bettina time, i.e., no beloved or cherubs about.  I like it when she calls, obviously, but I especially like it when I hear her doing chores because that helps to motivate me to tackle mine.  Tonight, she mentioned laundry, which I have avoided since Sunday.  As she did her laundry, we compared things we liked to dry outside during the summer.  Once she hung up, I immediately dragged myself out of the GREEN chair and forced myself upstairs to fetch the laundry and carry it down to the basement.

Is it odd that my puppy dog knows what the word "laundry."  I asked Amos if he wanted to go do the laundry, and he leapt off the GREEN chair and headed up the main staircase.  He was waiting for me on the pile of sheets that I had stripped from the bed earlier just before I gave both of the muddy, sweaty, saw dusty creatures of this house a bath.

Once I had piled all the laundry that had overflowed from the basket back on top and carefully mounded the sheets on top of that, Amos raced downstairs to the half bath.  You see, Amos does a better job of rounding up the hand towels than do I.  After that, he headed to the door to the basement and waited on my huffing and puffing, staggering self to come open the door.

Over the past year, Amos has taken a great liking to the sorting of laundry.  Whilst he cowers in fear as I dump out the laundry, once I sit on the floor, he joins me.  As I sort the laundry into piles, Amos will perch atop the pile to which I have just added clothing and then leap on over to the next one.  It is some sort of game to him, to ensure that he rests atop every bit of dirty laundry.

Tonight, Becky inspired me to make a change to my sorting routine.  You see, I am a terribly lazy laundress and only sort out the whites, which I wash in hot water with bleach (gasp).  Everything else is just divided into equal piles and washed in cold.  None of that color nonsense for me.  However, tonight, I decided to group the non-whites by line dry and machine dry.  That means I will no longer have to stand at the washer and sort the wet items between those that go into the basket to carry upstairs and those that go into the dryer.  See how great it is to talk on the phone with Becky?

She inspires me and makes my life easier!!

Whilst we were talking, I spent the entire time yawning.  You see, I have not slept much since waking from a most terrible nightmare Wednesday morning.  Last night, I purposely stayed up all night.  I know that I shall not be able to do so again, even with the afternoon nap I took.  But I am quite terrified of having that same dream again.


It was a new theme for me.  Well, it was two old themes with a new twist.

I dreamt that my sister wanted me to go to my stepmother's house.  I have been dreaming this since my father died.  In the dreams, the house is some great big, ever expanding abode in which my step-mother is creating a museum/tribute to my father's life.  I wander through the rooms and learn new things about him ... things I never knew ... just like hearing such unexpected new things about my father at his funeral.

In my dream, my step-mother was living back in Houston.  When I was little, and we would travel to Galveston, we would cross over this one particular bridge that scared me.  I am not sure why, but in my dreams now, I often am forced to drive over bridges that are akin to the world's most scariest roller coasters.  It is horrifying to drive them and yet I never manage to find a route that doesn't take me to the highway with the bridge with steep grades, sheer drop-offs, and tight, spiraling curves.

This time, I insisted that I wasn't going to drive the bridge.  So, I was forced to walk it.  I could not have my wheelchair or my cane.  Often, in my dreams, the latter is taken away from me.  I walk and walk and walk and the pain in my legs grows so great and I fall to the ground.  But those around me force me to my feet, telling me that nothing is wrong with me, and make me try to keep walking.

Since it was the bridge, I was crawling through tunnels and hanging over the edge of drop-offs, clinging to them with my fingertips before falling to the rocky ground below.

The whole time I was traveling, I had Amos with me.  Yes, I had my first Amos nightmare.  And I never, ever, ever want to have one again.

Amos was ill, and I had taken him to the vet before I left.  However, his medication was making red spots on his skin.  I knew something was wrong and wanted to go home so that I could take him back to his vet.  But my sister wouldn't let me.  She made us go to my step-mother's house.  This time, it was a single story maze of rooms.

Amos was getting sicker, so I worked hard to figure out where the exit was and carried him to an emergency veterinary clinic.  They wouldn't see me, leaving us both sitting on the bench in the lobby.  At one point, a vet tech looked at him and said he was having an allergic reaction to his medication.  But she did not treat him.  Finally, I was shoved out the door with a new bottle of pills.

I tried them, but Amos was getting worse.  He was listless and sweating.  His skin became covered in blisters.  My sister wanted me to help with the latest exhibit room about my father, but I wept and told her I just wanted to go home and get Amos some help.  Finally, I made my way back to the emergency clinic.

