Last night I broke from an editing job (I work at home) to check my email, and found a "needs moderation" comment from a purported Doctor Barbara, who wrote this in response to my "Two Realities" entry:

"You really make it seem really easy along with your presentation however I to find this
matter to be actually something which I think I would never understand. It kind of feels
too complicated and extremely large for me. I'm having a look forward on your subsequent
submit, I will try to get the hang of it!"

I had to laugh. Dr. Barbara, you're on. If you're real, kindly read my "By Way of Introduction" entry and then tell me if you still think this is "really easy."

But the comment got me thinking. Because a big way in which I cope is through what I call transcending my situation. Through music. Through writing. Even through my current freelance job, in which I'm dealing with some very technical (to me) material, but I get to be a grammar geek. I wield my magical sword of syntax!

And in that way, I'm lucky. My brand of caregiving still lets me have a room of my own. I escape the clutter and work in my sanctuary, which I admit is also cluttered after a fashion. (Several times a year I set aside time to do a bang-up organizing job. The room is overdue for one.)

During an earlier break from the job, my partner and I tried to work on her Social Security paperwork. She couldn't remember the dates she had worked on projects because her employment record is so spotty: a few months here, a few there. She couldn't remember how many hours per day she'd worked on odd jobs. What order had they come in? She couldn't remember what she was paid. She insisted that knowing English is "a technical skill," as applied to her job as a survey coder. We gathered info from an old resume, but she realized it contained errors, and that upset her. She told me she was tensing up.

I've got questions for the lawyer's office: How can we work around my partner's lack of memory, around numbers the form wants that imply work schedules with neat edges? I remember an editing job my partner had done years ago (editing is another thing we once had in common). She had slaved over a document, pulling all-nighters to accomplish something that would have normally taken far less time. I was already seeing signs of decline then.

Yesterday it had taken us 90 minutes to partially fill three pages, by which time we were both exhausted. We have 27 pages to fill. The silver lining in this is that my partner had initiated the session. In the past we've set a time, which I had picked because my partner couldn't decide, and then she usually needed sleep or food or something else instead, and we'd have to reschedule.

She later confronted me, saying I had not told her that the DCF inspector had backed off on her hoarding issue (essentially handing it off to the therapist so that he could close his file) when she had gone into therapy in 2009. My partner and I had both been in the therapist's office when the hand-off had been discussed.

We've since had this same discussion/confrontation several times. My partner had been full of questions: How much did she have to clean up? How much time did we have? How often would the inspectors come? Then she would haggle over definitions.

She did not remember signing a contract with her now-former therapist that she would clean up X-amount in X-time, nor could she find the piece of paper. But that was a moot point, because the contract hadn't been enforced. Shortly thereafter, that therapist had gone into semi-retirement.

Last night my partner accused me of not telling her things. She then told me she can't remember things that are emotionally upsetting to her. She has to write them down. (She was writing things down while we worked on the Social Security papers, including things that had nothing to do with the forms.)

At one point during her outburst I said, "I'm sorry."

She snapped, "No, you're not."

At times like these she becomes a storm whose path I cannot change or hold back. At times like these I just have to let her blow through and deep-six myself. Because I know it will pass. I force my voice to become neutral. I say, "Okay," a lot. I've learned these past few years that the best thing to do is disengage.

She has now created a folder in which she can keep notes she writes when she is emotionally upset, so that she doesn't forget. The folder has my name on it, followed by the abbreviation "Emot." It joins her collection of many other folders on the floor.

Part of me wonders how long it will take before that folder becomes a moot point as well. Is there anything I can do right now to improve the situation? I don't think so. Therefore, I let it be. For now, her brief storm has passed, she feels as though she has accomplished something, and I am able to get back to work.

An email from my client says, "No rush." Yay! I still will try to meet my self-imposed deadline, because I've got another job waiting in the wings.

Before the evening was out, my partner and I had shared a few jokes, including word play at which she is still adept. We do riffs on songs sometimes, creating funny lyrics. We laugh.  We hug.

My partner knows that when I am working I need to be uninterrupted if at all possible. Some days it's more possible than others. But I am lucky in that I still have that option.

As I write this my partner is sleeping -- in her bed, this time, not on the floor -- and I am headphoned into Hearts of Space, whose programs are streamed free of charge on Sundays. Today it's program 971, "Winter Harmonies," and I'm listening to harp, violins, and glass harmonica. I have just brewed a pot of strong coffee, am luxuriating in the space heater on my desk, and am taking some "me" time before I again pick up my magical sword of syntax and hunt down grammatical and formatting errors in a thicket of alien jargon.  Before my partner awakens, with the many, many things she wants to tell me.

And that's how I "make it seem really easy." :-)