Posts Tagged ‘Downy’


Today’s post is part of the annual A-to-Z Blogging Challenge. Each day of April (except Sunday,) we write a post corresponding with that day’s letter of the alphabet. For more information on the challenge and its creator visit:

a-z 2015 Y

My theme for this years’ A-Z Challenge is An Intimate Look at the Homeless and Mental Health Epidemic in America which just happens to be the subtitle of my next book, The Stranger in My Recliner. The book is the true story of Sophie.  She was the eighty-year-old homeless woman that my husband brought home one night. She lived with us for nearly three –years. The book will be out this fall.

An excerpt from The Stranger in My Recliner


I started to remind Sophie at 8:30 in the morning that she had to take a shower. She smiled and said she would take one later. You have to shower today, I told her again and again. After my own shower, I placed the plastic safety chair into the tub and put a towel on the seat, to make it softer for her to sit on and not as cold. I put four fresh towels on the counter and a wash cloth on the arm of the shower chair. A bath sheet worked better on the floor than the tiny bath mat so I folded the mat and put it in the hall closet. I lined up the mouthwash, baby powder, Q-tips and facial moisturizer on the sink, doubting she would use any of the products.

Q tips

I ran downstairs and into Sophie’s room and picked out an outfit for her to wear. I chose a pair of mint green linen pants and a cream colored tank and sweater set. If only I could talk her into wearing real shoes. The plastic slides she wore made me cringe. At least I was able to talk her into wearing socks so her feet wouldn’t get frostbite.  The socks with the slides looked absolutely ridiculous but that was a fight I chose not to start. Cream pumps or flats would be so cute with this outfit. Even white or cream sneakers would be adorable. She only had white and black socks. I chose the white. Would she ever wear knee-highs, I wondered. I wanted to throw away those stupid plastic shoes so badly. If she didn’t dig through our trash cans I could probably get away with throwing them out and letting her think she lost them. Right away I realized how mean that would be, or would it be? Plastic shoes cannot be healthy for your feet.

Her toenails were disgusting too. I tried to cut them for her once but she screamed so loud I had no choice but to stop. When people age their toe nails thicken and harden naturally. The thickening can also be caused by a fungus, other disease, a trauma and of course improper fitting shoes. In Sophie’s case it could have been all of these. I tried talking her into seeing a podiatrist but she wanted nothing to do with that idea. I could only imagine the screaming she would do and how embarrassed I would be.

Moving on, I quickly scrambled an egg and cooked it in the microwave for her. I generously buttered her soft toast and poured a large glass of apple juice and put everything on the dining room table for her. She begged me to let her eat in the recliner. It was another fight I chose not to start and I moved the meal to her end table and placed a dish towel on her lap.


I ran back upstairs to gather some laundry. “Dina, Dina” she shrieked. I yelled down to her asking her what she needed. “You forgot me peas in my eggies.” She whined.  I could not tell her we did not have any because I had enough canned peas in the cupboard to wait out Armageddon. Why did I think she would be okay without peas for that one day? I ran downstairs, opened a can of peas and drained the liquid off of them. I put a few spoonfuls of peas into a small bowl. I placed the bowl in the microwave. The smell of microwave eggs is bad enough first thing in the morning. Adding the smell of nasty canned peas and that slimy liquid they come in is so gross. The smell gets stuck in your nostrils and stays there. Taking the small bowl out of the microwave, lifting it with a paper towel, I walked over to the recliner. Carefully I scooped the peas from the bowl and piled them onto her plate.  I asked her to take her plate into the kitchen when she was finished eating. She smelled so badly I had to fight my gag reflex. I could not wait to get her into the shower.

peas in a can

I put a load of laundry into the washer adding extra Tide liquid and Downy fabric softener because I knew it would make the house smell better. It wouldn’t get to the root of the odor problem but for right then, I needed that putrid eggy, peas and urine smell to be gone.


Thank you for reading,


I’m one of Lisa’s Live Wires! Lisa is a challenge co-host Lisa Buie-Collard

A-Z 2015 Minion Badge

My fellow live wires:

Rhonda Albom – Bob R. MilneTamera NarayanStephanie FarisHeather McCubbin


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