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, February 26, 2023

A long week is over

Beautiful clouds

 We've had some interesting weather this week: incredible cold and an unremitting frigid blast from the Canadian Frasier Gap, where often in the winter we get this long period of strong northwesterly winds that just keep howling, until some of us feel like we're ready to move away, to anywhere that isn't blowing like this. 

And then, like magic, it stops. One day it all stops and we return to placid days with sunshine and I tend to forget pretty quickly how much I hated the wind. By and large, I am very fortunate to live somewhere that the weather takes care of itself, and I can begin to think of spring, not too far away now. But what do we have coming, after a lovely day with high overcast skies?

Front porch watering can (with a previous year's snow)

Snow is forecast for the entire area, pretty much, but we might luck out and have temperatures warm enough to give us rain instead. We, however, have not seen anything approaching freezing for well over a week. (That did change overnight.) Even with plentiful sunshine, it was still very cold. It has helped me to develop a grumpy attitude. I decided midweek that I needed to do something about it.

I called my acupuncturist for an emergency session, since he can help get me back on track more quickly than anything else I have found. And sure enough, it did help a great deal. Then on Friday, I had a pre-scheduled massage session, and that was enough to help me over the edge of my ill temper towards a little bit of cheerfulness, even feeling a smile spread across my face as I drove home from her studio.

Two good things happened this week: first of all, we got our taxes prepared and mailed off to the IRS, with help from the Senior Center's AARP volunteers. For the first time, we won't get anything back and had to pay a small amount. I've been withholding a small percentage from my annuities, and it always has given us a couple hundred dollars in return. But this year, with the Social Security increase, we had to pay. So I'll make sure that next year's amount to be withheld will be sufficient to give us a small return. It's amazing what a psychological difference it makes to get something back instead of having to pay.

The other good thing is that I went to my hearing provider's office to be fitted with hearing aids. I had the results from the tests, and all I had to do was decide whether I wanted to order the "advanced" version or the "premium" ones. My co-pay ended up being $2000, for two top of the line devices. I asked what the difference is between them, and she told me mostly is how much she, the professional, could tweak them to mimic natural hearing. They are bluetooth enabled, meaning I will be able to control them with my iPhone and listen to phone calls, TV programs, music or podcasts through my hearing aids. I know that is what John has, because sometimes he begins to talk to nobody (it seems to me) when he answers a phone call (which I never heard) with a quick tap on his ear. I also learned that if I had to buy them myself, I would have had to pay $6000 for them. You can rest assured that I wouldn't have gotten them at that price!

I don't know if I will have them yet when I write this post next week, but you will know exactly what I think of this investment. I have a 60-day return window and a three-year warranty. I also chose to pay a little more for rechargeable batteries. Once these are paid for, my next purchase will be a new laptop. I've grown accustomed to the one I have and know there is always a learning curve when I get a new one. So that is in the future, after I have grown accustomed to my new ears.

Once you appreciate one of your blessings, one of your senses, your sense of hearing, then you begin to respect the sense of seeing and touching and tasting, you learn to respect all the senses. —Maya Angelou

Christine, my hearing specialist, carefully entered all the information she got from my hearing evaluation into a spreadsheet showing my own particular pattern of hearing loss. She told me she thought I would be very happy with my hearing aids, once I get used to them. I am a little ambivalent; I really hoped she would tell me my hearing was not that bad. But trying to differentiate the words deft, death, deck, or debt from each other is impossible. I realize I often use context to determine words, and that should all change once my new ears are familiar to me.

On my other blog I asked the question of whether most people think of Sunday as the last day of the week, or the first. I asked because I am confused by how I feel about this day, but finally with help, I decided to think of it as the last day of the week, with Monday being the first. Even long into retirement, I need to remember what day of the week it is, since I do have appointments and classes to attend. 

I've decided to take up knitting again, starting with making a warm hat for my friend Melanie. It came to me as something I need to do while I was soaking in the ministrations from my massage therapist. Realizing that there was a time when I enjoyed creating things from yarn, and that I need to move away from constantly being tied to my computer, it seems like just the perfect thing to take up as I begin my journey into becoming an octogenarian. Long ago, I made sweaters, socks (I didn't like making those at all), hats, and vests. I remember learning how to make complicated cable stitches, and I figure it will all come back to me fairly quickly. 

And then, as the spring flowers begin to emerge from the ground, I will once again enjoy the beautiful environment that surrounds me. I also enjoy seeing what others who have grown old along with me find to do with their time. And I will again pick up my Kindle and finish the book I started about quantum mechanics. Who ever thought that would be such an interesting concept? Not exactly a page-turner, but it stimulates my thoughts about what is real, who we are, gives my mind something interesting to contemplate, and helps to expand my sense of the universe. Moving from the esoteric to digging in the dirt should help me to regain some balance in my life, don't you think?

Pretty primroses

My dear partner still sleeps quietly next to me as I compose this, and I can feel myself beginning to emerge from the cocoon of my bed and think of how much I will enjoy the day ahead. I do truly hope that the coming week will surround you with lots of love and joy, and I wish the same for myself. Until we meet again next week, dear friends, be well.


