Why Disable Power Breaks?

The luxury of sleeping through the night is history. But I will try to avoid complaining. Lately, I have been able to nap, at least briefly, during the day; that makes up for sleepless nights. Today, though, I think I will have to forego napping; today, napping could be dangerous. It’s odd, my sleep pattern. Midnight. Two. Four. Last night, at midnight, I awoke with an awful cough, triggered by sinus congestion and drainage. The sinus congestion is not new, but the extent to which it triggered such a ferocious coughing fit is, thankfully, rare. But not unheard of.

I tried to avoid complaining. Right. And then I set about doing exactly what I said I would attempt to avoid. Frivolous grievances seem to find their way into my head and out through my fingers. I have more weighty things to complain about, if I were to choose to complain.

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Tonight’s Taco Tuesday gathering has morphed into a pizza fest, thanks to Beehive being closed for repairs. Instead of a small gathering at Beehive, we’ll have a small, masked, socially distant gathering at my house. So, I also will miss something else that I learned this morning will occur tonight. Home Plate Cafe is hosting French night tonight, including Ménage à Trois and escargot, and chateaubriand, among other  French attractions. What a surprise to learn that, in what is primarily a conservative retirement community, Ménage à Trois would be on the menu. Perhaps I live in a more adventuresome place than I thought. But ménage translates into “housework.” Ménage à Trois translates into “threesome.” So, this risqué expression may refer, in the Village, to housework for three, not an arousing, titillating experience.

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My plan for dinner last night, preparing lamb vindaloo, dissolved in a cloud of my torpor. Luckily for me, my wonderful neighbor called, offering some smoked pork tenderloin her husband had prepared for their dinner. I readily accepted and she delivered it to my door. It was outstanding. So, my lethargy remained intact. But even if I have to force myself, I will prepare lamb vindaloo tomorrow night; letting the remaining leg of lamb spoil would be a crime against man and Nature, which I will not abide. While in Little Rock, I may visit an Indian grocery to pick up some green cardamom pods; apparently I do not have any and the recipe calls for them. And the base curry sauce required for the recipe calls for ten large onions, a quarter of a head of cabbage, six tablespoons of various other Indian spices, and nine tablespoons of garlic/ginger paste. I think I will plan on a much-reduced recipe of the base curry sauce. The recipes, though relatively simple, are time-consuming. The lists of ingredients of both the vindaloo and the base curry are as long as my arm. I love the sweat-inducing heat of very spicy Indian food. Years ago, a good friend introduced me to the phrase “hurts so good” in describing Indian food. I wonder whether she remembers?

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Attempts to escape from grief induce guilt. When I think of or plan time with people in an effort to get my mind off loss, I invariably feel a sense of guilt, as if I am being unfaithful. But I know, intellectually, I need to escape from grief from time to time. And I know, intellectually, those times need to be more and more frequent and longer and longer in duration. Yet even acknowledging those facts seems like abandonment. Either way, the mental pain is difficult to live with. But in saying that to myself, I feel even more guilt in the knowledge that others, in the millions, have dealt with more deeply excruciating pain than mine, and for much longer periods. Intellect and emotion do battle with one another, neither willing to budge from their steadfast positions, nor accepting of the idea that adjustments might be possible to satisfy both. Even reading about how to deal with grief seems like a ploy to justify abandonment. Sometimes I think the overtly masculine demeanor of “just soldiering through it” may have some merit, although I suspect that method of dealing with grief can do long-lasting damaging to one’s psyche.  One way to deal with it, I think, is to just take a damn break from it.

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For months, I have spent little snippets of time off and on to remove some hideous wallpaper borders from just under the ceiling in a couple of rooms; the laundry room and the “workshop” area behind the garage. I’ve been in no rush, obviously, but I have planned to get the job done so I could patch the spots where the wallpaper peeled paper from the sheetrock. I want to paint those rooms after I smooth the damage, making the walls ready to accept paint without leaving tell-tale signs that three-inch strips of paper once covered horizontal bands along the ceiling. I’m getting there. One day soon, I will move massive amounts of crap out of the way (including a washer and dryer) so I can put down protective tape and paper on the floor in preparation for paint. And, then, I will paint. That project, when finished, will give me an enormous sense of accomplishment, despite the fact that it really amounts to, probably, only three full days of work.

At about the same time, I will begin going through stuff that has been stored behind the garage for almost seven years without being used. It’s a safe bet I will never use those things. That includes several power tools that still work, but which weigh two or three times (or more) what newer tools weigh. I have a circular saw that must weigh fifteen or twenty pounds; maybe more. A new high-power circular saw today might weigh eight or nine pounds. I’ll need a truck to take all the excess junk to the dump or to recycling. A moving van might be more like it. I’m afraid, though, that once I remove all the excess stuff from the garage (and inside the house), the building might be so light it will float away.

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I know about fostering homeless animals. But that concept worries me. How would I know, for example, whether the creature is house-trained or sufficiently well-behaved that it will not ruin the furniture or tear into foodstuff in the pantry? Those concerns, among some others, prompted me to conceive of the idea of pet-rental. Pets could be certified as house-trained, etc. so the renter would feel confident the rental experience will be positive. In some ways, the concept of pet-rental would be a little like engaging a housekeeper whose references have checked out. Like hiring a housekeeper, one need not make a long-term commitment until the chemistry is right. I’m in favor of this.

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I hope I can keep it together today. Despite the assurances from people that it’s okay and even therapeutic to let one’s emotions flow, often it’s best to keep them in check until one is alone. Isolation allows emotional meltdowns to take place unnoticed by the rest of the world, avoiding embarrassment and more.

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Donald Trump should be institutionalized. He is a power-mad narcissist whose self-interest is dragging the U.S. closer and closer to the collapse of democracy. And his enablers in Congress should be jailed. Just thought I’d mention that.

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I do need a break. I should not disable my power breaks.

 

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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