Saturday, May 19, 2012

Boomer Blues

Getting older isn't much fun. I thought (I'd been told!) that being older meant being wiser but consider the events of the past week:

Sunday. I am washing the supper dishes. Suddenly the sink is bright with blood though I've felt nothing, no pain. I lift my hands from the suds and in the left is a broken glass. The middle finger on my right hand is pumping blood at an alarming rate. I wrap the finger tightly in a towel and run next door to beg a ride to the ER for the stitches I know I am going to need. The doctor unwraps the finger, peers at it and says nonchalantly, "Nothing to stitch here. You've taken off several layers of your skin nearly to the bone."

My stomach does a little dance. A gentle nurse washes the wound and bandages it, a big, white, bulky roll of a bandage. The next day at school one of the urchins exclaims, "Ms C! Were you being bad with your bad finger?"

What was I thinking, stuffing my hand along with a bulky sponge into a glass? Glass breaks! I've since bought a spongy brush on a long handle with which to wash the glasses.

Tuesday. Weekday mornings are always a rush. I get up early so I have time to shower and dress, pack a lunch, make the bed, feed the cat, and check my email before leaving, but inevitably I am flying around at the last minute. On this morning, I rush out the door into the rain juggling my school bag, keys, tea mug and umbrella. I set the travel mug on the top of the car, close the umbrella, toss the bag into the car and climb in after it. As I'm pulling out of the driveway something dark goes flying by my left side. Startled, I step on the brakes and peer out the rain spattered window. There, leaking all my lovely hot tea into the drive, is my travel mug. Sigh.

Friday. An official looking letter arrives in the mail from the motor vehicle department. Inside are instructions for renewing my license. I'm flummoxed. My license is not up for renewal until 2015. It's only 2011. I've heard of efficiency, but this? Hell's bells! I look at the clock - too late to call and get it straightened out today. It will have to wait until Monday. Halfway through supper, after mentally muttering harsh words about the incompetency of officialdom, I grab up the paper and look again. It's not for renewing my license - it's for renewing my car registration! How had I missed that? There it says, in blaring blue capital letters at the top of the page, VEHICLE REGISTRATION RENEWAL. I'd fussed fruitlessly for at least an hour and wasted some very choice vocabulary words because I'd misread the paper. I've been with second graders too long. They never read instructions thoroughly either!

Saturday. Laundry day. I don't own a dryer though I do have a small, apartment-sized portable washing machine that hooks by hose to the kitchen sink. Because I'm always in a hurry on weekday mornings, I usually save the laundry chores for the weekend, hoping for at least one sunny day for line drying. This morning the sun popped up over the horizon quite early and the day promised heaps of sunshine and warm temperatures. I roll the washer into place, hook up the hose, turn on the water and put the clothes in the machine.

Something is amiss. The water stops filling half way up the tub and the agitator starts turning with half the clothes still sitting serenely (and quite dry) on the top of the pile. I stop the machine and put it on a different setting, thinking that perhaps the delicate setting I'd chosen requires only half a tub of water. The agitator starts up immediately no matter what setting I choose. Well, hellfire. I can afford neither a repair bill or a new washer. What is wrong with the foolish thing anyhow? And then, only after I pull half the clothes out of the washer, let it run on the small amount of water it will draw, and contemplating a day wasted standing in front of the washing machine, does it occur to me to check the water setting. One of the items I'd pulled from the unwashed clothes was a left behind baby sock and I have a sudden clear image of the Bean gleefully turning the dials on the front of the washer when she was here last weekend. Sure enough, the water setting is pointing to LOW.

I'm telling you, old age is a bother. Your brain (well mine, anyhow) just doesn't click along the way it used to. I'm feeling mighty foolish as I write this, knowing you're all shaking your heads and tut-tutting.   But, if there's anything you've been meaning to ask some older, wiser person, you had better do it now while you're thinking of it. Chances are, if you put it off, you'll forget it and the older, wiser person will have done so as well!

In her comment, Tabor asked me to tell what went right this week. Hold onto your hats!

1. Three days of steady rain made my salad garden off the patio surge with new growth resulting in a spectacular salad containing fresh lettuce leaves, baby spinach, chives, basil, oregano, parsley and radishes, all picked, tossed with chopped egg, some pickled beets, a bit of shredded bacon left over from breakfast, sprinkled with balsamic vinegar and eaten within minutes of picking.

2. The kids at school were little bundles of sympathy and concern for my injured finger. The girls blew kisses at it and the boys offered to sort homework papers and clean the chalkboard so I could "rest' my hand.

