I stepped from Plank to Plank
A slow and cautious way
The Stars about my Head I felt
About my feet the Sea.

I knew not but the next
Would be my final inch -
This gave me that precarious Gait
Some call Experience.

Emily Dickinson, c. 1864

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Thirteen years

Cherry tree in bloom

We moved into this apartment complex thirteen years ago now, and this tree was the first thing I saw as we pulled into the parking lot, with SG driving a U-Haul and me driving my silver Honda Civic. He had made an earlier trip to the area and found this place for us, left his own car and flew back to Boulder. The two of us arrived April 17, 2008 to begin our retirement years. This seemed like a good place to gain a foothold in the area. We did move from one end of the complex to the other in 2012, but otherwise it's been our home all these years. Twenty-six units make up the place, with lots of open area around us, which has changed over time, but it's quiet and mostly serene, and we see no reason to move anywhere else.

Many tenants have come and gone, and our rent has almost doubled over that time, but we have a community garden in the back, a large front porch and two entrances to the unit, which I had never enjoyed in an apartment before. I think it's a wonderful addition to apartment living. We live simply and have good relationships with our neighbors. People are mostly respectful of each other's space, and most of the children are on the far end of the complex. I do occasionally hear them playing and find the sound soothing, much as I find the birdsong coming from the trees.

It's not ideal, but it comes as close to ideal as we could find around here, and we are happy to be renters and not owners. We try to live lightly on the land and have only modest needs. This past year during the pandemic has been hard in many ways, but it would have been the same wherever we lived. Our county is undergoing a resurgence of the virus, but it seems to be getting under control, and most of the community is respectful of the need for masking and social distancing. We are in what is called Phase 3 of reopening, meaning that restaurants, gyms and bars can have up to half capacity in their facilities.

So much has changed during this past year, but we are slowly but surely regaining some normalcy, although I am still doing my yoga classes through Zoom, and frankly I prefer it in many ways. Once we return to the studio, only a few people at a time will be able to be inside, and we will need to bring our own mats, blankets and other props. Being in enclosed spaces still bothers me, even after having been fully vaccinated. I shop at the local Costco during senior hours, and mostly spend my time in close contact with only a few regulars. The coffee shop is still closed for anything other than buying takeout. I really miss hanging out inside. My usual spot these days is the passenger seat in John's truck. It's so much better than not having any place at all to visit. The weather, however, is now beginning to warm up enough to gather outside. 

Our ten-day warm streak of full sunshine is gone, and now it's just a rainy drizzle and makes the warm cab in John's truck much more inviting than sitting around outdoors. Once I finish my post and take care of the usual morning activities, I'll drive to the coffee shop and enjoy a latte with him. And I will be very happy when we will once again gather indoors to log onto our iPads and share stories. That is a ways in the future, however. I need to be happy with what we do have, and to be grateful that I can still get outside to enjoy life.

I'm trying to change my rather gloomy mood right now. Last week I finally made it to the dentist's office for a cleaning and an exam. It had been well over a year, and I knew I needed it, although I'm one of those people who rarely appreciates having good dental care until something really hurts. Everything checked out well, except for one back molar, which has a deep "pocket" and needs to be extracted, according to the dentist. My options are limited, but since there is no pain from that tooth, I am really skeptical about the necessity for losing it. I've never had any tooth pulled except for two bottom wisdom teeth long ago. My two top ones never descended and have never given me any problems.

I did get my dentist to agree to give me a prescription for two valium pills, one to be taken the night before, and the other the morning of the procedure. But of course the whole process is constantly on my mind. I have two more weeks before the big day. In my Trailblazers weekly Zoom meeting, I heard horror stories that have NOT helped me feel better about it at all. I'm wondering if maybe I should get a second opinion about the necessity of going through all this. But then again, it seems quite common for people in their old age to lose teeth. I'm willing to consider anything, but I sure don't need to hear more stories about what might happen. My dear husband has had two pulled during the past few years, and he didn't go through anything so horrific, so maybe I'm just making it all up. But it sure is on my mind a great deal of the time.

Other than that, however, I seem to be doing quite well overall. Although my sister Norma Jean likes to brag that she doesn't have any aches and pains, mine seem to be mostly in check at the moment. Never does a day go by when I don't have to nurse something that hurts; usually it's my knees or my right ankle, but one grows accustomed to having these little annoyances. At least I do. 

I wonder sometimes how much my daily exercises help me. Every morning I perform the Five Tibetan Rites, and I realize it's now been almost a decade that they have been part of my daily routine. Several friends have also been doing them, and one thing I know for sure is that they have helped me with my lower back pain. I also try very hard to get 10,000 steps on my iPhone every day, but lately it's been hit and miss. When I was going to the hi-lo aerobics class four times a week at the gym, it was no problem: the class always gave me more than half of them in an hour. I wonder if that class will resume someday. If so, I'll be there. I miss all those fellow regulars who were there along with me and wonder if there will ever be a time when we'll be back together. It's been hard to let go of what I loved.

