Moving the summer along through COVID “scare” and cardiac concerns…

Well, this loony and bizarre summer just keeps rolling right along. One day arrives and then the next and so on. We go about our “business” with morning coffee on the sunporch and watch the birds come and go at the feeder. I continue to read more than to write.

I’ve taken the opportunity to get to many of the books that have populated the book shelves for so long. You know those ones that we all say:“We’ll get to, eventually!” To say the very least, it’s been an eclectic blend of reading: Clive Cussler, Arnold Palmer (yes, the golfer!), John Cheever’s Short Stories, Agatha Christie, The Fatal Journey of Henry Hudson, David McCullough’s The Johnstown Flood, etc. You get the idea, I’m certain. Anyway, the hours pass and day becomes night. The night passes, and we do it all over again as the new day arrives. 

Through it all, I find myself hoping for a rainy–at least overcast–day during this long stretch to break up the constant string of sunshine and heat. Hasn’t happened too often this summer.

Thoughts of returning to work on the long-neglected novel flit in and out of my mind these days, with every intention of actually getting to some level of production. But my interest and desire to do so quickly wane, and I end up hopping over to Facebook and spending way too much time with all of that waste!

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My desk and bookcases full of old friends to help pass the time!

For the most part, my writing has consisted of weekly letters to my ninety-one-year-old mother in Ohio. I send her the most current photos of our new house and its furnishings and she’s thrilled to get them.

The fact that I’m actually feeling good about writing this blog post today is a pretty positive sign. Maybe, I’m ready to think once again about the need to sit at this desk and pound the keys on a regular basis—as before—and get back on track in the writing realm. It would be easy to say that I’ve suffered from an extended case of “writer’s block,” but I believe it’s more likely that I’ve been uninspired to write because of so much of what’s been on my mind.

The roller coaster existence thrust upon us by the COVID-19 “scare” all these months has not made life very easy, especially since this has become for me the summer of getting serious about fixing my aortic stenosis! Suffice it to say, that so many hours have been spent with testing, procedures, etc., but I’m still doing pretty well at this point.

Before each procedure, I’ve been required to be tested for COVID-19, and each time, I’m happy to report, the results have been NEGATIVE.

Next Tuesday appears to be an important—pivotal—day as I’ll be visiting the Valve Clinic for about 4-5 hours of various testing and consultation with the heart “teams.” My cardiologist has told me that I don’t need bypass, just a valve, which is encouraging at this point.

After Tuesday’s visit to the Valve Clinic, we should have a pretty good plan and timetable for me to get things done. Update to follow…

I have always loved crossword puzzles, and this summer I have passed several hours printing out and doing the daily crosswords at FreeDailyCrosswords.com. And with the seemingly unending stretches of extreme heat, I don’t mind working on them in the air-conditioned comfort of my office. As it is, I’ve been pretty limited in lots of activity anyway.

In the meantime, I take my meds, do my crosswords, read (lots!), keep myself moving as much as I can tolerate, watch our grandsons play baseball, and pick up the old quill and get some words written. Through it all, I have faith that everything–in the world and my own situation–will come out all right. I wish the same for you all…

 

Definitely not bored!

This is most definitely a strange and unique time, and one that I hope disappears completely, as soon as possible. I fear, however, that that is not in the cards since “stay-at-home” orders are being extended well past the April 30th deadline and on thru May, as well.

Even finding new and unique ideas or topics about which to write has become difficult, if not next to impossible. With all of this COVID-19 virus “war” foremost on everyone’s mind, and the steady and non-stop flow of information/mis-information that comes at us 24/7, it’s hard to put much thought into much else, despite our best and honest efforts to do so.

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Never bored with a wall full of books and a nice, little writing desk!

Sitting down at my desk each day this past week, I’ve had every intention of writing something that would be uplifting and fun and far from the madding virus pandemic topic. 

I considered posting about my three-day stay in the hospital a little over a week ago, but that seemed to me equally dreary and self serving. I’ll briefly mention it here as a matter of updating my current status.  It was a little cardiac scare that I didn’t want to materialize into anything more drastic, so I went to the ER, found out I have A-Fib (an irregular heartbeat), and was admitted for a couple days of tests and observation.

