This morning, I share some wonderful moments of love, just love, love that is not bounded by race, religion, sexual orientation, age or disability. This is a beautiful video. Please enjoy it and know that this is the world I want to live in.
Tag Archives: love
What makes me strong? What keeps me from breaking under the load we all call life?
I have been asking that question for a dozen years. My husband has been hospitalized more than 30 times since 2001. He had bladder cancer. He just kept growing tumors and finally they had to take his bladder out and put in a conduit to the ostomy that we now call Fred.
Then he had infections – and more infections and yet again, infections. Over the last 10 years we have spent our vacations in the most expensive resort in the country – the hospital. A jail cell really but it’s mostly white with nice subdued drapes and wardens dressed as nurses in navy blue.
Recently, my husband did hand to hand combat with melanoma which made a difference in how we spend our time, our money, our personal currency.
Now, he is being laid off. He will be 60 when the axe finally falls. He will be too old to employ – too young for social security or medicare. And he will still be sick, still be in the hospital 2 or 3 times a year and still be the man I love with all my heart.
I am a master’s prepared, professional who is applying for jobs as a receptionist, an administrative assistant., a dog walker, anything to get a job that will help bridge the gap between his layoff and his 65th birthday.
But I can’t get a job. We can’t sell our house. And we cannot stop the layoff that is rolling toward us at the speed of light.
How did this happen? When did we become part of the fringe that cannot sustain itself in this country – the land of the brave, the land of the free?
Welcome to America – 2012. Welcome to our country where people work and do a good job and pay their taxes and still get screwed. This is the land where the rich once again get richer and the rest of us pay for their privilege.
We”ll keep fighting. We will stay together. We will find a way, smaller, narrower but still together. But is this what is supposed to happen to people who have lived a good life? Worked hard? Helped out our families?
Who knows? All I know is that this is our lot. And this we will face together — until death do us part.
I am starting to fear silence again, filling it with sound, running from whatever my head or heart is trying to tell me. Does this happen to you?
These are the moments when I cannot sit still. My eyes move from place to place. My skin itches. I must jump up and fill the time before….before what? What could my inner self have to say that so frightens my outer self?
In the past, these moments have led to insight. In the past, these moments meant personal growth. But what am I supposed to learn this time?
I feel too old to learn, too sure of the knowledge that my time has passed. I am walking slowly toward death, my own, my loved ones but death nonetheless.
Maybe it’s the coming of winter, the rare October snow we just had. Maybe it’s the approach of daylight savings — long, dark afternoons into longer, darker nights. Maybe it’s my feeling that I am no longer the all powerful wizard of my early days, the one with all the answers.
Maybe it’s because I fear this lesson has much broader implications.
The future keeps crowding into the present – the outside world into my small, sweet corner of it. Our world, the world I grew up in, the world we hippies and peaceniks changed, the world we loved, was proud of, is disappearing.
Spinning faster and faster away from me, it has moved on its axis to a place of, “I’ve got mine; the rest of you, go away.” This world is a foreign place for me and I hold no answers on how to fix it.
How I wish I was still that wizard of my younger years and able to make the coming years as rich and warm for my daughter and grandchildren as they were for me. How I wish the future would not loom on the ever darkening horizon of financial woes, economic downturns. How I wish our “elected officials” would actually do more to earn their pay and less to get re-elected.
Politicians have lost their way. Honor no longer goes with the job; passion for what’s right, not what’s personally enriching has disappeared, replaced by greed and guile.
Perhaps this is the lesson I am being forced to learn — there is no easy way out of this huge and frightening mess our country is in, no easy way to close the gap between the ridiculously rich and the grindingly poor. Perhaps politicians should have to face only one test to run for office.
Do they have a terminal illness?
If only the dying were allowed to run for office, maybe, just maybe it might help them focus on what’s truly important instead of what’s expedient.
I should have known….
Those four words would make a nice tattoo on my forehead, a constant reminder not to go near the mower again. If only I had been smart enough to get them “writ large” on my bony pate before this summer. This summer, it was as though the gods of the mower underground decided to show me just how far away from all things lawn and mower I should be.
