Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Broken Promise

     "I never throw up," I bragged to B on one of our first dates. This was sometime in 2003. At the time I was working on a no-throw-up record of almost 30 years.

     B was pretty; she was smart; she had a great personality. I liked her. So I thought this was a good selling point for myself. I mean, who likes someone who throws up a lot? But I guess what I was doing, with my lame attempt at humor, was making a kind of promise. I would stay healthy for her. She was not signing on to be my nursemaid. No throwing up.

     The last time I'd thrown up was in 1974 or 1975 when I'd had a terrible bout of the flu. And, well, stuff happens. Soon after, I fainted and cracked my chin on the bathroom sink as I went down. My wife (my first wife) panicked when she saw me crumpled on the floor with blood running down my face. She called 911. The first thing I knew, I woke up with my wife hovering over me and two male faces murmuring some mildly reassuring words.

     That's how bad it has to be when I throw up.

     But last weekend . . .

     We had just gotten home from our trip down south. Our grandson had had a bout of stomach flu. So did someone else in the family. But I kept my distance, washed my hands. And anyway, that was four or five days earlier.

     The morning we got home we went out to breakfast at a diner. We had never been there before, but it was crowded. Must be good.

     I ordered eggs, pancakes and a side of fruit.

     The portions were huge. But the fruit looked good. I dug in. As usual, B forked a few pieces for herself. But I was the one who gobbled up most of it. 

     Later that afternoon I just felt tired. I don't know why. I'd slept well. I hadn't really done anything vigorous or taxing. But we'd been traveling. That creates more stress than you think. Maybe it made sense that I was tired.

     At dinner the food, to me, looked intimidating. I ate a bite or two of chicken. It was too rich, too spicy. The asparagus seemed stringy and hard to chew. I left most of the meal on my plate.

     I did the dishes, as usual, then went upstairs to my desk. I tootled around on the computer for a bit, then B came in. We had an engagement the next day. She wanted to discuss what time we should leave and other details of the outing. I looked at her and said, "I hate to say this, but I don't feel so good."

     She looked disappointed, but understanding. "Well, let's see how you feel in the morning."

     It was about five minutes later when for some reason the thought crept into into my mind: I'd better get to the bathroom.

     I'll spare you the details. But it's a good thing I did. Because my now more-than-40-year throw-up record was over. In spades.

     Luckily, B decided to sleep at the other end of the house. I got more exercise than sleep that night. But finally around 5 a.m. I settled down and slept till about 10. I heard the phone ring a couple of times but didn't pay attention.

     I got up for an hour or two and found that B was still there. She had canceled our engagement. Then I went back to sleep. I got up again around 2 p.m. B asked me if I wanted anything to eat. I said no. She asked about dinner later on. Some toast? Chicken soup? No. No. Then I saw a potato on the counter. "How about mashed potatoes?" I asked.

     I took another nap from about 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Got up. Ate a few mashed potatoes. I was worrying that I would lie awake all night since I had slept most of the day. But no. I fell asleep listening to a podcast and stayed asleep until 8 a.m. the next morning.

     I got up. I don't know if it had been the flu or the food, but now I felt fine. Well, mostly fine. I felt like I had been through a fight, and was now recovering, like the guy in the movies who is sitting there half-dazed with a bandaged face and an arm in a sling.

     A day later I was back on my feet. I went to my class, played table tennis that night. I had met the enemy and had won. And the silver lining -- I'd lost about five pounds. But it took two days out of my life. And I had broken the promise I'd made to B, all those years ago.

Monday, December 2, 2019

Too Much to Do?

     I woke up this morning to the tune of "Here Comes Santa Claus" on the clock radio. B insists on setting the alarm for 6:10 a.m. because twice a week she wakes up early to get to her 7 a.m. yoga class.

     Most of the time I don't hear the radio in the morning. I'm a good sleeper. But how can you resist the gentle, mellifluous voice of Gene Autry from so long ago? I love the old Christmas songs, the ones that herald in the holiday season. Yes, the holidays are upon us, and our Baby Boomer bloggers are preparing for the season.

     To kick things off, Meryl Baer at Six Decades and Counting tackles the subject on many of our minds. Shopping. In Small Business Saturday and More she recounts all the special shopping opportunities we have these days, from Black Friday to Cyber Monday. But she ends, appropriately for the season, on a different note, reminding us about Giving Tuesday.

      Rita Robison of The Survive and Thrive Boomer Guide offers some holiday advice from her perspective as a consumer and finance journalist. She suggests that we make a budget, compare prices, avoid impulse items, keep receipts. But there's more, so check out her post Tips for Shopping before you hit the stores, virtual, brick or otherwise.

     Rebecca Olkowski of BabyBoomers.com reminds us that the season is really all about gratitude and counting our blessings. It's sometimes hard to do, she admits, when times are tough, but making the effort to feel and express gratitude can actually help us get through our challenges. In A Time to Be Grateful she reflects on her own life, which includes dogs, family, home, cancer, and the world we live in.

     Jennifer from Unfold and Begin is also grateful for the year that is drawing to a close. As she tells us in Be Thankful for What You Have she left Connecticut in 2019 to find a new life in central Florida. Now the blogger shares her first-hand experience about moving so far away from home . . . and how she now eagerly awaits "what's next."

     Carol Cassara of Heart, Mind, Soul has been thinking along the same lines as Jennifer Kolsak. Except she lives in California, not Connecticut. And she hasn't actually changed her life; she's only thinking about it. She's beginning to realize, she says, that as we age we tend to lose patience with nuisances, inconveniences and everyday problems. Things we might have done as a matter of course when we were younger become "too much trouble." So in her post Is My Love Affair with California Over? she examines life today in the Golden State . . . and if, for her, the love affair has run its course, or if, like any other love affair, it just has its ups and downs.

     Finally, Laurie Stone of Musings, Rants & Scribbles, asks us: Do you feel the holiday pressure starting to kick in? Do you feel the need to get everything done on time . . . on a budget . . . with a smile? As she watched her to-do list grow ever longer -- trees, wreathes, cards, decorations, stockings, holly, cookies, gifts -- her inner Scrooge started to well up. But then, like me, she heard a song. It was an unmistakable voice, one we all remember, one that for her would Save Christmas.