Thursday, June 7, 2012

Remembering to Forget OR Forgetting to Remember?

For most people there is usually a time that you have forgotten something - most likely not something IMPORTANT like say - your own birthday. You have forgotten your phone or where you left your keys etc.

My husband, bless his heart (no I'm not southern, nor do I pretend to be, but I feel the need to include this here as an endearment), has some significant memory issues. Some things he forgets are not even worth a mention because honestly they aren't a big deal at all. But once you start adding up the "small" things to the "big things" he forgets and it's become VERY noticeable and worrisome.

I first started noticing the "forgetfulness" shortly after we got married which was between his 2nd and 3rd deployments, right after he finished AIT to change his job. At first it was little things like remembering to take out the trash or mow the lawn. I often accused him of "remembering to forget" (meaning intentionally not doing something he didn't really like doing anyway). He would always apologize profusely and do whatever it was that needed to be done.

After his 3rd deployment, things were noticeably worse - he'd forget what day of the week it was (when it's on his watch). He would look at his watch to see the time then have to look at it a minute later because he didn't remember looking at it earlier. Even those things were "forgivable" and still - not a big deal right? I noticed a change when I would "remind" him about things though - he would get upset and defensive - saying things like "I'm sorry that I keep forgetting!" That is when the worrying started.

Well, during his 4th deployment, he suffered an eye injury while working around a Blackhawk and things have gone significantly downhill from there. I think he will agree with me that I now have to handle him like I handle the kids - give a few, simple steps to doing something. Or a list of no more than 3 things (unless in writing) or they will be forgotten. In truth, often times it's worse than dealing with the kids because he once went to the store for 3 things (no list) and came home with 1 of them. I got upset, he got defensive and of course a "hearty discussion" followed. I realize his memory problems are not his fault, but they weren't MY fault either.

The more things that were forgotten, the angrier I became because I had to do/get them myself. It became much simpler for me to just not ask him for things or to help out to avoid the frustration and arguments that followed when he would forget. I realized quickly after getting little sleep and having no time for myself that this method wouldn't work either.

So here came the lists - for EVERYTHING. My label maker got lots of use as well - I have my ENTIRE kitchen labeled - Dishes, Mugs, Silverware etc on all the cabinets. There is a drawer with knives/peelers/corn cob holders etc that I have a "CAUTION: Sharp Objects" label on. Some people may see that as extreme, and call me crazy - but it WORKS for us. I no longer have to tell him where the utensils are when he's cooking something. Or where the scissors are when he wants to cut something. If he's putting up the dishes he knows where they go at a simple glance! It is WONDERFUL!

I wish I could label EVERYTHING! (just watch me TRY!)

Oh and those lists? They disappear CONSTANTLY! I find myself finding partial lists around the house because he wanted to add something to it, then couldn't find a pen & left the paper where he last looked for a pen. So then I started writing things on the white board in the kitchen, but he'd bump up against it and something would rub half way off & he would then re-write it and later neither of us could "decipher" what it said.

My next, and final step before shaving my head a la Britney Spears, is to have a giant organizer with EVERYTHING in it. A guide to running the household, you could call it. Have you seen those little binders on Wife Swap? Those are NOTHING compared to the monstrosity I'm making! It will never be misplaced - because it's hard to "lose" an elephant! Then he can never say he "forgot" & get upset with me again!

Because if, after he learns how it is set up, he still forgets things, then I know he's "remembering to forget" & not "forgetting to remember"!

Later Taters!

PS - the "elephant" cannot get finished soon enough, he took out something to defrost for dinner last night & then asked what we were having for dinner not 10 minutes later! Lord help me!

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