Helping Hands or Room For Two More

I was supposed to make a cake today. Well actually yesterday except yesterday was a day of lupus treatment which meant nothing else got done.  Not to worry though, I decided, because the cake is easy to make to,or row is another day.  Except we are at to,or row and my hands struggle to work.  Simple directions are not all that simple to follow today.

Still a cake needed to be made and while the four-footed one likes to help I can’t say for sure that she’d be able to manage all the measurements and such.  Enter Beloved.  He can follow directions and measurements rather well.  He may not have planned on making the cake, but he was willing to do so.

Actually he was willing to do whatever it took to save flour from being wasted.  Or perhaps it was after the second egg hit the floor that he felt the need to step in.  At any rate making today’s cake became, well a piece of cake once two helping hands stepped in.

The mess was cleaned up, the cake was made, dishes were washed and all was good.  Because I had helping hands, which meant tomorrow still held promise of making cake instead of a phone call of regret and potentially disappointing people.  This is a relief because all too often my over enthusiasm for things combines with lupus in a way that is full of regret and disappointment.  But not today, not with helping hands.


Making The Bed

My mama always insisted I make  my bed once I woke up.  She was deaf to the logic I applied, one that went something like this:  why make it just to take it apart hours later to go to bed.  The only time my mama allowed me to leave my bed unmade was if I were sick.

To this day, unless I am very sick, I make my bed once I get up.  Beloved was raised them same way, only his Mama insisted his bed tucked in tight so a coin could be bounced off it.

No matter how hard we try, the four-footed one doesn’t seem to want to leave her beds nice and neat.  I just spent the last half hour putting dog bed mattresses back into the beds, straightening blankets and such.  Not because she has that many beds, but because once one bed was tidied up and I moved to the next, she tore the tided bed apart.

She grabbed one of her mattresses and decided to pull it into the bathroom.  As if to say she might need to crash there at some time!  It isn’t so much I want her to make her beds, but I’d like to not have to retrieve mattresses and such from various parts of the house.

The other day Belved found her mattress with his shoes.  She carried it down five stairs and through a narrow doorway.  Just to place it on his shoes.  When he went to put it back she pounced on it and refused to let him remove it.  (He was able to move it a few hours later, by that time she had another mattress somewhere else.)

And here is the kicker, she rarely sleeps or naps in her beds!  Yep they become play things.  Because she has our bed, and when she needs to nap there is either a welcoming lap or some feet to curl up on.  Because she’s, well,our four-footed one!

How Dogs Help Me With Lupus

When I first got diagnosed with lupus, one of the doctors strongly suggested I get a dog if I didn’t already have one.  At the time I did not have a dog and I didn’t think it was such a great idea.  Not after being told I had a serious illness that could kill me if I didn’t get help to manage it properly.

When I saw the same  Doctor a few months later, he asked me if I had a gotten the dog yet.  He explained that dogs are wonderful for helping to relax people, reduce stress and make sure that people stay in a routine of getting out and such.  What he couldn’t possibly know is that I tend to like my dogs a little on the unusual side.  Rarely are these dogs relaxed and sedate.  By the same token, these dogs insist on attention and quality time.

What this doctor and several others failed to recognize is that there is something healing about the unconditional love you get from a four-footed friend. If you have an off day, feel like rubbish or what have you, well they still love you and accommodate as best they can.  If that means that you can only curl up and rest, you get a short demand for a walk and then they get in resting right near you.  Sometimes that’s the best kind of medicine you can get because it does so much for your soul that it helps heal you a little.

Pulling Together

It started with a whisper, just a whisper of a wind.  Beloved was confident it wouldn’t get too bad out there so he didn’t worry about battening down the hatches.  Not that we have hatches because we don’t and I’m pretty sure neither of us have as clue how to batten them down anyway!  😉

Around 2 am just past the witching hour, the dog decided he needed to patrol the house.  When the dog patrols the house, he does it in such a way as to wake, well, the dead.  So of course we were up and in a fit of power struggle, Beloved decided to take the dog outside.  The dog was having none of this, nor should he because that whisper of a wind had become a howl.  A nonstop, constant howling wind.

Had the dog gone out with Beloved, and had Beloved put the leash on the dog, I’m sure the effect would have been similar to the dog being a kite.  So we sat there, the two is with hot cocoa because Beloved decided we needed that, while the dog continued to patrol the inside of the house.

When the power went out we sat in flickering candle light trying to soothe the dog.  All around us the winds picked up and I understood how people could mistake the noise for a woman screeching or keening.  It was just incredible!