This chain of disaster, like most, started innocently enough. The first time the mower just waved a little warning flag.
It was a simple case of running out of gas on the side of a hill. It took my mechanically-inclined husband and our neighbor about an hour to figure this out, however, because the operator (that would be me) insisted I filled the gas tank before I started. I did put gas in…but filled was not the word Pat used when he and Jim finally lifted up the seat, spun off the top and looked inside.
The second time, Pat was at Spring Carlisle so I thought I would surprise him by mowing. Of course, I was riding around, literally in circles, mowing the back yard as fast as I could when suddenly, the mower choked and the blades below the deck stopped spinning. As soon as I got off, I knew why. I had managed to suck about 20 feet of a 50 foot hose up under the deck.
The deck would not lift up off the ground so I spent the next 90 minutes using a long-handled shovel as a lever, lifting the deck about 2 inches in the air and shoving my arm up to my elbow underneath to pry, pull and chop bits of hose off the blades. I almost made it but the last 4 feet were tightly wrapped around the center column.
Another 20 minutes with my cheek on the ground, my arm under the deck and my knees pushing the shovel down and the deck up and I knew it was all over. I would have to make the call. Wiping the mud off my face, I dialed my husband. He was on his way home and said he would take care of it.
He walked into the yard, looked at the mower and me, walked to the shed, grabbed the ramps and put them on the edge of the patio. Then he started the mower, drove it up the ramps and in 3 minutes, the hose was defeated, the last bits lying on the ground at his feet. This was when I should have known I was outclassed by my man and my mower. But no, there was one more embarrassing moment to come in this mower trilogy.
Two weeks ago, I was mowing, again, and suddenly the mower stopped, dead. All I could think of was I can’t call my husband again and tell him that the very expensive John Deere riding mower was dead and I was behind the wheel, again! It was the 3rd time in 4 months! How would I explain this one to him?
This time the dealership had to come out and pick the mower up on a flatbed. The hydraulics had quit – no power steering, no deck, no wheels….no, no, no… My husband tried to make me feel better but it was no use. I still felt like a mower murderer.
Five days later, when John Deere drove up and rolled our repaired mower down the ramps, I decided to try mowing one more time. Pat wasn’t there to stop me. And so the mower gods shot their last arrow.
I couldn’t have been on the mower more than 15 minutes when the right front deck wheel fell off. Here is where this story gets really, really ugly.
Whipping my cell phone out of my pocket, I call the John Deere dealership and ask for the Service Manager. When the poor innocent picked up the phone and said hello, I let him have it. Here follows some excerpts:
ME: “Fifteen minutes, wheel off, deck not working… You guys broke our mower.” When he finally managed to get a word in around my Daffy Duck imitation, he asked me a single question.
HIM: “Do you have the broken parts?”
ME: “What? You think I have the broken bits? I was mowing. I don’t have the parts. (Warning: if you are not mechanically inclined, don’t do this at home.) You guys broke it. You took the deck off.”
HIM: Ma’am, taking the deck off would not cause the bracket holding the front wheel to break.”
ME: “Really? Really?? Well it did break and I want this thing fixed.”
HIM: “I’m assuming you want it fixed quickly. How about tomorrow?”
ME: “Tomorrow? Are you kidding? Now, I want someone out here right now. I want it fixed, now.”
HIM: “I’ll check for the parts and will dispatch a mobile mechanic immediately ma’am.”
ME: “Good thing.”
I hung up. Then I went looking for the parts. And I found them. And I knew I had to call back, apologize, profusely, offer to pay for the parts, the house call and my very, very bad manners. I called, I asked for the Service Manager (to his credit he actually got on the phone and asked how he could help). And I apologized for my very bad behavior.
The mower was fixed that evening. I was still suffering from the embarrassment hangover you get when you have made a complete fool of yourself. An in-person apology with a box of handmade truffles from Little Sister’s Kitchen helped but nothing has helped with my considerable reluctance to saddle up the lawn mower.
But, there’s always next year!