Okay News and Good News

No workers today. Apparently, the people who had rented the jackhammer before us haven’t yet bothered to return it so the contractor couldn’t come to start ripping up the old concrete in preparation for redoing the stoop and putting in a ramp from the house to the garage. It’s not bad news; In fact, it’s okay. Everything will get done eventually. It was the garage that mostly concerned me. With hail a factor around here, I wanted to make sure my car was protected. The only hail we’ve had so far was pea size, but it’s nice to know I don’t have to worry, especially on days like yesterday when we were under a severe thunderstorm watch. The storm never got this far, but along the front range, they were seeing hail as big as a handful of snow. Even if the storm had hit us, my car was covered.

The good news is that so far, the vinca I planted yesterday is still alive and seems to be thriving, though after only a day, it’s hard to tell.

As I wrote the previous sentence, it occurred to me the good news is more that I am alive and seem to be thriving. Plants come and go — well, so do people, as I well know — but for now, we are both here, the plants and I. It’s been a long time coming, this contentment, but apparently, after so many years, even the absence of those who are gone loses some of its sting.

I had an odd thought today. I’ve been spending a lot of time trying to project myself into the future to prepare for my old age (because if I don’t make those preparations and do them now, no one will be around to take care of them, not even me because I will be too old). I worried that by thinking so much of being elderly, I was putting myself there prematurely. Luckily, the thought passed. I imagine that once I don’t have to think about fixing up the place to accommodate an older me, then I will slide back into being just . . . me.

Although the infrastructure of the yard, such as the pathways to give me an even footing and the inclined walkway instead of steps, will always remain, it’s possible that after I get the yard and garden looking lush and pretty, it will end up scraggly as I lose the interest and strength to keep it up, but that isn’t something I want to worry about. I’m planting bushes and other things that can generally take care of themselves once they’ve been given a good start. And if I can’t afford to hire someone to take care of the yard in that far off day, I can sit and dream of more verdant times.

Or not. It’s entirely possible I’ll be able to garden until the end. Some people do, why not me?

But that’s for the future. Today, I am able to do what I need to do. Today I worked outside for a bit, picking weeds and watering my plants. Today I’m grateful for what I have. Sounds like good news to me!

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Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator

Pat’s Big Adventure

For the past few months, I haven’t been more than a few miles from home. I probably wouldn’t even have gone that far except that I needed to drive my car to keep it working. It’s actually been nice, staying close to home, though I probably wouldn’t have gone so long without a visit to a larger town with larger stores despite The Bob if it hadn’t been for my knee. I wasn’t sure I could drive the fifty-mile round trip, but I was sure I wouldn’t be able to walk across the expanse of the parking lot and then maneuver my way around the store and then stand in the check-out line.

I’ve done well staying on top of the things I need, but the list of items I couldn’t get locally has been growing. Even more than that, I’m getting a feel for the areas in the yard that will need some kind of bush or shrub, and I wanted to see if there was anything I could pick up locally before I threw money down the black hole of mail order plants.

So today, after the workers finished up a stint on the garage, I took off. It kind of surprised me — I would have thought this first excursion in a long time would have taken more planning, but then, it’s something I’d often done, so it’s not like I was stepping off into the unknown.

Still, it was fun, just taking off like that. I thought the drive would feel interminably long, but it was over almost before I settled into trip mode.

The shopping itself was disappointing in a way — although I know this is long past planting time, I expected to find something to interest me, but I didn’t know what any of the plants were and didn’t want to grab indiscriminately. The more prosaic part of the trip — picking up such things as allergy medicines and ointments and cleaning products, as well as some food — was easy, and the drive home was nice. Hot but nice.

As soon as I got in the house, though, we were deluged. Not just with huge sheets of rain, but hail. Mothball size hail. Big enough to sound like rocks being flung against the house, but not big enough to do damage. I am looking forward to being able to put my car in the garage. Hail damage can be severe around here, and some insurance companies won’t insure against hail damage, and the ones that do insure demand a huge deductible. But that’s a worry for another time.

Today, the hail passed quickly. My garage is a bit nearer to completion.

And I went on an adventure.

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Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator