Thursday, January 24, 2013

Being Organized Is Not Easy

Knowing an evening aide was coming in, I had gotten home early last night from Katherine’s after helping some there.  I already had chili thawed for our supper, and after supper, I had time to organize for today. Since I don’t always have time to organize, I was enjoying that feeling.  Next I brushed my teeth, arranged  my pillows for sleep in our bed, and come down to write a letter and then relax on the computer.

The first thing that happened to change my plans was Gerald appearing at my office door with a smile and a bowl of freshly popped corn. Earlier in the day he saw me start to make popcorn, something I had not done for weeks or months. I found out that the electrical outlet we use downstairs for the popper, which is permanently situated on its little table in the grandkids’ den was in use. Not wanting popcorn enough to unplug anything, I forgot about the idea.  Gerald didn’t and he came presenting me with popcorn not knowing I had brushed my teeth to be all ready for bed soon. Of course, the popcorn was gratefully accepted and worth brushing my teeth again before bed.

Next the phone rang, and Gerald appeared at the door with the phone saying we had an invitation from our friends Bill and Mickey Tweedy, whom we were supposed to meet for breakfast last week.  They wanted to treat us to breakfast this morning. Could we?  Sounded great to me, and I nodded yes.

In 1998, when I retired from my brief career in family literacy (only the last two years were 52-weeks full time), my house work had piled up during the last months.  So after retirement, I was able to find a younger woman to come in two hours a week to vacuum the house.  She could do it in two hours, whereas if I started, I would invariably be interrupted and it might take me two days or longer to finish.  I have been so grateful for Linda’s help for a couple of years over at the other house and for over 11 years in this house. Our home is on her way to town and she changes here, so in a way, she had no transportation costs. 

Not too long ago she started coming in on Thursdays since sometimes we were having family members sleeping in on Friday morning and there was traffic congestion in the kitchen.  For some odd reason, ever since we switched to Thursday, I often end up having to be away from home that day.  But I just leave her check and she does fine without me here.  As I said, she is a great blessing and a real friend to me. So not being at home was not a problem when I realized we were going out for breakfast on a Thursday.

When I organized for today, I had my grandson’s birthday card and the new roll of stamps I just bought laid out to get in today’s mail.  I’d stopped at Small’s on the way home yesterday and bought a roast large enough for our noon-day dinner and for tonight’s supper for Katherine and Sam. (I have tried to take supper on Thursday nights for a couple of years now, but the last two or three weeks, I have been at Katherine’s house helping out and so I didn't.  When I first started, I tried cooking once at her house and the fumes set off her asthma as did a horrible experience I had not long ago when I burnt something in her microwave and filled the kitchen with smoke.)  So anyhow I wanted to get back on schedule by taking supper tonight since I was not needed there today. It was easy to just switch plans on the roast for our supper too and have something easy for lunch since a late breakfast would not leave us very hungry at noon.

But I wanted to be sure and get the grandson’s card and birthday check in the mail today.  I did not think about it last night after the breakfast invitation came or I could have done it then.   I am a late sleeper, and consequently this morning I was hurrying around getting his card addressed to mail.  That was not as easy as it might seem as I knew I had his college address from last year somewhere on some list or scrap of paper.  Not long ago I had asked his mother to make sure what it was this year.  She messaged me back that it was the same as last year and resent it to me. 

I figured I could find it quicker on her message than looking upstairs at my messy address lists I have used for too many years.  So I wrote his and Linda’s checks and rushed down here to my computer.  I turned it on hoping that I did not have trouble getting on the Internet or on Facebook as I sometimes do.  It all worked beautifully and there was his address in Jeannie’s message—except there was no zip code for Normal, Illinois.

I rushed back upstairs, signed the card and enclosed the check, addressed the card and stamped it. Once upon a time, I could find Illinois zip codes in the front of the phone book, but as I was afraid, that page is not there now. So I started looking for the address upstairs, which was what I had gone downstairs to avoid.  I did not find it, and by now it was past time for us to go.  We were going to keep our hosts waiting.  Gerald was patient with me, but I grabbed my charged cell phone and believed I had the post office number keyed in.  I would call them on the way to town and find out Normal’s zip code. Alas, the post office number was not on my phone.

Bill and Mickey were smiling and welcoming even though we were a tad late, and we had a wonderful visit during and after our breakfast.  Since Gerald’s appointment to turn in our farm books for income tax purposes was this afternoon, I did not suggest stopping by the post office.  When we got back to the farm, I made it my primary goal to start finding that zip code. 

Or at least that was what I intended to do first.  But Gerald said, “Look, Linda left her check.”  I looked and there was Elijah’s birthday check, which meant Linda’s was inside his sealed card.  So the first thing I had to do was put water on to boil and steam open his card and switch the checks. And find a glue stick to reseal his card. And then I called the post office and got the correct zip and rushed the card down to the mail box because although our mail often comes late in the afternoon, if I want to insure something gets mailed that day, the mail gets delivered early that day. When I got back, I served Gerald that quick lunch and had time to think about Linda.  She really should not have to wait for her check although she would have kindly told me to wait until next week.  So I addressed an envelope for her and also took it down to the mailbox.  So much for my organization skills….

I browned the roast and put it in the oven and scraped the carrots to add later. After Gerald left with the farm records, I read a bit and took my nap, which is a new development in my life.  I have never wanted to nap in daytime, but now when I start to read, I frequently fall asleep.  (I excuse that by saying it is not my age but that I go to bed too late.)

In the late afternoon I left a house smelling good with garlic added to the roast like daughter Mary Ellen taught me. I enjoyed a brief visit with Katherine and also with her aide when she arrived, and then I came home to enjoy our roast with Gerald.  With any luck at all, Elijah will get his card on his birthday. 

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