Whaat? Again?

After two years of faithful and reliable service my hearing aid finally crapped out completely. Not both of them only one. It is the unit with the volume control button. Nothing works, nada. A phone call to the audiologist has left me longing for pre-covid days. She is either so busy that she can’t answer the phone, or she isn’t even open.

I am seriously considering calling another audiologist for help. If I do it will be with another brand. I’m certain that an appointment will mean buying new aids again. Heaven help they should fix the ones I have.

Suddenly watching tv is no longer enjoyable. That is because I have to turn the sound up so loud the neighbors are banging on my door to stop making so much noise. With the Bluetooth connection gone I am at a loss to stream phone calls, TV, and radio into my ears directly. That is one technology that I really enjoy, when it works.

Adventure Is Dangerous But Boredom Is Lethal

A friend called me Saturday evening and said simply, “come pick me up.”  She was seventy miles away. I didn’t hesitate, I put on a shirt, got in the car and drove to get her. Earlier in the year we had made a deal. Basically, I would let her stay in my house so she could become independent of her son. It took her four months to finally make it happen. On the ride back to Frankfort, we discussed her need to de-stress. I told her, you need an adventure. “What is adventure,” she asked? She is from a foreign country and can speak well enough to make a living, but every once in a awhile she will stop dead and ask the “what is” question about the meaning of a word. I am becoming a better linguist as a result of it. Having to define the meaning of words which are natural to me is quite a challenge. I defined adventure as a trip or activity that is  new and exciting. I was dead on Webster correct except for one additional descriptor, “new, exciting, and possibly dangerous.”  I explained to her that adventures stretch us and make us think about life in a new way. An adventure can be exciting, like taking off on a whim at sundown on a Saturday night to drive to the far north side almost to the Wisconsin border in the dark on roads, and through towns I am not very familiar with.

Normally my adventures are quite tame compared to that one. Like for instance taking my car to get emission tested in another town from the one that currently shut down and converted to COVID-19 testing.

I read a meme describing adventure is dangerous but boredom is lethal. Complacent activity doesn’t move the blood like adventure.

All my life, I have enjoyed taking adventures, mostly bicycle trips. There is nothing like the thrill signing up for a one week long bike trip with twelve thousand other crazy people to ride from one border of a state to another. The whole thing takes ones mind off of the stresses of daily work which tends to get a bit stressful at times. Once you punch out of the job and head for the car packed with your equipment and bicycle your stress level changes from the job to the new adventure. Excitement and adrenaline takeover the body, and you move forward, away from the stress that was grinding on you.

My friend recently had an illness which consumed her body. For her entire life she has been healthy, robust, active person without any complaints and then painful joints hit her like a ton of bricks. Lots of tests, and pain later the doctors concluded that she had fibromyalgia. She never heard of it. She asked where does it come from? Believe it, or not they couldn’t, or wouldn’t answer her question. Being naturally curious she searched the internet rigorously until she learned that one cause of fibromyalgia is stress. What stress? she asked herself. I listed some possibilities: you were unemployed for three months and couldn’t find work, there is friction between you and your son with whom you have lived for over twenty years for starters. It all adds up, some of the stressors are tiny, but I believe they are additive. Your cup fills with stress and when it reaches the rim it causes your body to react with pain.

I ended my adventure by driving home in the night. I missed a turn at a round about, and wound up giving my GPS a workout. Eventually, the stress of being lost changed to being comfortable in the dark after I began to recognize where I was.

 

Day 72-SIP-Funk

What a beautiful day it is today! The sun is shining brightly, it is warm, and the birds are singing cheerfully. My mood however is down. Why? How the heck do I know? If I did I might do something about it. Depression, when it occurs is a strong phenomenon. I get this way occasionally, and I hate it. It is only eleven o’clock in the morning and I have already taken a thirty minute nap. Somehow my drowsiness is connected with the sadness. It could be that the 29th of the month is Peg’s death date. She has been gone for eleven months now, but I still feel her presence and wish she could be here with me. Of course I want her here like she was before she went into dementia.

