Thanks to me :-)
And, I managed to squeeze in a bit of joy for myself here and there too.
Yesterday took her downtown for walking and lunch.
Luckily managed to find a parking space just in the city center. Okaasan willingly grabbed my hand and off we started. Down the escalator into the underground shopping areas around the main subway station in Sapporo.
Okaasan's walking is bad for sure.
She kind of totters forwards all the time. Walking along the walls, so she can put out her hand to steady herself, and holding onto shop display areas to get along.
Downtown was busy with pre-Christmas shoppers, so it was a bit of a battle to move along. I'd hate to think of her alone in all of that. I agree with Dear Son - she can't do downtown trips unsupervised. Her balance and walking style just isn't great.
Lots of Christmas stuff to look at together, shops and displays. People dressed as Santa handing out paper butterflies, kids and families and music. All very stimulating.
I got Okaasan half way down the shopping arcade and then into an old fashioned restaurant where they had sets of fried oysters, with rice, soup and salad. Packed with families. But fast service.
Okaasan ate mainly in silence and we chatted a little about the menu, the families and oysters. It was a good noisy place with many things for her to watch.
Then I managed to steer her BACK along the underground shopping street, via a few knickknack shops and a magazine purchase. Thankfully, when we got to the station she suggested herself that we should go home - having forgotten of course that we'd come by car.
I got her back thru the crowds, back to the car and drove home.
Successful. Enough walking for sure for her. After a week of sitting in front of the TV with her muscles doing zero.
Did dinner with her in the evening. Her conversation was very repetitive. I guess the outing was tiring.
I went skiing at 8 am!
Glorious weather. Great first skiing. This is 1 hour from home. Yes, I live in paradise!
Left Okaasan's lunch on the table and stove. Told her I'd be home by 2 pm.
Home at 2 for the next round of duties.
Today is Election Day in Japan. Nobody knows WHY Japan has an election now. The government decided to call one at the worst possible time - winter and end of year rush for everyone - to get a majority for 3 more years of awfulness.
Okaasan wanted to vote. She thinks it is important.
So I drove her down to the local elementary school and took hand again to take her inside. Took her up to the first sign-in counter, then pointed her on the next step round the voting area.
I can't vote in Japan. Lived here more than 20 years. Pay all my taxes etc. Own my own business. Can't vote.
I stood back at the entrance area and watched Okaasan go round the voting booths and boxes. There were two areas - maybe one is for the city and one is for national? When Okaasan got to the second area she seemed stuck in the booth for a looong time.
I didn't want to cause a voting center crisis by crossing the floor to enter the important area. Foreigners are probably banned from coming within 3 meters of a voting box - so I waved at one of the staff to go and help her. He presumably knows how much help he is legally allowed to give a confused voter....
Not sure what her confusion was. But she emerged a few minutes later all smiley. Hope she didn't vote for 3 more years of the awfulness.
She complained that she has a sore on her foot...I'll have to check that later.
Back in the car I casually asked if she needed any shopping. She asked to go to Macdonalds for coffee time. I delivered her there, then made an excuse and rushed home to clean her room.
BIG side effect of our new regime is that if Okaasan is always out WITH me, I can't get into her room to clean. So it was a chance. Otherwise I have to rush in while she is in the toilet...
Dirty clothes, old lunchboxes, newspapers, peanut shells...
45 minutes later I picked Okaasan back up from Macdonalds and politely turned down her offer of something to drink...cos back home at the end of all of this was a student's home made brandy plum wine.
As I backed the car out of the car park Okaasan said: "Oh...there is XX Supermarket. I could go there for a while, couldn't I?"
I gave you 3 hours of my time yesterday. Now 90 minutes more. Plus two dinners. You are not going to wander round the supermarket too.
Of course I didn't say it like that. Just mentioned her painful foot and how it was best to rest it etc How the helper on Wednesday will take her to the supermarket etc.
Brought her home.
In the hallway was some election paper. Okaasan looked at it. "Oh, the election. I should vote today?"
You did. Already. You did. You did.
Time to break open the brandy plum wine.