A Day in the Life

Several days ago the remote for the kitchen TV disappeared. I did search through the kitchen trash can, but I’ve been pretty much getting along without it – about all I watch in the kitchen is CNN, and these days it’s just Donald Trump on the screen anyhow.

To set the background – I take long hot baths morning and night, with a book on the bath tray. Right now it’s The Vicar of Wakefield, and I’m about to email a friend who’s an English prof, because I can’t figure out – is that novel in earnest, or was it intended as what Jane Austen called a “burlesque”? But I digress.

So this morning I happened to take a good look at the portable phone I keep next to the tub thinking maybe it was time to re-charge it back on the stand – and whaddya know – it was the remote for the kitchen TV!

I’ve been making jokes about Old-Timers-Disease whenever I have trouble remembering a word (usually it’s nouns, incidentally), but this morning for the first time I got genuinely scared. That was just too close to the classic car-keys-in-the-freezer for comfort.

OTOH, I had remembered to send my kids the newly instituted “I’m still here, it’s OK” morning email. And I remembered to take those antibiotics an hour before I headed out for the dentist – the driving not as simple a task as it sounds. Incidentally, when old friends meet now, just about the first question is “So, are you still driving?” That’s the big dividing line, the next question being “But not at night?”

Anyhow, it occurred to me that the electric Smart, which is in the garage, might not be the best bet, for the dentist’s office is in Bushnell’s Basin, an old Erie Canal village out by the Thruway. The Smart doesn’t have all that much range, and the Thruway doesn’t come very close to Rochester. That was a getting-even by Governor Thomas E. Dewey, when the Rochester publisher Frank Gannett once went after the Republican nomination and showed up at the convention with a live elephant. Which I remember seeing pictures of on some front page. But I digress.

So I tottered out to the Chevy in the driveway using just a cane, only to find I’d brought the wrong car keys. Back to the house, during which trip I noticed I’d forgotten to take the morning painkillers. And the garage-door opener doesn’t work right, and I keep forgetting to call the repairman. But anyhow –


Let’s skip right to the dentist’s office, where I slowly enter, manage three steps to his suite, hang up my jacket – right arm particularly painful, and those hooks are always installed way up by six-foot workmen – only to be told by a smiling receptionist that my appointment is for tomorrow. It seems today is only Monday.

She offered to call the pharmacist so I could pick up more meds for tomorrow’s appointment. And so back to Rochester, where I circled the Wegmans parking lot until I spotted one of those Helpers and got him to leave a shopping cart right by the handicap parking spot. And where, when the prescription still wasn’t quite ready, I bought – it still feels pretty weird – a single baking potato. Weight on Wegmans do-it-yourself scale .68 lb. Cost 69 cents. Bought two bags worth of groceries in all. And the pills still not ready, I went over to use the do-it-yourself blood-pressure machine. 126 over 61. Maybe this would be a good day to buy a lottery ticket.

But I didn’t. Drove home, then realized there’s a good reason why I usually use the Smart for grocery shopping – I can unload it in the garage. It took some figuring to get those two grocery bags up the driveway using only a not-too-dependable cane.

And it’s not yet noon, so I guess this is just a Half Day in the Life.




Author's Comment

I wrote that Half Day several months ago when I could still use a cane. Now I keep a rollator in each car. Too bad about the canes. I have – had – a great collection: solid colors to match each blouse; a lightweight bamboo that was my favorite, black with a fancy brass knob for funerals. But now I’m the world’s leading authority on rollators. I spent several hours on the Internet finding the lightest three-wheelers that I can load and unload myself. No longer five feet tall, in the house I use a Pediatric Rollator. Mine is fully equipped with a flashlight for when I forgot to leave the light on in the next room, a grabber because I cannot bend to pick stuff up and a timer because otherwise I’m going to forget those eggs I’m hard-boiling.



On D-Day, June 6, 1945, teenage reporter Edith Lank was covering her town's reaction for the local weekly. (All the men were away, girls could get all kinds of jobs then.) Post-war, she was a contented housewife with three kids. At the age of 50 she started writing a real estate column, which Creators Syndicate still distributes, 40 years later, to dozens of newspapers and web sites every week. Since then she has published two textbooks, eight books on real estate and one on Jane Austen. She says "textbooks are where it's at; for the rest – don't quit your day job."


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