Random Acts of "Kindness"

Archive for October, 2016

DECIDED

It was a beautiful morning at the camper — warm, gentle breeze — before a cold front dropped the temperature 20 degrees. During our morning walk, I would have continued further down the trail except I told my husband where we were going and DID NOT bring my cell phone. So Robin and I took the shorter trail and returned home. It was warm enough with a light jacket that I did Tai Chi on the deck. I planned to make a smoothie and sit out enjoying the sunshine. I planned to do Jane Fonda’s Strength DVD but opted to enjoy the sunshine instead.

I had just finished making my smoothie when my husband came back inside, with the chairs. Dark clouds covered the sun, the wind increased and the temperature dropped. I decided NOT to sit outside. I DECIDED to exercise like I had originally planned. OH REALLY! I laughed at the way I HAD DECIDED. Since I have spent many years reacting to “help from my friends”, I recognized an intervention.

I was glad that I picked the DVD, it might be more helpful than Aging Backwards. I am NOT at all pleased with my lose of strength. Getting up from the toilet, chair, floor — even the car has become more of a challenge. I picked the second workshop, and was able to do it. I decreased the weights, paying attention to my sore shoulder. My husband said it might benefit him, he would do it with me tomorrow. I have 5 lb weights he can use.

Last weekend was Fall Festival. I was reminded of all the many experiences I have had during the Festival over the years. In fact I told the story to someone I knew who had lost not only her mother but other family members this year. It was one of the first times when I realized that I am NEVER ALONE. The full story of how I was instrumental in saving my neighbor’s life is written in my book JOURNEY WITH ME. It is titled TRACKING TIME. I didn’t save any one’s life this year but I might have shared stories that was of help to others. We had a flea market but I didn’t spend any money — instead I conversed with many of my friends. I laughed that Sunday morning when I had turned on the television in time for the blessing from the Mass, prayer to St. Michael and song “Here I am Lord.” It is one of my favorites and I sang along. “I will go Lord, If you need me. I have heard You calling in the night.”

We will soon pack up the camper for the season — not planning to return to either the Spring or Summer. It is easier to go home when it is cold, and rainy — harder when it is warm and sunny. For years we left the furnace on and came out in the winter. Sadly age has made me more careful of ice and snow. Winter snowy hikes no longer have the appeal that they once had.

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MATTRESS

Commercials on television were rather numerous on the subject of buying a new mattress, both in town and out in the country. I knew ours was ancient. In fact, we had two layers of foam helping to cover the old coils. Matters came to a head when my husband injured his hip and wasn’t able to sleep at night. A closeout ad caught my attention after I hit my head on a cabinet door. We drove out to the location of the store, only to realize that the ad was misleading. It was a bait and switch, no mention of closeout mattresses was made at the store. In the same parking lot, another mattress store was located. We wandered over to check their pricing. The woman on duty mentioned that we would save money buying from her — lower sales tax than Chicago. We learned that she had spent 5 years taking care of her aged grandfather who had dementia. He also happened to be a ham radio operator. When I teased my husband about our mattress at the camper, she knew where Woodhaven Lakes is. She grew up 30 miles from there. As a matter of fact, she still lives in that general area. Because of the expressways, it is an easy drive in to work. SMALL WORLD. We would be able to get our new mattress the next day. I KNEW that wouldn’t work. First my husband was planning to go to a ham fest the next day. Crystal knew what that was. In fact, that is how we learned about her grandfather. I KNEW that in order to switch mattresses, much work needed to be done at home.

I devoted the next two days moving some of the clutter out of our bedroom. Our room is on the second floor. Reached by going up a twisting wooden staircase. Talking to our daughter on the mountain, I realized I needed to move some stuff on the first floor also. Specifically the clothes tree and the bucket that held umbrellas. Our stairway walls are covered with family photos. I removed two of them, but the rest remained in their place. The mattress men said they would hug the railing. It was a GOOD THING I removed the clothes tree. When we removed the foam, we realized just how bad our mattress was. Thankfully it was a VERY GOOD mattress when we bought it. None of our children remembered our getting a new mattress. I didn’t look at the date on the tag. Who knows how old it was.

Thankfully we were the first delivery for the mattress guys. Thankfully they were young. I think they felt aged when they left. They did a good job. Didn’t knock any photos off the walls, nor break anything. The new mattress is MUCH HIGHER than the old one. We decided to use one of the thicker foams on top. My husband picked out the mattress. It wasn’t the firmest, but second to it. The foam and my body are a good match. I slept a whole eight hours last night. I feel like the story of the princess and the pea. My feet barely touch the floor.

This morning the men were at our house to finish our roof. Once again rain stopped their progress. In fact, the temperature is in the 50’s. The open roof cooled down the house, so much so that I found a sweater. I looked at the thermometer setting, but I couldn’t adjust it. ?? I discovered that the furnace was turned off. Thankfully no hit on the head this time. The furnace is now turned on. Soon the roof will be finished and I will start putting our house back in order. At least — some semblance of order for our house.

KNOCK KNOCK

When I’m not paying attention — I get hit on the head. I’ll bang my head into an open cabinet, something will fall out of the frig or freezer, maybe something cascades from the medicine cabinet. The end result is one of my body parts whimpers or yells. Sometimes I have an idea what I am overlooking. Many times I am at a lost.

Since I don’t see nor hear “my friends” in high places. They use other means to get my attention. I’m often at the right place to see something or talk to someone. The other day my knee was yelling as I walked to the bank. I saw a younger person on a older scooter, the kind with front and back wheels and a handle. She had a dog on a leash. I was struck by her imagination — I wondered if a sore knee kept her from walking her dog normally. I overheard her tell her dog that she couldn’t go that way, climb a high curb and I wondered.