It moved from incredible to surreal when we heard the load crack as the tree across the street came down.  And then it was slowly dying down, as though the grand act had been the taking down of a large, old tree.  As suddenly as the storm had come, it was gone and we carefully grabbed some jackets and headed out to see the damage.

The backyard or garden had a table tipped over, my terracotta pots were in pieces and the vines on the house had been ripped off.  That was pretty much the extent of it.  There was only limbs from the fallen tree in our front.  But the same couldn’t be said for the lovely elderly couple across the road from us, or even our neighbors.

When the tree went down, it basically fell across the elderly couple’s walk, essentially trapping them from using the front walk.  Their car, which was parked out front was now under a massive tree, crushed like a small can.

The neighbors to the right of us had water in their front enters ce, a sure sign that things weren’t all square and tight.  Our neighbors to the left had broken windows from flying debris.  After ensuring then couple across the street were okay Beloved and some of the men in area decided to start to remove the tree as best they could.  I couldn’t do much for broken windows as we didn’t have spare boards or stuff so I opted to help mop up the other neighbor’s house.

All the while people were talking about how about how incredible the storm was and how it hit some places and missed others.  I was silent, taken back to having been through a few hurricanes and getting the same sights now as I had back then.  It wasn’t just a storm that had come in off the water, it had to be something akin to a tropical storm or such.

Later on in the day we’d see people surfing in the choppy, huge waves.  We’d see other people dealing with broken windows, damaged property or trees everywhere.  And we’d marvel at how the only thing we had to deal with was no power, some broken pots and a noisy dog.  While other people talked about how lucky they were, we knew we had come out of this far luckier than most, and so we helped where we could.  It was nice to see the whole neighborhood pull together, to see people talking and sharing.  It was sad that it took something like this for that to happen.


Gentle breeze? Check. Nice skies? Check? Soft sand? Check. Gentle waves crashing softly onto the sand? Check. Jellyfish? Wait. What? Did you say jellyfish? Umm not my idea for a nice walk on the beach letting the waves wash over my feet as I go.

Jellyfish? Yes they are present to. Sadly there were gaggles? Hordes? Schools? Flocks? I’m not sure what the word is for mass amounts of jellyfish, but that’s what was on the beach. Washed up on the shore after a night of storms.

Beloved had wanted to walk on the beach, after all it wasn’t stormy any more. So walk we did. And as we walked we noticed various sea life washed up. I marveled at how nature works, how populations of animals can be controlled so quickly and easily. It’s something we humans just can’t get right.

Of course while I was marveling at all of this, Beloved was doing a very human thing. Rescuing these poor, damaged sea animals. He threw starfish back in the water, assuring me that because their bodies were had, this wouldn’t hurt them I. The least.

Bravely, or foolishly (frankly these tend to blur in certain circumstances) Beloved picked up a jellyfish. Yes a jellyfish and threw it into the water. He reasoned it would be okay.

So we down the beach we went, me side-stepping the animals and him intervening on Nature’s course. For all his troubles he ended up getting stung several times by the jellyfish. The doctor who saw him said that some animals don’t need rescuing, at least not by someone who had never seen that animal before.

Thankfully he doesn’t go for walks on the beach any more after huge storms. And he doesn’t attempt to handle animals assuming they know he means well. Of course he has the scars to remind him of this, but it hasn’t stopped him from helping, however he’s a bit more knowledgeable and doesn’t go out of his depths.

Our best intentions aren’t always for the best. Not everything, or person, will understand (or want) our assistance. Don’t believe me? Just ask the jellyfish!

What He Did

He rented a sports car, because why not. At first he told me that he had rented it for me, so I could enjoy it. Really what he meant was that I could enjoy him enjoying driving it.

He got a room with a view, so I could enjoy that. Only I was busy with work, so my view was a computer screen, text books and field notes. He, however, enjoyed the morning sunrises on the balcony and watching the sun start its fiery journey towards setting in the west.

He took me out for walks and food, so that I might enjoy the vacation. He didn’t want to eat alone and had seen most of the sights during the day while,I was working.

He rubbed the stiffness from my hands and neck and insisted I take a break from my task. He did what he could to ensure it wasn’t all work and no play.

He signed us up for boat tour and a walking tour. He took me to a winery.

And did I thank for it? No. I was busy with work and ideas and mad I didn’t get to drive the sports car. This trip was supposed to be about work, he was coming along just because he could. And yet some how he managed to make it about him, to the point that he was miffed at me for not seeing all he had done.

I should have thanked him, and I did, but that was much later on. At the time I couldn’t see how play and pleasure are just as important as working hard.

It took me a while to see what all he did and how yes I didn’t get to drive the car, but he got a car is enjoy and then made sure I didn’t have to worry about finding my way I’m strange place.