Sources of Joy – Days 65-67
I spent Friday preparing to begin moving our belongings to the new house on Saturday. New spaces require new configurations, and choosing carefully what goes in each of our seven (!) kists. I am determined that things proceed in an orderly fashion, and if this takes a little longer than a haphazard approach, I do not mind.
Saturday was a day full of hard work moving things. So very many joys, including the good heart of my new landlady, how well she and my new landlord and I worked to clean and clear their storerooms and junk, and repack them with new junk, so that I can take full occupancy. The good will thus created serve to make us all work that much harder. I feel honoured to be entering this established Portuguese neighbourhood. People I am already acquainted with live here, but I did not know that until now.
Both my landlady and I had to break with working to clean ourselves up and attend Mass at St. Faustino, now on Saturdays at 5 pm, where I sing in a small choir. After the service, one of the women told me how she and my landlady had grown up together, and I got to know a little more of the local history, and now begin to understand on a slightly deeper level the connections between people and the true place they hold within the community.
After Mass, I returned home in the company of my former English student who volunteered to help me. We loaded and transported an almost-antique carved kist belonging to João. She cleaned the room which had recently been cleared of junk. She and the landlady helped me clean the table and chairs liberated from the back room, and all was successfully installed in the kitchen. We all worked, including the landlord who had just installed the new gas water heater, to remove an enormous old display unit from what will be my new office. I was given the choice of whether I wanted an electric or gas water heater. Talk about being treated like royalty!
Earlier in the afternoon, my old landlord knocked on my door. He has a big truck, and has offered to transport the big items of furniture. This is a godsend, from which I am very grateful. All I have to do is find a couple of strong men to help. We move the big stuff next Saturday.
I went to bed early on Saturday night, stiff, exhausted, and happy.
This morning I visited João, chiefly to receive instruction on how to give her a bed bath. It was instructive, and a few sensible tips were to be had. They have taught her cooperation, something I mean to continue! The best part was that she woke up to the surprise of seeing my face and was so very happy to see me. I sat with her through her simple continental breakfast and we chatted. I was pleased to see the old João shining through, with her concern for other residents peppering our conversation. After breakfast, I took out my laptop and showed her the photos of our new home. She too, likes the idea of the table in the kitchen. I rather craftily got her to agree enthusiastically that if we did not have bread rolls and cheese, that she would be happy with traditional Portuguese bread/toast and olive oil for breakfast instead, something heartily endorsed by the nurse present. Also, something we are more likely to have in our kitchen at any one time. We have not had a table at which to eat for many years. I look forward to making this the new focus of domestic life.
She loved that I had taken her kist, and her mother’s kist and placed them in the pristine new bedroom first. I had brought her a new tube of toothpaste, since I figured the extra week in the care facility would mean that she would run out. Not so. I discovered that she has hardly brushed her teeth at all. So I helped her do that, and said to her that she must ask someone to help her. Whether she will or not, I have no idea. She has been well cared for, nevertheless, and in a private reconnaissance, I noticed that most of her clothes had returned to the cupboard, along with a couple of things which do not belong to her. I shall have to invest in a proper laundry marker for next time. I spent about two hours there. A good visit.
In my mind, our new home will be exactly the way I want it to be, but it does not hurt to do the odd thing which I know will please João. She seems to have complied quite readily to the rules at the care facility which, quite frankly, knowing the fiery rebel she once was, astonished me. Of course, I am gratified by this new development and I intend to use it to ensure that caring for João is made as easy as possible for me. The break has done me good. Today, for the first time since the respite care started, I can consider the prospect of caring for João once again without being filled with horror and dread.
I had a lovely pre-arranged conversation via Skype with a friend whose voice I have not heard for close on twenty years. We interact frequently on Facebook, but the joys and immediacy of speech cannot be overrated. We will do that again, soon.
I spent some time this afternoon preparing the next load of things to take to the new house, rather slowly. I gave in to fatigue and thoroughly enjoyed the oblivion of a long afternoon nap. The next fortnight will be very busy indeed, and I need to take moments of utter indolence whenever I can!
There is no mention of what I refer to as work – translation work – above. There is plenty of time for that. In many, gentle ways I am preparing for a productive working summer in what promises to be a cooler house. From my days in Zimbabwe, I already know how to work more efficiently so that I can run outside and dig a vegetable bed, or something.