Monday, January 23, 2017

Scylla and Charybdis

Scylla and Charybdis live in my garage. More accurately, getting into my garage is sort of like Odysseus trying to get past the two monsters at sea.

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Quick refresher of Homer's classic:  Odysseus had to sail past Charybdis, a nymph-turned-whirlpool. Opposite  the violent eddy was another nymph turned into a ship-destroying, sailor-munching monster. 

My twin dangers are a very narrow garage door, and the small strait between the two facing garage buildings. I have scraped past Scylla, but not unscathed. Despite Bill's driving lesson, I fused the white garage paint to the grey body of the car while it squealed.


It's a good metaphor for the spring-summer-fall-winter of our distress. Circumstances squeezed us. We got beat up some. There was squealing. But we could have been altogether wrecked.
Odysseus lost the ship to the whirlpool but saved himself. Then, when the pool tossed the ship back up to the surface he snagged it and escaped. Rescued by deus ex machina.

We didn't count on improbable theatrics (the ex machina part) to save us, but on God and our support groups.  To those who doubt prayer's efficacy, I argue it's got to be more reliable than a belching vortex.

If you've been in a tight spot, I'd like to hear your story. Share your dents, missing paint, and the rescue.  You don't have to be Homer to encourage us. 

Monday, January 16, 2017

Too Much Time in the Hospital - the Top Ten

so ugly I made Bill model it
You've spent too much time in hospitals when: 

1. You think Medicare should allow valet tipping as a payable expense.

2. As soon as you get to the front doors your brain tells your body you crave a mocha. And you know which franchise operates there.

3. You ask for a better room based on your frequent malady points.

4.  You hope for a room away from the nurse's station.

5. You don't expect a nurse to come running when you hit the call button.
wiiiiide wheelchair

6. Even your adult children think the attending physician appears to be eighteen years old.

7. The grandkids stop for pea-sized crushed ice on their way to your room, then critique the room's size, view, decor, and bathroom.

8. You know how to unplug the IV cart and get yourself to the bathroom. 

9. You finally remember to order condiments so you don't have to eat fries without ketchup or drink black coffee.

10. You re-gift skid-proof hospital socks at the holiday white elephant exchange. 

Do you have any to add? 

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Downsized Space, Upsized Attitude

New year, new home. We've moved into our new condo, which is 1/1000 of the space (indoor and out) that we had in North Carolina. That is downsizing!

We have furniture we have to sell or donate. And I'm ready for my third run to Goodwill with  leftover household goods.

We've had to downsize our outside space too. The garages are one large building with a row of doors into narrow parking spots. I've scraped the white paint off of the door frame onto our car trying to get into it. Our personal outdoor space is a concrete slab large enough for my potting bench and a small table and chairs. But the HOA won't let me me install my wonderful washing machine-converted-to-sink outside.

We face a green area between buildings that is smaller than our former front yard. While I will enjoy the trees leafing out and the roses blooming, I will miss my former view. My eye had an unimpeded view across the flower beds to the pine trees at the road 300 feet away. From my desk I watched the flowering spring trees go through their cycles.

canine traffic jam
The desk got left behind (it never would have fit!) and I've taken a space near our big bedroom window for my morning reading and writing. The first morning I sat down with my cup of mocha, watched the geese v-ing to ponds that lie beyond. Movement in my peripheral vision interrupted my reverie. Who was walking in "my" yard?   A bundled up senior citizen strolled behind a little dog. And there were more, and more. My thinking time and space were invaded by strangers left, right and center.

I've gone from living in my personal park to being on the doggie commute route. After the first flash of irritation I turned the parade into a list of owner-pet entities.  Shrouded in down jackets and hats, the people are difficult to differentiate. So I identify them by their dogs. There's the pug lady, the woman with a pair of big black canines, a mutt overdressed in a jacket with a faux fur collar, the red coat dog, the pajama guy ambling by with his cup of coffee in one hand, leash in the other, the scruffy hound whose owner needs a shave, and a fuzzball waddling as slowly as its aged owner.

I feel like I've been dropped into a reality show, maybe "Life Swap." I'd like my old life back, but that won't happen even if I win the million dollars.

So I doggedly plug away at accepting what is.

This quote helps me refocus.  "...gather up the fragments of your life and give them to Jesus, and He will make sure that nothing is wasted. Refuse to think about what you have lost; instead inventory what you have left and use it with a thankful heart." Joyce Mayer.

The process of shrinking my domain may expand my capacity for gratitude and flexibility. Perhaps there are unexpected blessings waiting for me in this new life. Downsizing space may result in an upsized attitude.