Monday, February 14, 2005

Valentine's Dinner--Early

You've seen those long elegant dining room tables in movies, where the veddy rich Lord and Lady sit at opposite ends of the table and are served by butlers... the grandeur disguises the lack of intimacy in the couple's relationship. We have a large dining room table too, which seats eight and is way too big for an intimate dinner for two. Plus the dining room is downstairs and is pretty far away from our upstairs Winter kitchen.

I kept thinking about having a nice spot upstairs for dining that would be appropriate for special occasions where staying home would be favored over dining out. Finally I decided to scrounge around for small folding table and would set up my own 'fern bar' in our living room.

Sunday being the last day of Dave's vacation, and the day before Valentine's seemed like the appropriate date for an intimate dinner for two. He was out buying cables and stereo wires for the soon to be moved sound system downstairs, so I brought in the 'hidden in plain sight' (in the garage) table, ironed the tablecloth and set the the scene with candles, and flowers and stemware. I had already uncovered the grill, now that the snow has melted and the rain is coming down in buckets... and had seasoned the chops and made the salad and baked the sweet potatoes and chilled the wine and had the decadent ice cream waiting in the freezer.

After the feast

Too bad you can't hear Frank Sinatra singing love songs in the background.

Dave was way impressed and surprised and said that a setting like this required a heart to heart conversation. So we had another glass of wine and talked about his illness and he helped me understand how numb he feels and how he has lost his confidence and how his future seems so bleak. And getting that off his chest, he vowed not to be a downer and changed the subject.

His Parkinson's has worsened lately and the tremor is hard for him to control, and wears him out with the effort. Everything is done in slow motion and he also finds it difficult to speak, so I am very patient, trying to let him say what he needs to, without finishing his sentences. He is taking five pills three or four times a day and wading through all that brain medication makes me wonder how he can speak or move at all, let alone drive or work. I worry a lot. You may wonder why he had to tell me this, why I had to be told... He is normally a quiet guy and the tremor only comes on when he is in conversation or stressed. Since he spent nearly all week at the computer, researching and educating himself on the specifics of the stereo system he is aquiring, I just assumed he was doing fine...but in essence he lost himself in the research so that he wouldn't have to think about his declining ability. O, I get it now.

All of this goes to the fact that we live very quietly, each in our own little worlds, and unless one brings up the difficult to discuss subjects, it is easy to just put on blinders and pretend it doesn't exist. I may be wallowing in denial too. Both of us are helpless to the progression of this disease and wonder what new drugs will do, since some make it worse for some patients. He will be trying something new in a few weeks and there will be another period of adjustment for us.
I hope his new stereo arrives in the mail today, so he will have that distraction.

Our dinner and heart to heart made us feel closer and together in this thing called marriage. You can't buy that on a Valentine's card.


  1. Ohhhhh - I'm so sorry that you and Dave have this disease to deal with. I hope that the stem cell research can get moving forward and find cures for these brain diseases.

  2. Wow, Mel. That's a lot to share. I feel a bit like it's one of those times when I don't know what to say, but feel like I want to say something. I'll will say, I'm a big believer in marriage and you and Dave really seem to be doing it right. And *that* is worth celebrating on this Valentine's Day!

    I hope the ice cream was delicious; we indulged at the Cold Stone Creamery tonight with the kids.

  3. Mel, you are a very wise woman who "keeps it real" as the saying goes. Tell Dave I'm honored to glimpse a little of who he is through your posts.

    Hangeth in and peace,

  4. I'm glad you and Dave talked more and Dave is able to let his feelings out. He is a very generous and gracious man. When there is only the two of you it's important to talk with each other. Brett and I are all alone this week and talking is sometimes a difficult thing to do. I love you.


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