At this point, I had Amos swaddled in my arms and was not sure how much longer he could make it.  When we got there, one of the vet techs pulled back the corner of the towel I had draped over his head the way he prefers it after one of his baths and told me that there was nothing anyone could do.  She said his body was filled with infection.  And then she pushed on one of the blisters that was covering his body.  One on top of his head.  When she did, it erupted in puss.  This putrid green goo started gushing from every blister on his body and Amos died in my arms.

I woke up screaming.
And shaking.
And vomited.

Even though I keep telling myself that Amos is alive, that the dream is not real, the agonizing loss of his death fills me with such great sorrow that I find it difficult to even breathe.  Needless to say, since awaking from the nightmare, I have spend copious amounts of time clutching my puppy dog.

The way I was taught to deal with nightmares is to rewrite them.  But so many of my most recent nightmares and night terrors are not ones I know how to rewrite.  I wouldn't know where to begin.  Like with this one.  There simply isn't a way to make a good story out of this.

My friend Mary tells me that the dreams are not of me, not who I am.  But I struggle to take that position.  I mean, there are so many elements that are my fears magnified and twisted beyond all boundaries of reality.  I would like to say the ones in which I am the devil's "right hand man" and kill those whom he directs me to kill, torture those whom he directs me to torture are not of me.  But, in those dreams, I am very skilled in killing and torturing.  And I do so without a speck of emotion.  Those people are nothing to me.  When it is aliens I am killing, I find no respite from the horror I feel when I awake, for I am still taking a life.

In many ways, as much as those terrify me for what they might speak about the state of my soul, the devil dreams are easier to take than the others.  And this one of Amos' death was the worst of the lot.

I cannot decide if it is better to wake up cowering and quaking in fear, nauseous and vomiting, or to wake up not knowing which world is real ... the dream world or this one.  Especially those that are about the houses.

This afternoon, I tried to keep myself awake by starting the sanding earlier.  I got to the 2/3rds mark on the porch floor before stopping.  It was starting to sprinkle and I had yet to get those bulbs in the ground.  The rain of Wednesday kept me from planting them then, but I figured that if they had any chance of surviving, I should get them into the ground before the rain really set in.

Eight holes.
Eight bulbs.
Eight fillings of bonemeal, fertilizer, soil, compost manure, and peat.
Eight toppings with mulch.

The rain was pouring down at this point and Amos very much wanted me to come inside.  He was on the back porch, getting more dusty.  But I have also put off re-potting the sedum hanging basket Marie's mother got me into a permanent basket.  Since I was already sweaty and filthy, I thought I would tackle that, too.  This plant.  This wonderful, amazing sedum!

Only the Botatical Gardens did a cheat.  It was not one plant in the basket, but three.  When I very carefully turned the fragile sedum upside down, instead of having a plant in the palm of my hand with fingers splayed between the strands, the three plants broke apart, roots in the shape of the square pots from which they obviously came, and crashed to the potting bench in the garage.

I wept.
Two large strands broke completely off.
Those little pod things came off in spades.

After a long while, I got the plant into the permanent basket.  I then put all the stray pods and the two large strands in a new pot, speaking words of encouragement and adoration over them as I did.  Just to be on the safe side, I used the GREEN, decorated-with-frogs pot that had some basil my realtor gave me already planted in it.  The basil is repotted in the plastic base of the sedum's original hanging basket.

All those stray pieces of sedum from the plat I bought for the pots in the front porch have rooted in the pot I stuck them into.  So, I am hoping that at least the strands will survive and grow a new plant.  I doubt the pots will do anything but wither and die, but I was not about to just throw them away.

I carried the basket to the front porch through the torrential downpour.
Then I carried the pot with the broken pieces to the front porch through the torrential downpour.
Then I decided to prune all the straggling-refusing-to-go-away stray trumpet vines in the ground cover of the beds that line the side of the house in the torrential downpour.
Then I moved the stray tulip that appeared next to the raised bed over to the bulb bed in the torrential downpour.
Then I pruned the rose bushes that are along the back of the garage in the torrential downpour.

I was soaking wet—though still sweaty—and filthy.  Amos was damp, stinky, and filthy.  So, I came inside, stripped in the kitchen, pulled the sheets off the bed, took a bath, bathed Amos, and crawled into the GREEN chair.

