Beautiful Downtown Florida

I’ve been to Florida, I’m glad to say. As the trip came nearer, I thought–oh! is it worth all this preparation: remembering pills and swim suits and summer shorts (but hasn’t it been cold down there?), and a clock and some teabags, and so on.

Then there’s the plane trip. Trips: of course we changed planes in Baltimore, and then we had to pick up our rental car which I couldn’t figure out how to drive and so made  Mollie, my traveling companion, drive to Ft. Myers Beach. Which took a full hour. How come?

At any rate we made it to our cottage. And then we needed dinner. Tequila Joe’s was down around the corner. Really awful. But we got enough food in us to fall into bed.

The next day was lovely but I wore my parka for our walk. I need to walk so I can stop using a cane. Every morning thereafter, I’d have my hot tea, write in my journal and then walk to the end of the street and back, about 25 minutes. Or less.

The weather was not always good, but we did fine. We seemed to be eating or talking about eating all the time. At four p.m. we’d join our landlord and his partner at happy hour under the breezeway. The outside bar had burned down due to overworked wiring. Our Tennessee friends, Tilly and Shirley, joined us too.

I never did swim in the pool or soak in the hot tub. But that’s okay. Florida didn’t look at all like Northeastern Connecticut and that was what mattered: a complete change of scene. Once I recovered from our drive home the day we came back–lost in Cranston, Rhode Island!–that is what I realized. Happy to be gone, happy to be home.

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Listening to Frank Sinatra

I just finished listening to CD’s by Frank Sinatra. In the past few years, I’ve developed a liking for and appreciation of his voice and musical know-how. I don’t like the early Sinatra voice. Compared to his glory years: 1950 to the seventies, his young voice lacks richness and resonance.

He recorded one of my favorite songs in the Spring of 1960, “Fools Rush In.” One day last year when Bernie hadn’t been in the nursing home very long, I was listening to it. When Sinatra came to the lyrics, “When we met, I felt my life begin…” I said to myself, Yes! that’s the way it was on that cold day in Kenosha, Wisconsin. That’s how I felt when I met Bernie.

The past was of no interest to me. I focused on the present and when I would see him again. If he was with me, I was totally in the present. Otherwise, I had our next meeting in my mind and lived life on a temporary basis. I felt lucky if he had an address I could write to. He was driving through the Midwest at the time.

I wrote him a note last year giving him the lyrics to the song and my reaction to them. I felt a little shy.

He read the the note carefully and smiled. I was happy.

Daylight Savings

Everyone groans over changing their clocks. You’ve heard them all. I instead decided I had no trouble with it at all. It didn’t confuse me or distract me. Just a little change in the darkness at dinner time. “We can expect it to be dark during dinner now.” “Yes, winter is here.”

So I didn’t get upset at first when, on Sunday the 5th my friend, Mollie, was late. She’d said she’d be here at 11ish. It grew to be 12 noon and I called her. No answer. I left a message. I worried that something might have happened to her.

She arrived about 12:20. I could see that she didn’t understand my concern over her lateness but I said nothing.

It was past noontime and I was getting hungry. I hinted and she agreed we could go out to eat then. We got in the car, arrived at Hanks and found it closed. On a Sunday?! No–we were early. It was 11:45 and it opened at noon.

I finally got a clue–I hadn’t changed my kitchen clock to Fall Back. I’d had the wrong time all along. I was embarrassed and apologized for nagging her. She said I had looked at her with disapproving,  nasty eyes.

And so I’ve decided I’m a person who has a lot of trouble with Daylight Savings Time. Next March I must be aware of the traps I can fall into and keep myself humble in the company of my friends, particularly Mollie.

October 31

Bernie fell asleep while I was visiting him today . He’d had physical therapy and it tired him out. I tried to read sitting on my walker but it was too awkward. So I moved to a comfortable chair next to the other bed, next to the window.

I read my book till it was 11:40. I decided to leave. I went to Bernie and took his hand. He didn’t wake up. He usually does. I like to say goodbye to him.

So I didn’t shake him or do anything else to wake him up. He slept on. I left the room slowly, looking back at him.

I waited for the elevator, feeling slightly uneasy. It came and I left, feeling relieved. At the desk on the ground floor I signed out. The receptionist, Shannon, was dressed for Halloween. She was dressed  as the principal of Mugwarts Hall. She was going to a party tonight.

I said, Have a good time, and pressed the control for the two sets of doors to open for me and my walker.

It was cold outside.

Okay…

I just dropped the top of my pen on the floor. I’m usually super careful about handling objects as dropping them requires so much work picking them up again. But I’m on my throne–the chair I sit on every day–and my picker-upper, my grabber, is right at hand. I can easily pick it up.

There! Done: the cap is on the end of the pen. I’m particularly cautious about my keys. When I’m out, I focus on the keys all the while I’m moving out of or into the car. I know in the past, I’ve dropped the keys and I think I know why.  My focus shifts from my hand holding the keys to something else, my hand relaxes and down go the keys. It’s just harder now to pick them up and I’m not supposed to bend over very far. So I keep my attention on my keys.

I have to focus upon the whole procedure of getting the walker into the trunk, picking up the cane and walking to the front of the car, keys clutched in my other hand.

It’s good for me. I rehearse it in my head and slow down. I’ve always had a bad habit of rushing things. I can’t do it now.

An Hour at the Nursing Home

Bernie was deep asleep when I left him today so I didn’t want to wake him. I seldom do that. I don’t like to disappear. He’s still getting physical therapy. That means he can stand up in order to sit down on the commode or get into bed. So they don’t need that passive mover of people, the “hover” or the “hoover.” I must find out the name.

I’d spent the time watching the weather channel: bad news all the time. I had to leave a little early to escape it. I could have changed the channel and let CNN scare me with the latest news about the political situation. But walking out seemed the best move.

Earlier I talked with Lucie for a minute. She’s the small woman in the small wheelchair who goes up and down the hall. Someone went by and said, What are you doing, Lucie? and she replied, Singing. I didn’t realize. She must have been doing it in her head. And maybe she was singing and not talking to me.

The young man with the weird, exterior hernia went by next to a young aide. I call him young because he is, compared to most of the patients. But clearly not of sound mind. Perhaps he couldn’t live outside an institution.

And then I slipped into the elevator and was gone.

Now, what was I thinking?

I was thinking of SoHo Crime, a division of Soho Press of NYC, and an enticing bit of a mystery by Van de Wettering. Wettering writes detective stories set in Amsterdam. You know where that is, don’t you?

Anyway, I had a great idea, an amusing idea that I wanted to write a blog on. Now all is silent in my skull. I only recall that I wanted, I want to get everything ready here in the cottage before my total hip replacement on Tuesday. What are those things?

I have a walker in the trunk of my car. Steve will get it out when he comes on Monday. I have my loose clothes to wear after I wake up Tuesday afternoon in the hospital. They’ll want me to walk a bit. Probably more than once. (Just thinking: I’ll miss breakfast and maybe lunch on Tuesday. May be I’ll lose a pound. Is that frivolous thinking?) (Nah.)

I don’t need to get all my laundry done. The washer is a good height for me to load and unload it. No bending. I don’t need to clean my house as I have a cleaner once a week. But yes to dusting. All the surfaces of my house are dirty. Oh, my. And I still haven’t gotten a feather duster Walmart sells that someone recommended. Walmart–I don’t like shopping there, too many items, too many departments. But I do shop there. It’s so close.

But what needs to be done now…?