The Agapanthus.




Certain domestic duties are shared between both of us. Washing-up is one of them. We have a dishwasher but we both decided that the effort in using it was more than just doing it by hand. Lately I do this chore more than H. as it warms my hands. As you all know, we are both on medications, some we share but all kept in different pill boxes. One has ‘Helvi’ and the other ‘Gerard’ written on. My pill-box is much bigger. (as it should)

One of the pills is giving me very cold hands. The quack reckons he sees those suffering from that condition rarely. He looked at my hands which I had gloved in Arctic gloves. The gloves are black and very solid, bought at great expense from the R.M Williams shop here in Bowral just around the corner from the CBA bank.  The cardiologist looked at my fingers and clicked with his tongue. I asked, should I be alarmed? He reassured me. ‘It is due to a medication that calms down your heart’, he said while looking at my list of medications. ‘Just keep wearing your gloves when your fingers turn white or show signs of distress. Fortunately, the cold fingers only last between about 10am and 2 pm when the drug starts to wear off. I am not sure how fingers are supposed to show distress.

Of course, when I wash up I don’t wear the gloves and have the water as hot as I can bear. With the present heatwave and the temperature outside inching towards 36C my fingers don’t need the gloves while outside.

We don’t share the vacuuming. Helvi would not know where the on/off switch on the vacuum cleaner is located nor how to empty the dust container. I have left it far too late now to change it. Helvi has her stock answer; “I do everything else.” This is so drummed into me I never even challenge anything to do with vacuuming or other duties fixed in concrete. Putting out the garbage bins, paying the bills on-line and most of the cooking, is also not to be challenged.

Of course, Helvi does all the beatifying in our lives. Our home is such a lifter of spirits, a  glorious poem in  form and beauty wherever one looks, the combination of furniture, the cushions, the books and all the odds and ends, both inside and outside.

The above photo shows a popping agapanthus outside, just like that and so all of a sudden. And then that blue bowl. It has been sitting there for years but how nice. Look at the two basil pots. How nice.   Who would think of trying to strike some Chrysanthemums from old flowers and use a wine-glass?

“It is everything else.”

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19 Responses to “The Agapanthus.”

  1. auntyuta Says:

    Good to know you appreciate the ‘everything else’. What would men be without a woman’s touch? By the way Peter happens to do the vacuuming too and also most of the dishes! 🙂
    Both of you seem to have your medications well under control. Peter has a lot of medications too. I sometimes wonder how he can keep everything in the right order.
    I was prescribed some vitamins that are supposed to keep the macula in check. There is Vitamin C in this prescription. But I do take a lot of Vitamin C tablets on top of that expensive macula prescription that does not have very much Vit C in it. I had once a cancerous growth on my tongue. The surgeon got rid of it all. That growth luckily did not come back. But I always think it is a good idea to take a lot of vitamin C to keep any cancer away! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, Uta.
      Glad that the domestic duties are shared. I don’t like vacuuming but have taken this on right from the start of our marriage in 1965. The dice were cast then. Perhaps I was keen to show what real men are made of.
      I am no iron-man though which means we never iron anything. I have a cord-free vacuum cleaner. It has ‘Freedom’ written on it, made by Hoover. Helvi sometimes catches me leaving some corners not done properly, and she points out bits of dust that might linger, a bit like snow. I also sometimes use a more powerful vacuum cleaner. It is the Nilfisk Meteor from Denmark and sucks like a demon. If Helvi misses an earring it is bound to be in the Nilfisk.
      I have other people saying that Vit C tablets are very good. I juice oranges every couple of days for vitamins. We are told that in cancer, genetics play a big part. In fact lots of diseases can be traced to genetics.


  2. Curt Mekemson Says:

    Robots, our little robot vacuum cleaner, handles most of that chore. Cooking and cleaning up afterward is shared. Whoever cooks; the other person cleans. I do the majority of cooking, however. Peggy handles the online bill paying. She likes to garden, but I handle the majority of other outdoor chores, which can be substantial since we have five acres. Overall, I think our responsibilities are pretty even.
    My circulation isn’t what it once was. I spent several cold nights in my tent this summer. 🙂 –Curt

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, Curt. We bought a robot some time ago. I used to be mesmerized and spent so much time watching it go round the room so randomly. But…sooner or later it would get stuck on a cord or refused to climb over a rug. Also its dust compartment was too small.
      I gave it to my daughter and she too lost interest and it ended in eBay.
      I do all the cooking now mainly because I enjoy it. Sometimes we eat out or make do with crackers and cheese.

      I once cooked one minute steaks on the back of an iron provided by the motel we were staying in. Helvi was so proud of my inventive ness. Did you know one can also cook salmon fillets in a toaster? Again, I did that once in a motel in Canberra. You turn the toaster on its side to cook one side and after a minute turn it around and do the other side.


      • Curt Mekemson Says:

        Robota can misbehave, no doubt about it. We put up babies to keep her focused on her work. She does like to go under our couch and play, however. Drives me nuts.
        In the years before Peggy, I had some companions whose cooking skills were minimal. I took up cooking out of self-interest. 🙂 And I learned to like cooking.
        I admire your creativeness. I confess I have never cooked steaks on an iron, or salmon in a toaster oven! My hat is off to you. –Curt


  3. shoreacres Says:

    That’s interesting about your cold hands and fingers. My mother suffered too, but she had a condition called Raynaud’s disease. It irritated her, but didn’t really interfere with her life. She just had to keep her time in the frozen food section of the grocery store to a minimum.