She spent her time in hell on this earth. Seven years of declining memory, four years of lost voice, three years of lost mobility, and finally the end. The lost voice part had to be hell by itself. When a woman who loves to talk can no longer do so she must be existing in silent agony. She spent hours staring out of front window looking and waiting, but for what? I often wondered what was going on in her mind. What were her thoughts? What did she feel?

On gorgeous days like today, I wheeled her out to the deck and down the ramp to the patio, and we sat together next to the pond watching the fish and the birds. I talked to her by retelling our experiences while we were traveling. She never responded in any way, not a smirk, not a grin, not a smile, not a wink, not anything. Eventually, when I spotted a mosquito on her I wheeled her back into the house. She never complained that I did.

Grief is a strange thing. Until I wrote the words above about the 29th being her death date, it never occurred to me that I am feeling punk because of grief. At least it is something to blame my crappy attitude on. In the past, I used exercise to get me out of the funk, and today, I will do the same. Hopefully it will be the cure.

Today is also the first official day that our businesses in town are opening under strict rules. Cafe’s and restaurants are open for outside eating. Those that had patios have it easy, those that don’t are scrambling to put a few tables and chairs out in front of their places. Even the town is working to block off one street to open more outdoor seating space for their customers. Hair salons and barber shops are also open with some strict guidelines, like by appointment only, no waiting inside, masks for stylists and customers, and disinfecting clean ups every half hour.

I have been watching the numbers of COVID cases in our zip code and until this week it has been flat, but yesterday confirmed cases jumped to 124 from 75, is it coincidence, anomaly, or fact? On days like today when I am in a funk, I really don’t give a damn about being careful. I might be better off as a statistic. I really don’t mean that, but it is the way I feel. By tomorrow this feeling will pass, and I’ll want to make my time on this earth worth talking about. I will want a straight pass through the pearly gates without any questions asked.

Day 63-SIP-Fun Again?

The big news today is Illinois’ move toward phase three COVID-19 policy. The news is buzzing about things opening up, mainly restaurants. The hook is that they may allow only outdoor seating and must provide social distancing. That means in Frankfort we will have about a half a dozen restaurants available for some thirty six tables. Outdoor venues in our town are available, but in very limited numbers even when there is not need for distancing. Regardless, plans are being formulated by businesses for opening again.

Frankfort has a rather unique venue just outside the village limits which has become a popular place over the last ten years. CD&ME opened as a place to have catered events. Realizing that the business of catering large events leaves them with a very expensive venue 5-6 days a week they dreamed up various ways to make it busier. One of the things it has become popular for is their Thursday night concerts through the summer. They have several buildings that open up around a beautiful patio area and several outdoor stages. You pay to get in and then buy drinks or food to your hearts content.

Rumor has it that next Thursday, 4 June 2020 they will open with a parking lot concert. Limit 100 cars parked in every other parking slot. A band will play and a food vendor will have a rolling cart with food available. Drinks are BYOB. Cars will be limited to four occupants. That can make for four hundred people in one big party, or rather one hundred separate car parties. What ever, the town is buzzing with anticipation. I just want to be able to get a haircut.

Meanwhile the COVID-19 confirmed cases in Will Township is still at 104 and growing. The virus lives among us. I am curious to know just how this virus spreads so quickly and what mechanism does it use to jump. I am sure a lot of scientists would also like to know the answers. A new report today suggests that the virus doesn’t spread from surfaces as easily as we thought. That points more strongly toward human to human contact, but how does it do it? I can see the obvious like coughing and sneezing, but I haven’t seen another human coughing or sneezing, no matter where I am.

If anyone spreads this thing it will be health care workers who touch people while attending to them, Taking temperatures, blood pressure, swabbing, drawing blood, etc. What I don’t see is how normal day to day activity of shopping is dangerous. Another thing I have trouble understanding is why is it so much dangerous in nursing homes? What are they doing in those places? I’d also like to know the death rate for people in th seventy-eighty age group that are not in nursing homes.

