Today was Amusing

Most times I write about what is going on in our Parkinson’s life a day or two after I make little notes about what happened or was annoying or what was joyful or simply going well. Often I say “Carpe diem!” It is useful to take advantage of the good times and ignore the less good times. Waiting a day or so to write personal experiences gives one the opportunity of hindsight. Sometimes hindsight is crystal. Sometimes it is merely asinine. In both cases amusement creeps into the story.

Thursday was the day!

In June we ordered a new recliner to deal better with Cheryl’s unsteadiness as she got out of her chair. Additionally the mechanism is powered. It did not rock or swivel. It was a bit taller. It was perfect in every way in the store but when the salesman alluded to different colors and material Cheryl went into full on shopping mode. She selected the same pattern but lighter background to align better with our overall eclectic mix of furniture. After nine weeks of waiting, today was the day it was coming.

We had a – gonna be delivered – time window text message from the furniture store that said the delivery would occur in the mid to late afternoon. Sweet! We could sleep late and have a leisurely breakfast. So we did and enjoyed the rest of the day’s activities.

We went to the Parkinson’s community fitness for her stretching and exercise class. It was a good class for her. If the class has benefited her, she will have a lighter mood and often we will go somewhere for lunch. Today, however, she wanted to go home in anticipation of the arrival of THE CHAIR. The text message gave us the window of 2:30PM to 4:30PM, so, in her mind THE CHAIR was only an hour or so away from DELIVERY. We do not want to miss it. Looking back from 4 days in the future my sight is very keen. I can remove my glasses and see all perfectly. (I can see clearly now. The rain is gone. — Johnny Nash)

Shortly after we returned home the smoke detectors yelled (screeched) at us. In our small condo in accordance with the Ohio fire code we have five. Two at each bedroom entrance – one in and one out – and another in what is intended to be a den or office but the real estate folks want to call a third bedroom. They are all tied together properly so that if one screeches they all do. It is really annoying and very hard to sleep through. It has been approximately one year since they were installed and no doubt the battery in one of them is no longer up to snuff. Time for replacement. I had the batteries. I had been ignoring the job for a couple weeks. No longer could I ignore it. I used up ten minutes and replaced all the batteries.

(Writing this I found out that some of these have been recalled for a manufacturing defect. Not mine because I checked. If you have one to check look here. Thank goodness for the existence of the deep state consumer product safety commission.)

Right chair wrong mechanism

After a light lunch at home we settled into the waiting process. Having changed the batteries in the smoke detectors there were no more home repairs to be completed. This was Thursday so there were no other chores to do either. I could do the laundry but what would I do on Friday? The waiting began. Cheryl disappeared into her office to “organize some things”. I sat in the blue recliner that I decided I was not going to keep for my own to continue reading the novel I had selected from the electronic library. 2:30 PM came and went.

3:30PM came and went as did 4:30PM. Alas, the delivery was late. At 5PM there no sign of the delivery van. At 5:02 PM as I was considering who to call for an update, my cellphone buzzed on the desk. The screen revealed a mystery number but I answered anyway. “Attention! Attention! This is to notify you that the warranty is about to expire on your GE microwave oven. Press two to expand your Covid-19 insurance coverage, etc.” I terminated the normal 5PM robocall. Lord, who needs that when THE CHAIR is late?

At about ten after five, Dan the truck driver called and explained that they were running about 30 minutes late. Would it still be okay to come and deliver the chair? Sure, I replied. Where are you? We are about twenty-five minutes away. I disconnected and looked around the room. All was ready. I put on shoes in anticipation of holding doors or whatever needed to be done to smooth entry of THE CHAIR. I moved a possible interfering dining room chair from the front hallway that Cheryl uses to put her shoes on when we go out. I settled in my chair again to wait.

The front door buzzes. I have long out grown buzzing in people through the outside front door unless I am sure they are family. The postman has a key to let himself in through the super secure entry panel that anyone with a paperclip can trigger. I walked out there to find not Dan the truck driver but Sam his helper and minion. I showed him how to slide the flower pot over to the open outside door to hold it open for entry of THE CHAIR. Anticipation was building.

We proceeded to the back of the truck were Dan had wrestled THE CHAIR out of the bowels of the truck and held it in all it magnificence on the back of the truck. We all took a moment to admire its exquisite design, its smoothly applied upholstery fabricate and its simple elegance. Dan broke the spell by asking – is this the correct chair? I had no idea. It had been nine full weeks since I had seen the chair in the store and the fabric was wrong. Cheryl had ordered different fabric. Taking the manly way out of my ignorance, I proudly announced – it is. Dan and his lackey wrestled THE CHAIR gently down out of the truck and we proudly paraded into our abode for product placement.

After they had set the chair were I had indicated, Cheryl pronounced it to be the correct fabric and of wonderful design. Sam removed the last of the bubble wrap from the legs and I asked Dan how does the motor plug in? No one from the manufacturer to the warehouse receiver to the truck driver to me, until now, had noticed that although THE CHAIR was called a Prestige Power Recliner, it needed no power to operate. Drat, oh dreadfulness, oh woe is us! And crap on a crutch.

