My eyes are closing themselves, and it is only 8 pm. It's another of those evenings where Best Beloved and I are toughing it out until we can reasonably fall upstairs at about 9pm.
Hey! None of that "wink, wink, nudge, nudge" stuff; we will both be snoring like - can't think what we will be snoring like - snoring like whatever it is we will be snoring like - by ten minutes after lights out.
My mother has been staying at a local residential home this week, Sunday-to-Sunday, so that my father can have "respite" and time to sort out whatever got shoved into the rented garage and the Lock'n'Store when they moved at the beginning of October 2012, a couple of weeks before The Stroke changed all our lives. Boxes and boxes of family history papers are going to someone who wants them, and a Windsor chair suddenly appeared in our hallway one day (I did know it was coming - just hadn't worked out where we would put it).
It's not exactly "respite" for anyone, in one sense; my father may well be freed from the day-to-day confines of looking after my mother at home, but he has visited her several times, and been acutely concerned for her welfare the rest of the time. He's also been hard at work sorting out the stuff in said garage and said Storage Facility. Some of her friends have been to visit, and I've been round to visit on Sunday evening and Monday and Tuesday mornings and Thursday afternoon and Friday morning and will be going tomorrow on Saturday. Between us we've been keeping track of her laundry, collecting, washing, draping over radiators and in airing cupboards in order to get it returned to her promptly. My brother has been down for two nights to help with going through all the boxes and working out what to do with them.
Of course, for my mother, it's not a respite at all; it's coping with different staff, some lovely, some not, and a different regime (main meal at lunchtime, light snack at tea-time), and institution food (adequate, but not the same as home cooking) and generally not being where she wants to be. The main bright positives have been that this time she's had the electric wheelchair with her, giving her a little mobility, and also been able to go to the day care unit, where she goes twice a week normally, every day, rather than getting through the days upstairs among strangers or in her room.
It takes effort, and determination, on everyone's part to make this "respite care" work - none more brave than my mother. So I have drunk a glass - or two - to all of us tonight. Which is probably why my eyes are closing and it's (I'll just check the clock again) now only quarter past eight. Goodnight all!