 I already knew that I have aortic stenosis, and will eventually need a valve replacement. I rather think that will be coming much sooner than later after the echo test they performed during my stay. So, I’ve begun to deal with that and have reconciled myself to doing whatever it takes, although I don’t relish any form of surgery that will be involved. I am scheduled to meet with another cardiologist next Friday to discuss the options. I am feeling much better, have lost several pounds (which I needed to all along!), and am being faithful to my new daily meds regimen.

Aside from the great care I received while there, another piece of good news came about: I tested NEGATIVE for the COVID-19 virus. By the way, that test is quick and simple—but not entirely pleasant! I’ll leave it at that.

I have gotten lots of reading done, and I’ve even managed to get more writing done than in recent history. For example, I’ve taken to writing a “daily” journal during this strange time, and I’m trying to get my thoughts and observations down as often as I am moved to do so during the week. Work on my endlessly ongoing sequel to my first novel has re-captured my attention. My  love of doing a daily crossword puzzle has also been resurrected during this “stay home” period of our lives.

We’re in constant contact and communication with our son’s family and our grandsons, who should be busy right now playing baseball on their new teams. Not happening yet! Our daughter in Florida seems to be riding this thing out pretty well and managing to stay employed at the Humane Society. Keeping our fingers crossed and our prayers in overdrive for their continued safety and good health.

So I’m definitely not bored through all of this. After all, I have a wall full of books off to my left, and there are so many resting there which I haven’t yet read—fiction and non-fiction alike. I have a wonderful little desk in front of the two big windows that look out onto the front yard and street and sidewalk. As I work at my desk, I am able to see when the mail person comes and goes each morning, as well as all of our new neighbors as they’re out for their morning strolls—many with dogs of various shapes, sizes, and breeds.

All of this is nothing that any of us asked for, but we’re all adapting and making the best of it. Perhaps it has become a kind of blessing, allowing us the chance to slow down and really take a look at our own special spaces. Like re-discovering books on the shelf I’d forgotten I’d owned! It’s true, I’m definitely not bored!

Until next time…

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With hope for good times ahead…

The sun shines brightly here in Aurora, Illinois, on this Good Friday. It’s one of those

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Magnolia tree beauty despite the virus pandemic!

crystal clear days, but much colder than it was two or three days ago when we were enjoying temperatures in the high 70s. Everything outside seems perfectly normal, yet how totally different everything is—and has been—these past several weeks.

Being on “lock down” due to the pandemic hasn’t really been all that bad from our perspective here in our new home, in a totally new location and environment. Retirement certainly eases the angst and worry about the daily responsibilities of losing jobs, taking care of children, and being forced into dire financial straits as a result of all of this turmoil in everyone’s normal routines.

Even so, we worry for our two adult “kids,” a son and a daughter, who are in the midst of job furloughs and trying to maintain some sense of normalcy in the current goings on. And there are the two grandsons to think about. Being out of school for a month hasn’t caused too much anxiety for them—to this point, anyway. But, the sad reality that this thing, in all probability, will continue on indefinitely, wiping out their summer baseball seasons and, perhaps, the fall football season, is beginning to make it clear to them that we all are in uncharted waters here! There don’t appear to be any quick fixes for any of this, and that is a frightful, sobering thought.

Fortunately, there have been no ill effects of the virus to any of us. The “social distancing” is doing what it’s supposed to be doing, I’ve been led to believe. Yet, one hears so many differing angles for the same piece of news, day in and day out. It becomes a question of who do we believe?

I have not been a regular viewer of TV news for quite some time, for many reasons: All seem to have only one agenda or purpose, which I believe completely hinders their objectivity and fairness. In my desire to keep this from turning into a political spiel, I’ll not belabor the point further.

So where exactly do I go to stay informed about what is happening around me? It seems that it’s an endless quest to find a straight, unbiased news story about the important news of the day. Right now, none is more important than that which deals with the Covid-19 world we’ve been forced to inhabit. Finding some form of media–print, radio, or TV–that is free of a political slant and axe to grind is usually a fool’s errand. 

