Monday

AT LEAST the sun is shining today. A sunny day always lifts your spirits a little, even on a Monday, the day you have to face the responsibilities of the week that you seem to be able to put out of your mind on Saturday and Sunday.

The difference in the days of the week shouldn't really affect me any more because I'm 84, and have been retired a long time. While my wife and I were living in Florida among other retired people, every day was the same, but now we live in Alexandria, where we moved to be near one of our daughters.

The reason I'm aware of the characteristics of various days now is because our daughter Ann and her husband Roger have given Saturdays and Sundays a little variety for us. For instance, Saturday I got my wife Mary dressed and took her over to Ann's to see the collection of South American dolls she just bought. Mary enjoyed seeing the dolls, and then fell asleep as she does so much of the time now. She hasn't recognized Ann for three years, but she likes her, and says she prefers her to the daughter she remembers, although sometimes she gets upset because the "real" Ann never comes to visit.

I had hoped to go to the George Washington parade in Old Town today. Mary didn't want to go, though, and I can't leave her. It doesn't matter. Maybe we'll take a walk in the sunshine. Tuesday

This will be a good day to fill in the questionnaire about the moisture that collects under the windows of our condominium. I'd been wiping it up with towels every day and trying to figure out what to do about it when I got a letter from the tenant organization. It seems that everyone in the building has the same problem and somebody's trying to do something about it.

We've lived in this condo three weeks. We've lived in Alexandria five months. When we came here in September, we lived in a two-story house my son-in-law owns. We all thought it would be ideal because it had a nice little yard for flowers, room for me to have a workshop and it was one block to the new Metro station. I'd been looking forward to spending a lot of time at the Smithsonian.

But my wife fell and broke her hip, so while she was in the hospital and the nursing home, I moved us to an apartment in Old Town. We all thought that would be ideal too because it was a ground-floor apartment, had a nice view from the windows and was only a few blocks from Ann's house and the frame shop she runs.

Then one day there was a notice stuck in the door that the buildings were to be demolished and we would have to be out by March 1. Assistance was to be offered for new housing and financial aid for senior citizen moving. But I have a retirement income that's over the level to qualify, and although I'd already spent $350 to have my furniture moved over there, and another $350 to have it moved over here, after only living there two months, they wouldn't do a thing for me.

There was nothing left to do but buy a place. My house in Florida hasn't sold yet, so I had to sell some of my stock and get a loan on my insurance to do it.

My son-in-law helped me find this place and another $350 to have it moved over here, after only living there two months, they wouldn't do a thing for me.

There was nothing left to do but buy a place. My house in Florida hasn't sold yet, so I had to sell some of my stock and get a loan on my insurance to do it.

My son-in-law helped me find this place and we're very happy with it. I can walk to the shopping center nearby and I'm right on a bus line. However, there are these problems with the moisture at the windows and the very expensive electric heat that I can never get above 67 degrees. Wednesday

Today we have an appointment with a geriatric specialist. I think that's the best kind of doctor for us to have at our age. There's nothing wrong with me except glaucoma, but my wife is not well.

In Florida, the doctors called it brain syndrome, which is a new way of saying senility, I guess. They told me it will only get worse and that I should be making plans for her to live in a nursing home. Those young doctors really don't know what to do for a lot of us old people, and would rather not even bother with us for patients except for the fact that they know our Medicare is good and that we're very gullible since our lives are quite fragile. Two years ago, at age 82, they did a double mastectomy on Mary, and I wonder now if it was really necessary in her condition.

I had an eye infection last month and before I knew it, the eye doctor was setting me up for a tear duct operation with some specialist, a complete physical with some other doctor (I just had a complete physical two months ago), X-rays with another doctor at another place and a preliminary appointment with the specialist at Fairfax Hospital.

I couldn't handle the time and expense of driving from one doctor's office to another, the bills, papers, forms and plans for hospitalization, so I called it off. I decided I could be physically adjusting to the colder climate and that the infection might never recur. I've lived with my sensitive tear duct for many years, and I think if I'm careful, I can live with it many more. So I'm increasing my vitamin C to strengthen me against this climate.

The geriatric specialist is about 70. We've already had a preliminary visit, and felt comfortable with a man who's closer to our age and a little more sensitive to the problems of older people -- most especially now, with this brain syndrome of Mary's. There isn't much he can do for her, but he has helped me know how to deal with it better, and I have a very mild tranquilizer that will help her relax when she gets frightened.

She gets frightened when she thinks I am some stranger who's been sent to take care of her. She cries because she sees my jacket and thinks I'm out in the cold without proper clothing. The few times she realizes it's me she gives me hell for staying away so long. Sometimes it's more than I can bear, and I lose my temper and then I cry. Thursday

The nursing home where Mary went after her broken hip keeps trying to charge me for an entry checkup by its staff doctor, who never even say my wife. The Social Security department has not been able to find my checks since I moved here; a computer foul-up keeps sending them to Chicago. The apartment management has not returned my security check yet, and I am so tired of trying to keep up with the paperwork of being 84 and alive. You'd think at my age life would be dignified and a little less complicated. It isn't.

The only dignity I feel at this moment is that I got my Virginia driver's license with no problem. I even got 100 percent on the written test. When you get to be my age you wonder how much longer you'll be able to keep your license. Because of my glaucoma I don't drive early morning when the sun is rising, late afternoon when the sun is setting nor during the darkness of the night. So I'm only out during the middle of the day when there's no traffic, and not even then if it's raining.

When we lived in Florida, I took a defensive driving course which was offered free to retirees, so for an older person I'm a good driver. Of course, the day will come when my reflexes will not be as good but I think I'll recognize that and give up driving voluntarily.

I never thought I'd be living my last years in the washington area, even though I grew up here. When I was a little boy I sold peanuts in the stands at the inaugural of President Taft, and I am one of the oldest living graduates of the original McKinley Technical High School.

When I decided to move here to be near Ann I thought I'd be able to go to the Air and Space Museum once a week and work in her frame shop occasionally, but the way my wife is I can't leave her longer than it takes me to go to the grocery store. Friday

Florida retirement is not so pleasant when you become 80. Most of your friends are dead and the younger retirees consider you too old to spend much time with. Its nice to see people of all ages every day up here, to know my middle-aged daughter, talk football scores with her husband and see some of my grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

I remind Mary of all these new pleasures when she complains about the weather and the fact that there's no swimming pool for us. But today she doesn't know me and it does no good to try to talk to her. I give her one of her tranquilizers when she starts to cry, and suggest she play the piano for me, but she says she only plays for her husband, and I am a stranger.

My wife was the prettiest little thing when I married her. She's still a good looking woman for her age. When things get bad I wonder if the young doctors are, that she should be in a nursing home. But you just don't put your wife of 59 years in a building to be cared for, and pay $1,500 a month indefinitely. When things get bad, our children worry about me because I usually have to dress her and physically care for her, and, admittedly, it is fatiguing and sometimes depressing.

Then my daughter will put her arm around me and say, "Let's just take one day at a time, Daddy, and not worry about tomorrow," and I realize how good it is to be near family, and I'm strong enough to get through another day, especially when I know the next day is Saturday. I have an idea Ann and Rog will stop by with some of their good martinis and have a drink with me before they go out to dinner. And I think Ann plans to make a lemon cake on Sunday, and bring half of it over here.

Maybe Monday will be one of the days my wife will know me, and if it's sunny we'll walk over to Rampart's and eat lunch. I rather like the rhythm of the days of the week now that we live in the Washington area, because even though I can be sure of the probability that a few will be bad, I also know there's the possibility that some will be good.