Marie and Paul were coming to fetch their dresser, so I texted Marie asking her to just let herself into the garage door, suggesting that she park behind the garage so they could just pop that dresser into the car and be done with it.  I was in my pajamas in the GREEN chair with a swaddled, snoring, sweet-smelling puppy dog and did not want to get dressed or do anything/say anything/be anything.  I mentioned the first part in my text, but not the second.

Amos awoke just before they arrived, so I had a chance to fetch the paint and stain and drawer knobs and such from the basement and set them atop the dresser so that Marie and Paul didn't have to wait until the next cooking day to have those things, too.  I was upstairs in the bathroom when I heard them come in the front door.

I was not gracious.
I was rather grumpy.
I was not clothed properly.

I hollered down the stairs at them that I had texted about parking in the back and leaving the garage door unlock.  Marie hollered back that they parked in the alley, but the garage was locked.  I hollered that I had just been in there so I was certain that the entrance door was unlocked.  Marie hollered that they were coming through the house because the gate was screwed shut.  I did try holler back that that the gate was not screwed shut, but rather there is a tension latch holding the gate against the pole.  You just squeeze it back against the fence (away from the pole) and it slips free of the holder and the gate swings open in either direction.  Only those words would not come to my mouth.  I LOATHE those moments when the words I want to say simply are not there.  I know what I want to say, what I want to describe or re-tell, but the words are simply not there.  So, I frantically pulled on clothing and came downstairs, with my wet hair and my puffy face (from all my tears), horrified by all that hollering I had just done.

I couldn't really explain that I stayed up all night because of the dream about Amos.  I texted it to Marie and Becky and Celia (my way of trying to calm down), but Marie is too busy with work to respond.  I didn't want to point that out.  I didn't want to say that I knew I was not going to be able to stay up again all night, so I had just finished exhausting myself and wanted nothing more than to try to avoid all thoughts and feelings until my last medication of the evening and could head up to bed. Marie would have understood.  She would.  But the work of trying to put it all together for her and for Paul was overwhelming me and I was struggling not to melt down in front of them.  Plus, I was ashamed at being grumpy when they first came into the house (because I LOVE that Marie and Paul will come in ... as if we are family of a sorts, as if my home is theirs, too).

Hey, Marie, I'm upset because Amos died a horrendous death in my arms and I saw more stuff about my dad and I had to go on the scary bridge and I'm the devil's second in command and I just about ruined that magnificent plant your mother gave me and I am so weary of sanding the back porch and yet there is no one else to do it for me and I actually got two birthday cakes and eating them has made me want to never have another Red Velvet Cake again, but I couldn't just throw the second one out and I am still thinking about Psalm 51, but I am not sure I should be thinking about it since I don't know anymore what faith is and I just know that I am another Saul (OT) and I am scared all the time about dying an eternal death and I am exhausted all the time and I don't want to sleep because I don't think I can survive another Amos nightmare and switching back to the erythromycin solution to save money has meant an even worse transition than switching to the pills and I broke the antique bone dish from my great aunt that I was using as a soap holder in the half bath today and I have this mucocele that keeps popping and coming back even bigger and more painful that I am ignoring because I am 99% sure that the blocked gland will have to be removed and I am utterly terrified about anesthesia after the last time waking up was so difficult so I am ignoring the problem and I feel guilty about wanting you to just slink in and take the dresser and slip away into the night and so really I am in no shape to interact with any human being on the entire planet.

That wouldn't work.

I went out to the garage and opened the automatic door for them. I also gave advice on the easiest way to pick it up and load it into the car without taking the drawers out.  Since the new knobs are not on it yet, the only way  to get them open and shut (I left them slightly open) is to grab the painted edges.  I was careful in painting those edges, but paint on wood scratches and peel.  That's a fact.  I wanted to help them delay that happening any time soon.  Then there was much awkward fumbling of words as I didn't know how to make up for the grumpiness and to not die of heat stroke before they left.  I had grabbed the thickest hoodie I own to cover my top.  Thick is great for when you are not properly clothed beneath it.  Thick is terrible for being outside in the summer.

I cannot wait to forget that part of today.

However, even though I was lost in watching mind-numbing, ridiculously bad sic-fi disaster movies, I am glad that Becky rang to talk a bit before she crawled into her own bed.  In a way, interacting fairly normally with her was a way to make up for the social disaster of a couple of hours before.  And there's the part about how I get to look forward to laundry being a bit easier on me in the future.

If I remember the new way to sort it.

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