Random Acts of "Kindness"

Posts tagged ‘frigid temperatures’

COUGHING

I did my best. When my son started coughing, I did my best to NOT CATCH whatever he had that was causing the problem. I was already coughing — admittedly it was a different cough — dry. I knew the cause — it was the blood pressure medicine I was taking. A friend of mine told me it made her cough too. At first the dry cough wasn’t too bad. Then since my blood pressure wasn’t decreasing, my doctor doubled the dose. My cough also increased. I was coughing so much my back started hurting.

Then my husband started coughing. The cough sounded similar to our son’s. My husband has emphysema, which often evolves into pneumonia. I didn’t like his color, I didn’t like the way he sounded. He didn’t think he needed to go to the doctor. Thankfully I had a well being doctor’s appointment scheduled for that week. He wasn’t better so he accompanied me. Meanwhile I didn’t like the way my cough sounded. It was no longer dry. Thankfully my husband’s lungs were clear but the doctor prescribed medicine for him anyway. My lungs were also clear — I got a new prescription for blood pressure medicine. I picked up the new medicine. The pills for my husband immediately worked to improve his condition. Sadly I was correct about the sound of my cough. It deepened and intensified. The weather in our area became much colder and snow was predicted. I thought the cough was just a cold and if I took care of it, drank plenty of fluids, stayed inside, it would soon be gone. I WAS WRONG.

Each evening the news announced the status of the flu — increasing in intensity, more people, especially children were dying. Both my husband and myself had gotten a flu shot in October. Neither one of us was running a fever. We were confident we didn’t have the flu. Normally I don’t take cough syrup but I went through ALL of the cough syrup in the house, even stuff I had for our grandchildren. For many reasons, I didn’t want to go outside — below zero temperatures and snow didn’t beckon. Except for coming downstairs for food or to cook I stayed on the second floor where it was warmer. Our Christmas tree remained up. When I was feeling better, I didn’t take it down because it occupied the space my son’s chair rested in. I didn’t want him by the windows. Then the tree stayed up because I didn’t have the energy to take it down.

Nine days of snow. Thankfully our son did most of the shoveling. My husband was feeling better, at 5:30 AM I was woken my the sound of shoveling. My husband wasn’t in bed. When I looked outside, I saw the top of his coat, dealing with the fresh snow. Under normal conditions, my husband LOVES to use the snow blower on the whole block. These weren’t normal conditions. But he took pity on our neighbors and didn’t start the machine. Both myself and our son expressed our opinion on his being outside shoveling. Our neighbors took pity on us. A few times our walk was shoveled. Once our front stairs were included. When all was said and done, we had more than 10 inches of snow. Normally I sweep the stairs. This wasn’t a normal time.

My back still hurt. I decided that Tai Chi — the gentle stretching would help it. Other than that — most days I got in less than 3,000 steps. I tried to get more sleep. Coughing didn’t help. Except for one day between the snow storms, I hadn’t been outside. When another big storm was predicted we traveled to the store for supplies — milk, bread ,and vegetables. Finally a littler bit of my energy returned. Enough to take off the ornaments and lights. To take down our Christmas tree. It was February — time for the tree to come down. I even got the stuff together to prepare for income tax.

I hadn’t been outside except for the store run in 10 days. I walked to our accountant — 7000 steps when I returned. I couldn’t believe how tired I was. His office was close to our church, a distance I normally walked. Both my back and knees HURT.

Caught — I was outside cleaning up the yard before the rain came. Working on the icy steps, shoveling a tiny bit of snow off our cellar doors. My son caught me. He had warned me not to go outside when the back was icy. Now he told me to put the shovel down. He would take care of the snow.

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MISSING

It started as a normal day — that is I woke up, brushed my teeth and washed my face. Then I got dressed and went downstairs. I even started the coffee. Normal day — then things changed.

I put the code in to cancel our house alarm. It didn’t work. I put the code in again with the same results. I got my glasses to make sure I was pressing the right numbers. Oops, Nope!

I drink 2 tablespoons of organic apple cider vinegar in warm water with honey every morning. I don’t know what happened — the glass spilled, contents all over everywhere — countertop, open dishwasher, floor. MESS!

I had thought about going to a funeral that morning. I was concerned about the weather conditions, the church was a few miles from our home. After the fun I was already having, I thought I would stay safely at home.