Everybody has to deal with tough times. A gold medal doesn't make you immune to that. A skater is used to falling down and getting up again. —Dorothy Hamill

You know I couldn't end this post without finding a quote from somebody, and once I started looking I found this one from Dorothy Hamill. I am very used to falling down and getting up again, I do it almost every day. And the need I have for routine means spending some of my Sunday morning reading quotes, looking for just the right one to leave you with. It was the image of Dorothy trying and failing, and getting up again and again that stayed with me. 

And with that, I have reached the end of another Sunday morning post. Now I can get up and out of bed, while my dear partner still sleeps next to me. The sun has already risen, but it's cloudy and drizzly out there, not exactly calling me to get on with things, but you know I will. It's my nature. And I do hope, dear friends, that this coming week will bring you joy. Life is good and I'm looking on the bright side. Until we meet again next week, I wish you all good things. 


gigi-hawaii said...

Hang on to your teeth. If that tooth causes you no pain, why remove it?

Linda Reeder said...

I need some JOY too. I'll be actively pursuing it as I try to do some work in my garden each day this week.
BTW, I have had three extractions in the last year, and they were not awful. Minimal pain. Be brave and stop scaring yourself. :-)

ApacheDug said...

DJan, as someone who's an apartment dweller like yourself, I enjoyed reading the backstory of your & SG's apartment, thanks for sharing that. I do miss having an outside space. My last place which I lived in for 24 years had a nice patio, but was run down and poorly managed. My new place , no patio--but it's much bigger with plenty of windows, a new kitchen & terrific management. There's always give & take. I certainly sympathize with your upcoming dental appt (and losing a tooth), if it does need to happen, it's not going to hurt as much or long as you think. (I'm embarrassed to say I'm an old pro, having a few removed.) The Valium will be such a big help too. I hope we get an update on this when all is said & done.

Elephant's Child said...

I fall often (literally and figuratively). So far I have managed to get up again and hope you do too.
Good luck with the tooth. I hope it goes easily and well.

William Kendall said...

At this point in my life apartment living makes more sense.

Gigi said...

I find that it's never helpful when people share their horror stories about a procedure. I know they mean well...but it lends to excessive worrying. I agree with Linda, stop scaring yourself. The odds are great that you won't have any issues.

Have a wonderful week!

Far Side of Fifty said...

I had to have two extraction at once and the Oral Surgeon had nitrous...that makes it much better! You will be okay...did the Dentist take an xray? I have a wisdom tooth that the Dentist said should come out but it has caused me no problems...so I have not scheduled that and he said that about three years ago:)

mary said...

I would get a second opinion.

Red said...

Your tooth situation sounds iffy. The guy didn't seem to give a solid reason for the procedure. Second opinion? Yes. Or maybe just ignore it for a while.

Arkansas Patti said...

I waited till mine hurt before getting it pulled last year and I really wish I hadn't for the pain was pretty miserable. The extraction was not a problem and went smoothly. The problem came when it started hurting late Friday so it was a really uncomfortable weekend before the Dentist could schedule me.
If you are concerned this guy may be jumping the gun, a second opinion wouldn't hurt.

Anvilcloud said...

Good for you re exercise. I can't get around to a regular routine, for I am weak of mind.

Tabor said...

Infection is a serious issue with teeth...so make sure that keeping it is wise. Much of our health depends on our teeth. Like you, I have not been to a dentist in almost TWO years due to COVID. Hubby has been twice already not that we have our vaccines. I must call this month!

Marie Smith said...

Moving at any age is a challenge. Moving as a senior is tough as one leaves behind friends and neighbours and looks to establish in a new area. We were fortunate as you were to move someplace we really enjoy.

Covid has collapsed our lives and challenged us in every way. I get my first vaccine tomorrow. May we get back to a new normal, closer to the old one, soon.

Rita said...

I remember your move across the complex, when you started the Five Tibetan Rites, and your huge decision to quit jumping. Covid has changed everyone's lives. I know it has been harder on people like you who had always been socially and physically active. So glad life is starting to return to normal and you got to see the tulips again this year! *love and hugs*

Mary said...

I was going to say leave the tooth alone until it hurts, but then I remembered an infection can cause heart problems. So I’d say remove it. I’ve had two removed...one was easy peasy...the other broke and had to be taken out in pieces. But I had enough Novocain and there was no pain..all good in two days.

Linda Myers said...

Tomorrow morning I am leaving my small winter home in Tucson for a three-day drive to my small summer home near Seattle. We are living more simply these days as well what with the aches and pains of being older.

Glenda Beall said...

Like you, I have been a bit gloomy. Although I am with my sister recovering from a fall, and we always enjoy each other, I feel a need to be home in my lovely NC mountains. One day I will likely have to move and I will not want to own a home. My house owns me, I think. I long to meet with my old friends and laugh and talk again. As soon as I am able and the weather is good, I hope to do just that.
I sympathize with your dental problem. The dentist will likely want to replace your tooth with an implant. If in doubt, get a second opinion. Take care and enjoy each day.