Random Acts of "Kindness"

Posts tagged ‘travel’

STICKERS

Owning a car has many advantages. If you are able to drive, the car expands your opportunity to travel. If you have a dependable vehicle, your options increase. We have a dependable car — it is just older with many miles. Getting a newer car was in my husbands plans. My knees have become a problem. He wanted a car that was easier for me to get in and out of. We decided not to get rid of the older car. That meant we now had two cars. Living in the city adds another expense. We need to help with the cost of the roads, therefore having a sticker on the windshield.

Since my husband is a senior, we get a break on the cost of the sticker. We wouldn’t get a reduced cost on the second car. But I’m a senior also. Taking advantage of my age, we got a reduced cost.

We DID NOT know that the city allows 30 days to purchase a sticker. Sadly we were over the 30 days. BUT since we are SENIORS, we received a reduced cost for that.

I normally go down to city hall to purchase the stickers. I knew I needed my husband to go with me. I thought he might get a reduce fee since he is a veteran. I learned that there was a satellite office near our house. We could drive rather than take the train.

Driving turned out to be an advantage. The lines to purchase stickers were as long as downtown. My husband stood in line while I sat in the car. No parking signs were all over the neighborhood. The office is close to a large terminal for the train. Parking for residents would be a premium if it wasn’t for the restrictions. A bicycled policeman rode through while I sat in the car waiting.

In order to purchase a sticker for the Escape, we needed to have the bill of sale. Thankfully we had the car. Thankfully the paperwork was in the car. The lady who waited on us told us not to wait in line again. If we had the needed paperwork, to come right to her. One more task checked off the list.

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UNPREPARED

I think I mentioned that our daughter bought a new car for us. I know that I was shown were the lights and windshield wipers were. I know I was shown how to access the automatic pilot. I FORGOT!

My husband and I took both cars to the camper. He drove our old car, trunk loaded, Robin helping with the trip. I drove the new Escape, trunk loaded. It was a cool, cloudy day but DRY. When I first started out, I realized I had forgotten how to access the automatic pilot. Evidently I was too tired when the various parts of the car where shown to me. I have driven the car, but in the city I don’t use the automatic pilot. I finally figured out where it was but every time I turned it on, slower traffic made me hit the brake.

We met at the oasis, half way to the camper. I checked to make sure both cars had a pass to get in the gate. We had removed the pass from the old car. My husband found the missing pass in the Escape. I wasn’t ready when my husband was ready to continue. So he wouldn’t worry, I mentioned that I would stop at the store before going to the camper.

I was only a couple of miles down the road when it started to rain. I didn’t know where the windshield wipers were. I didn’t know where the lights were. The car image on the screen showed green lights at the bottom. Red where the taillights were. I thought I had turned on the emergency flashers by mistake. I managed to turn on the windshield wipers. The windows were fogging, I didn’t know where the defrost was. I was in trouble. Then the sky opened and the rain poured down. I stuck behind a truck whose tail light I could see. Reaching a rest stop, I pulled over and phoned my husband. He explained where the lights were. Not driving, I found the defroster.

As soon as I found the missing items, the rain slowed to a drizzle. I’m still not sure how to work the radio and the rest of the gadgets. I planned to read the manual and acquaint myself with the car. It hasn’t happened yet.

ELEPHANT

Spring — our son invited me to accompany him to Hawaii. My husband has gone to the island twice before but he DOES NOT LIKE the EIGHT HOUR plane ride. I can truthfully say that it is not something I enjoy, but I do ENJOY HAWAII. We left Robin at home with my husband. She is not happy when the whole family is not home.

My husband took her with him whenever he left the house. She slept with him most nights, right up against his side. He spoiled her as well as himself — cake, doughnuts, ICE CREAM. Whether he had any ice cream or not, Robin received a nightly bowl. He also shared his supper with her.

We were only in Hawaii 5 nights — short trip. About night two, I thought of Robin at home, and realized that a present was in order. We were in Waikiki, plenty of opportunities to shop, BUT no toys for dogs. I had a quest, which made shopping more interesting.

My son and I like to hang out at Waikiki beach, people watch — surfers and bathers — eat pork nachos and share. In other words, take a break from the get up and run. I asked many people if there was a place to buy a toy for a dog. In many of the shops I wandered in, I asked if they had dog toys. I didn’t get good information until someone mentioned Ross. In the park, I noticed a young dog running free. I also noticed a stroller waiting for the dog after he tired himself out. I wandered over, asked as few questions, and heard the name Ross. I saw many dogs in strollers on our walks. I also saw a woman on a motor driven chair with a dog on a leash.

Our son found the store on his morning walk. I did not hesitate, the next trip to the beach, we found Ross. I quickly located the pet department and found a lovely elephant. It is very similar to Robin’s favorite Zebra. Detagged and packed, it was ready for the trip home.

I’m happy to report that we were only home about half an hour before I pulled the elephant out of my suitcase. HAPPY, HAPPY DOG! Racing through the house at top speed for a couple of minutes. It is her favorite toy at the moment.

The last time my husband and I left her, I came home with a toy but she was MAD at us. In fact, ignored the toy for a couple of days. Thankfully this time was different.

REMEMBERING

A thaw was promised. After weeks of frozen temperatures, snow and ice — a couple of days of sunshine and warmer temperatures. Perfect day to go downtown and hand deliver the paperwork for our senior freeze. Of course, first I had to fill in the numbers. I was confused by one of the numbers on the form. I had filled it out in previous years. I had confidence in my abilities — every time I looked at the previous years, the numbers didn’t make sense. Thankfully I saved the paperwork and was able to figure it out.

