Sunday, October 31, 2010

Last Few Hours in Florida

Atlantic breakers swoosh rhythmically a few hundred yards from our door. We've walked this beach enough that I know these are surfboard-worthy waves crashing into an angled wall of sand. Although not lapping a lullaby, the foamy ebb and flow so relaxes us, using the word "crashing" seems oxymoronic. My husband has just finished fingering his newest shell collection, deciding which to take home. First, though, he chooses the shells that most resemble eyeballs and walks around with them ON his eyes. Ah, yes, the pull of the moon affects more than just tides. I have just closed the cover of The Help, the novel I relaxed with on this vacation.

One thing that has refreshed me has been the profusion of palm trees and flowers. Today we took some photos of some as we walked down to a river to watch the sun set.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Alzheimer's Association to the Rescue

The Alzheimer's Association must know that desperate dead ends happen at all hours, because they have a 24-hour hotline. I found myself calling it Tuesday night. Lamar, my hotline responder, listened to our situation and affirmed my suspicion that Dad has become depressed being around significantly lower-functioning people. Furthermore, he guessed Dad's despair might be worsened by a sense that this is what his family thinks he's like and/or this is where he's headed. Lamar urged "Get him out of there!!!" with three exclamation points in his voice. I called my mom immediately to reassure her she was doing the right thing to stop taking Dad to this particular day care center.

That still leaves us with the question of how to give Mom more respite from 24-hour caregiving. And again, it was the Alzheimer's Association to the rescue. Jessica from my state office of the AA called me the next day and promptly e-mailed me a list of other adult day care centers in nearby suburbs. Plus, the AA has other services that may help us.

Both Lamar and Jessica instructed that it's critical that family members ask good questions and tour a facility before taking a loved one there. We thought we had done that with the place Dad was going to, but what we didn't realize was how important the question, "How do you handle different levels of functioning?" is. Now we know.

When Mom picked Dad up from day care Tuesday, he exclaimed, "I'm out of prison!" Then she told him he would not have to go back there. Wednesday when I visited, Dad was more chipper than I've seen him for six weeks, interested in reading the paper, listening to his favorite music, conversing, making his signature puns. I've lost enough of my dad; I was so happy to have his sweet contentment and even optimism back.

I'm researching other options for my mom and am praying about whether to go there more often myself. I know people in my church were praying for me and my parents this week. I'm grateful for this, for God's tender compassion this week, and for the Alzheimer's Association, too. I pray for continued strength for my mom until we can find a new situation that Dad enjoys.

Monday, October 18, 2010

TinkerToy Tower

This is the promised continuation of my October 5 post about the elder care season of my life.

The short version of the story is that on October 1, I spent a day with Dad in day care. Later, when I shared observations with Mom, we realized that although Dad's perceptions don't always come across in the right words, he is expressing the true situation. Also, his brain synapses may no longer be fully firing, but his heartstrings flex, flutter, and flame as always. (Is this true for all people with Alzheimer's? I wonder.) Bottom line: this particular day care center, as high-quality as it is, will be death by depression for Dad at this stage. Sooner or later, we'll need to try another solution.

If you'd like more details of my day in adult day care, here's the long version of that story.

Dad dreads day care. Here's a typical airspace filler between the two green leather recliners in my parents' cozy den:

"When will I be sent to that place again?" Dad asks Mom.
"Tuesday," she gently answers.
"How many days till I have to go there again?" he asks a few minutes later.
"Today is Friday, so four more days." She adds with a teasing smile, "Are you that eager to go back?"
"No, I just want to know how many days I have to be free before I have to go back."

It breaks her heart. She's trying adult day care to give Dad some stimulating activity and social life and to give herself a much-needed break from 24-hour caregiving. So far, his major complaint is, "The people there are patients, and I don't want to be around patients." What exactly does that mean? We were soon to find out.

I supposed maybe it was difficult for Dad to converse with strangers. Because of the Alzheimer's, he might not have confidence to initiate conversation. Also, if Dad is indeed higher-functioning than the other "patients," perhaps he would find a sense of purpose in helping them do things. (He was a high school teacher, and I often tell him I couldn't have made it through high school without his help with my homework. He smiles aw-shucks, and I add, "It's the truth." He may be the most patient explainer I know, though my brother is a close second.) I volunteered to spend a day at Cherished Place with Dad to try to make this day care arrangement work, for both my Mom's and Dad's sakes. [Cherished Place is the real name of a fine, caring adult day care center, but I have changed the names of people we met.]

