Tuesday, August 20, 2019
I woke up with gooey eyes and the need to cough every 30 seconds. I’d planned on riding with a friend down to our youth camp but started to reconsider. Ultimately I decided it would be unkind to sit in a car with a friend—or anyone for 90 minutes while I cough my germs all over the place. And because I was not going do what I had planned on doing, I also decided to just take a sick day and stay home.
Is it weird to be thankful for sick days?
Maybe I do feel a tinge of guilt, like I should be truly miserable for the entire day if I’m going to stay home… but I knew I wouldn’t be miserable. I’m just sick.
I also thought about a couple of ladies I know at church who are battling cancer and multiple serious health issues, but have to work because they are hourly employees and they depend on the income. I had asked one if she could just go on public assistance or disability or something during her treatments, and through tears she said it wasn’t possible. She just has to work.
Because I felt a little more pathetic today, I wasn’t as motivated to cook or eat—but my sweet daughter offered to make breakfast and wanted me to coach her through it. She also asked if I wanted to go for a walk, and, of course, I always want that. So we walked Camper around the lake and Ashah held the leash for at least half of the walk, until she admitted her arm hurt from Camper’s incessant pulling and lurching and wild movements—so she handed the leash over to me. I didn’t tell her my secret (my left elbow joint hurts too and I’m sure it’s because of Camper, so I’m using my right hand to hold the leash and I smear my elbow with Aspercreme whenever the pain reminds me to).
The conversation was steady and calm and at a relaxed pace I can handle—it was pleasant.
It’s weird how particular I am about conversations. I know how I like ‘em and I know how I don’t.
We ran into some acquaintances on the trail, and those conversations… well, they weren’t my preferred style and I ended up having a more vivid dialog inside my head with myself, which I shared with Ashah when we were down the trail further. It’s fun to laugh about the things you want to say but know you can’t.
Back at home, Ashah told me her plans for the day and asked me about mine. I didn’t really have much, maybe mow the lawn because I didn’t do it yesterday, maybe take Camper to the vet for vaccines and stuff, maybe work from home on my computer, maybe go to the store later for the things we need.
I did mow the lawn. And I like mowing the lawn—it’s quiet (I have the old-school push mower with no engine except me), it’s repetitive, it’s meditative, and my contemplative self enjoys it… but I don’t want my family to know that because I want all the credit for doing such a hard, sweaty job, especially when I’m not feeling my best.
My dessert after mowing the lawn was a big red strawberry from our strawberry plants that are now in their second cycle this summer – and a few little blueberries too. Simple pleasures.
I’m still crossing my fingers on the fig tree. It has 3-4 little figs that I hope will grow and ripen. Someday I hope to make fig preserves or jam or something like that from my very own fig harvest. A guy can dream.
Camper and I went to the vet. She got her shots and seemed rather undaunted by the needle going into her muscle because she was fully engaged in eating the treat they had given her. I wonder why my doctor visits never involve treats.
We came back home and I hooked Camper up to her long leash on our deck so I could go to the grocery store for the things we need. I also stopped in at the pet store and picked up one of those squeaky Kong floating fetch toys for Camper because the neighbor keeps letting us borrow theirs when all the neighborhood dogs are down in the lake playing.
At the store, I got the items on our list. One of my favorite things to browse and select is fresh bread in the bakery section—the kind that comes in a paper bag, not plastic. The feel to touch is everything, with the slight hint of aroma from its open end.
Maybe someday I will open a boutique bakery.
Or maybe someone else will so I can stop in every other day and buy some delicious bread. There will be more little bakeries in the better world I imagine, hope for, and long to do something for.
Once home, I unload the car and bring groceries inside to the kitchen. I didn’t hear Camper on the deck… and that reminded me of the veterinarian’s little farewell speech: She might be tired for the rest of the day, but if there’s any vomiting or swelling let us know.
I wonder if she’s conked out on the deck, so I wander out there—and she is gone. She’s not on the leash. I have a brief moment of panic until I hear a splash down at the lake and I see my neighbor has freed Camper to play with his dogs. All is well. And Camper is not tired at all.
Shari calls on the phone and asks if I need some comfort food. McDonalds? Wendy’s? I agree to Wendy’s, some fries and a junior bacon cheeseburger or whatever it’s called. Shari says, “Do you want it plain?” I laugh and say “I’ve grown up. I want it with all the things.”
A few minutes later, Camper is now deep asleep on the deck and my paper bag of comfort food arrives.
Salty fries on a sore throat. Like a treat from the doctor.