Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Puppies are the answer!

Some random thoughts about commitment and credit and life choices have been rattling about in my mind lately, triggered by a number of comments I've been treated to.

One is that when people find that HP and I are not, as they thought, a married couple (I don't usually favor casual acquaintances with the full soap opera of our lives together and apart and together and apart and finally together again,dammit), they comment, well, how wonderful that you take care of him anyway.

People who know our story know something of the stresses that drove us apart many many years ago, and sort of swept us together at intervals ever since until for what we hope is the final time, nearly ten years ago now. Friends for over fifty years, partners for part of that time. Sometimes with a property each, sometimes under one roof.

But meanwhile, though there's nothing we'd like better than to marry, financial considerations, i.e. my tiny nestegg earned by the sweat of my brow in the nonprofit world (people like me are not wanted in the corporate sector!) has to be preserved to support me in my own old age, not subverted by Medicaid into coverage for a sick husband with only a meager living allowance of my own money left for me to subsist on.

And even if it were grandfathered or grandmothered in right now, there is nothing to stop the state from changing the laws if it suits. It's happened already in Medicare, where the lookback period for Medicaid eligibility was changed to five years from three years, effective as soon as Bush said it, no escape. That means the paperwork search to make sure the person wanting to qualify for Medicaid in order to assist usually with nursing home care, has never done anything that would disqualify them. So people who thought they'd completed the full lookback found that they were caught in this cruel trap which included two years before they even knew it was applicable.

So for practical reasons which people who know this stuff applaud loudly we are not a married couple. But we had a ring exchange a lovely little private ceremony of commitment, just us, and don't need a piece of paper from the state to prove that we are committed to one another.

This is not well understood by people who say, oh, how wonderful to do what you're doing and you're NOT EVEN MARRIED. Makes me wonder what they think married is, aside from the strictly legal state. And if you turn that thinking over for a moment, does that mean that a mere wife doesn't get that credit and admiration for "only" taking care of a husband in similar circs? Would it be, well, of course you do all this, you're married,after all, hm?

The odd thing is we all know that married people have been known to abandon a sick spouse. In fact one of the rehab facility nurses was very impressed with our care of HP, saying that more often than not, the other spouse vanished, and children never came around either. And our homecare people used to tell us that for a lot of their clients, they were struggling on alone because their illness was a dealbreaker for the relationship. So I guess the piece of paper didn't protect anyone in that kind of case.

If people assume we must be married, I don't correct them, unless it's really a legal issue and I have to explain. I guess we're so old people think we couldn't be living in sin, having long ago forgotten what sin is....

And while we were sitting out on the patio enjoying the lovely Fall afternoon and HP was snoozing, and I was cogitating, with the dogs next door yipping and playing
and the little girls from the end of the block issuing orders in tiny voices to the dogs who ignored them completely, I thought you might like to see them. The fluffy one is Appy, next door's stylin' cockapoo or poodleop or something

and the newcomer, Buster the ten week old Boston Terrier, giving Appy a run for her money and learning to bark.

At least he thinks those chipmunk like little yips are barking.

Sometimes we're puzzled by other people's thoughts. And sometimes the answer's a puppy!


  1. I think it's deliciously scandalous that you're living in sin.

  2. Well after all you're an "arteest"...that's the way you're supoosed to live. Long live nonconformity. Heh.

  3. And the dollivers wouldn't want it any other way.

  4. Ya think Heather wanted the last word?

  5. this is such a beautiful post on what love really is. ****love**** to you!


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