On Friday, October 1, my mom checked her two "kindergarteners" into school and left for a quiet day at home. Sporting standard-issue name tags, we found easy chairs at the back of the main room to watch a Wii Bowling activity. I am using the word "activity" loosely.
We sat between Bill, a glassy-eyed, mousy-haired, middle-aged man who smiled but seemed incapable of speech, and Caroline, a bright-eyed, golden-haired, middle-aged woman cradling a baby doll.

This main room was set up like a living room. Two rows of 10 green jungle-print upholstered wing-back chairs faced each other with about a 10-foot aisle down the center. A large flat-screen TV hung on the far wall. Twenty or so people sat vacantly staring and definitely not clapping whenever the staff cheerleader cheered the Wii bowler, “Yay, Lottie! Everyone clap for Lottie!” I gave Lottie a lot of credit. She may have been almost the only person in the room who could have balanced while swinging her arm in a bowling motion. I later tried a Wii tennis game and although I kept my balance, I missed almost every ball because I couldn’t coordinate in my brain when to press the front and back buttons of the remote. So Lottie may also have been the most mentally together person in that room!

My dad got up to go to the restroom, and a tall, man with a buzz-cut whizzed from God knows where into my dad’s chair. I politely explained my dad had been sitting there.
“That’s my chair,” Sal snarled.
“Well, my dad is coming right back from the washroom; he was sitting there.”
“It’s my seat. I like to sit there. Tell him to sit someplace else.”
Even adult day care centers have playground bullies! I got up to ask a staff person if my dad and I could work a jigsaw puzzle someplace else.

In a small room off the main living room, a.k.a. bowling alley, we spread out a 33-piece children’s jigsaw puzzle of a world map on a round table. Dad’s eyes brightened as he turned all the pieces face-up. The puzzle pieces had vibrant colors and a wooden thickness. Each continent and ocean contained images of its native animals and sea life. Sometimes Dad didn’t at first see that logically, a whale’s tail would go with a whale’s head. And I even wondered if he noticed that all Asia was deep green, so those pieces would all most likely go together. His best strategy was to see how shapes fit together. I am not sure I could have done that; I had to keep looking at the completed picture on the box top, which he hardly glanced at and didn’t seem to see its relationship to the scattered pieces. He had seemed genuinely eager for this activity and was very proud of his accomplishment. He wanted to leave his handiwork out on the table, so we did.

Together, we pushed the colorful world map to the opposite edge of the table, and Dad began turning up the mostly black-and-white pieces of a United States puzzle on the open table directly in front of him. I remembered my parents drilling us kids on state capitals and thought perhaps the capitals on this map would trigger my Dad’s memory of them. That proved untrue, however, although in this puzzle, Dad seemed to have two things going for him: his facility fitting shapes together and his reliable memory of where in the country the states fall.

When he and Mom work jigsaws on their dining table, Dad will sometimes comment, usually one of his trademark quips. For example, “You’re really good at ‘having fits.’” At Cherished Place, he was relatively silent. When someone wandered into our puzzle room from the bowling game, I’d introduce the person to Dad and make small talk, but Dad’s responses were minimal, and the person would amble on. One guy, Danny, came and stayed.

Danny wheeled into the puzzle room and maneuvered into a spot at the table on the other side of Dad. I cheerfully made the introductions, and Danny looked up and waving his hand toward the ceiling, offered, “I did the electrical work here. My father fixed cars. Sometimes he popped the dents out. Sometimes I did that too. My dad lives in Florida. He’s retired now.” I inquired if he meant he used to do the electrical work at Cherished Place. He said yes, looked up again and waved a limp hand at the ceiling. “I did the electrical work. My father fixed cars. Sometimes he popped the dents out. Sometimes I did that too. My dad lives in Florida. He’s retired now.”

