Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Je suis, donc je déménage...

Not blogging too much these days, because I just don’t seem to have the time or motivation. Or that intense need to dispatch missives into the Cosmos as a way of reassuring myself that I am still a human having a life. There seems to be little doubt of that lately.

I don’t think moving trucks get much bigger than the one now parked in front of my house (well, mine until June 8, 2015.) The upstairs is emptied, the basement is emptied, and the first floor is emptying. Except for the bags and baskets of stuff the Olivia-child left for me to sort through within the next week. Last minute scramble to make an inventory of what she does or does not want.

Five dudes of assorted sizes (mostly large) carting things from house to van. It is, fortunately, a lovely enough day that parking myself on a bench on the front porch is as good a vista as any. I would rock, but the green rockers (currently heavily dusted in a lighter green shade of pollen) are destined for the moving truck. My upper respiratory system has also been dusted in pollen, and a Sudafed helped with that. 

How do people feel about these things?...Leaving a house where so much happened; so much nurturing of small-to-fledgling humans, and an older one heading into the peaceful place of life’s closing chapters? I hammered more than a few nails into the floorboards, and cemented bathroom tiles a’plenty. Wrote 4 books, composed a few songs, and inexpertly played a few more. 

In my hard-earned way of compartmentalizing, I've put wistfulness in my pocket, where I will occasionally discover it, like a wad of soft fuzzy lint, and roll it around between my fingers. I will miss it here. But not regretfully. 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Aye-aye eye yi yi...

Almost a year later, I have two main thoughts about cataract surgery. The first is: I’m glad they can fix these things. The second is: Don’t let ‘em mess with your eyes if you don’t absolutely need it. But I did. Why I developed cataracts so soon...who knows? But the double-vision was worsening and uncorrectable, and impairing.

Now and forever I have two eyes with two different fixed foci. It’s a funny kind of choice to have to make. You’re told about it, and you do further research, and you conclude that the brains of most people who choose permanent monovision will adapt handily. (Monovision, though a counterintuitive name to my way of thinking, indicates that you have a single eye focused on distance, and a single eye focused on close or mid-range.) So, you pick, figuring that your brain darn well better be the accepting sort, because you only get one shot at this. (Your other main option is distance focus, both eyes, which means that you will, ever after, wear glasses for anything other than ship’s lookout duty.)

So I have monovision, and it’s a decent multipurpose way to view the world without corrective lenses...for the most part. For close-up work, spectacles remain essential. I do a lot of taking the specs on and off. Maybe I just haven’t adapted to the idea or feel of glasses as a full-time appendage. But it is a marvelous thing, what glasses do when you need ‘em.

It turns out that I also have some issues with intra-ocular lenses as full-time appendages. Light halos in the dark is one of the most annoying side-effects. This is particularly distracting at night, while driving. When your visual interface with the world is comprised of shapes and light patterns--as night driving primarily is--there is enough disadvantage compared to daylight. When each of those points of light--the stoplights, the headlights, the streetlights, and the reflections of all of those on rain-slicked asphalt--is “enhanced” by the appearance of its own halo, you end up with some significant visual cacophony. These halos are, more or less, an eyebrow-like arc running along the upper hemisphere of a light source, which overlaps with the arcs from every other light source in the night.

Then there are the moments--extended moments, generally--where I have the odd sensation that I’m not looking through my own eyes. Not sure, actually, whose eyes they are, but it can make one feel oddly disengaged from what is meant to be reality. (This may or may not be exacerbated by the fact that I am losing my hearing a bit. How old am I now, anyway?...is that all?...who ordered these parts and from where?--the Oriental Trading Company?)

Then there’s this--my eyes are dry. I think the surgical process sets you up for that. For this reason I am disinclined to move to Arizona, and may, in fact, opt for a rainforest, given my druthers.

Not so bad: The fact that my intraocular lenses reflect light at people in a way that might lead them to think I've been assimilated by the Borg. I have not. As far as I know.

Nevertheless, I cannot complain about the whiz-banging precision of the modern-day laser-ophthalmic surgical center high-tech assembly line. Or the relative ease of the surgery. Or the fact that I can now read comfortably with glasses. Or that I only see one of each distant object, as is appropriate.

I would prefer parts that don’t wear out, and mean to keep my joints forever, if at all possible. But my eyes’ original lenses gave up prematurely, and I am grateful for vision. Just let me say this--don’t do it if you don’t need it.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Why we aren't. Married, that is. In the technical sense.