However, I have found that often a visit to the Associated Press (AP) Web site provides me the news without the clutter of a political bias or so much TV/radio grandstanding by “talent” posing as journalists. I can usually read through the AP news stories and have a good understanding of the facts without being hit over the head with some “journalist’s” vitriolic opinion. Suffice it to say, I believe I’m better off keeping the TV off… until it’s time for the day’s Jeopardy! episode.

Yes, it looks awfully normal outside…all that sunshine and blue, cloudless skies. I long for the time when that will be the case once again. But for now we all are in a much different world, and we should all do whatever we can to help shorten the duration of this Covid-19.

Someone, somewhere is going to hit upon the answers to solving this puzzle, and hopefully before the death rate climbs higher. Let us hope and pray that those answers are discovered sooner than later as we hold on, with hope for good times ahead.

Stay safe, friends!

Until next time…

Saturday thoughts in early April, while sheltering in place for the umpteenth day straight!

 

I’m NOT going to dwell on this virus pandemic!
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In search of the “new normal”

Easier said than done, I realize, since this thing is affecting so many parts of our daily lives. But, after all, everyone is in the same boat here, and any moaning or groaning isn’t going to amount to very much as far as writing a worthwhile blog post. We’re all sick of the overabundance of negativity that seems to come from everywhere.

Yeah, it’s bad and we’re inconvenienced, but there comes a time when we all need to realize that things are what they are, and we have to make the best of it all. In that light,  I’ll touch on what we’ve accomplished here in our new home since my last post, pandemic or not.

I had written that one of the biggest disappointments of the “stay home” edict was our inability to spend time and have dinner with our son as he turned 43 on March 26. To our surprise later that evening, both of our cell phones sounded at the same time, and on the other end in FaceTime mode, were our grandsons, our son, and daughter-in-law. We had a nice sing-along of “Happy Birthday” and plenty of laughs for the few minutes we were connected. It definitely brightened our evening, and it felt good to be able to joke and goof around with everyone, if but for a few brief moments. We tell ourselves that it won’t be all that long before we’re able to be together and laugh–up close and personal!

We continue to add “parts” to the house to accommodate our work space. For instance, we purchased a 4-drawer file cabinet and picked it up at the store. It worked out very nicely as we ordered it online, drove to the store a few miles away, texted them when we were in front of the store, and shortly thereafter an employee wheeled it out and loaded it into the back of my Equinox. I would have gladly hopped out to help, but there was no need to…proper “social distancing” had been maintained!

We’ve also continued to eliminate several items that we have no use— or storage space—for. Yesterday, we drove the loaded car out to a lady’s house where she’s storing things that will be for sale in the second-hand thrift store once it re-opens. Since the store is not open for business currently, her garage is serving as the “holding tank” for donated items.

Little by little, I’m pecking away at getting the garage somewhat organized, although there’s nothing I can really do now until we open up the remaining boxes and containers that are stacked here and there. We can get the cars in, and we can move about, but there are a few lawn tools and other items that are going to be hung along the sides. Another project that will be undertaken once the Covid-19 pandemic is taken care of. I have managed to watch the big TV we had mounted in the garage. That will be a regular spot where I can be found whenever the White Sox, Blackhawks, and Bears are able to get their seasons started or resumed.

On another wistful note, I look at the calendar today, and I realize that we would be all but finished with our Circle Hawaii cruise this weekend. We were to set sail from San Diego on March 18 and have five “sea days” over to Hawaii, five days visiting the various ports of call, and then five “sea days” back to San Diego. We were scheduled to fly home tomorrow, April 5. In light of all of the issues with cruise ships recently, I’m glad our trip was cancelled and we weren’t put in a position to be stranded somewhere, with our health at risk. However, I do hope that we can take that cruise some time…when life returns to “normal,” perhaps?

What will be considered normal from this point forward? Thoughts for a future post? It seems way too depressing at the moment. In the meantime, I think I’ll write next about happy times on our various travels over the past few years.

Stay safe and healthy and find those little things that make this situation bearable in your life.

Until next time…