My dad stated, “If you did electrical work, then you were an electrician.” Danny repeated his whole spiel, this time adding, “Accident. Brain injury. In a coma one two three four days. Four days in a coma. I didn’t expect that.” As he counted the days, he shook that number of fingers down toward the floor. When he finished the spiel, he hung his head, wagged it, and said, “It’s okay,” in the soothing, sing-song tone a dad might use with a toddler whose TinkerToy tower just collapsed. While talking, Danny placed puzzle pieces in their proper spots in the map as though he didn’t even have to think about it.

Meanwhile, Dad and I were struggling, I because this puzzle did not have a box with a picture on it, and Dad because some states did not fit where he thought they should go. Danny bailed us out by immediately grasping that Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and parts of Canada were inset in framed boxes in the puzzle’s corners instead of where they really are on the map. His hands moved swiftly to create these inset boxes, which Dad and I then placed in their proper corners. When Danny put together the Hawaiian islands, he tapped the pieces and announced, again counting on his fingers, “Hawaii. My honeymoon. One two three four five six seven eight nine days off work for my honeymoon.” 

How the subject of student drivers came up, I don’t remember. I proudly told Danny that Dad had been a driver training instructor of high school students. Danny explained that his daughter just got her driver’s license. We learned he has two teenage daughters and his wife works. “She types,” Danny explains rippling fingers in the air over an imaginary keyboard. “I used to bring it in. I did electrical work,” he says with the now-familiar hand brushing the air toward the light fixtures. And then his resigned head wag and “It’s okay” and sweet-spirited laugh. I allow myself to look more closely at Danny. His hair is graying, but his face is smooth. He’s probably 10 to 20 years younger than I. He goes home after each day in Cherished Place to a wife and two teenage daughters, who lost him one day in an accident. I hope they, too, have come to a place where they can say, “It’s okay” and laugh.

We finish unifying the United States just as cherished folks begin hobbling and wheeling into the dining room adjacent to the living room/bowling alley. Dad and I sit in molded plastic chairs at a round white table. We enjoy canned pears, then opt for delicious salmon and mashed potatoes with stewed tomatoes. Dessert is yummy-looking ice cream studded with Oreo chunks. Oooh, I think, Dad, a.k.a. Cookie Monster, a.k.a. Mr. Ice Cream, will love this. He refuses it. Indeed, he has eaten the meal in sullen silence.

Our table mates are two barely functioning men slouching in wheelchairs and a large, loud, able-bodied man in a white T-shirt. One of the quiet men sports a U.S. Navy WWII Veteran cap. Great potential for a conversational bridge since Dad is also a WWII Navy veteran, I think. But then I see that the man’s dull eyes gaze only at his plate. I watch him saw his mashed potatoes with the side of a spoon and shakily shovel a forkful between sagging lips. He holds his fork handlebar-style like an infant first learning to eat. It takes all his concentration to lower his bottom lip and aim the fork. I abandon the idea of engaging this man with my dad and turn to quiet man number two. Due to his severely slouched angle and poor hand control, most of his lunch sits in dribbles on his belly. Cherished Place has extra Depends adult diapers on washroom shelves; I wonder they don’t provide bibs. He doesn’t look up either, so I turn to the larger-than-life Butch to chat in conversation that could include my dad.

This does not work well, because Butch is the stereotypical Marine drill sergeant. Almost before we have finished our pears, Butch snatches our bowls and trots them into the kitchen. Then he stands, feet planted wide and fists on hips; facing the whole room, he bellows marching orders, “Five four three two one” and proceeds to clear fruit dishes off the nine or so other tables. When he sits back down, he explains to me, “It’s my job, ma’am.” Then he leans toward Dad and pops out a poem, which sounds like it might be a real, classic poem. I compliment him on memorizing it, and he snappily, smilingly brags, “I’ve got lots more of those.” Then he hops up again to face his audience.” This time he does a little clapping dance as he sings out, “Swing your partners round and round …” and promptly sits back down. I ask if he was a square dance caller or auctioneer before retiring. His withering glance made me think, “No, of course not, you really were a Marine drill sergeant.” My dad steadily shrinks back from conversation with Butch, and I’m beginning to, too. The topic of Bunco comes up, and I remember one of the staff telling me that even though my dad has never played it, he’d probably catch on quickly because it’s extremely simple and involves numbers, one of my dad’s strengths. I ask Butch if he might be able to show Dad and me how to play Bunco after lunch. Folding thick arms across his chest and looking sternly at me, he booms, “I teach all the games, ma’am.” Dad desperately looked at what he has recently begun calling “the arrows” on his watch. Then he and I pushed away from that table with equal enthusiasm.

