It is November 25, two months since my heart surgery.
I was going to celebrate the milestone by doing a Christmas light walk at our local zoo tonight. They string light displays all over the zoo and sell tickets to the public. My sister’s family and Charles and I had made plans to go. But, it turned much colder today. It started raining. In addition to the challenge of hills and slopes, I have a hard time breathing in cold air. It is painful. Breathing in cold wet air is unbearable.
I could go anyway but the rest of the group would be forced to politely keep pace with me. I didn’t want to spoil their good time. Even walking slowly, I’m certain at some point my breath would become labored, Charles would “call the dive” and take me home. Knowing this, I just made the call early and saved us all the trouble. My sister and her family will go anyway, freeze their fannies off, have a good time, and make wonderful memories.
Without plans, Charles and I drove to the strip mall and upgraded our cell phones this afternoon. I am certain the phone manufacturer builds in something that makes the phone barely functional after a certain number of years. Our model number was four numbers less than the current model number and parts were starting to fail faster than the Apollo 13 spaceship. My phone wasn’t holding a charge anymore and I had so little storage I could not update the software without deleting apps. Charles’ had a delay after answering of about 10 seconds so people thought he had hung up on them. As our phones started failing, our phone company flooded our emails offering a free upgrade with trade-in (plus taxes and activation fee and some other stuff). It was almost as if they knew . . .
The new phones are a tenth of an inch larger than the old ones. So, now we have our “free” phones and need to buy new cases for them. There is no such thing as a free puppy, free lunch, or free phones. Even the guy at the phone store said, “Nothing is free,” as he swiped our debit card.
We had lunch, then went to find some Christmas lights and accessories. I have grand plans for lights along our frontage fence line and the house itself. I was shocked at the prices of Christmas decorations. $50 for a small box of plain lights. $65 for a very sad looking wreath. I wondered how families managed these days. No wonder Christmas is so stressful. Do folks have to make a choice between a tree and gifts to put under it? Yikes! Good news, though, poinsettias were 2 for $3. “But, who wants a poinsettia?” I asked. Charles suggested maybe poor people with old cats want poinsettias. I said, “yes… because a $3 poinsettia is cheaper than euthanasia.” We laughed.
While we could easily have afforded to buy whatever lights I wanted, I get more frugal as the years pass. I decided we should go home and assess what we already have before we buy more; that is never a bad idea.
Charles lit a fire in the fireplace and fed the dogs. I’m trying to decide whether to plan dinner, since we ate lunch at 3:00. Maybe we will just have dessert and watch Netflix.
All this is to say that on this two month anniversary of one of the biggest challenges of my life, things have returned to almost normal. We celebrated Thanksgiving this week, like most of the country. We have meals, we go to the home improvement store, we spend way too much time deciding on cell phone cases, we make morbid jokes about buying cheap poinsettias to kill unwanted cats.
Soon, I will go back to work. After the COVID scare ended and my year long work from home privilege ended, I had huge regrets that I hadn’t made better use of my time – trying out my routine at open mic night, writing the world’s greatest novel, or inventing something so extraordinary I would never have to work again. For about half a second today I started to bring up that same regret about the past two months. Why hadn’t I written more of my book or revamped my website? Why hadn’t I taken more classes or had my face micro scraped?
But, screw those regrets, right? I made the best use of the last two months I possibly could have. I survived to return to normal life.
How great is that?