I needed to make an appointment for a fasting blood test and phoned for an appointment. After listening to their recorded announcement, I was referred to another phone number. I called the next number. After listening to their recorded announcement, I learned their computer system was down for repairs.

I had received a bill from our mortgage company and was concerned that we weren’t getting full credit for our payments. I phoned, the recorded message stated they had a high volume of calls, it would be a 10 minute wait or I could ask for a return call. I put our number in for a return phone call. A professional woman returned my call whose voice I could understand. I explained my problem and she tried to access our account on her computer. That is when I learned that their computer system was having problems. She suggested I wait until later in the day and phone again. After the fun I was having that morning, I really didn’t think so.

The day proceeded normally. It was cold outside. Our second floor was warmer than the first so I went upstairs. I returned at 4:00 and sat down on the couch to watch a program. I felt cold, even though I was dressed warmer for downstairs. My feet felt cold even though I had on socks and slippers. That is when I realized my ears and nose felt cold. In our downstairs bathroom, exposed pipes push the hot water upstairs. The pipes were cold. I looked at the thermostat and saw a message I couldn’t read. Yelling for help from my husband and son, I learned the message was low battery. Batteries replaced. The furnace started. The temperature read 62 degrees.

We were having chicken soup for supper that was already made. Hat on my head, I returned upstairs to wait for the house to warm up.

When I had learned of the passing of our friend who was 98. I was sad — I wouldn’t hear anymore of her stories. I wonder if “my friends in high places” were joined by many others to celebrate a life well lived. I sent a card remarking on her legacy. I think there was a lot of rejoicing, celebrating her life at that funeral that day.

When I wrote about the challenges I faced that Saturday to our children, I had forgotten the spilled apple cider vinegar. I was reminded on Sunday morning when the same thing happened again!.

DELAYED

I know I have mentioned before that I’ve been delayed in what I am doing or planning to do. Often I’ve learned that being delayed prevented me from being in an accident or stopped on my journey. Often the delay causes me to think — “Do I REALLY WANT to do or go or spend?” Sometimes the delay causes me to change my plans. Sometimes the reason for the delay remains hidden.

Friday — at the camper — I experienced a delay. It started with a broken pot. I pulled it from the cupboard, the edge struck something and shattered into shards. One of my favorite pots, one I used often — not every meal but more than once a week. Not only broken pieces but shards to pick up. It took awhile, not only were they on the counter but escaped to the floor.

Once I finally cleaned up the mess, we were heading out for breakfast. Except — delayed again — my scooter was returned. The speedometer cable had broken and it had been picked up for repair. It was supposed to be back on Thursday but plans changed. Finally heading for breakfast, a half hour later. I saw an unusual sight outside the restaurant — a bicycle with bags strapped to its wheels towing a small trailer. I was intrigued. The bike belonged to Mr. Alan Thompson, a 68 year man who wanted to ride around the perimeter of the United States. He started in Ohio in 2015, made it as far as Portland when he returned home to rest for a year. He started again in 2017 in Portland and was finishing his ride. It was August but it felt like Fall, the temperature that morning was a balmy 55 degrees. I asked him if he spent the night in a motel to stay out of the cold. Thankfully he did. He was riding for Habitat for Humanity and Save the Children. Both worthy causes.

Next appearing at the restaurant was a group from a classic car club. I started to chat with them but they had only taken a bathroom break and the gentleman was requested to rejoin the group. I didn’t even get a look at their old cars. My husband has an old car and we both were interested in the group. They were the Summer Knights Car Club — meeting at Buona Beef in Glendale Heights, Il.

Next taking a bathroom break was a group of police men and woman. They didn’t stay to eat either. I was glad that the man riding the bike had stopped for something to eat. I really enjoyed hearing his story. He wasn’t accepting money but I could make a donation at his website: usperimeterride. org — his blog or apt@bex.net.

It turned out to be a very interesting morning.

BLOSSOMS ON THE WIND

Step by step, line by line — watch my thought rambles grow. My fifth year anniversary — 265 rambles — who would have thought I had so much to write about. Time passes so quickly, I thought this was my third year, then I divided 265 by 52. Didn’t quite believe the number I saw. Evidently I finally gave into the nudging in May of 2012 to begin to write. FIVE YEARS later my friends in high places still think I NEED to share the goings on in my life. If I don’t have a thought ramble ready to publish — I’m reminded that I have thoughts to share.

