The 70-Something Blog is now The 80-Something Blog. Stay tuned in ten years for The 90-Something Blog!

Two Little Stories

1. I eat a handful of blueberries every morning because they are good for me. Last Saturday, after visiting Peter at his rehab, I stopped at the farmers’ market on the way to the subway because I had eaten my last blueberry at breakfast.  Normally, I would peek at a few vendors’ stalls, but just as I got there, a light rain turned into a torrential down pour, and I had no umbrella.  So, I bought the first blueberries I saw.  They were $1 for a pint, so I thought.  I quickly handed over a dollar and received a bag with four pints of blueberries.  My neighbors and I are still eating them.

2.  Our sons are very good about calling their father.  Jeremy reported the following.  He asked Peter what was most exciting about the possibility of his going home.  He did not get the answer he expected, namely “to be with my lovely wife.” Without a moment’s hesitation, Peter replied--“THE FOOD!”

                                                            The End


Friends of Friends are Friends

I’ve known our friend Gordon longer than I’ve known Peter. On many biking vacations taken with him and his wife Christa, we often celebrated his July birthday together in some foreign country.

Last week, he turned 90 and Christa had a party for him.  Over the years, I’d met most of the guests. I recognized their faces, I remembered where they were from and often what they did for work.  What I didn’t remember was their names. And they probably didn’t remember mine. 

Two of Gordon and Christa’s granddaughters were there. I had baby sat for the older one when she was only weeks old.  And now she is a beautiful young junior in college.

Driving home, the names started coming back, too late to be helpful. 

Note to self: Add name tags to shopping list for next party.

 


Independence Day Thoughts

I’ve always loved July 4th. As a kid, I was usually at overnight camp on that day, and camp made a big deal of celebrating. I still find Boston’s July 4th fireworks magical.

But July 4th isn’t quite back to pre-pandemic.  Although I love being able to see friends and relatives again, I know that there are many places in our country where vaccination rates are low and a new Covid-19 variant is spreading.

This year I am worried about our country and where it is going. Does the world look to the U.S. as leaders anymore? What are the consequences to us of China’s clamp-down on Hong Kong? Where are we with the countries of Africa?  How much did our kids lose from learning by Zoom?

And how can Whole Foods not carry my favorite gluten-free bagels anymore?

Happy Independence Day


A Caregiving Hint

Chances are that you’ll be a caretaker someday.  Or that you will need one.  So, from time to time, I’d like to give a helpful hint about caretaking.

When I got to Peter’s rehab room on Monday, he was away at his physical therapy session.  When Lindsey wheeled him back into his room, he told me that on the way out, he had dropped his glasses, but didn’t want to hold up Lindsey so would I please find them.

I searched and searched including some very unlikely places.  I found a pen top or two and a fork, but no glasses.  I went to the nurses’ desk to ask for help.  Help looked at all the same places in vain, and then said she had another idea.

Moments later, she was back with his glasses.  Where had she found them?  In the kitchen.  How?  He had left them on his lunch tray, and they were taken away un-noticed. She said that this is a common occurrence—that’s why she knew where to look.

“Usually,” she said, “It’s their hearing aids!”


Judy on the M(B)TA

After not taking the subway for over a year, I am now a regular user of the MBTA “Red Line” for my daily trips to visit Peter.  I know where to stand in stations at both ends to get the car that will leave me closest to the right exit at my destination.

You can imagine how many times I have heard at every stop: “Face Coverings are required on all MBTA vehicles and in all stations.”  It became a bit annoying.  Then one day something was amiss with the sound system, and there was no such announcement.  I rather missed it.

However, I came home and through the miracle of YouTube, I watched The Kingston Trio’s 1959 hit, "Charlie on the MTA".  Then I watched it again.  And again.  Unlike today’s music, I understood every word. 

I sang along.


Home Alone

For five months, I’ve been home alone most of the time. Believe it or not, there are some upsides (which I would happily give up if Peter could be with me).