3. The prescription reading glasses I had to break down and buy allow me to read fine print anywhere.

4. My daughter has asked me to make her wedding dress!

5. Sunshine is abundant now the rain has stopped, the local nursery is having a giant plant sale to which I am headed as soon as I press Update and the Transfer Station is holding bulky waste weekend so there are sure to be lots of treasures.

6. The irises in the front flower garden are making a fabulous showing.

7. The hummingbirds have found the new feeder I put up yesterday and have frequented it both last night and this morning.

8. I am wakened each morning by a cardinal's song. Much better than any alarm clock!

9. We have four (count them, four!) pairs of Baltimore Orioles nesting around the yard and the meadow. They are such beautiful birds.

10. I may have lost my knuckle; my neighbor lost his entire arm to cancer. I may have broken a glass; one child's family in my second grade lost her home to bankruptcy. I may have misread and fretted over my registration renewal; a friend lost her life in a car accident. I am blessed beyond measure every day.


Tabor said...

Yes, I would like to ask you to tell us what went right this week, because I am sure something must have to let you post this familiar story. This kind of thing happened to me when I was younger and very busy with kids.

Brian Miller said...

smiles...i am glad some things went right for you this week...ack on the finger...i hope it heals well for you as well....

Judith said...

Glad I read this AFTER the update. I was fainting in the first part just reading about you at the doctor's office --- Bette Davis (or someone like her) said Old age is not for wimps. It's not. However, the mishaps of the pre-update also happen to younger folk, when they're over-busy, stressed, impatient, in a hurry, etc etc.
Great idea of your friend's to look at the other side of the ledger, becuz those things are special --- and prevail (do they not?) in the long run.
Hugs (gently) to you, J

June said...

I did the broken glass in dishwater thing when I was in my early 30s so I'm way ahead of you at this game. I, however, did leave a little flap to stitch closed, so maybe we're just even.

It sounds as if a lot more stuff, and a lot more important stuff, has gone right than wrong, though, anyway.
I believe you are winning.

I love the kids' helping you so you could rest your hand. <3

Marion said...

Yikes, sorry about your finger and love the fact that your kids showed their sympathy for you.

Lucky you, having those Baltimore Orioles nesting around your yard! And listening to the Cardinal's song must be so beautiful!

Haha, I love this..."But, if there's anything you've been meaning to ask some older, wiser person, you had better do it now while you're thinking of it. Chances are, if you put it off, you'll forget it and the older, wiser person will have done so as well!" Happens to me all the time! xx

Pauline said...

Tabor - see addendum :)

Brian - it will heal eventually. The Doc said so ;)

J - I was fainting, too! And yes, there always good things among the bad. Thank goodness we can find them!

June - those kids are so cute. I will miss my job - well, the kid part, anyhow.

Marion - we (as in the collective we) killed off our Baltimore Orioles years ago when we cut down all the elms and then poisoned the song birds with DDT. Some of them are finally returning :)

Gary said...

I was going along reading the original post somewhat amused and thinking "we have all been there". Well, that and "second graders don't read directions either?". And the the updates shifted my perspective to one of optimism and gratitude. It's a blessing to keep a watchful eye on the good even when we do silly, forgetful things. I needed a little bit of that attitude this past Friday but by Saturday all was well again. Sometimes getting enough sleep makes all the difference.

I hope the hummingbirds find their way to me before too long. They are one of my favorite summer things.

Pauline said...

Gary - I always (well, almost) feel I have more to be grateful for than sorry about. My Mama was a great one for looking for the positive side of things and I guess she taught me well.

Diane said...

I smiled sympathetically as I read the first part of this post... been there, done that, and I'm younger than you are. Sigh. But I smiled BIG at the last part... that is a pretty wonderful-sounding week (damaged finger notwithstanding)! I'm glad :).

Barbara Shallue said...

Oh, Pauline, it's so funny that my reply to your comment on my blog was "I'm finding no matter what's going wrong in my life, I can look around and find something 'right'." I'm so glad your 'right' list is longer than your wrong - but at the same time, I'm sorry for all the things that went wrong for you this week. I think it's okay for us to sit and wallow every once in awhile, though. And I totally sympathize with your wrongs this week - the older I get it seems the more silly mistakes I make!

Tabor said...

I have not read that book that you wrote in the comments. Now looking it up!

Peter Bryenton said...

Now then, I just know I popped into this virtual room for something ...

Pauline said...