Friday, February 4, 2011

Winter Fare

As I walk from my office to the kitchen, I see the cat laying (or is it lying?) on his back.  The dog stands next to supine pussy with a rawhide chew in her mouth.  She looks like Groucho Marx with the rawhide chew substituting for the cigar.  I'm thinking the cat has no toys of his own.  In a plastic tub between two shelves at the foot of the second floor stairs, Mandy has assembled stuffed dogs, old bones, cat toys of every description, a tennis ball and an odd collection of other debris.  A round stuffed ball with a piece of Velcro attached to one end used to be a cat toy with a chicken feather tail.  Mandy  destroyed the feathered part.  Now, if the cat wants to play with one of his toys, he needs to hurry before Mandy rushes over and swipes the toy.  The Pooch will withdraw in disgust when Mandy abandons the saliva slobbered toy a few minutes later.  And so it goes.

If I pat the cat on the head, the dog rushes over, horning in on the action.

I used to be good at multi tasking.  In my career as a teacher, I'd be standing between two children wanting to beat the tar out of each other and at the same time carrying on a conversation with a colleague.

My walk to the kitchen and the sight of the dog and cat frolicking causes me to forget the reason for getting off my office chair.  I stand there dumbly. I watch the cat biting the dog in the ass.

Of course, the first thought that comes to mind-" Oh my Lord , it's dementia."  I've cut back severely on my nightly mug o' beer because I can't afford to lose any more brain cells.  Wine makes me fall asleep watching English sitcoms rented from Netflix.  The only comfort is my wife's admonition.  She works with elders daily.  "Relax,"she'll say.  By the time you have Alzheimer's, you won't even know what's wrong.

Then I remember.  I wanted to put my phone on the charger.

In the meantime I've been thinking about composing this post.  I'm reading a book by K.C. Constantine.  In the novel he uses the phrase "Thousand yard stares."   "The inmates of the county jail are as empty behind the eyes as anybody I ever saw in Vietnam.," the Deputy Warden says.  I wish I were as good a writer as Constantine.Vacant stares.  At least my dementia has a theme. 

I Google racial profiling, another distracting thought.  The news is full of stories about a Wisconsin law requiring police officers to note the profile of individuals in the traffic stop.  The intent is to document racial profiling on the part of law enforcement.  The officer is supposed to note without asking, the racial makeup of individuals in any encounter between law enforcement and individuals.  Imagine the recent snowstorm where a sheriff deputy assists 30 to 40 people stranded because of drifting snow, closed highways and skids off the highway into the ditch.  Each encounter has to be documented- age, gender, ethnicity.

In the same book by Constantine, the Deputy Warden comments that any politician, after being sworn in, should be confined for three days "in the joint." The encounter should give the politician perspectives in reality before passing ignorant laws.

There's no connection here, but my mind strays to thoughts of my conversation with Johann yesterday.  He tells me his monster truck is stuck in the middle of a corn field.  When he and a friend go to dig the 4X4 out of the drifting snow on the ridge top, they find the wheels aren't touching the ground.  That's how deep the wind driven snowdrifts are near his cabin.  He's hauling wood after a night in which cabin temperature dipped to 30 degrees.

In a flurry of activity yesterday, I clear the basement floor of accumulated junk-lawn chairs, cardboard boxes, the 100 foot roll of row cover, a bag of kitty litter and folding tables empty after I moved the potato harvest to the summer kitchen. I need to touch up the basement waterproofing for the upcoming flood.  I'm not talking anything Biblical.  The National Weather Service issues new flood data for the Kickapoo. They lower the flood stage measurement for both towns closest to us.  In the town to the north the new flood stage is 10 feet instead of 12.  To the south and west its 12 feet instead of 14.

I should be doing taxes, also, instead of farting around here. 

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