My kids think it’s fine. My mom thinks it’s barely tolerable and very wrong-side-of-the-trackish. My estate-planning attorney thinks it’s wise. Most friends and acquaintances are probably neutral to who-cares about it. Whether I should even attempt, here, to articulate what I think is an iffy proposition. But is there anyone whom I wouldn’t want to know this? Not really. 

When I talked to the above-mentioned attorney, to re-do wills and whatnot after Jeff died, she gave me (upon learning that I had a significant other,) a 15 minute lecture on why people “our age” don’t need to, and probably really shouldn’t, remarry. Her thesis was very finance-based, because that’s the capacity in which she is generally retained, and it made a certain amount of sense.

It made me a little sad then, and it makes me a little sad now. Because I am re-partnered for life, and I’d like the world to know it. I want everyone to know what I know about us, and I don’t (without the marriage thing,) have a way to convey it. Yeah...I think that was as good an articulation as I’m going to muster.

But, there are serious points. It would be a seriously bad thing if any of our kids felt that the other of us represented any kind of impediment to their future financial position. Because we don’t. I would sign a pre-nup to that effect if it were practical to marry, and that’s that about that.

My marital status presents the bigger problem. Staying as is, (as far as Uncle Sam is concerned,) preserves a good sum, which my kids would otherwise be paying to the IRS in the future. (post-me.) When I even think about forgoing that benefit (as my mother thinks I should,) I am faced with an ethical dilemma more compelling to me than whether my cohabiting behavior would get me ejected from a Texas-approved textbook. My kids had a dad who worked hard for them, and they deserve his estate tax exemption. I can’t make a personal choice that forfeits that benefit to them.

It is possible that there is some way of finagling trusts and such that would build a work-around for the problem. But I’m not sure. It seems pretty complicated. It may just be that protecting our five (collective) kids from the consequences of our actions may be best accomplished by inaction.

I guess I shouldn’t worry about what the world thinks. I’ll just leave it with a few thoughts: World? It’s not that I wouldn’t. Because I would. It’s not to keep options open. My heart has made it clear that Allen is the only option. Is there a better word than partner? I’d like a better word. Maybe we need to make one up.

Friday, July 25, 2014

choo choo

I feel a little like a new Hogwart’s student, running pell-mell toward a brick wall labeled “Platform 9 and 3/4.” 

It’s a little unnerving, but there really haven’t been many moments of NOT feeling a little unnerved by life since I stepped off the baby train and grew those same babies to the height where most growth charts end. And, to be fair, I was equally confused by the pre-baby days. The thing about baby-rearing is, it doesn’t matter if you have questions about life-at-large. The steps you have to take regardless of your relative lack of self-actualization are so incontestable that there isn’t much time to dwell in life-doubt.

Nevertheless, in spite of the fact that the analogy in paragraph one evokes a pre-train moment of uncertainty, I know where my seat is, and I know who’s occupying the one next to it. The issue, if there is one, is how are we going to arrange all the luggage? Maybe the question should really be about the size and contents of the trolley I’m careening toward the brick wall with.

I noticed, just today, that maybe the funny idea I sometimes have that my home and surroundings should be settled by now (as in by this age,) is fallacious. Have you ever--so far in your life at least--hit a point where you don’t have to finesse your way around various rocks in the road, earn the trust of new natives, or just generally adapt as a strategy? Yeah, probably not. If your life is not static, you most likely have to keep doing these things.

Ok, it’s fine. I’ll take that.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Gyming, Part 2

I am somewhat impressed by gym people who can hop on one machine in the room-where-propelling-oneself-causes-no-forward-motion, and just go for it--for tens of minutes at a time. I think the real name for that area of the gym is cardio room, as it is a place to elevate your heart rate, but I don't know. I'm not very gymmy, I just go there. It is also the room where people can watch you huff and puff as they take their dogs for grooming or hit the local hash-slingery for breakfast.

I can force myself to fake-row for ten minutes straight, or fake-run on the fake-road-made-of-bungee-elastic for fifteen...but then, I am sorry to say, I am bored out of my skull. So, for me anyway, the object of having many kinds of machines is to compensate for my attention span.

Sometimes I wonder if people choose their treadmills on the basis of closest tv screen. Fox, appropriately, is on the far right side of the room, near the window. CNN is to the left near the water cooler. And I am usually somewhere toward the back, wondering whether I can, with athletic integrity, jump off the silly machine and go spend some time figuring out how you wrangle the weird devices toward the back of the gym which purport to zero in on your foot arch/mandible/muscle between the 3rd and 4th ribs, or whatever that one specializes in.