“911 warehouse, what is the nature of your emergency?” … The invoice says it is a power recliner but it is a manual recliner Dan says into his phone. He puts it on speaker so the 911 operator and he and I can all communicate our mutual disappointment with the state of our affairs. The clerk at the warehouse asks if we would like to keep the manual chair until the correct one arrives? I decline and point out that the whole reason for purchase was the power mechanism. The simple elegance, swell design and elegant fabric notwithstanding the power mechanism is where it is at. Dan and Sam take the chair which has now been reduced to mere chair significance back to the truck for the degrading ride back to the humiliating warehouse of cast offs and misfit chairs. Alas.

We part company in high spirits. It solves nothing to bring forth rage on the mere deliverers of chairs. I will call the store tomorrow and discover what is up with that and suggest certain motivations to persuade the swift getting of shit together to satisfy a disappointed customer.

I like Charlie Brown.

Fretting is never a good thing. Fretting takes up a great of time if one’s heart and soul is thrown into the effort. Life is too short for fretting and concern over things gone awry.

I had been so caught up with preparations for the coming of the chair that I had not prepared anything for dinner. We selected Mio’s’ Blu Ash Pizzeria for our evening repast. Neither of us had pizza. Cheryl had her calzone that she often has had when have come here in the past. I had an Italian Hoagie and fries. Good dinner and animated conversation about the good things today and the one dilemma made for a pleasant end to the day.

Many would be angry about the chair fiasco. Look here to discover ways to expunge your anger. Anger would be misplaced. Mistakes happen. There is no malicious content to a mistake. It is merely temporary incompetence. This part will continue but not today.

The rest of the day was swell. Carpe diem! (Be selective about which parts you seize.)

50 Years Ago

It has been fifty years since we wed on a HOT August morning.  It has been fifty-four years since we first met on a blind date on a blue moon in August.  Two skinny kids deeply in love with each other got married in 1970.  Nothing but the future in front of us.  Standing on the shoulders of our moms and dads.

Spring Grove Cemetery

We had a lot of faith in each other that day.  Looking forward we could only see brightness, happiness and companionship.  Neither of us could see fifty years into the future.  We vowed our love to each other anyway.  Here we are.

We were married in the summer of 1970.  I was between the University of Cincinnati, newly graduated with an Associate Degree in Electronic Engineering Technology, and moving on to Miami University for a Bachelor of Science.  We had rented an apartment in Oxford, Ohio.  Scraped together a few sticks of furniture from various sources.  Cheryl had gotten a transfer in her job with Metropolitan Life Insurance to the Fairfield office about 20 miles from Oxford, so, we would have an income to support us.

Tricky Dick was president.  My commitment to the Selective Service draft was completed. I was enrolled in all the classes I wanted to begin at Miami. Cheryl owned a year old VW beetle that we could have because of her job. (MU had car restrictions at the time.) Life was good.

Three kids

At the end of 1972 our first child was born. — a sidebar:  We knew Cheryl was possibly pregnant in time for me to sign up for a second woodcraft class at MU. The Industrial Arts program had a great wood shop. For my project I built a cradle for the new little person. In this class Doc Foss showed a book he had that contained pictures of projects completed by previous students. On the pickup day when I came to get the cradle, he was photographing it for his book. (I got an A. Professor Foss was a grandfather.) Our first child is a science teacher and has four children now. Tempus fugit.

About two years later, our second child was born. — another sidebar: This one was in a hurry. It is common now for the father to be present for the delivery. Not so in the 70’s. I guess we were in the vanguard and Cheryl had all of our children without any anesthesia. Natural. With the first one all went well but took a long time. (A little whining here from dad who did not do much except wait and coach.) So, in preparation for the next big overnight test of endurance, I bought a new thermos, which I still had until 2012 when I dropped it walking into work one morning, filled it with coffee and took it with me to the hospital. Never had a need for the coffee. This kid came zipping out at about 2:30AM. On the way home from the hospital – just me, Cheryl stayed – I decided to try some coffee. Stopping suddenly for a traffic light I spilled a bunch of it down the front of me. HOT. Dam HOT! — Robin Williams, Good Morning, Vietnam. This child is now a mechanical engineer and has married the girl he took to the high school prom as I did. He has two children of his own.

We were fertile! About two years down the road our third child was born. I skipped the whole coffee thing remembering the debacle of our second child. Expecting another zippy birth, I left it at home. Our third child did not want to leave home. Hanging onto mom and not cooperating with the zippy thing, the third one took (I think) the longest to come out and say hello. This one now works for Children’s Hospital as a computer guru. He has two children of his own.

