(Photo of cockatoo trying to deprive me of privy privacy)
Last week included the usual stuff – beautiful, fun, fascinating conversations with my clever loves (how good is the year ten curriculum!); background thinking for some writing projects; a demoralising backlog of tedious admin that speaks, in part, to the huge difference between an excellent NDIS planner who understands my situation and one who doesn’t; dedicated carers and machines working round the clock to make up for my body-that-can’t;￼ musical accompaniment by Densil on keys and Kimi on sax; appointments with health professionals; and an unhealthy amount of screen time (don’t tell the kiddies), often accompanied by wonderful ABC audio or podcasts (currently the gobsmackingly compelling In the Dark).
Plus, these things.
Monday: a power outage stops the thermomix mid-flight, revealing that tepid mushed lentils, Brussels sprouts and zucchini makes a palatable dinner by candlelight. Our cat, who normally tries to poach vegetarian morsels from Kimi’s plate, disagrees.
Tuesday: I finish watching West Wing, all seven seasons of which I had missed back in the day. It has been a soothing, deftly crafted antidote to recent American politics, with an unexpected neurodegenerative subplot.
Wednesday: Anne and I, doing the cryptic crossword, deduce that a titlark is a kind of bird and resolve to exploit this fact in Scrabble games and conversation (see what I did there?).
Thursday: Alan Kohler’s casual incorporation of the verb “spifflicate” into his ABC News finance report gave me much joy. As a kid I thought Dad had invented this (never realised) threatened punishment, which, accompanied by air-tickling fingers, elicited paroxysms of giggles.
Friday: Sonia and I watch my carer’s beautiful film school major work and I cry and think about lives and stories; I note the date (12/02/2021, or more succinctly 12/2/21), but decide I don’t have to research the history of palindromic (and as friend James pointed out, ambigramic) lunar new years.
Saturday: not for the first time I received my carer’s feedback on the state of my nether regions with momentary regret, before reminding myself that my pre-MND body also couldn’t see some parts of itself. Later, catching up on the week’s Tegan-captained Coronacast, I heard my lifelong and excellent friend Julie Leask giving lucid, constructive, evidence-based advice about vaccine communication, and I fondly remembered our Barrie St adventures.
Sunday: as my two carers uncovered and cuff-pressure-checked and shoulder-massaged me from sleep I became conscious of the date, the eleventh Valentine’s Day anniversary of Dad’s death from mesothelioma. My grief has mellowed such that I am grateful to have so many happy memories and be aware of his lasting imprint on my life. As I was fed breakfast on the commode (you know it makes sense) I joined the end of an in(ter)continental zoom call with schoolfriends and heard about Nat’s life in lockdown Toronto and Sonya’s and Halfy’s reliance on communications technology. We acknowledged Dad during our weekly family FaceTime – my remarkable tech-savvy, community-building mum and Lexi with her digital-native, increasingly verbal (actually nominal) 420-day-old littlie in (hopefully snappy) lockdown Victoria; Sonia with cat and us in Sydney. I wondered how my soft-hearted, gregarious, self-confessed Luddite Dad would have coped with this age of Coronavirus. And I wonder what effect it will have on my niece and her generation.