ApacheDug said...

Even if you had to pay back a little, it's a great feeling isn't it? Getting your taxes squared away? That old saying about not escaping death & taxes certainly rings true. Well DJan, that was both good news (and a very interesting read) about your new hearing aids. While I have poor vision, I've never had any hearing loss and the examples you gave of misunderstanding words and deciphering based on context... wow. It just kills me though how much you have to pay out of pocket still. $2000! Unreal! I'll be anxious to hear more, pardon the pun. And finally, for reasons I can't explain, I am glad you chose Sunday as the last day of the week not the first! I knew we were on the same team, haha--I hope your week ahead is filled with good sights & sounds. :^)

Marcia LaRue said...

Your Sunday messages are such a nice way to end one week and start the new one!
Congratulations on getting the ole taxes taken care of! Mine are done and refunds deposited already! I do the free TurboTax online! I got a surprisingly large refund back from Colorado State because I am a senior and pay rent in a senior residence!
Enjoy your day the very best way you can!

Rian said...

I too am on the team "Sunday is the last day of the week"... and we too have done our taxes and deposited the return. Getting a return (no matter the size) is always something to look forward to. As for the hearing aids, I'm definitely interested in how that plays out since I'm also on the cusp of deciding the same. Certainly won't do $6000, but don't know if Medicare will pay anything at all.
Glad to hear that the acupuncture and massage have lifted your spirits. Here I will have to rely on chocolate and a calming cup of tea. Although DH does give me a foot massage ever so often that does relax me tremendously. Take care, my friend!

Anvilcloud said...

Occasionally, i start to search frenetically for my phone, as others look on perplexedly. I don’t think I can answer by tapping, however. It would be nice if i could.

Rita said...

That is why I keep asking people to repeat what they've said...can't afford hearing aides--lol! Glad you're in a better mood. Far from spring here. ;)

aurora said...

Sunday is also the last day of the week for me.

I will welcome aided hearing when my time comes. I had no idea ears had gotten so fancy! Best wishes for a quick adjustment to hearing clearer albeit differently.

Digging in the dirt and growing plants is indeed uplifting & healing. I am really looking forward to it, especially this year.

Linda Reeder said...

I hope your hearing aids bring you the restored hearing you hope for. Sometime in the not too distant future I am due for an upgrade on mine.
Mine are linked to my iPhone as well. I was on the cutting edge of that technology when I got mine. Music quality is poor though through my hearing aids.

Gigi said...

Yay for getting the pesky taxes done - that's always a dreaded chore (we haven't even started). And yay for new ears - yikes, that's expensive but will be an expense well worth it, I am sure. Have a great week, DJan!

John's Island said...

Gotta do my taxes and so maybe you’ve encouraged me to get it done this next week, which, by the way, begins on a Monday, at least that’s the way I’ve always thought of it. Now, the hearing aid thing has me really fascinated. I visited the new AI ChatGPT and asked about the range of prices for excellent hearing aids. Got a great report back and learned that there are four different types of hearing aids.
1. Behind-the-ear (BTE)
2. In-the-ear (ITE)
3. Receiver-in-the-ear (RIC)
4. Completely-in-canal (CIC)
Each of the four types can range in price from $1,000 to $4,000 PER EAR. So your $3Ks ($6K total) are in the upper portion of the range, and probably CICs. They are described as the smallest and most discreet and they fit completely in the ear canal. Hope you’ll keep us posted and let us know how you like them.

Galen Pearl said...

I know what you mean about reading The One. I can only handle a few pages at a time, and I've quit trying to understand every detail -- just trying to get the general idea. I'll be interested to hear your review of the hearing aids. I'm sure that is in my future. My friend who has the fancy ones like you're getting likes them very much. But when we're talking he loses the connection when he walks away too far from his phone, so keep your phone close by! Good luck!

Far Side of Fifty said...

Good that you are getting hearing aids:) I hope you like them and can hear better:) During March the weather can do just about anything and changes from day to day...and March will be here this week. The wind blows here ALL the time...at least at home in the woods it did not blow everyday:)

Red said...

Hearing aides? I wear them. they are much better than nothing. In some situations they are great and others not so good. In a crowd or noisy places they are not that great as you hear the noise more than what you want to hear. You're getting the right thing with the bells and whistles. I use the speaker phone as it's difficult to get the phone receiver right over the hearing aid microphone. My advise? For sure get them .

gigi-hawaii said...

I am glad you bought rechargeable batteries. Makes better financial sense.

Linda Myers said...

I got hearing aids a couple of years ago, but got out of the habit of wearing them during covid. A mask plus glasses plus hearing aids were too much for my apparently small ears, and the aids fell on the ground more than once. Now that I don't wear a mask as often, I should probably start wearing them again.

Tabor said...

Hearing is an extremely important sense for safety, emotional health, and preventing early dementia. At 6k I would have found a way to pay for it, but I am glad that your insurance assisted. I never thought of acupunture for depression.