Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Silence ~ But I can do better!

I live with a person who has several health issues and dementia. Some days are quiet and pretty darned boring. Those are really the better days. Then there are the days that something gets his ire up and well it can get rather tense.

The other day I was watering the large heated stock tank. The outdoor hydrant is above the house on a hillside. I use about 200 feet of construction strength black hose to run water to the stock tank which is plugged in on the porch of the house. I separate the hoses and drain them in the winter. Gravity is such a great helper. Once in the past 5 years I've had one hose ice up on me. 

I separate the hoses by the LP tank. You can see how the slope works in my favor.

The tank fills with very little work most of the time. The two mules that need special feeding requirements are kept separate from the younger mules. Fred the pony mule is 35. Mica is the grey mule. She is has heaves when it is dry and dusty and is a hard keeper. Mica is also blind in one eye. I still ride Mica and put kids on her even though she is our tallest mule. She has a very kind disposition and is very gentle.

So I finished watering, picked feet, and gave everyone except Fred a nice hug and some ear rubs. Fred is anti social and doesn't like being caught.

I wrapped things up and headed to the house. Rich had been watching from the porch door. When I got inside he proceeded to give me a very stern lecture on 'how to drain the hoses properly'. I had the angle wrong somehow and I left footprints and divots in the snow which made the hose freeze up.

He even showed me how to hold the hose properly along with how to walk. It went on and on and on. 

I internally rolled my eyes and then in a moment of stupidity blurted out. "I've been doing this for over 5 years and I've only frozen up the hose one other time during the other Polar Vortex a couple of years ago. It will be 40 today. The hoses will be just fine."

His retort was quick and sudden and a bit nasty. He turned and crossed his arms in a huff.

I realized instantly that I his time frames were confused. In his mind he'd just helped me with it not too long ago. 

He was also stressed out because the program he'd been binge watching had ended. And he was frustrated because somewhere in his mind that he was no longer out there doing simple things like draining the hose.

His punishment was the Silent Treatment. He tossed the remote and and sat on the couch. He stared at the wall arms crossed and breathing in big sighs. After about a half hour, he got up and went to take a nap.

I understand mental health issues a bit. I am a lay person who lives with it. I married a person with it. I don't have any regrets. But there are days when even I can't deal with it and I take my Angel Hat and toss it aside.

However, I grew up in a household where Mom was the Expert at Silent Treatment. She could've taught a Master's Class in Silence and exasperated looks.
I knew I shouldn't engage in it, but I did.

I plugged my earphones into my smarty phone and dialed in Pandora. Mom was the expert and I learned from her. My Mom had some mental health issues too, so I'd learned from the expert. My poor dad, I don't think he ever could understand Mom.

Silence feels like a superpower. It is a very powerful weapon. Sooner or later hubby would need help with the TV or he would want supper. I rolled these things over in my mind and decided that I'd break his silence as soon as he got up from his nap.
After all, I should be the better person in this as I am caring for him.

There is no arguing with Dementia. I discovered that with his mom. Let them rant, let them tell you what is what and simply move on. Hard to do when you literally live in close proximity.

After his nap, he wasn't having anything to do with breaking Silence. He stood with the remote and kept clicking through programs and sighing loudly. I let him.

I started to bake chocolate chip cookies. Our cottage/house is very tiny. Pretty quick, he entered the kitchen and stood.

"Whatchya doing?"

Me: Baking cookies.

Him: Didjya fall on your head? [His joke at any attempt by me at baking.]

Me: Must have.

Him: Let me have some.

Me: Okay. Can I help you find a program?

Him: Yes please.

The Silent Treatment broken and things back on an even keel.


  1. Some days are just HARD. Cookies...glad that worked. Winter is hard on everyone, sure hope that Rich finds a program he likes:)

    1. Chicago Fire is the new current one. He watches a lot so I have trouble finding shows he can follow. We need straight forward stories.

  2. Smart thinking on your part, both the headphones and the cookies.:)

    1. I often reach for the headphones to shut off the TV noise. Otherwise I can always go outside.
      Yep...who can resist the smell of freshly baked cookies???

  3. Awww, Mica looks like a sweetheart!! The silent treatment is my go to, but it's not fun for anyone. Dementia is difficult. My 88 year old mother (Aurora, the 2nd) has it. Don't be too hard on yourself Val, you are human too.

    1. Mica is a sweetie and she is like the others -- not Fred -- very patient. They are my go to gals to get nice big hugs from when things are challenging.
      Sorry about your mom having dementia. It is a tough road to navigate.

  4. Cookies will do it every time.