The almond jar

I stopped in for a quick visit with Mom today. She was sound asleep when I arrived, didn’t hear me come in, was breathing deeply, and I hated to wake her but it was almost time for lunch. I was taking off my jacket and she sat up and said, “Hello?” I told her I hoped I didn’t scare her and she said she wasn’t scared. I don’t know how she could not have been scared. But I’m glad she wasn’t. She had been on top of her bedspread with a yellow blanket over her, lying on her back with her glasses and shoes on. She just sat up, got out of bed and started walking around a little aimlessly. She peed and then went and sat on the couch. I, meanwhile, noticed ants crawling through one of the two bowls of cat food on the floor. I just threw that food away and put the bowl in the sink with soap, and hope a single bowl might mean no ants. They ants had always gone to just one of the two bowls. Maybe it had a particular odor. But I am also just now thinking that one bowl might mean one bowl with ants in it. I’ll probably have to go remedy that tomorrow for the poor cat’s sake. I did a little vacuuming and reported, for the second time, that my mom has ants in her apartment.

I went to scoop the litter, and what did I see but the jar of almonds sitting on Mom’s bathroom floor. These were almonds I have thrown away twice, once by just tossing them into the trash can and a second time by sealing them in a bag with litter and other trash. I was horrified to see the jar. Is Mom going through her trash? Is she compelled to keep that jar? I have replaced those almonds with other snacks. I did the same thing again, putting the jar in a sealed bag with litter and other trash. This time, the bag was gray, so she can’t see through it and hopefully won’t retrieve that jar again. If she does, clearly I will have to carry it out to the dumpster. But I will also be facing one weird behavior if she is prone to picking through her trash. I don’t go out to the dumpster anymore because Mom used to like to come with me out back when I threw away litter, and the staff worried that I was encouraging her to roam around behind the building. So now I just leave the litter sealed in a bag within her trash. I’m pretty sure trash is picked up daily so it’s not a big, stinky problem.

The receptionist working today is one of my favorites. She took a full-time job at another assisted living facility so she works only weekends now at Mom’s place. She has always seemed to like me and she really likes Mom. And I like her – she’s just so friendly and seems to enjoy interacting with the residents. It’s as if she gets joy out of their idiosyncrasies rather than being annoyed by them. She said Mom doesn’t crack her up the way she used to – not because she’s no longer funny, but because she just doesn’t talk as much. Mom doesn’t seem to necessarily fully recognize her, either. The receptionist greeted her loudly and happily when we came out so I could drop Mom off at the dining room. Mom sort of shyly responded hello. Mom had talked to her earlier, though, saying she was looking for her cat. Oh, that cat. The receptionist wondered if Mom is wandering around looking for the cat that recently died. I hadn’t thought of that, because we sometimes mention her death and Mom remembers that it was sad, but she also seems to realize that cat is gone for good. I just don’t know what to think about that cat. But I’m more patient with Mom’s obsession about the cat than I am about her attraction to the dirty almond jar.

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