    I heard an interesting program on radio recently about randomized trials. They’re often used in medicine, of course, and one case study that was mentioned involved the search for a cure for scurvy. It took rather a long time for them to figure out that adding citrus to the diet was going to do the trick. It’s easy to forget how little we knew, and how recent some of these discoveries have been.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, I did read up about the Raynaud’s disease, Linda. The fraction ejection rate of my heart is 26%. This is too low, but with a medley of pills the heart ticks over with the least resistance. A fine balance drawn between keeping it pumping, and stopping all together, which would have unpleasant consequences.
      The result is that the fingers’ last two digits seem to miss out on generous blood flow.
      Overall, one should try and refrain from undue anxiety and worry. People with low ejection fractions can live for many years, the doctor reassured me.
      The latest in Australia is shingles for which one can get immunised. I suppose we should get that done next.
      How is your health, Linda?

      Liked by 1 person

      • shoreacres Says:

        It’s pretty good. I need to lose a bit of weight — ten or fifteen pounds would do it. Otherwise, I just tick along. I’m not on any medications except eye drops for glaucoma, and they’re keeping that problem well under control, so it’s all good.

        Liked by 1 person

      • shoreacres Says:

        Oh — and be sure you get the ‘new’ shingles vaccine. I got mine about five years ago, but they have an improved version now. After watching people go through that affliction, I wouldn’t pass up the vaccination for anything.

        Liked by 1 person

      • gerard oosterman Says:

        Last time the shingles needle was delayed because Helvi was having chemo and her immunity was very low. Apparently chicken pox is related to shingles so both Helvi and I could not get this immunisation. We both might have to re-visit the issue with the Doctor.
        Two people in my bowling club suffer shingles. It is very painful but not contagious, they say.


  4. rangewriter Says:

    Shared domestic duties. You two sound like a well-oiled machine in that department.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      By and large, that is true, and we get on fine. Our marital cog wheels are well maintained and kept oiled.

      Not all the time of course, Helvi sometimes hides my things such as the fly spray can which I like to keep handy, especially when the flies in midsummer are on murderous revenge.
      I, on the other hand have an issue with not returning the used coffee cup back to the kitchen sink, and it gets worse…leaving the toilet seat up! It happens a lot less now and I often check the bathroom in case I failed to put it down.

      Petty things like that can really fire both of us up and best is to give it a rest and do some deep breathing. It doesn’t work egging it on. That’s for sure.


  5. freefall852 Says:

    Beware the agapanthers!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. doesitevenmatter3 Says:

    Sorry to hear about your very cold hands. 😦
    I’d probably use that to try to get out of doing my chores. 😉
    It’s nice when household chores are shared or done together. When my dad retired he began helping my mom with her chores. He said, “Let’s work at them together, get done faster than one person could, and then go out and have some fun.” I thought that was sweet of him. 🙂
    HA! I like Helvi’s answer. I’m gonna’ use that one and see how it flies. 🙂
    We’ve joked at our house, for decades, that we have a maid. The joke is that I AM the maid and I do all the maid-chores. But if a chore doesn’t get done that day, I just say to the hubby, “Darn, maid! She didn’t do the dishes today! I may have to dock her pay or fire her!” HA! 😉 😀
    HUGS!!! 😀
    PS…your agapanthus are beautiful! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Therese Trouserzoff Says:

    First, although Agapanthus grows in just about any situation – and we have a difficult yard with a lot of shade and competition from the rainforest canopy, FM dislikes Agapanthus. Sigh. But she does dislike white Agapanthus less than the bluish kind. So that’s a positive.

    FM also has a pretty utilitarian view of chores although she generally likes to share. As you know, Gez, I’m a particularly shit cook so we do have some specialisation going on and I am quite the specialist at crawling around under the house or on the roof fixing whatever has gone west in Cambria. Car stuff, super techy stuff, plumbing, jobs requiring actual lifting capability – although my ageing back usually rewards me with Voltaran-demanding intervention.

    I DO miss washing up by hand – which I regard as both a meditative activity rewarding one with clean and sparkling crockery, cutlery and glassware – as well as an opportunity for a contemplative chat. But FM just bundles everything – including pots and things that do not dishwasher clean all that well.

    Surprisingly, I prefer to iron my own shirts and pants (this amuses FM when I iron in a random crease).

    Did I wish you and your regular habitués a Happy New Year ? Well, I guess I have now.

    HNY everyone !

    Also on Friday, the Pigs Arms will publish Warrigal’s latest “How to Get Shit off Green Leather” – which I know will appeal to you, Gez.

    Kind regards,



  8. gerard oosterman Says:

    You Iron, Emm?
    I always thought you were an ironman. Helvi sometimes takes out the ironing board but it is pretty rare.
    We drove to Port Macquarie some years ago and all accommodation was booked out. Not a single bed available. Turned out the place was full of ironmen having their annual competition.
    I would be hopeless at that sort of ironmen sport. I have trouble uncapping the anchovies jar.
    Sure look out for the Warrigal, Emm. All the best and your FM as well,
    Gerard and Helvi

    Liked by 1 person

    • Therese Trouserzoff Says:

      I’m admitting nothing here, about ironing, Gez. But when you mentioned Port Macquarie Inns being full, I was wondering whether you and Helvi were contemplating a Christmas in a stable.

      Anchovies jars fall a far second behind rarely opened Tabasco Sauce bottles – in terms of unopenability.


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