The next planned activity was karaoke, so Dad and I hustled into the living room to grab some wing-back chairs in the main area. While waiting for the music guy to set up, we kicked a large beach ball back and forth with the awake occupants of chairs opposite us. Bernard, the man on the other side of Dad, said he had played soccer in Italy, so I tried the sports conversation angle, talking professional teams and leading to Dad’s tennis passion and trophies. Dad watched Bernard’s and my exchange as though it were a tennis game but said nothing. From the other side of Bernard, I heard, “I did the electrical work. My father fixed cars. Sometimes he popped the dents out. Sometimes I did that too. My dad lives in Florida. He’s retired now,” and then the TinkerToy-toned “It’s okay,” and I knew Danny had wheeled himself into our row of chairs to await regular Friday karaoke.

The weekly music guy was wonderful, but karaoke this was not, since only he sang. He couldn’t persuade anyone else to do so, even though the songs were old Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra hits they all would have known backward and forward in their heyday. Plus, the lyrics showed on the video screen. The music guy handled a heckling comment from playground bully Sal with more grace than I would have had. He called out, “I like you, Sal!” to a few chuckles from the peanut gallery.

Some people mouthed the words to “Mack the Knife” and “You Are My Sunshine.” Some tapped their sensibly shoed feet. The lady across from me smiled at me in a familiar way, but I couldn’t place her anywhere in my past. She dozed a bit, waking every so often to mouth lyrics, but when her bottom lip fell down, her bottom teeth stood up. Meanwhile, Caroline now had her baby doll on her shoulder. Her hand “burping” the doll and her knees gently bouncing to the beat, Caroline approached the music guy, then danced around him and eventually disappeared into a small side room, where I noticed other women sitting with dolls. One bounced a doll on her knees to the rhythm. One koochi-kooed a little stuffed monkey into the tummy of her doll. Music guy ended with a rousing “God Bless America,” which many people waved their hands to, but few sang the words.

Midafternoon, when I had to leave, Dad wanted to walk me to the door. In the quiet of the hallway, he asked when Jean (my mom) would be coming for him. I said in less than an hour. He wondered if she’d forgotten about him. I reassured him she would pick him up soon. I said I’d enjoyed my time with him. In truth, I wouldn’t have traded one moment of that golden day for any treasure of the world. His eyes teared, and he explained, “I just never envisioned myself living like this.” He pointed down the hall toward the living room, where the music guy was packing up his stereo and patting the shoulders of various cherished folks. “I just want to live at home with my family, and I don’t understand why I can’t.” I mentioned that Mom worries about him being home alone when she goes out to buy him food, and if he’s at Cherished Place, she doesn’t have to worry about him when she’s at the grocery store.” I can hardly believe I’m simplifying and shrouding the issues like this. This is my father. I’m his child. But his world has become as simple as a child’s.

I couldn’t bear to leave him there, so I took him back into the dining room, where I had noticed some seemingly higher-functioning people earlier. Introductions all around. One woman welcomed him and even noticed his shoelace was untied and knelt to tie it before I could. She reassured me he’d be all right with them. So I left Dad there with them. I was hopeful until I saw his shoulders sagging forward. Sigh. As I walked outside to my car, I passed a school bus just outside the Cherished Place entrance. It was painted navy blue with a brightly painted Noah’s ark and animal pairs, some sheep and other figures, including Jesus saying “Let the little children come to me.” Luke 18:16.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Cuppa Comfort

To find comfort and quiet and a scene change, I  follow the siren song of the green mythological mermaid logo sign hanging in a Starbucks window. Standing in line for my mocha, I'm grateful that the song of the moment is the soothing Handel's Water Music

A change of scenery this is; quiet and soothing it is not. The classical music is LOUD. Handel's violin bow is less a fairy's flitting wings and more an ogre screeching a warty elbow across the strings. The music is not a velvety curtain draping into gentle folds behind the stage of today's Starbucks play. It is a scratchy, vinyl tarp covering the cast, who must fight their way to the top of the tarp to deliver their lines. Also, the cast is large, filling all seats, waiting in lines, jostling shopping bags, cajoling small children ~ and seemingly, all yakking and yukking at once.

