## 20 February 2012

Seeing what Julia can do in math:

Number ordering is coming along:

1, 2, 3, 4

8, 9, 10, 11

25, 26, 27, 28

37, 38, 39, 40

48, 49, 50, 51

2, 4, 6, 8

20, 30, 40, 50

325, 326, 327, 328

5, 4, 3, 2

12, 11, 10, 9

27, 26, 25, 24

Julia was able to fill in all of the underlined numbers. At the beginning of last summer, it was a challenge arranging numbered tiles 1-15 in order.

She had a harder time with:

90, 80, 70, 60

Needing a good deal of scaffolding and support.

We did a few greater-than, less-than. The signs are still drawn like alligator heads with the small number eating the bigger number. She was fine with:

3 > 1

4 < 7

17 > 9

25 < 47

We did addition and subtraction which she is still doing with manipulatives; however, she is using dots on the page which she draws and counts herself. She has been rash about subtraction at times, making dots for both numbers and adding them together, but this morning she has been very careful about noting the difference between addition and subtraction and doing it properly.

4 + 7 = 11

8 - 5 = 3

12 - 2 = 10

9 + 8 =17

15 - 9 = 6

She got both of these eventually, but she needed to slow down and a bit of prompting.

I cleaned my old desk for Julia to use today. One of her therapists pointed out that the little table that they use is way too little for her and that she had noticed a desk in my basement. Yes, indeed. It is the desk that David bought me as a wedding present. A desk to write on even when he was not so sure that writing was not what he preferred me to be doing. David always had some ambivalence about my writing. Our bitterest argument “began” when, during a regular disagreement, he blurted out that he “didn’t marry a writer.” He wanted to be the writer. Oh, it took awhile to get back to even keel after that one. We were so utterly young at that time and had no idea how many times we would change during our marriage. For each change, adjustments had to be made. There were some square pegs in round holes, but the glue that held up together also allowed us to bend and morph when necessary. We were and became what we needed to be for one another.

We, David and I, were so different and so much the same. We have such completely different styles -- where I wanted to read him my every draft, I never was allowed to see his work until it was almost done. There were a few stories that I didn’t read until they were published. Part of our wedding vows was to protect each other’s solitude. That promise was as important as anything else we did for one another.

So, I cleaned out the desk. Yes, it was mine first and for years, but when we bought a computer desk, I assumed that and my desk went into the basement. Then, David adopted it bringing it first to the third bedroom on Washington Blvd and then to a similar room in Madison that was also Cheshire’s bedroom when she was with us. Sometimes he did early morning writing on that desk, sometimes he put his electric keyboard on it and made up music that fed into earphones. During the last months of his life, the desk became drug and charting central. He had previously taken over almost the entire bathroom cabinet for his heart meds after his initial diagnosis, but when the drugs proliferated, he moved them to the desk where he could keep them in little groups for easy delivery. With the plethora of drugs came the necessity to do frequent blood pressure tests and temperature, and later sugar counts. There were clip boards for his numbers and for the drug schedule and for the instructions. I had cleared a lot of it away when I readied the house for last summer’s floor refinishing and painting. But not everything. I did it today. I still do not like doing it, but it is easier now. I remember everything but I remember lighter.

After a complete clearing out and cleaning, I brought it upstairs with the help of a therapist -- being a person alone really sucks when it comes to stuff like moving furniture. The desk fits in the space where the little table and chairs was as if it was always meant to go there. Julia is thrilled, and I smile to see my wedding present taking on new life.

A short report to sum up my experience with online dating so far. I have been meaning to do this for awhile because . . . well, because it is a part, albeit small, in the moving along on this journey through grieving to whatever the next phase of my life will be. I have not reported any actual dates because there have not been any, and the whole experience is . . . well, kinda weird. A few months after David died, I signed up for a few months of Chemistry.com. I was feeling radical and impatient with the process. And terribly lonely. I wanted to know who was out there. Simple answer: nothing and no one that I was interested in. Of course, I was interested in very little at the time. Even if some prince had written, I would have probably only seen frogs. To be completely honest, I did go for coffee with one nice, old man. It was okay, not great and it was plenty for me. So much for radical.

