I’ve definitely been feeling the wear and tear of my age lately. This past few weeks, especially, a variety of things has conspired to do considerable pounding on my emotional balance. Simply put, it’s been a shitty transition into fall with the looming dark and cold of winter (the Autumnal Equinox was this past Monday).
And since I have an electrician coming tomorrow to try to solve the power outages that have affected half the circuits in my home, it ain’t over yet. On the other hand, counting blessings, the weather is finally fall-like (we had a bout of hot muggy misery last week); I’ve been really enjoying my morning walks; and I read one of the most delightful and brilliant science fiction books.
I’ll tell you about the book this coming Sci-Fi Saturday. Today I thought I’d show you why I love my morning walks!
One blessing is that (despite my current electrical problems), I live in a pretty nice little condo complex:After my divorce, when I was looking for a place to live, I saw a lot of beehive type places — as many units jammed in as possible, often with three common walls, so only one wall had any windows. (In one unit I saw, those windows faced north, so no sunlight at all.
My ideal is south windows for the bedroom (got that), north windows for the home office (got that), and south and east for the kitchen (not got, but ya can’t have everything). In fact, the kitchen is in the center and kind of dark.
On the other hand, I have a skylight in the living room, so I get plenty of sunlight — something I demand as much as plants do.
Another blessing is that I have some really wonderful walking paths at my immediate disposal (I don’t have to drive to a park):
There are about two miles of paved path (part of the local park system) that run along the other side of the freeway that I’m conveniently right next to.
It’s not all a tunnel through the trees. There are some interesting open areas of Minnesota wild prairie to enjoy:
There are oak trees, maple trees, wild fig trees, linden trees, birch and aspen trees, and lots of different kinds of pine trees. (There is something about trees that just enthralls me.)
There are also wild grapes, lots of sumac, a variety of grasses, and who knows what else. (“I’m a walker, not a botanist, damn it!”)
On my side of the freeway, the northern-most extent has about a half mile of mostly wild park the path winds through.
The south end of this park is more tended and has a small playground for kids along with a covered area with some tables and a grill or two for picnics.
Best of all, there’s a small lake:
Which is stocked with several types of fish: bluegill sunfish, black crappie, and largemouth bass. (For the uninitiated, “crappie” is pronounced as if it were spelled “croppie” — don’t ask me why.)
I often see people fishing off the small dock, and in the winter there are even a few icehouses out on the frozen lake.
It’s all a pretty nice thing to have in walking distance. (In fact, the entrance to the park is just a half-mile away.)
The other mile-and-a-half of walking territory on my side of the freeway is residential, but it’s still pretty lovely — lots of trees and other local flora.Who wouldn’t enjoy walking down these nice streets? I sure do!
I’ve made a lot of bad choices in life, but choosing to live here definitely wasn’t one of them. Sometimes you get lucky. Or blessed.
Which I try to keep in mind for perspective when things get shitty.
The whole growing old thing sucks balls, and, as I said, I’ve been feeling it lately. In fact, yesterday I finally applied for my Social Security benefits (to start this coming January). I’m officially an old fart now!
A couple of weeks ago, I was furious with Dell Computer (and technology companies in general tend to give me heartburn — Google is really pissing me off these days, too — I am not very happy with YouTubeTV, for just one example, but that’s all a post for another day).
It’s not that the Dell things have gotten any better (I never did hear back from that last guy), but my anger tends to be like a pine fire: burns hot and quick. I get over it pretty fast. There’s no point in carrying anger around.
That doesn’t change that certain situations, every time I’m forced into thinking about them, don’t piss me off all over again, but I don’t carry grudges (let alone nurse them).
One of the best lines I ever heard was: “It is what it is.” (A fine variation on que será será or c’est la vie.)
[I’ll confess that when I first heard it, long ago, I was complaining about what seemed short weight on an eighth, but he was right, and it really stuck with me.]
Then, last week the weather got uncomfortable again. Hot and muggy is my least favorite weather condition. I’ll take the -20 over that misery any day.
The weather finally got fall-like this week, but now I’m having electrical problems that affect about half my lights and plugs.
It’s definitely related to power use — I can get it to happen by running the dryer at high heat. It gets to the point where just 90 seconds of that triggers it.
What’s weird is that it isn’t a case of blowing breakers — they aren’t tripping at all (but I kind of am). What happens is that the power goes out, which stops the dryer, and after a moment or so, the power comes back.
Sometimes in fits and starts. Sometimes my lights seem like flash bulbs until things stabilize. Since both my TV and my computer are on the affected circuits, I have concerns about that damaging them.
Monday (which is laundry day around here) the power went out and stayed out.
I had the local power company send a guy, and he restored the power by doing nothing at all. He said, “All I did was touch the meter,” but I now think that was a coincidence.
Although why power came back at that point after being out for a couple hours does make me wonder.
Thing is, he found no problems. But the problem persisted the next day (although so far power comes back on). I had the power company send another guy who did some tests and said he’s pretty sure it isn’t them.
Great, so that means it’s me. I’ve got an electrician coming tomorrow to see what’s what. ($$$)
Remember my wasps story? They were in a hole at the base of a light pole at the end of my block.
The sting was confined to the small area which faded after a couple of days.
But then a couple of days after that, my left hand swelled up. It didn’t hurt, but it was that stiffness you get with a swollen part.
That persisted for several days (adding to the general shit level I was experiencing). The swelling finally faded, and my hand is back to normal (such as normal is for me).
I do seem to have highly reactive skin. Many years ago, a dentist-proscribed antibiotic, selected for being especially mild, caused me to experience a year-long bout of major hives.
By major I mean huge! Like from my waist to my armpit. Big ones anywhere from my knees to my neck. I still get random hives along my jaw line for no reason I can determine.
Meanwhile, my Minnesota Twins seem to be headed for post-season for the first time since I became a serious fan in 2010.
But they’re driving us fans crazy by really taking it down to the wire. With just five games left in the regular season, their magic number is two, and while they’re winning games, I can’t say I’m very impressed by how they’re playing.
I think they will get to post-season, but I’m afraid the Yankees (or possibly the Astros, too soon to tell) will take them out 1-2-3, given how they’re playing.
Ah, well, at least they’re (probably) getting to post-season. That’s something.
And I did read one of the best science fiction books I’ve read in a good long time. Funny, brilliant, engaging, and very, very meta. I’ll tell you about it Saturday.
Life: It is what it is. Count your blessings!
Stay outside, my friends!