The Happy Homemaker: "The Obituaries", "Regressing the Bed" and "The Hospital"

posted Jan 10, 2014, 12:51 AM by Terrence Moss   [ updated Jan 14, 2014, 6:12 PM ]

I inadvertently started a new story series on my blog that began with a rather amusing but improbable imagining of me as a husband and father. So I’ve decided to start posting them here three at a time…

#16 - “The Obituaries" 

After spending an additional week cleaning out Uncle Rob's house with a surprising (to him) number of relatives, neighbors and friends, Bradley finally returned to Long Beach from Tucson on Saturday. As soon as he walked into the door, I gave him a kiss on the mouth, had Pierpont give him a kiss on the cheek and then sent him to bed early so that he wouldn't sleep all of Sunday away.

On Sunday morning, Pierpont and I walked to a fantastic nearby bakery to pickup a four-pack of blueberry muffins -- made from scratch right on their premises. It seems a bit obnoxious to pay fourteen dollars for them, but given their size, texture, density and the fact that real blueberries are used, it was worth it for what we wanted to do. 

On the way back, we stopped off at the local farmer's market to pick up fresh strawberries. We had to go a little out of our way to a local corner store that I like because the proprietor's ridiculously handsome mid-twentysomething son always winks at me at the end of our transactions. Pierpont once asked me what was wrong with his eye. I told him it's a twitch.

The proprietor's ridiculously handsome mid-twentysomething son also throws in a Sunday paper whenever I buy a half-gallon carton of vanilla-flavored almond milk. Outside of the fact that it keeps me coming back (for two reasons), I can't figure out why he does this.

Pierpont used to balk at the thought of almond milk, but when I told him it tasted like chocolate milk to me (which it did), he was more or less sold on the concept -- but now he won't drink chocolate milk because it doesn't taste like almond milk.

Back at the house, I sat Pierpont down with the Sunday paper so he could read the funnies while I rinsed off the strawberries, warmed up the blueberry muffins and placed them on dessert plates. I sliced a bowl of strawberries for Pierpont because he doesn't like touching the green part and won't eat them with them on. I haven't figured out what connection he's making to them in his mind, but there are other things I much rather argue with him about than the green part of a strawberry.

I placed the bowl of strawberries, a blueberry muffin for him to pick apart before he eats it and a glass of almond milk in front of him. Then I noticed that instead of reading the funnies, he was reading the obituaries.

"It's a shame about Mr. Goldensteinberg, isn't it?" I asked instead of asking the more obvious question.

"It is. But he was only 81. Uncle Rob was older than he was."

That provided me with a partial answer to the obvious question I decided to pose to Bradley first.

"Coffee," Bradley moaned as he suddenly appeared in the kitchen.

"How about almond milk?" I asked.

"With coffee," Bradley grumbled as he sat down at the table next to Pierpont and gave him a kiss on the forehead. He noticed Pierpont reading the obituaries. He looked at me.

I leaned down, kissed him on the cheek and whispered into his left ear. "From what I can tell, he's comparing who was older and who was younger than Uncle Rob was when he died when they died."

Bradley leaned over to scan a few of the obituaries. "Did any of them do anything with coffee?"

I poured Bradley a cup of almond milk. "Start with that."

Bradley takes a begrudging sip of almond milk. "How's Carlo?" he asked.

"Who's Carlo?"

"Your Sunday paper benefactor."

"How do you know?"

"You think I buy the Tuesday paper?"

#17 - “Regressing the Bed” 

"We have a problem," I said to Bradley as he came home from work. I had heard him walking up the stairs and was in the kitchen pouring each of us a glass of wine.

"We actually have two problems," Bradley replied.

I handed Bradley a glass of wine. "Me first."

Bradley looked at the wine. "Already? Is it really like that?"

"Pierpont is wetting his bed...again," I told him. Though I attributed this to Uncle Rob's death, it still surprised me more than his reading of the obituaries because he hadn't regressed his bed since we first acquired him four years ago. He was four then and had just started living with people he'd met previously but didn't really know, so we understood. I'm more or less at a loss as to how to feel this time.

Bradley stared at me for a moment. "How long has he been doing this...again?"

"About a week."

"A week? And you're just telling me now?"

"Did you want to know a week ago?"


"Did you want to know three days ago?"


"Did you want to know yesterday?"


"Drink your wine."

"Answer my question," Bradley retorted as he took a sip.

I leaned against the sink. "At first, I thought it was a one-time thing. Then a two-time thing. Then I figured it was just a passing situation. And then suddenly it had been a week."

