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

Small Doings

I’d just fixed lunch when the mail carrier came with the vinca minor bare root plants that I ordered. Since I knew I wouldn’t want to work once I got home from work, I set my lunch aside and went out to plant. I’d already made a planter out of a tree stump, so all I had to do was stick the plants in the soil. It was easy enough to do. Now I just have to wait to see if the plants will take hold. If so, I’ll have an interesting mound of vegetation. If not, I’ll have the stump removed with the rest of the stumps on the property when the time comes. In this case, I can’t really lose anything except the small amount of cash for the plants.

I was thrilled with my helper. He wasn’t very good at digging or carrying tools, but he kept watch so I could work undisturbed.

Tomorrow, with any luck, my human helpers will be back. They’re going to start tearing out the old sidewalk, ramp, and stoop, and putting in a new one. I’m mostly looking forward to the stoop being finished. The step down from the house is just too steep for me anymore, so I’ve been using the front door, which I don’t really like. One, I don’t want to advertise my comings and goings, and two, I’m not fond of tracking dirt into the house. Even removing my shoes as soon as I get in the door doesn’t help completely. Sometimes I forget something and have to come back in to retrieve it and am too lazy to take off my shoes. And sometimes the dirt gets carried around on my socks no matter what I do.

The dirt here isn’t powdery, but instead is clumpish because of the clay soil, and I so do not like stepping on those clumps with shoeless feet! Soon, though, I’ll be able to use my back door and the mud area I created in my sun room for putting on and taking off shoes. Also, when the pathways are in — to the back gate, around what will be flower beds, and along the sides of the yard to the front gate — I should be able to avoid a lot of mud. Of course, one foolproof way of avoiding mud is never to go outside, but I haven’t been putting all this effort into my yard just to sit inside and look out windows. I suppose there could come such a time, but not now, and hopefully not soon.

Can you tell I really have nothing to say? I used to get annoyed at people who would write of the minutiae of their lives, but here I am. No great wisdom to impart, no great traumas to dissect, no cosmic revelations. Just me and my small doings in my small house in my small town.

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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