I have done the 5:30 am spinning class a few times. I will not do it tomorrow because I cannot maintain the "hovering" posture for as long as the commando-lady commands, and the bike seats do crazy torture to the pin bones if I slack off too much. My pins need a break. Instead I'll vary the fake-rowing, and fake-running with a real run-to-nowhere. If a conveyor belt is good enough for luggage, it's good enough for me.

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Gyming, Part 1

We go to the gym. I am using the present tense, indicative mood of the verb “go” purposefully, as it best reflects the mindless intentionality we must adopt to keep making this statement real, until such time as it becomes as much a given as “we brush our teeth.”

I will refer you to the book Younger Next Year, by Chris Crowley and Henry Lodge. This is, as I say, a reference, not a recommendation, because the last thing I want to be is a lifestyle evangelist, but this is what happened:

Allen likes library books. Liking library books is a good thing, because you are required--after a certain time--to return them to the library. Most of the books that flit through the shared part of our world are relatively easy for me to ignore. Tractor Beams for Trawlers, The Captain Vegetable Diet Plan, and What Color is Your Parallax Solar-Powered Surfskimmer, all seem to cover topics I can take or leave. So I don’t know why I picked up the Crowley/Lodge book and started reading it, but I did. And now we GO to the gym. 

The argument that aerobic fitness and weight-bearing exercise are health extenders is really quite compelling once you start to pay attention. And, as fuzzed as I am by the perimenopausal fog these days, I know several things: I hold mobility in high esteem, and I hold loved ones in even higher esteem. So, if--through the expenditure of effort which is, at times, unappealing--I can help preserve both of the above, I guess I’m in. 

What happens, if you’re in it together, is that it only takes one person to say “move it babe, it’s 5:45 am,” and the other rarely complains too much. (Well yes, early.) Because there’s always some reason, after breakfast, to not [get stinky/hack an hour out of the day/be available.] So, first thing. Then breakfast, then walk the dog. It’s just easier.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Chair-fixing, incidentally

It's standard operating procedure for Allen and me* (*correct grammatical usage) to do some farting around (In the words of Kurt Vonnegut) after breakfast on Sunday (which is usually out.)

This morning we meandered across Route 50 to where backroads through the area of St. Margaret's become winding and secretive, opening into surprising little enclaves, or sudden presentations of ill-fitting new tract homes.

Around a bend where hedges and trees obscured visibility, I spied this shingle.
photo credit: Allen Flinchum ; )

"Go back," I said. "Someone there does caning."

Small children are hell on woven chair seats, and I have 2 ladderbacks in the basement which were rendered unusable twice during my small-child years, and remain so. I am sorting, I am choosing. What furniture is useful, and what might I store in the basement in my next, smaller, abode? Not chairs with holes in the sit-zone.

Allen turned the car around and pulled into the drive far enough to snap that shot, at which point we realized that cars were whooshing by behind us at a rate that, combined with the restricted view, made backing up unlikely. So we forwarded.

We forwarded past a house where grinning sculpted gourd-like heads topped fence posts, and shutters were hand painted with stars and vines. There was a 1970 VW Beetle rusting in front of a detached garage/workshop, a wooden rowboat named "Raccoon" up on sawhorses, and a woman looking at us curiously. So we rolled down the window and explained ourselves.

She happily leaned in and started to chat, and we exchanged inquisitiveness and insights about each other (we like to poke around, a VW such as that was my first car, Allen fixes boats. Her father built Raccoon for her when she was five, she will not be able to watch when someone comes for the VW which she has decided to give up, and she does chair seats.)

Chief among attributes which were mutually noted was that Wendy, age 66, and Allen, age 59, both like their projects, and have a goodly number of objects in their lives pertaining thereto.

"I'm trying to get her to move in with me," said Allen, as partial explanation for why he hoped to at least reduce his stockpile, (not mentioning that we plan to circumvent the problem by means of the two contiguous house strategy.)

It was clear that if I would not, then Wendy would. "Oh, you should move in with him," she said, both almost immediately, and as parting words.

And I eventually will in a more thorough way, once some of our housing concerns reach a place of better resolution. I will also bring my ladderbacks to her. Both for repair, and to keep an eye on her.