What cabin fever + depression are to winter, house arrest + lethargy are to summer.
Too hot to move or think straight
However, intrepid middle-aged suburbanites that we are, on Sunday afternoon we managed to get up on our hind legs, voluntarily leaving our air-conditioned home to go for a walk in a popular township park.
A glorious sunny day
It was the sort of day that usually brings out everybody and their dog and their grandma, but instead of a hundred people at the park there were maybe 10. Too sweltering outside I suspect. Still the lack of people was a bit… disconcerting… odd… unexpected.
Not at all normal
Nonetheless we slowly meandered around the paved paths, free from human distraction, not needing to wear our masks obviously. And for posterity I snapped a few photos of the stunningly blue sky and the amazingly green grass.
A friend and I were talking about where we each live now and how unexpected it’s been for us to find ourselves where we are. In college we could never have imagined this.
She lives in an older home built in the ’40s in an affluent part of town in a community with a vibe that suggests social status. It’s a desirable address, near a country club and fancy hospital and an upscale local grocery that’s all the rage.
Posh is the word for it.
I live in a 20 year old home in a quirky suburb with a bit of regional history that until a few years ago was considered to be the sticks by the people who live in affluent parts of town. It’s an address that suggests good schools and unique local restaurants and outdoor activities.
Relaxed is the word for it.
To be clear, neither of us gives a flying fig through a donut hole about where the other one lives; we’re not hung up on only befriending people who live exactly like we do. Call us non-judgmental, I suppose.
No, the crux of our conversation was about how she’s ended up as an adult living close to where she grew up as a child while I’ve ended up as an adult living somewhere I knew nothing about as a child.
Without belaboring the point by getting pedantic with sociological terminology and geographic nuances, this is a simple | interesting | harmless way to divide people into two categories based on their subjective responses to the following question:
Do you consider where you live now to be your childhood hometown/region OR do you consider where you live now to be somewhere new you moved to along the way?
Micheal Miller works for the dry cleaner/laundry service that we use. He drives the van to pick up then return Z-D’s dress shirts once they are clean and pressed with light starch. Nice guy, very reliable.
It’s my habit at the holidays to give a monetary tip to our laundry driver guy, who this year happens to be Micheal Miller. Thus I did that two weeks ago.
• • •
Growing up I was the child of older conservative parents and was taught that one must always send a written thank you note to the gift giver upon receipt of a gift. This concept of proper behavior was ingrained in me to such a degree that for a few decades I judged people harshly who didn’t send a written thank you note.
It seemed like a slap in the face to me. Disrespectful, even.
Of course over the years society has morphed away from Emily Post expectations plus I’ve grown more forgiving. I don’t hold myself or other people to the high standards of my childhood. In fact, I’ve come to reevaluate what matters to me when I give a gift to anyone for whatever reason.
I’ve decided that I like the giving part more than the being thanked part. I do what I do because I think it’s important to do so, not so I will receive a written thank you note.
• • •
Still, when I found a written thank you note pinned to an empty laundry bag hanging from the hook by the door on our front stoop, I was pleased to see it and said out loud to myself: “Micheal Miller has good manners.”
It was a sincere spontaneous remark. A blessing even.
One that put me in a happy place for the rest of the day as I mused on what seemed to me to be a random act of kindness, a throwback to a different era when a written thank you note was the done thing.
Such as this handwritten message of gratitude scribbled on a piece of paper by an almost stranger.
I GOT A TEXT MESSAGE FROM SOMEONE UNKOWN to me. The message said:
Now that the mortar has had time to cure we would like to finish the cleaning of the brick on Monday
Being a conscientious person I replied:
“Not Jim here. Good luck with your project”
Roger, who knows how to write clearly as evidenced by his [what I assume to be] erroneous text message to me, has not responded to my succinct polite response. Not even a one-word three-letter *thx* has Roger typed my way.
CONCLUSION? I do not like Roger who is a poopy head. He deserves dirty bricks.
THE SECOND NOTABLE THING
WHILE DRIVING DOWN OUR STREET TO HOME I realized that directly above me, hovering over my open car sunroof, was a medium-sized drone.
I quickly checked my rearview mirrors to see if I could figure who was controlling the drone. I could not, so I did what I thought was best. I looked up briefly, smiled, and waved hello to the drone operator.
I did not give the drone operator the finger, nor did I shut the sunroof. I played along like a kind neighbor, in on the joke, whatever it was.
CONCLUSION? I am a good pre-old person who deserves more praise for such.
THE THIRD NOTABLE THING
AS I WAS WATCHING THE YOUNG CASHIER GUY ring up my order at Kroger, I noticed that he’d made a mistake. He had charged me for .65 lbs of rutabagas instead .65 lbs of zucchinis.
[I don’t know how anyone could confuse zucchini for rutabaga, but he did.]
Now considering the last time I got into a conversation with a young cashier guy about produce and how my pear purchase peeved him [READ FULL STORY HERE], I chose not to say a word about the rutabaga/zucchini mistake.
However I realize that rutabagas were $.99/ lb while zucchini were $1.49/ lb meaning that I may owe Kroger $.33 for the zucchini that were more expensive than the rutabagas.
CONCLUSION? I will not lose sleep over this, but wonder how often I get charged the wrong amount for something?
Some of you know this story already, but I’ll be brief, keep it snappy, and tell it here so that the title of this post makes sense to you, my gentle readers.
After 4 1/2 months of waiting we finally got new replacement windows on the front of the house.
It was a tedious, anxiety-producing process that started with a 3 1/2 month wait, involved delivery of mis-measured windows, a thwarted installation, a makeshift faux installation of the wrong windows to fill the holes in the house created by the thwarted installation, waiting… waiting… waiting again…, and then correctly-sized windows properly installed.
A Christmas Pella miracle, she says with a hint of sarcasm.
The result of this home improvement project is: 1) we no longer have leaky broken windows; 2) we are noticing how much quieter it is in the house with new windows; and 3) we have no blinds, my preferred window treatment, to put on the new correctly-sized properly installed windows on the front of the house.
Specifically blinds for the windows in the home office where I sit at the desk while using a desktop computer to write this blog.
But here’s where it gets fishy. Now that it’s darker outside in the early morning, and with no blinds on the windows, I feel like a guppy in a fishbowl sitting in this room. Passersby, whether they be kids on school buses or runners or adults walking their dogs, can see me swimming around sitting at the computer, under the overhead light, doing my early morning bloggy thing, often in my pajamas.
We taped a plastic super strength high density painter’s drop cloth over the windows in an attempt to make this room less noticeable from the street, but it just blurs me, doesn’t hide me.
Ptooey, she says with a hint of defeat.
I don’t like the idea of being on display here each morning but until we get blinds on the new correctly-sized properly installed windows, that took longer to manufacture and install than building this house did, I’ve no choice but to live my life like a fish in a fishbowl for everyone who goes by to see.