First, I don’t have to worry about leaving him alone while I run an errand. In addition, at breakfast, I get the front page of the newspaper first.  I eat when and what I feel like, and sometimes I don’t have a protein, a vegetable AND a starch on my plate at dinner.  Our apartment is tidier, and I do less laundry.

But now that the pandemic restrictions are lifting, and I am having some social life, I recall that when my father died decades ago, my mother hated that she came home alone after a social event and couldn’t gossip about it with him.

In the past week, I have been to two social events that I thoroughly enjoyed. 

But coming home alone…not so much.


Rehab

 Rehabilitation is care after an accident, a surgery, or stroke that can help get back, keep, or improve abilities that are needed for daily life.  Since the end of January, Peter has been in rehab facilities for a total of ten weeks. He is now in his fourth rehab institution for an undetermined period of time.

Because of Covid restrictions, I could not visit at all at the first one (though I did drop off treats regularly); at the second I could visit, but I had to take a covid test each time.  At the third, I could visit every day by myself as long as I wore a mask they gave me and answered questions about Covid symptoms daily. In Peter's current rehab, I can visit every afternoon but Friday and Sunday for forty minutes IF I make an appointment in advance.

Making sure that Peter is getting the help he needs in rehab is my new full-time job, a job I didn’t apply for.  My heart goes out to all those who work so hard to help people get their lives back.  For the most part, they are kind and caring.  But it takes an advocate to make sure that nothing falls through the cracks.

And that’s me.


The Light at the End of the Tunnel

The North End is a top Boston tourist destination, if not for Paul Revere’s House or the Old North Church, then for the many small Italian restaurants that spill into its narrow streets.

It’s been years since I’ve visited the North End, but it is my daily destination now that Peter has moved to a sub-acute rehab center there.  I take the subway because it is impossible to park nearby.

On my first visit, I was astonished to see the number of tourists wandering around the area. It was a beautiful summer-like day, and it seemed that everyone decided that they’d had enough pandemic.  I intended to bring Peter some goodies from Mike’s Pastry, but the line was two blocks long, and I didn’t want to miss my visiting time.

On the way to the subway home, I stopped at the Haymarket Square produce market. As new college graduates living on Beacon Hill, my roommates and I used to shop there on the weekends.  The prices are higher now, but the ambiance hasn’t changed.

I bought an avocado for old time’s sake.

The subway home was crowded with people in Red Sox shirts on the way to Fenway Park now that it is possible to see baseball in person.

Boston is open for business.


The U-Curve

Perhaps you’ve heard about the U-Curve, the theory that the happiness we have at birth begins to decline around age eighteen.  At age fifty, happiness returns to an upward trajectory and peaks at the end of life.  I was somewhat skeptical of this theory.  How could you be happier as your options become fewer?

I’m less skeptical now.  The past six months have been very challenging ones for me due to Peter’s health and the Covid 19 pandemic.  Yet, I am not unhappy.  I do miss many of the things that a younger me could do.  But there are so many things that I can do.

It’s all about expectations.


Taking a Break

Logan Airport was bustling last Friday morning. And I was flying for the first time since Thanksgiving 2019!  My flight was full.  Jet Blue’s corn poppers were available.  Almost like old times.

Our family has done a lot of Facetime, but there is nothing like seeing grandchildren in person.  Leo, our older grandson has a driver’s license now.  He drove his brother and his grandmother to Dunkin’ Donuts.  Grady is taller than his older brother, maybe 6’3”.  They each allowed me to hug them for about five minutes before they retreated to their bedrooms—where they spend most of the time that they are not in front of the refrigerator.  Of course, I loved hanging out with their parents. Even Bucky, the dog, seemed happy to see me.

Two other notable events: 

  • Being asked to take my shoes off at security, meaning someone thought I was under seventy-five.
  • Jeremy’s response to my offer of help with dinner: “It’s about time somebody did something for you.”