I enjoy going to the Botanic Garden in certain seasons of the year — daffodil time, crab apples in bloom, summer roses, fall asters, mums, etc. I probably would enjoy winter there as well, I just haven’t gone in a few years. I was at the Garden a few weeks ago — daffodils were in bloom — many plants were being planted — crab apple trees were waiting. After a couple of 70 degree days, I phoned to see if the crab apple trees were in bloom. The answer was negative — trees were in bloom in our neighborhood but the Garden was waiting. I phoned again this week — just starting I was told. So I waited a couple of days but rain was expected and I wasn’t sure how many blossoms would stay on the trees — how many would ride the wind. The Garden NEEDED a few more warm, dry days. White and pink crab apple trees were in bloom, red were still ladies in waiting. I still ended up taking more than 100 pictures. Trees, tulips, robins, frogs — many things caught my attention. Of course in that number I probably missed another one to two hundred photos. It doesn’t help if I remind myself that I have taken a picture of that same tree last year, I still capture the image. I will admit that some scenes DO NOT appear again. I have a lovely photo of a tree in bloom with different shades of tulips below that has not repeated itself.

More than blossoms have been on the wind — my eight year old granddaughter has been going through a very challenging time. Health issues have caused migraines to start. She is staying with us for the weekend. I had planned various things to do outside — GOD LAUGHED. Cold weather, storms are predicted. I found myself at Walmart, glancing at a basket with merchandise that was going to be returned to the shelves. I found a craft item that I thought she would enjoy. That reminded me to get a few new things for her. The item I found in the basket must be hiding in the store somewhere because I would not have found it. I did find a roll of stickers and an artists notebook. She loves to draw — crayons, markers, paint. I’m not ready for wet weather but I have a few things that hopefully will be fun.

COFFEE ON THE PORCH

The weatherman warned that the day would be the last 60 day temperature of the season. It was 60 degrees at 7:30 AM. I couldn’t resist. I put on a light jacket and heated a cup of coffee and spent a very relaxing 1/2 hour on the porch. I tried to meditate. It didn’t happen. Instead I watched a plane fly overhead, listened to the wind in the trees and a siren — ambulance or fire engine, I didn’t know. A large bird flew by — big sea gull or ??. In short I took a break from the day. I will admit that after a half hour passed, I made a cup of hot tea. I was chilled. 60 degrees, even with a light jacket was still not warm enough for me.

We all have different talents. Some people are very good cooks or comics or artists. Some people are very good at organizing, writing or planning. We all have our individual talents — the trick is to recognize them and use them well. One of my daughters is in the habit of having coffee with God. She tells Him her concerns and listens for advice. I storm heaven on a regular basis, problems and concerns personal to me or my concerns about the world or our country. I don’t hear with a voice in my ear, God’s response to me. But I know that I am listened to and often the answer will come through. If I’m paying attention.

Part of my heritage is Irish. Andrew Greeley, author, has referred to the Irish gift with the heroin Nuala Anne McGrail in many of his Irish novels. Does my gift come from my mother, who happens to be on the other side? I don’t think I will ever have the answer to that particular question and does it matter? My German grandmother’s birthday was on a Monday. I took Robin for a walk and met a friend of mine. I told her of the approaching gathering with my granddaughter and great grand. She had many items that would have made their visit easier. Although searching our house and talking to my daughter I learned I didn’t have to take advantage of her offer, I thanked my grandmother for her help.

Does it really matter where my gifts come from? Does it really matter if the gift is cooking, or writing or art? Does it really matter that I receive “help” from the other side. I recently picked up the book Waking Up In Heaven and read a few pages. I will admit that the book didn’t come home with me. I’m aware that many of my family, friends and four footed companions are on the other side. I’m also aware that I am seldom alone. I left the book for a person who really needs to read it.

NO ICE

I am EXTREMELY THANKFUL this morning. I will admit that I was very stressed yesterday. The forecast was for rain, snow, than dropping temperatures — into the teens with below zero wind chills. Two weeks ago, we had rain, sleet and temperatures that dropped into the twenties. After two weeks, we still have remnants of that mess on sidewalks, streets and alleys. I was grounded for a day — (advised to stay inside) pavements were very icy and restricted for a few more days. I was very worried that we were repeating that mess. And when I am stressed I nibble continually.

