Coping with…

A magical sunrise on our second morning in Michigan. What I couldn’t capture was the sparkle of the snow on the branches in the lower right. The rising sun was positioned perfectly to make this mundane deer run through a vacant, overgrown lot so very beautiful.

I have had this photo inserted in this “Edit Post” for several weeks now – believing it was perfect for several “challenges” that have come and gone. It has been a stressful December, until yesterday when I had an emotional meltdown. It wasn’t pretty and maybe I overreacted but I sure feel better today. I took control by cancelling four health-care appointment leaving only three for the rest of the month (there were 10 all together), I decided that we needed to become subs for our card club because I can’t handle the work of hosting once a year (tonight’s the night after two years of dodging), I cancelled the family Christmas Eve party at our house (I told you it wasn’t pretty), and I unplugged the phone land-line because I have been receiving about 12 robo calls a day (triggering murderous thoughts in my brain). Once I had completed this emotional housekeeping I felt less physical pain, stood straighter, no longer felt like I was 97 years old, was capable of smiling again, had energy to complete the tasks of the day, and dropped my caustic cynicism and snark. Life is good again.

Don’t distract a pushing 80 year old driver. Yesterday we stopped at a neighbor’s house down the street and as Jim was backing his truck out of their drive, I was commenting on Connie’s wreaths hanging out her up-stair’s windows. We both heard a soft crunch and he asked if he hit something. I looked in my side mirror and said no, but you are about 4 inches from their mailbox. He started forward and I saw he had pushed over the mailbox next to the standing one. He laid it flat on the ground. He took me home and went back to speak with the owner – telling her we would pay for repairs. He also saw that it was rotted so bad at the ground that it was ready to be replaced without Jim’s nudge. I think when we are in our late 70’s there is more personal meaning to something like this than just the trigger reaction, “Boy that was a stupid thing to do.” There is a meaning that we aren’t ready to talk about – yet.

I tried tatting a long time ago – when I was a teen but it didn’t catch with me. This year when I was hanging the two machine made, delicate lace snowflakes on our Christmas tree, bought in a gift shop up on Lake Superior, I though about tatting again and started the search for the shuttle, thread and book I bought a couple of years ago. At that time I couldn’t make sense of the written directions, in spite of the fact that I learn best by reading and they assured me (in print) that tatting was really quite simple to do (written by someone who had been doing it for 50 years). I decided to try YouTube and, walla, I understood what I was suppose to do to make the two parts of the one knot that is used. Until I tried it. I had forgotten how hard it is to learn a new skill, to create new muscle memory when there is none to begin with. Since I have retired I have continued to learn but it has basically been incremental learning, building on skills and knowledge I already had. After three weeks, two books, lots of throw-aways and restarts, and more stitches removed than I think I originally made, I am on my way to having a snowflake – about 1/3 of the way there. Yes, Virginia, you can teach this old dog new tricks.

We returned to Michigan at a time when covid cases are spiking to the point where we would be the worst country in the world – if we were a country unto itself. We are glad we received the booster in Florida before we returned and are wearing masks in all public buildings, restrict our shopping to times when stores are relatively empty, and use Amazon as much as I can even though I have serious reservations about their business model. We are balancing our risks of going out in public knowing that over 40% of people in Michigan are anti-vax, with our knowledge of how safe we are because we are fully vaccinated and wearing masks. It takes so much of my energy making these calculations but I continue because we know how important social contact is for our well-being. It seems impossible to understand how covid works, especially what causes it to spike with somewhat predictable timing but in unpredictable locations.

My topic for this post is “coping” but the one area that I’m not ready to write about is coping with our changing health status. I have so much to say – and maybe next week I’ll be in a better position to talk about how difficult I’m finding the aging process to be.

In the meantime, I’m wishing you safety and health, and hope you find joy in how you choose to spend the remaining weeks of December as we move towards another year.

12 thoughts on “Coping with…

  1. Ah, I hear you, Pat. The last two years I’ve been way too preoccupied with health concerns, to the point where I think it may be better to skip the PT, for example, just so I’m not constantly thinking about how much pain there is. It’s ridiculous. Good for you for melting down and moving on, and what skill it takes to talk about this stuff without feeling sorry for yourself. It’s really been a tough couple of years and we’re all ready for it to change. BTW, I haven’t had a land line for over 10 years – one less complication in life. Take care and keep telling it like is. And Happy New Year!

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  2. If I recall right…it was Moms Mabley who said of old age…”You just wake up one morning, and you got it!” And then come all the appointments…Peace be with you and yours.

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  3. Sounds like that clear-out of appointments and ‘stuff’ was just what you needed! We turned the sound off on our landline earlier this year and told all our friends and family to use our mobiles. So now I just check it occasionally for messages, which are never there – it’s all scams and rubbish 😦

    I appreciate the honesty with which you share the challenges you face, and i think it must help many people who read your posts – thank you.

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    • Your welcome, Sarah. It seems to help me to write about where I am and I try to do it in a way that isn’t bitching or whining. Right now I need the land line for messages, until I figure out if I need to change how we do mobile. Happy challenges. πŸ™‚

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  4. Thank you for revealing such candid reflections of what you’re dealing with these days. I daresay that anyone who picks up tatting as a re-discovered hobby clearly has more patience, perseverance and persistence than I. Here’s to re-learning old tricks!
    πŸ™‚

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  5. I hear what you are saying, Pat. I’ve had a week full of medical appointments after a good number in November. It is exhausting. And don’t get me started on robo calls (lol!). I was laughing with my hairdresser about the fact I hadn’t expected to spend my Golden years wearing a mask and in isolation. Definitely a situation which makes the aging process all the more difficult.

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  6. Pat, I agree: sometimes all those medical appointments are just too much. Then it is time to cancel the least crucial of them, just for sanity”s sake.
    BY the way, we bought new phones (land line) that block robocalls on request. While not perfect, they have made things better for sure.

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