Even though I am in my eighties, I don’t feel or think like I’m eighty, in fact I feel like fifty, so does that makes me less vulnerable? Nature is an amazing process. If we ever figure it out we will be transporting from planet to planet with Star Trek’s transporter beam.

I just want to get a haircut.

Day 62-SIP-Stupid Fun Makes Dollars

This stay in place business has made me light headed. very morning is a hangover. I must be enjoying the wine by consuming more than usual. The hangover gets me going much later in the day. It seems like I drag my sorry ass behind me like an anchor.

Yesterday, I finally accomplished a new goal, I cooked another one of Mom’s favorite dishes, toltutt kaposta with umlauts over the o’s and an accent over the a. In our language it is simply stuffed cabbage. I watched my mother roll these beauties out in the kitchen too many times, but when it came time to remember what she did, I drew a blank.

As usual, I watched videos of my favorite cook Oma making stuffed cabbage. Oma is currently ninety-two years old and reminds me of my mother. She concentrates on Hungarian and German recipes. What a piece of cake this is, I thought. Wrong! I never handled a cabbage before and got into serious trouble with blanching. The pot I used for this gimongous head of cabbage was just a tad too small. Blanching is a pretty simple process, but since this was the first time I was doing it I made it hard to do.

Mixing the meat with rice, and spices was easy, but when it came to handling the cabbage leaves I was all thumbs. Mom’s recipes leave out all the basic stuff you need to know when cooking. Like how to trim the main rib of a cabbage leave to make it more pliable. The next thing she left out was stuffing the leave and closing it around the meat. That is a practice thing. Mom had been stuffing cabbage leaves since she was twelve, and for her it was an automatic process. Here hands and fingers were so well conditioned from repetition that it was automatic. For me it was a comedy of errors, I was all thumbs. I managed to make about twenty rolls and learned my next mistake was also my first mistake, the pot was a tad too small. I had cabbage rolls stacked to within a half inch of the rim.

Miraculously, I completed the job and ate stuffed cabbage for supper last night. It is not 100% KETO, but it is close. The only non-KETO ingredient is rice. The whole process got my mind off the COVID-19 b-s for a few minutes while I struggled with stuffing and wrapping the rolls.

The kitchen was a mess after I finished as it always is after making something for the first time. Lucky me, the dishwasher was broken and the repair man didn’t come until today so I had to wash all the stuff by hand.

At my Tuesday Night At The Stray Bar Club Zoom meeting yesterday I learned about two things:

1. CD&Me a local entertainment venue is going to open under strict guidelines the first week of June. It will be a parking lot event limited to one hundred cars spaced one car apart. There will be a live band entertaining and a roll out bar for food by the Dancing Marlin. Adult beverages will not be sold but will be permitted (bring your own). Admission is by ticket bought online.

2. One of our group told us a story about her great grandson who is making a ton of money off videos on Youtube and Tik-Tok. I searched Youtube for him and found his videos. They are stupid of course, but he is a very energetic and out-going personality and pulls off his stunts with his girlfriend Mariah. As an example the video I watched had 39,000 likes. As another example this blog GrumpaJoesPlace is lucky if a post gets ten likes. I guess I’ll have to start doing dumb stuff if I want to make some money doing this. The funny thing is I feel like I am doing dumb stuff when I write these posts. Another example is my own grand daughter who writes for a blog called Fan Fiction and gets 5-10 thousand views per post. While my daughter-in-law in Michigan has a blog about her horse hobby and will get hundreds of views for a post. On my best day if I get fifty views and two likes I feel I’ve reached the pinnacle of success.

Making money in the digital world is for the very young. We old folks will only shake our heads in wonderment as to how it can be. I see it happening, I believe it is happening, but I’ll be damned if I can make it happen.

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