Heading downtown, I planned on staying on the elevated train. Then I remembered the ped-way that stretched underground to city hall. I hadn’t traveled downtown in months. Even though the weather was good, I decided to refresh my memory on the underground path and switched trains for the subway. And totally confused myself. I had no trouble finding the ped-way but that is when things changed. A new building — many new shops and restaurants shared the path. Signage was different, so different that I was confused and asked directions. Thankfully I was headed in the right direction. And leaving the new building, I saw signs showing the way.

Not only did we have warming temperatures, but the day was the anniversary of the fire. I decide that I would stop in at St. Peters, for Mass or just a few prayers. I was too early for Mass, so I decided to say my version of the rosary — thanks for my family, help in my life, help in the world, ending with prayers for continuing help with my path in life. I was on the fifth decade — path in life. The decade is comprised of ten beads or fingers if beads aren’t available. I reached number five when bells announced the beginning of Mass. I finished the decade on the train back home.

While I was at St. Peter’s, I remembered my quest. My granddaughter was experienceing too many headaches and I wanted to know if there was a patron saint to petition. Three people were in the gift shop , with access to a computer. They found St. Teresa of Avila — patron of headaches, bodily ills, sick people, and loss of parents. A holy card wasn’t available but they had a pamphlet with more information on the saint. I learned that she experienced mystical prayer accompanied by visions and voices. I also learned that she passed over on my birthdate in 1582. I didn’t realize that she was the patron of lost parents until the next day. The date of the fire was the anniversary of the passing of both my mother and brother.

I noted the various synchronicities that I had experienced during the day. I wasn’t done. I stopped in our neighborhood for a bowl of Poke. A Japanese dish that I had enjoyed in Hawaii. The number of my order was the year of my birth.

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.

HEARD ON THE RADIO

I have to admit that I usually only have the radio on when I’m by myself in the car. Ash Wednesday our son was going to O’Hare bright and early in the morning. I offered to drive him to the train station. I brought Robin along to treat here and allow my husband to sleep while I was gone. I didn’t have time to take her for a walk before I left. Robin would have woke him after I was gone.

I seldom drive in morning rush hour anymore. And that morning the traffic was heavy, After I dropped our son off, I turned on the radio. Maybe because the traffic was so slow or not moving, I paid more attention. I heard an advertisement from one of our grocery stores advertising a special, that day only. Buy one package of Gorton fish sticks or fish fillet and get 2 free. Sounded good to me. Lent was starting — fish or meatless on all Fridays and a couple of Wednesdays. Meatless for 8 Fridays. I could use the fish, I didn’t know if I had room in the freezer.

I was tempted to stop at the store before going home. The stop and go traffic gave me time to think. I decided that I needed to take Robin for a walk first. Since we live walking distance from the store I decided to park the car in the garage, take Robin for her walk, then walk to the store. She wouldn’t wake my husband up after going for a walk. She would be too happy to go back to sleep.

Most battered fish is too high in sodium for me. I got a surprise when I read that FIVE fish sticks were only 250 mgs. of sodium. I could eat FIVE. Of course, stopping after 5 would not be easy but I decided I could do it. It had been a long time since I had fish sticks. The fish fillets were not as low in sodium but I bought them too. WHAT WAS I THINKING? FIVE packages that would have to find room in our freezer. I planned to use the fish sticks for supper. I saved $34. So glad I turned on the radio and LISTENED.

PACKING

I’ll admit it. I was worried. My knees have continued to give me problems. They were better — meaning I wasn’t in continuing pain. BUT .. and it was a BIG BUT — I had trouble getting out of the car after we had driven a distance. I was having trouble getting up from a chair, the toilet .. in other words my body wasn’t working as it had in the past. And we were planning to drive to Lookout Mountain, an 11 hour drive away. I didn’t think we would make it in one day. My husband probably could, I knew I COULD NOT! And I was afraid I WOULD NOT be able to get out of the car.

So I began packing for a short stay, including an overnight in a motel. I thought two bags would work out well. One for the extended stay, one for overnights. I forgot that in all of our recent travels, we were staying at places that already had some of our bathroom supplies — toothbrushes, paste, etc. Then I remembered our preferences for drinking and eating. Okay, the bags increased to three for me. My husband was on his own — not only his medicine but also his ham radios. Oh, then I had to add a cooler for his insulin. He remind me that he didn’t have a truck.

Just in case I would forget things, I had help from the other side. My knee hurt, more than usual. Remember the various creams and ointments to help with pain. I had trouble sleeping. REMEMBER TO TAKE SLEEPING AIDS. I was warm in every outfit I put on. I had packed the summer clothes away, putting out the winter wear. WHAT WAS THE EXPECTED TEMPERATURE? Summer 80’s was forecasted. Luckily I had tee shirts and clam diggers still out.

I don’t snack a lot, but while I was packing I was EXTREMELY hungry. Time to buy some snacks and
water for the car. I remembered my tea, my husbands sugar, peanut butter and jelly…. instant coffee and small bottles of wine. Apple cider vinegar was a challenge but I found small glass dressing or wine bottles. Crackers for munching. I was trying to stay with healthy options, so no chocolate.

As more challenges arose, I finally realized I was receiving HELP from the other side. Since we had only been home from the camper for four days before we left again. I will admit that I’M EXTREMLY GRATEFUL FOR THEIR HELP. I will also admit that I was frustrated when so many things were going wrong! My husband took into consideration my traveling concerns and we stopped often. My eyes were bothering me when we left so he did the driving. (He loves to drive!) My feet were also swollen, I brought sandals for the drive. I also wore my half compression socks, only going up past the ankle. Thankfully my knees behaved, the trip was less stressful than I had feared. I could get out of the car. Both of the motels were dog friendly, but Robin had stayed home. Their breakfasts were good, one better than the other. The weather was delightful, sunny skies — dry roads, good traffic. LOVELY TIME!

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