Cheryl had several jobs, me too

When I first started my working career, like my father, I believed that I could work for my employer Cincinnati Milacron for the rest of my work life. That turned out to not be the case. I left CM to work for Valco Cincinnati, left there to work for Cincinnati Industrial Machinery, got a M. Ed. from Xavier University in preparation for teaching high school science. Failing that career move, I taught as an adjunct at Sinclair College and the same at Southwestern College. I became a GED instructor at SWC and taught a basic math class. After a year and the Obama administration insisting that for profit colleges do a better job at helping students to find jobs, I could see my job disappearing and jumped ship to Armor Metal Inc. in the service group. My intention was to ride that horse into retirement and I did.

Cheryl during our early marriage spent much of her time raising the kids and continuing her course work in mathematics and computer science at University of Cincinnati in evening college. She graduated with a degree in Computer Science. Once the children were in school she worked for a time at the same school and ran the first computer lab. Later she worked as a computer consultant with M.B. Potter and Associates. She left there to work for Donahue securities and when they collapsed under the weight of a federal investigation, she worked for the Securities and Exchange Commission. F.D. Fund Choice bought the funds that she had been working with and she worked for them for a time. She left there to work the remnants of the General Protestant Orphans Home in Anderson township. She was RIF-ed from there and worked as a contractor again for a bit for Armor producing the manual documentation for some of the machinery they produced for the can industry. Her Parkinson’s was beginning to be more annoying after this so she retired.

Early in our marriage, Cheryl attending evening college gave me the opportunity to be alone with the kiddos for two or three times a week in the evening. This is the best thing that can happen to a young father. I think it makes one closer to the children. At the very least it makes Dad appreciate Mom’s daily activity.

Travel with kids

When the kids were very small we typically vacationed at one of the Kentucky State parks. We visited many over the years. Kentucky does a great job with their parks and they are very family oriented.

When our children grew and matured we took other longer trips. Some friends of ours sold everything in Cincinnati and bought a small motel about two blocks from the beach in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Over many summers we visited them and rented a couple rooms for a week or so and visited Charleston.

The rock, stick and bush tour consisted of Black Hills, Mt. Rushmore, Yellowstone, Jackson Hole, Jackson, Wyoming a lot of Nebraska and a 500 mile side trip to the confluence of America and then home. Two weeks and a lot of driving. In subsequent years there was an old house tour to Washington DC and Monticello that ended in Myrtle each for old times sake. Good family trips involve a lot of argument, fast food and eye-popping credit card bills but are worth it. And make great memories.

Travel without kids

We traveled without kids also to Minnesota, to Alaska, to California, to Florida, to Oregon, to Washington, to Maine, to Massachusetts, to Virginia, to North Carolina, to New York and Vermont. We traveled without kids to some of the same places where we had taken the kids to see them again quietly. The Parkinson’s has slowed travel.

Wonderful memories and great times and great food are a wonderful life.

It all started with a blind date.

We Live life Forward but Understand it Backwards

[Image: Calvin and Hobbes] Hind sight is 20 – 20 but prescience is foggy at best.

God is in everything… Dolly Parton

She says this a lot. I have heard her. She merely blurts it out in the midst of conversation with an interviewer. She is a very upbeat and happy person.

How does one develop that attitude? Is it innate? Is it learned? Is it contagious? Happiness is contagious. Do something helpful and good for another and it stays with you for a long time. Is this why the ultra rich start a foundation to give their money away?

I have noticed that this seems to make some people of lesser means jealous. They may not be but it seems that some of the most vicious attacks on some ultra rich guy giving away his money in a fashion he so chooses cannot be explained any other way.

So how did Dolly become a happy person? She is satisfied with her life and comfortable in her own skin. She needs no more than that which she has.

Is everyone able to do this? I would make the case that they are able regardless of income level. Look inside yourself.

Me. What makes me happy?

Many things make me happy. Anything that is not stressful. I made a list.

  • Love
  • Trust
  • Esteem of self
  • Esteem of others
  • Caring for Cheryl
  • Seeing Cheryl happy
  • Seeing Cheryl untroubled
  • Riding my bike
  • Listening to audio books while riding
  • fresh air and sunshine
  • Empty thoughts while riding
  • waving to like minded people
  • conversing with other riders
  • Mindfulness, emptying the mind to feel the world
  • Routine and order
  • Reading – both novels and non-fiction
  • Understanding how physical things work
  • Remembering everything to do
  • Remembering meds as Cheryl forgets
  • My sister-in-law who is able point out flaws in my viewpoint
  • Social media politics
  • HOA issues – I am president of the HOA
  • HOA maintenance stuff
  • Seeing Cheryl troubled about ability leaking away
  • Seeing Cheryl confused about simple things
Mind Puzzle

I am gladdened to discover that my happy list is much longer than my stressful list. I am emboldened to note that I have little control over the stressful list. I am excited to realize I can limit exposure to the stressful items.

It is easy to go through life looking backwards with regret. Or looking backwards and wishing for the old days. Time only moves forward. The future is impossible to perceive. Man plans and God laughs. Plan for every contingency and then buy insurance.

Platitudes. Life is full of platitudes.

Carpe diem!