Before I go, I have something to say

No Column This Week

I’m sorry, dear reader, but I can’t write my column this week. Here’s why:

  • I’m tired. Dead tired. Beyond exhausted. Is it because I rode in RAGBRAI? Tried out for the Olympics? Hardly. It’s the new drug regimen my neurologist put me on after another stay in the hospital. All of these medications seem to have the same two side effects: 1) drowsiness, and 2) difficulty sleeping. It’s a very special combination that has me drifting around the house at 3 a.m. and longing for a nap under my desk at 3 p.m. (If George Costanza could do it, why can’t I?)
  • I have to care for the wildlife. Birds seem to be twice as hungry when it’s really hot, and the bird bath has to be hosed out and replenished with cold water at least once a day. The last thing they need is a hot tub when it’s 95 in the shade.
  • While I’m all for TGIF, I find that my summer weekends are jam-packed with things to do that are 1) fun (plays at Spring Green, backyard dinners with friends), and 2) work (pulling drought-resistant weeks, folding laundry in the basement, where at least it’s cooler).
  • I work. Full time. While I am grateful to be among the fully employed with benefits, it does take up a pretty big chunk of my day.
  • During this headache-free honeymoon, as long as it lasts (and believe me, I’m not taking it for granted), I want to read every book I’ve been stockpiling for the past six years. Why, I even read “The Help,” and it was every bit as good as everybody said, when it came out three years ago. I might even see the movie!
  • I need to worry about my daughter finding a full-time job worthy of her talents.
  • I need to worry about my son graduating from college in December and finding a job worthy of his talents.
  • While I don’t need to worry so much about my sister, who is finally in a wonderful institution designed for the elderly with psychiatric diagnoses, I do need to visit her now and then – a six-hour round-trip which I can’t do alone.
  • It is absolutely necessary that I travel to either Iowa City or Davenport on a regular basis, since Whitey’s seems to be the only ice cream shop around that still knows how to make a proper strawberry soda.
  • Because of all these trips, the car needs washing more often. All those bugs embedded in the windshield have a way of taking the joy out of sightseeing, you know?
  • As much as you might expect me to say something silly like “I need to alphabetize my spices,” I actually did that a while back, mainly because we were going to Madison and I wanted to know what we really needed at Penzey’s, the best spice store on earth. I learned that we had three containers of cardamom, and only a dusting of paprika. It pays to alphabetize. Hey, a new motto!
  • I need to keep up with Facebook. Good Lord, that social network is a siren call. There I’ll be, writing a poem or reading a book, when, suddenly, I will think, “I wonder what’s going on with Facebook? Did Dan finish his class? How is Kathy handling this heat? Has anybody posted a new, heartwarming animal rescue story?” (Did you see the one about the banker catching the ducklings that hatched on the overhang above the sidewalk? How about the one with the three bear cubs stranded in the dumpster? I could watch them over and over. But not, ahem, at work.)
  • I have to update my headache diary. I do this four times a day, and it’s really no excuse for not writing a column, but I thought it might impress you. Every day, four times a day – breakfast, lunch, dinner, and bedtime – I have to record a number for my head pain level and write it on a calendar. Since I started this around summer 2009, I’ve got dozens in a 3-ring binder, and what a tale they tell.
  • I should paint my toenails. I used to do this every summer, when I knew I’d be wearing sandals. It seems less important now, but still, it’s pretty.
  • One thing I don’t need to do is work on my tan. [Warning: This is my annual screed against tanning. If you’ve heard it before, that does not excuse you from hearing it again.] I used to be so tan, it’s as if my skin now refuses to tan even if I try. And ever since my dermatologist removed a black mole that might have turned into a melanoma, the deadliest of skin cancers, I no longer try. I’m sorry, but if you are still tanning, you are abusing yourself.
  • There is a big collection of letters I should be reading. They were a Christmas present from my oldest friend last year, over 100 scans of the long letters I sent to her in the mid-70s, when I was in and out of grad school and marrying my high school sweetheart because I couldn’t find a job. (Boy, what a dumb idea.) I’m finding it hard to read them, but I do want to. I need to understand – and forgive – the young woman who made those bad choices.
  • I need to call the Indian restaurant and ask them to make me some naan and a mango lassi, to which I am addicted. Everybody knows you can’t eat and type at the same time.
  • So, sorry. No column from me this time week. Feel free to color in this big blank space!

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