An armchair frees up just as I grab my cuppa comfort. Shrugging out of my baby blue fleece sweatshirt, I snuggle into the chair with my bible opened to Psalms in my lap. Chocolaty liquid warms my throat. Aaah. Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings. (Psalm 17:8)

I am pretty good at tuning out cacophony, so for a while, my only distractions are visual ~ black fringe shimmying on suede moc-style boots striding past, pale pink patent leather MaryJanes climbing on the next chair, tall tan wicker-sided wedge sandals waiting in line beneath a gray handkerchief-hemmed flannel cape. Black-and-white rectangles on tabletops flash LED spreadsheets and e-mail pages. I find myself admiring the cute barrista's pink-tipped punky hair. I want to dye my hair, too, only I'd probably choose aubergine all over. And soft curls, not sharp points.

I have come today bothered by too many recent all work-no play days. I can't even remember what I enjoy any more. I vacantly stare out the window at the empty side street with a river of colors flowing down the main street behind. A champagne bottle and rainbow-shaped CELEBRATE are painted in metallic gold on a shop window on the main drag. Across my empty, still, side street is an old building with a lovely arched window ~ bricked over ~ and a quaint verdigris lamppost with two signs affixed to it. One is black on white: ONE WAY, with an arrow pointing to the back of the second sign, white on red: WRONG WAY. It somehow seems fitting that just above my head out the window, a fire escape ladder hangs in midair, its black wrought-iron rectangles framing gray puffy cloud-pillows with blue-button tufts. 

Is that our choice in life? Be rescued from a burning building only to break a leg leaping from an escape ladder that ends 10 feet above the ground? How often do Starbucks barristas see tears on the cheeks of the characters in their theater? I wonder.

Donning my fleece hoodie again, I smile remembering Jimmy Fallon's "Thank you, tuna casserole, for being the sweatpants of food." As I pitch my mocha cup in the waste can, I am thankful someone somewhere sometime thought to blend chocolate with coffee. I intentionally walk under the fire escape to my parking spot. Climbing into the car, I see the bag of Jonagolds from this morning's farmers market, and I remember I'm the apple of God's eye. During my Starbucks visit, the mermaid, Handel, the fairy, the ogre, the barrista, all the laughing characters in today's play ~ and even God ~ did not lay out an LED spreadsheet of answers for me. But I feel comforted knowing God is faithful. He heard me, even above all the noise, and He comforts me.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Reality Check

I warm up, starting the treadmill at 2.5 mph, then 3, then 3.5, then leveling off at 4 mph for the next 45 minutes, until cooldown. Toward the end today, I'm feeling rather smug about my accomplishment, when into the gym bounces a ponytailed high school girl with no cellulite or wrinkles ~ anywhere. I can see this because she is wearing really short running shorts and a tight tank top. If I see tanned skin that smooth in a magazine, I take comfort knowing the photo has been retouched. But here is Missy in all her un-PhotoShopped, youthful glory. Thank God I wore heavy blue jeans today, so only I know what's jiggling. Next to her, I have a reality check: My little "pooch" is more a paunch, less a Tinkerbell poking its teensy black button nose out of Paris Hilton's Prada handbag, more an entire L.L. Bean canvas tote bulging with Twinkies.

In addition, my cheeks look like they've just been stung by whole hives of poisonous bees. Missy does not look at me with alarm, as most adults do when they see my aerobically puffed, red face. She's probably too young to worry about anything more than her next math quiz, let alone some old lady collapsing while simply walking. She smiles sweetly at me as she hops up on the next treadmill. When I hear a loud pound-pound-pound, I cannot help but glance at her machine's readout. She has begun her warm-up at 6 mph. Six miles per hour! In a few seconds, the pounding gets faster. Now she's at 7.5 mph!

I amuse myself by recalling once in a while in the past when I've increased my speed to 5 mph, it quickly became more of an arm exercise holding tight to the handles so the conveyor wouldn't shoot me off the back of the machine. After 30 or so seconds at 5 mph, just after one lung lodged in my throat and just before my arms got yanked out of my shoulder sockets, I'd slowed back down to 4 ~ still clinging to the handles though. Missy, however, is not holding on to anything. She runs at 7.5 mph with gay abandon, ponytail swinging to her strides.

