Yesterday, I was proud to do something I haven’t done in six months: I left the house by myself.
Those sound like the words of a broken old recluse, don’t they?
But I’m not really a recluse, you know. I have Jeff. And I do go out when he takes me somewhere.
Furthermore, I have reasons why I’ve been staying home. You may choose to call them excuses, but I don’t.
My confinement started last December when it started to snow… and kept snowing until April. In our development, the owners of each unit are allotted one space in the carport and one space in the common parking areas nearby. Since Jeff and I each have a vehicle (God forbid I should call his precious truck a car!), this is usually fine.
When snow is expected, though, the complex expects us to put one car in the area behind the main clubhouse, so they can plow the parking areas near the residences.
Jeff and I decided we should move my car to the clubhouse and put his truck in the carport, since he’s not retired, and needs to leave home on a regular basis.
So that’s what we did.
Now, it’s not like I can take a quick walk over to the clubhouse… it’s more than a mile away, and anything more than a block or two wakes up my infirmities. An evil genie deep within me sounds the alarm to every organ.
Lungs! Shut down!
Head! Get dizzy!”
I know better than to cross that bastard.
But I expected Jeff to drive me over to pick up my car a day or two after that first snowfall. The swift arrival of the second snowfall was unexpected. Or the third. Or the nineteeth. Or the forty-eighth, for crying out loud.
It snowed all stinking winter, and most of the way through spring.
And my poor little car sat there, all alone, covered in snow, while I stayed home getting older and crankier.
Finally, as May rolled around, I said to Jeff, “you think it has stopped snowing?”
“I don’t know,” he said.
None of us did.
“Should we take a ride over to the clubhouse and see if my car is still there?”
I was half expecting someone might have thought it was abandoned and towed it away.
We went to the clubhouse, and were thankful to learn that my little car was right where we left it.
Of course, it had a dead battery and a flat tire, but it was still there.
Since Jeff is a mechanic, I was not concerned. I thought he would wave a magic wrench, sing Bibbidy Bobbidy Boo, and get my baby back on the road.
He used some kind of gizmo on the tire which had always worked in the past. This time, it didn’t. He jumped the battery and let the engine run for half an hour, to see if it would sustain a charge. It wouldn’t.
So now we had to wait for payday.
And when it came, my lawfully wedded wizard found an air compressor that would do the trick on the tire. Then, we jumped the car again, took it for a cautious, but hope-filled ride, and went to Auto Zone for a new battery.
I’m sure that when the car started, white smoke poured from the muffler and wafted up to heaven, signaling the start of a new era.
Yesterday, as soon as I woke up, a thought flashed into my mind: “I have a car again. It’s in the carport, where I can walk to it. I can go somewhere.”
Overwhelmed, I turned over and went back to sleep.
A few hours later, I woke up… no more refreshed, and somewhat guiltier.
“I can now run all the errands I’ve been needing to run. I can take myself to the laundromat. I can do the food shopping. I can get that haircut I’ve been needing so desperately.”
I could go back to sleep.
No I couldn’t.
But I could write my blog, read my webpages, watch some TV, play with the cats, and maybe even take a shower.
By five o’clock, I had run out of diversions and excuses, and realized I needed to hit the road.
So I did… after I found my keys, and my wallet, and my shoes, and my cane.
I walked out the front door and was surprised to see that the roses in front of the house were in full bloom.
Damn. The last time I stepped out we still had daffodils.
Squinting like Disney’s Mad Madam Mim in the bright glare of that “horrible, wholesome sunshine,” I went to the carport. I grasped the fob on my keychain, pressed the button with the little open lock, and heard my sweet little car chirp its welcome.
I got in.
I still fit behind the wheel. That was a plus.
I turned the key, and the engine started. That was sheer music.
I put my new prescription sunglasses on, turned my head, and backed out of the carport without hitting anything.
Triumphantly, I rode out to the supermarket.
Using the shopping cart to steady my gait, I bought everything on my shopping list. I began getting tired, then dizzy, about three quarters of the way through the store; luckily, I found a bench between the pharmacy and the floral department, where I was able to sit until I’d regained my strength. I celebrated by picking up two ferns for my living room, promising to water and feed them regularly.
The poor gullible fools believed me and got into my cart.
Then I drove home. Happily, Jeff had just got home too; I found him outside chatting with a neighbor. I grabbed the ferns and a bag filled with melting ice cream sandwiches; he, dear soul, brought in the rest of the groceries.
We celebrated with a lovely steak dinner.
And now, we’ve arrived at today.
I woke up, had a nice cup of coffee, and went back to sleep.
I woke again, had another cup of coffee, and worked on my blog.
There’s nothing on television.
After I take my shower, what should I do? Go to the laundromat? The hairdresser? Drive to upstate New York and visit my daughter?
The possibilities are endless.