We sat in a small, crowded cafe after dropping off thrift store donations. I cupped my hand over my ear to hear my partner, who is soft-spoken to begin with.
After a couple of false starts, I heard her say that she was trying to think of Paradise as being “between Yellowstones.” When I asked her what she meant (since I know of only a single Yellowstone), she said only, “Six-hundred-thousand years.” That clued me in to where she was coming from.
I said, “Between eruptions.”
Her point as I interpret it: Paradise is now, here in the present, because we are alive. (Yellowstone is the location of a supervolcano, whose last giant eruption had occurred something over 600,000 years ago.)
She’s been trying to make sense of what has happened to her, and to move beyond being stuck in what has happened to her. I interpreted what she was saying as her attempt to live in the moment.
She is often “derivative” (her word), and this was one of those times. This kind of loose association has also been tied to knight’s move thinking (named after the way the knight chess piece moves), in which thoughts jump in unexpected, “illogical” ways.
In this particular case I chalk her language up to her use of (and logic in) metaphor. I just needed to get more information from her in order to understand her reference. Once I did that, her “Paradise between Yellowstones” made sense to me. I view it more as a brain teaser than as a thought disorder.
Earlier, she had been afraid that she was losing her sight, based on something she had misread in the cognitive neurologist’s report. (In fact, he had written that he had seen no evidence of a particular sight disorder.) I spent some time looking up the various technical terms in his report as she peered over my shoulder at the computer.
She told me she had seen “flashing arcs.”
I asked her, “When? How often? For how long?”
Months ago, she said. Once, for just a few minutes.
I suggested we could monitor, to see if it ever happened again. She seemed fine with that.
The thrift store we had gone to benefits the Key Training Center. Since 1966, the center has worked “to unlock and open the door of opportunity for people with developmental disabilities.”
That’s one reason I love the thrift store, which is staffed by volunteers and Key Center trainees. The store takes just about anything and sells it for a good cause. For that reason it’s also been a major benefit to our glacial-pace decluttering. When my partner is ready to let something go, it goes to the thrift store.
She’s been ready for a while now to let go of the leveling sand that’s sat on our front porch for years. It had been the wrong sand for our purpose at the time. We re-packed one bag whose plastic had torn.
My partner had been worried about how we would transport the sand, given its weight, but I’ve been exercising. I had no problem picking up the plastic box into which we’d put the bags and carrying it to her truck.
I also conferred with her about my Caregiving.com game show winnings:
The fall motif cooking/table setting collection is gorgeous! I wondered: How can I best use this? We haven’t had guests in years — and our decor is, let’s say, less Louis Quatorze and more just plain Louis Hoards.
In fact, my partner had asked me to take photos throughout the house so that she could show her therapist that she has been working on the clutter and that we have walkways now.
So I decided to spread the blessing! I took my winnings to the thrift store. That way, someone who can put them to better use will get something lovely and the Key Training Center will get some cash for its programs.
While we were at the thrift store I gave a Caregiving.com flyer to one of the volunteers, who said that they can post it. Then she told me that she had been a caregiver for 12 years to her husband, who’d had Alzheimer’s.
As the saying goes, “We are everywhere.”
My partner and I returned home to a Special Delivery!
Somehow, the frogs get in and out, because they’re in the box during the day and elsewhere at night.
That was on Wednesday. My partner’s therapy appointment was on Thursday. She proudly showed the clutter photos to her therapist, who said it was still hoarding and still a problem.
“Some people might think so,” my partner answered. She added that it was a work in progress.
I handed the therapist a printout of the 2012 caregiver survey report (she already has a flyer). She was very interested in that, especially since her clients include caregivers.
Before heading home, we stopped at the park — but not before we came upon this cloudscape as seen from the municipal parking lot:
Here’s what it looked like by the time we reached the park. Facing back toward the road:
Facing the lake:
My version of Paradise is whenever — and wherever — I can find it. Sometimes it’s a wide-open sky, cluttered with sunset clouds.