Well, the plan to have R, the companion, drive J to her recorder group collapsed because the group was canceled the day before it was scheduled to happen. Aagghhh!!!

So, R was able to come for the regular two hours, and we did some household projects for an hour or so, all together, and then sat and had coffee towards the end, which is the direction I’d like to see things go.

But we may be back to square one with the effort to have J accept companion services as such. The other day she and I were discussing a friend’s need for house cleaning services, and J said “Oh, like R!” I then put my foot in my mouth by responding “Well, R is not the cleaning person”….whereupon J replied, “What is she then, a BABYSITTER??!”

I was speechless. And herein lies the problem: J persists in regarding companion services as undignified and unnecessary, and I don’t know how to work this around. I am hoping to have a conversation about this with J, when an opening appears. And I need to stay calm and open with her, to hear her concerns but also to introduce her to mine. In the past, we’ve gotten into wrangles about this issue, and that is so not helpful. Stay tuned.

Meanwhile, the past few weeks have been otherwise pleasant – J’s been in a pretty good mood, we’ve had several pleasant activities going on, from leaf-peeping (just getting good, this week!), and wonderful walks down by the shore to some garden clean-up and new birdfeeders which have become a big hit with the tufted titmice, chickadees and nuthatches. And the newest tiny pleasure – a little Franklin-type fireplace, that has electric heat and a pleasant glowing-logs-flickering-flame effect, for the porch. It’s totally fake, but also delightful – a little spare heat, and that woodstove effect, which makes you feel warmer just to see it. And you can turn off the heating element and just leave the flame effect, if the room is not too cold to begin with. This back room is the sunniest of all the rooms in our house, and when the leaves fall off the trees, it is even sunnier. And when the snow is on the ground, it is nearly blinding – a little compensation for the short days of winter, in this northern latitude.

We’ve transitioned to warmer clothes, and put away the summer stuff. The patio umbrella is stored, the hoses drained and coiled and put in the garage, and only the grill and the table to clean and store next week sometime. And a few more garden plants to trim or yank, and we’re ready for winter.

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