Change Is Coming
by Valerie Nusbaum
As I’m writing this column, I’m sitting in my home office, wearing my pajamas and robe, while I recover from some surgery that I had four days ago. I’m sore but not in any real pain, and I finally got some sleep last night, so I’m not nearly as irritable as I might have been.
I’m struck by how fortunate I am to have a mate who willingly changes my bandages and cleans my wounds, all the while telling me encouraging things and never complaining. He does, however, crack jokes and make inappropriate comments during the process. I have two incisions in my back (upper and lower) and a whole lot of stitches, bruising, and residue from the marking pens the surgeon used on me. Randy swears it’s a treasure map, but I can’t see any of it, even with a mirror. I’m completely at his mercy, which isn’t always a good thing.
It’s a give and take with us. I’ve been where Randy is now—a caregiver for him while he’s gone through some tough times and difficult procedures. I, however, am a much better patient than he. I do what I’m told, and I only yell a little when the tape comes off. I’m probably not as generous at giving aid as Randy is, so it all balances out. Randy doesn’t enjoy being cared for. He thinks he can do it all by himself and that not doing it makes him less manly and powerful, which is silly because we all know who has the power. Okay, maybe I am a little cranky today. Honestly, nothing tests a relationship more than an illness or tragedy, and Randy and I have weathered some big stuff. I’m guessing he’ll survive me being fussy because my back itches and burns. This ordeal of mine, though, is nowhere near as bad as the stuff he’s been through. He really is remarkable. Thank you, Randy, for taking such good care of me.
Where is Randy, you ask? He’s in the basement in his home office (not hiding at all) on the clock with his actual job. Now, part of my job in taking care of my man is to point out to him that if he’s going to continue to work from home, he needs a better, brighter, and neater office. That’s how most of our remodel projects begin. I get an idea. This time, Randy gets a shiny, new man-cave or I finally get my game room. I imagine it will be a compromise of sorts, and we’ll have a workstation hidden in there somewhere.
As with all of our projects, this one was a long time in the planning phase. We’re both planners, and we try hard to think things through and trouble-shoot any problems that we foresee. There will, of course, be that one thing we didn’t think of and it will cause us no end of frustration, but the new room will be nice when it’s finished. Right now, there’s just insulation and sealer on one-and-a-half walls.
We’re waiting for the electrician to give us his quote. In the meantime, Randy will frame out the wall space he’s insulated. I have some slate tiles that were given to me years ago by a friend who oversaw putting a new roof on the Episcopal Church in Brunswick. I also have a stack of red bricks that came from the demolition of the old high school in my hometown. We’re trying to think of ways to incorporate these treasures into our design. I’m afraid that between my back issues and taking care of my art business (the holiday season is my busiest time) and the other things that can’t wait, I haven’t been any real help to Randy with this job. If he’s being honest, that’s the way he likes it. He’ll ask me when he wants my input, and I will very likely give him the answer he doesn’t want to hear.
My reason, I guess, for mentioning our home project is simply to say that change comes in all forms—even something as small as re-doing a room in the basement. Change happens whether we initiate it or not. Sometimes, we’re ready for it and sometimes we aren’t. I’ve never been one who enjoys change all that much. I’m trying harder these days to go with the flow and roll with the punches. What’s the point in getting upset?
We’re on the cusp of another brand-new year. All around me, I’m hearing that there are “brighter days ahead,” and people are expressing hopes for health, wealth, and happiness.
Don’t get me wrong. I hope those things come true for all of us. It’s just that I’m a realist, and I’ve given up on pinning my hopes on what might be. I don’t make resolutions anymore, but I’m willing to make changes when and where I can, like finishing a room in the basement. Just don’t expect me to recommend a good diet.
Happy New Year everyone! And don’t forget to change your underwear. That’s one change we can all agree on.