XVI. Rolling Out the Dough

I bought a locally grown cantaloupe yesterday and set it on a plate on the kitchen table to ripen a day or two. This morning the kitchen smelled like a farm market, with textured aromas of full sharp citrusy Mexican coffee brewing and the fresh cantaloupe. The aroma wafted me back to when my brother and I were growing up. Emma would bake a pie with flaky homemade butter crust, and then lay out the crust trimmings in thin strips, sprinkle them with cinnamon and sugar, roll them into little wheels and bake them. I loved those special bite-sized treats.

Yesterday my friend Paula, after having read on my blog that I now have no car, emailing me and offering to drive me wherever I needed to go, chauffeured me around for three hours while I stocked up on our supplies. Paula is a gourmet cook and asked if she could “foist off on me some ravioli” she had made because she had made so much it was outgrowing its space in her freezer. Homemade pasta and a dinner prepared by a gourmet cook, how could I resist.

I must tell you that the raviolis were superb – delicious flavor and delicate pasta. Emma finished her dinner before I did. OK, I did give myself the larger portion. Nonetheless, this was a testament to an exquisite dish, since Emma picks at her dinner, shoveling some of it over the rim of her plate, long after I have finished. This delicate pasta, too, reminded me of Emma’s cinnamon pastry rolls.

I told Paula I am going to hire her as my personal chef — that is, when my ship comes in, but I think it struck a tree stump somewhere in the muck in the marshes of the Delaware Bay and catapulted the captain overboard; so who knows when I shall see it.

Personal chef on the shelf for now, we have been managing with less help since the healthcare agency fired me and my aide of nearly three years on July 1 because we had run out of state Medicaid funds for that particular program. Our Hospice organization has covered a few extra hours – so that Paula could chauffeur me shopping, for instance. It is thoughtful and kind that people have rearranged and extended their schedules.

Today, though, I received notice from the state Division of Aging that our application for 30 hour a week Attendant Care services has been accepted. As I understand it, the way this program works is that I become the employer, the state funds are administered by an outside agency, and I hire and pay an aide out of those funds for 30 hours a week, seven days. The aide could be me, but I choose to write and to build this website – to raise awareness and a dialogue for caregivers and to develop a following and monetize the site – so that I can earn a bit of an income while simultaneously creating a caregiver network and retain my patience and sanity. I will be meeting next week with an agent who will explain the program and bring papers for me to sign. These state and healthcare programs often come with pop-up issues, no matter how many times you level and sift the questions. Let us hope the program will roll out as the recipe appears.

–Samantha, July 14, 2011

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