Bradley came over to me and also leaned against the sink. "Did you talk to him about it?"

"No. I wanted to talk to you about it first."

"However you want to handle it is fine."

"I say we talk about it with him together."

"Fine. Where is he?"

"He's having dinner at Jake's house. By the way, Jake is spending the weekend here in exchange for Pierpont having dinner there this evening."

"Did you tell Jake to bring a poncho?" Bradley jokes.

I shot him a disapproving look and then turned my head away so he couldn't see me trying not to laugh.

"Would you make such jokes if he were here?"

"Of course not, but an eight-year-old having his first experience with death -- especially that of a close relative and dealing with it by reading the obituaries and peeing the bed isn't so much serious as it is understandable."

"I agree, but I also don't want him to feel embarrassed or think we're making fun of him."

"He may be. But we'll just let him know that while we understand, he's going to have to find a dryer way to deal with Uncle Rob's death. Then we'll offer him the opportunity to talk to us about what he's thinking and how he feels."

"I thought we were doing this my way?"

"You're right. Handle our second problem: he's been sneaking into our bedroom at night and sleeping on the floor."

"How do you know?"

"I've tripped over him a few times."

"Has he been doing this every night?"

"No. And I haven't figured out why he's doing it when he's doing it."

"Why doesn't he just climb into bed with us?"

Bradley shrugged his shoulders. "Try to figure out a grieving child -- especially yours."

"Your dead uncle, your grieving child."

Bradley chuckled. "I'll remember that when your family starts dropping like flies."

"We won't have this same problem with my family. He doesn't know most of them," I said as I took our empty wine glasses, put them in the sink and stood in front of Bradley. "I say we let him sleep wherever he wants for the time being, address the peeing and start handing him the obituaries until he's ready for the comics again."

Bradley kissed me on the mouth. "Deal. And while Pierpont is having dinner at Jake's, I'm starving."

"Good, because we have four days worth of leftovers to eat."

#18 - “The Hospital” 

I suppose it was just a matter of time...

After Bradley was informed of Uncle Rob's passing, he had all of two weeks to arrange the funeral, clean out the house and settle as much of the estate as he could before going back to work -- only to be sent to Chicago for a three-day conference. Naturally he was wasn't eating well and he certainly wasn't sleeping well. Still, when he came back to Long Beach, he took two out-of-town vendors to dinner -- which is when he passed out. 

I received the call from one of those vendors, who commandeered Bradley's cell phone after 911 had been called. Reaching me was easy since Bradley had long since entered me into his phone as "husband" in the event of such a fainting spell. 

I was cleaning the kitchen and Pierpont was watching television when the call came in but Pierpont, engrossed in a rerun of The Middle, couldn't be pulled away from it with any level of cooperation until I told him we were going to see Daddy, who had a surprise for us. 

I felt bad for that as soon as I said it, but I was desperate to get to the hospital and didn't clearly think through what I was saying. 

Upon arriving, I thanked the vendors, sent them on their way and was updated on Bradley's status. His condition wasn't serious, but his insulin levels needed to be stabilized and he needed to rest for a few hours. So while Pierpont and I waited, I decided to talk to him about recent events -- including tonight's.

"Pierpont, I want to apologize to you for not telling you the truth earlier about Daddy."

Pierpont stood up on the chair next to me and bent down to kiss me on the top of my head. I smiled and thanked him. He sat back down and I put my arm around him. 

"I also want to talk to you about Uncle Rob. You miss him, right?"

Pierpont nodded. 

"And that's okay. And reading the obituaries is okay. And sneaking into our room to sleep on the floor is okay. But you know what's not okay?"

Pierpont looked away. 

"Let's make a deal. Instead of peeing in your bed, come talk to Daddy and me about things you may be feeling and questions you may be having. Is that a deal?"

Pierpont nodded. I leaned down and kissed Pierpont on the top of his head. 

"Do you have any questions?"

Pierpont rested his head in my lap and brought his legs up to his chest. "Is Daddy going to die?" he asked.

I rested my hand on his head and ran my thumb over his temple. "Daddy's going to be fine, I promise. But we're going to have to help him watch what he eats. So if you see him eating things we know he's not supposed to eat, you have to tell him. And if he gives you any pushback, you let me know. Okay?"

Pierpont nodded his head and yawned. As he drifted off to sleep, two thoughts popped into my mind -- that Bradley could very well make a liar out of me....and that my birthday was the next day.