I’ve written how I must be extremely needy since I receive HELP on a regular basis. Yesterday was a good example. In the morning I opened the bible to Psalm 146 — Trust in God the Creator and Redeemer. Queen of Angels reading was titled From Sickness to Health. Did that stop me from worrying? NOPE! It wasn’t only the weather, family matters were also causing their own concerns. But looking back on the day, I have to admit that I wasn’t nibbling from morning to night. I made a pot of chili, I took Robin for two walks while the pavement was wet but not icy. I walked to the store to get something I needed.

Today, the wind chill was below zero. I dug out my heavier coat and put on my boots. Robin got to wear a coat too. My husband had put salt on our outside steps the night before. I didn’t know how far I would be able to walk — staying upright, not falling was a concern. As soon as I stepped onto out sidewalk, “THANK YOU!” exploded from my mouth. NO ICE! The storm went further north so we didn’t get as much snow as forecast. The wind must have dried the streets, sidewalks, and alleys. There was still some ice, but not as much as I feared. Robin and I were able to take our normal walk.

This morning when I opened the bible I read from Psalm 84: “happy are those who trust in the Lord.” Queen Of Angels — repeated the theme “to trust God totally.” AND I DO but I also know that it is God’s plan, not mine! He/She could easily have planned that I would wake to a city covered in ice. And I would TRUST that I would survive the mess — hopefully not falling and causing damage to body parts.

BURIED TREASURE

I have a hard time thinking of a title for my thought rambles. Robin, our dog, gave me this title when she was digging in the snow for buried stuff. With her ability to smell under the snow, she was able to unbury many things, toss them in the air and play with them. Sometimes eat them which I found disgusting. Needless to say, I’m trying to be more careful to clean up the yard after she does her business.

If I had written about buried treasure when I first thought of the idea, I would have written about the many times we excavate our memories, sometimes finding pleasant happenings but most often the remembrance unearths pain. I will delay that thought for another time.

Yesterday I was reminded of other buried treasure when my neighbor of more than 40 years passed over. She was 91 years young and her death was not unexpected. She had been in good health until the Fall of 2013 when her independence was taken away from her and her health began to decline. Death is always hard even when it is expected. I was grateful that they phoned and I was able to stop by before the funeral parlor removed her for cremation.

What to say to the family? Other than I’m so sorry for your loss. Thanks to my father, I have a different perspective on passing over. He died in 1995, 4 days before his 85th birthday. When he passed over, within three days he let me know he was fine. Maybe it was his birthday present to me. Since that time I have become gradually aware of the “help” I receive from the other side. When the son of a friend asked me to teach him how to become “aware” I knew I couldn’t. But I could tell my stories, and I did in “Journey With Me”. Yesterday I took two copies over to my neighbors family — one for her daughter, the other for her grandson. Will it help? Will they read it? Will my neighbor help them with their life? Will they recognize her? Those questions are not for me to answer.

The interesting part of my day didn’t end there. I needed to walk to the Post Office and took Robin with me. The sidewalks, still snow covered, were safe for me to travel. The sun was out but the temperature was still in the single digits. I walked further than I planned. Returning home, I spotted a green coat in a snow bank. From the distance I thought it was a child playing. A man got out of his car and helped the figure up, then watched as the person slowly walked down the street. A woman across the street was watching. As I approached the corner, I saw the person had fallen again. Luckily the woman crossed the street and helped the man up. He said he didn’t know what was wrong. I recognized him as a person who lived across the street from our house. My children had attended school with the family. The other woman assisted him to walk home. Because of Robin, I was handicapped. We tried to get help from his family. No one answered the door. The other woman didn’t have a cell phone – mine was at home. The man said he knew his phone number. When I crossed the street with Robin, my husband met me at the front door. I got my cell phone and returned. No one answered the phone when we called. We were uncomfortable leaving him alone. I walked to the rear of the house and when no one answered the pounding on the door, I called for an ambulance and stayed with them until help arrived.

When I thanked the woman for her assistance, I mentioned that she was younger than I. She didn’t think so. I had to laugh when she told me her age. She was younger than I by 10 years. I said, “I don’t know your religious belief but we had just been used by God to help another.”

I wanted to leave a message for the family, when I remembered that one of our neighbors was good friends with the family. Luckily they answered the door when I rang the bell.

Evidently my work is not done, and neither have all my stories been written.

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