Laughing at the contrast and I admit, at her wonderful freedom, which I too must once have had, though I no longer even believe photos of me as a smooth-skinned teen, I disembark the treadmill and turn it off. I ask her if she'd like me to reposition my big floor fan to blow on her. "You don't look like you need it," I add with admiration. She laughs and nods, yes, she'd like the fan. Leaving the gym, I wonder with some pleasure if perhaps she nodded because she was too winded to speak. :-)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

How Old Do I Feel?

At 89, Dad has lost much of his story to Alzheimer's. He lives in the moment, something usually only children are good at. At 90, Mom is Dad's sole caregiver. She carries the weight of past, present, and future ~ for both of them. Recently, to give herself a "day off" each week, Mom has taken Dad to an adult day care center. He greatly dislikes it there because he perceives other members as "patients," whom he doesn't fit in with.

Helping balance that tension will be a new challenge for my siblings and me, who want to help our parents stay in their home as long as possible. For the four of us kids, drawing nearer to our parents in this stage of their lives produces mixed emotions ~ joy in their companionship and love, sadness for their losses and difficulties, and our own progressive grief ~ another mixture of past, present, and future.

I thank the Lord for my parents' good health, but their situation is quite fragile, like watching America's Funniest Home Videos when a person's left foot is in one rowboat and his right foot is in another, and you just know the splits and a splash are coming. Both Mom and Dad dodder and tip, and if either lists to port or starboard a few degrees too far, it will be life-changing for all of us. And it won't be a funny video.

Often when I catch myself off-balance or forget what I ate for breakfast that morning, I see in my parents, myself 30 years from now. I think I've gotten slower than usual, too, just hanging around them. I know even a little elder care carries emotional weight, but it doesn't make sense that I myself would feel so much older. Yet I haven't been able to shake that feeling for more than a year.

... Until a few weeks ago when a retirement planning workshop presenter asked the audience if we felt younger than our age, our actual age, or older. Somehow, saying out loud that I have been feeling older than my age seemed to dissolve my emotional dowager's hump, and I became once again a reasonably healthy middle-aged woman walking tall with pep in my step. Just in time for the adventure of accompanying Dad to day care.

To be continued ...

Friday, October 1, 2010

How Did I Go Wrong? Let Me Count the Ways.

Just four ingredients, the chef had said when I'd asked for her recipe for the sweetest, purest, silkiest soup imaginable. White corn, onions, thyme, chicken broth. C'est tout. That's all.

When I spotted white corn at my farmers market the other day I plunked down three bucks for six ears, another buck for a leek, and headed home to pick thyme from my patio pot. That evening I made the executive decision to saute the leek in butter rather than oil. As the leek sizzled in the pot, I debated: garlic or no garlic? The pro argument was that I grew it in all its juicy garlickiness. The con argument was that it might detract from the sweetness of the corn. I added just one clove. Then the corn kernels and my favorite boxed chicken broth went into the pot. During the 45 or so minutes of simmering, I tasted and tweaked. It was savory, not sweet. I added honey. Then it was icky, not sweet. I added sugar. That was a bit better ~ acceptable. Deciding not to further mess with the taste, I whizzed the concoction around in the food processor to get it as silky as the sumptuously smooth creation I was attempting to emulate. But when I looked at my creation, all I could think was, "Baby just spit up her Pablum." To make it easier to stomach, I changed my impression to, "Grits, okay, it looks like lumpy grits." (I have no idea how grits are made; maybe that's what I'd accidentally made.)

How did I go wrong? Here are my best guesses; if you have others, please let me know.
Mistake #1 was the leek. I forgot the chef had said onions. I know leeks are mild and are often in soups, but I forgot my goal was sweet, not mild. Sweet onions would have been sweet. Du-uh.
Mistake #2 was the garlic. Again, I forgot the goal was sweet.
Mistake #3 was the honey. I love honey in, for instance, the applesauce I made the same evening, but it wasn't right for corn soup.
Mistake #4 was the sugar. I should have risked letting the corn's own sweetness shine through, although maybe it couldn't have gotten past the leek's and garlic's influences.
Mistake #5 was the food processor, but I don't know what machine to use to get a silky texture. I'm open to suggestions!

Say, would you like to come over for some applesauce?