One of my reasons for wanting to stay in our house rather than move to the country — if I can’t drive, I can get around the city via public transportation. I can walk to a grocery store, the bank or a drug store. I can walk 6 blocks to the EL train and go downtown. I don’t have to drive.

My husband and I attended Smokey Joe’s Cafe, a play at Drury Lane. During intermission I talked to the woman sitting directly behind me. She shared a story. Her uncle, a young 100 years of age just renewed his drivers license. I heard of other people in their 100’s who were driving, but usually out in the country. When I asked where he drove she told me the North side of Chicago — not rural by any means. In fact — a high traffic area. So I wonder, will I be able to continue to drive as I continue to age. Time will tell.

I often hear of many people who are in their 90’s, with good quality of life — still accomplishing their life’s work — Jerry Lewis, Betty White, Tony Bennett just to name a few. I’m often reminded of God’s promise to Abraham “That He would make him numerous as the grains of dust” Sirach 44:21.

I’ve been getting bumps rather often lately. I didn’t know if I needed to make a few phone calls to make sure our roof’s skylight would soon be installed. Phone our home insurance to inquire about the remaining check. Phone to set up an appointment for podiatry care for my husband. Many things were put on hold when we were in the country.

RECOVERY YEAR ONE

Last summer, I wandered the streets and nature trails of Woodhaven Lakes with a great deal of sadness and hope for the future. Most of the shady streets were now bathed in sunshine. Many of the nature trails opened up to bare landscape or fallen — twisted trees. The devastation from the tornado was every where.

A year has passed and the landscape has changed. Most of the tornado damage has been removed — trailers, sheds, porches, decks and trees. The nature trails no longer are bare — wild flowers and other plants have filled up the spaces. Some new trees have been planted.

New trailers, room additions, porches, sheds and decks are every where. Many new trees have been planted on the owners lots. It will be a long time before they provide the missing shade but progress is being made.

It is still very easy to determine what areas have been affected by the tornado. Shade and huge trees are missing. Some huge trees have remained, either because of stronger roots or the direction of the winds so the terrain isn’t bare.

I asked a real estate broker if there had been a large change in the population. Her reply was that although some owners have left, many new people have arrived. They came out to look at the after effects of the tornado, liked what they saw and bought property.

We lost more than nine trees at the front of our lot and many more on the sides and back. We now have sunshine and a new deck with a roof to provide the missing shade. The roof even has a fan to provide some air movement when the breeze is missing. I have to admit that I am spending a lot of time out on the deck.

I didn’t realize how much the tornado had affected me. I had a deep sadness that did not want to lift. It was very hard to explain, in fact I wasn’t even aware that it was there. Now that it has lifted — I DON’T MISS IT. Seeing all the new growth — the new changes must have helped.

Fall has arrived. Soon we will close up the trailer for the winter. Many years ago we spent time at the camper in the winter. Cross country skiing, walks in the high snow, Christmas shopping all were part of our winter. I had a small Christmas tree, wreath and lights to decorate the trailer. We haven’t wandered out there in the winter for years. Wandering in high snow is no longer as easy as it was when I was young. Staying inside, sitting in a warm camper doesn’t have the same draw as when I was younger. Lets not even talk about the ice that forms on the roads over night.

This year the small tree and wreath will stay packed away. We will turn off the heat and winterize. We will bring all the food home. I will admit that I miss the days when we left stuff out for the occasional weekends away.

BIKE

I’m sure it is my fault. After all, I mentioned that I needed to write a few more thought rambles. I asked for ideas. I asked for “help”.

We are still at the camper. My husband took our two bikes out of the shed and inflated the tires. I used to LOVE to ride a bike. Notice the past tense here. The last time I had the bike out, I got HOORIBLE cramps in my right thigh. So bad I couldn’t move, let alone walk. When they finally let up, I walked the bike back home. I don’t want to remember how long ago that was. I know it was before the ulcer on my left leg. When the doctor treated the veins on my left leg, I asked him to treat the veins on my right leg too — so I would be able to ride a bike. I will admit that I still get cramps in my right thigh. I will admit that I have a stationary bike at home that I haven’t been on either.

The bikes were out of the shed. The tires had been inflated. I convinced myself that I should see if I would be able to ride without a cramp. We camp on a hill. It is a challenging ride up or down but I thought going down hill would be easier. I planned a SHORT ride — to the bottom of the hill, and I would walk the bike back home.

First, walking through the kitchen — my right eye started to hurt. I didn’t know if something fell in it — like an eyelash or a bug or ?? I did know that it HURT. As a matter of fact I couldn’t keep my eye open. I have eye drops in the bathroom and treated my eye to a couple of drops. I told my husband what had happened and said that even though I wasn’t tired, I was going to lie down and rest my eye. I heard the phone when our daughter phoned. I get her voice mail often — I don’t often get her voice.

I put the storm windows on the bunk room windows. I don’t think anyone will be sleeping in there again this year. Night time temps are forecast to go down in the 50’s. Extra storm windows on the East side won’t hurt.

I put my socks and shoes on. I prepared to ride the bike. My husband came up onto the deck. He was replacing the floor in a shed and ran out of screws. Have scooter will travel. A short time later, I returned with needed screws. I hate to admit that I didn’t bring my eyeglasses and needed help getting the screws. I thought the store was getting ready to close and wanted to beat the closing. Thankfully there was someone to help me.

Preparing to ride the bike — I saw a friend walking down the street. After talking to him, I realized my foot hurt and I needed to sit down. One, two, three — delayed again — I realized I wasn’t supposed to ride the bike today. If I don’t try it before we go home, I’ll have to practice on my stationary bike at home.

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