After the initial short time expired, I let the subscription lapse. Chemistry.com has free weekends now and then, and I’ve checked them out at times. I’ve looked at profiles and expressed interest and usually got nothing in return. Then the last couple of months, during free weekends, when I wasn’t participating, I’d get an email or two. However, whenever I followed up on the emails -- checking out profiles or even answering an email -- there would be a message from Chemistry.com that the profile was removed or no longer part of the site. Profiles and their owners are removed for inappropriate behavior and other things, and although very little that I got was inappropriate, I wondered if I was just getting mail from creeps. Oh, uck! Should I be thanking big brother for looking out for me? And then in the last few months, I gotten mail that read like bulk mail. After a few of those, I was disgusted and wrote a response which advised the writer that the email sounded like bulk mail and that if they wanted to catch a woman’s eye, they might include some personal information from the woman’s profile and ask an appropriate question or two.

And no, I have never gotten a response to my reply.

My latest foray into the online social world is okcupid.com. It is free and so the number of creeps multiply. I’ve corresponded with a few men and usually stopped after a time when I was creeped out or when there was absolutely nothing that we had in common. I’ve also stopped scaffolding to keep a conversation going. I have no problem with asking a few questions to get something going, but if I do that once or twice and the guy doesn’t do the same thing, that is, ask some questions of me, show some interest, then I just stop. I have no illusions that I am a hot catch, so I don’t think my stopping makes much difference. And truth be told, no one has felt the need to re-engage me after I’ve stopped writing. Maybe they are all why. Maybe . . . . who knows? It also seems that there are very few men in and around Madison who are within my age range. The auto-matcher, or whatever it is called, keeps churning up guys in Chicago, Milwaukee, and even Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania. While distance on a computer makes no difference, I wouldn’t travel to Milwaukee or beyond for coffee or some day time meet up. Why should anyone else?

Still, I am lonely. I am not doing anything or going anywhere where I might meet appropriate men and to that end my lack of male companionship is my own fault. And honestly, I am vaguely ambivalent most of the time. I would really like some male friends, preferably old friends, who are comfortable and not threatening. Does that sound like someone hot to trot? I haven’t had to look for a date for almost 40 years. I think I’ve lost any touch that I ever had, and really, I never had much. As for male friends, I do little here to encourage that, and I am sure moving through life with an 11 year old does not encourage inquiries.

Reading this over, I wonder if this is just another part of the process.

The sorting goes on today. It is time to organize the basement again. I’ve pulled boxes from different parts and they are getting harder to reach. I now have the space to make piles according to contents: housewares, old equipment (oy, a few old hard drives to start up and look through), pictures (including many boxes of slide carousel that I fear belong to David’s early like. What to do with those?), more papers, and miscellaneous. There are also things like kitchen and travel stuff that just needs new and permanent homes. The job looks so far from finished but what needs looking at is in one place and can even be shifted around. Progress, slow as it is, is being made.

Linette said...

Love the free social skills tutoring for Mr. Writer-of-bulk-letters! You go!! :-)

Suz said...

Well, Linette, I have the feeling that there are a whole lot more women than men on the site and so one snarky comment rolled of his back. Still, it was good to get off my back! LOL.

Debby said...

Here is a free site that I have had some success with: plentyoffish.com
Again, it is a free site, so you have to be mindful of the creeps or just inappropriate contacts. They have Forums that cover a wide array of topics & I find those to be amusing (if not really helpful).

I am sort of ambivalent as well. I would guess that I'm also picky, but of the 5 or 6 guys that I have met (over the last 3 yrs), only 1 was a complete waste of time.

I may not have gained any romantic relationships, but I do have a wider circle of male friends & several of them are happy to meet up for lunch or help me with something now, if I just ask.