Monday, July 24, 2017

Headed Toward Normal

It was 11:07 PM when I first walked into the kitchen. I finally stop watching TV (though Sunday night is filled with TV favorites) and got up to DO something.  It wasn’t as if I hadn’t done anything all day; it had been a productive day on many fronts  I’d made a chicken and broccoli salad that I took to a friend’s to lunch and help reorganize kitchen cabinets  a fun job for me and helpful to her.

I’d gone to help the once-husband unpack a carload of our daughter’s stuff that he’d just helped pack and drove to his house to unload and store; and I’d decided to see (via email) if it was possible to arrange a weekend reunion with some college friends in a city where none of us lived.

I had my lists of to-dos (getting ready to leave town for my nephew’s wedding) and among the many items was making a tomato tart.  I had tomatoes freshly picked from a friend’s neighbor and now there was a possibility my friend and her family might come for dinner and I didn’t have any idea of what I would make.  But the tomato tart would come in handy. I needed to get up and make it.

While I was slicing the onions and sautéing them (with olive oil and the lemon thyme I’d just cut from my little garden) I started thinking about a question someone asked someone else in my presence:  

“When were you the happiest?”

That was some question. It wasn’t a question I’d ever thought about answering.. And while I was trying to think of my answer to that question, surprisingly the answer just popped up   “Now.”

That was surprising.   There were so many happy-s in my life:  Happy when I met my husband; happy when we got married; happy when I had my kids; happy at so many times but (and this was “but” big) all those times I was happy, I was also saddled with stress and/or worry.  Always.  My other twins: stress and worry.

All of those happy occasions in my past were times when I was in control, managing a lot, taking care of a lot  people and things.  I was orchestrating my life and theirs.  No one asked me or demanded I do it.  It was my mission.  It was what I thought was my lot in life and I was pretty good at it but it wasn’t great for my relationships and it wasn’t ever carefree.

Now most of my day, my every day, is spent only on taking care of me.. It’s a pretty easy job!  For the most part I feel happy and content.  I may have times when I wish I weren’t alone and times when I wish I had a partner to do things with  things like listening to music, dancing, or trying out a new recipe on.   And I’d like to be working some, but that hasn’t worked out yet but still  for the most part, life is good and I’m not worried!  I just signed a new lease (Has it been a year already?), my physical issues are behind me at the moment and I don’t have much stress.

I’ve never lived this way before. Living this way now is really a gift; and whatever it cost to get this gift, well, I guess right now I’m feeling the payoff.  It was 11:30 at night and I was doing exactly what I wanted to do when I wanted to do it.  That is my life these days.  Amazingly.

It’s been two long years of real transition but right now  I think I’m starting to edge into the phase of what might become my new normal.

I’ll keep you posted.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Dear American Airlines

Dear American Airlines,

I have been flying American Airlines since I was in college (40+ years ago!) and have always been a fan but never more than a recent trip I took (with my American Advantage miles!) from RDU to (get ready) Martha’s Vineyard by way of DCA.  I had received an unexpected and lovely invitation to visit the Vineyard for a few days and then decided to see an old college friend living outside Boston before heading back home.  I was amazed that I could do the trip with my carefully saved miles and could actually fly in to Martha’s Vineyard (saving me the bus and ferry fares to get there). I was thrilled.

The day of travel June 25, there were weather issues elsewhere (loads of rainstorms) and at RDU we were waiting and waiting for our plane to arrive.  I began to get nervous knowing that my connection in DC was a tight one.  I tried to stay positive.

Our plane arrived around the time we were due to take off but still, it was only a forty-minute flight.  I stayed optimistic (not my natural state of affairs).  I kept telling flight attendants I had a tight connection; could they be sure I had the wheelchair assist at the gate?  Between two bad knees (getting shots in July, fingers crossed) and more recently a “collapsed” left foot, a wheelchair saved me pain and further damage to an already-not-great ankle.

We landed at 1:38 pm (about 30 minutes later than expected) but I was relieved, “I’ll make the plane with a scramble,” I thought as the flight to MVY wasn’t due to depart until 2:17.  Still, it was going to be tight.

And then.  And then we didn’t have a gate.  Or we had a gate but the gate was changed. Or we had a gate but then it was cancelled.  Another four minutes before we could head for our gate.  But then another plane was assigned to that gate ahead of us.  The clock kept running, the minutes were slipping away.  2:01pm.  I reluctantly thought, “I need to find out when’s the next flight,” and saw there was NO next flight.  Hmmm.  I looked on the next day, Monday, thinking I might have to stay in Washington DC overnight and take the first flight in the morning but no matter how I searched, NO MATCHES to be found.

Bummer.  I realized maybe American didn’t fly to Martha’s Vineyard during the week…now what?  I asked a flight attendant was anyone else on board headed for that connection?  No.  Only me.  “They’ll never hold the flight for one person,” I said to her mournfully.  I was almost in tears.  So close and yet so far.  I wasn’t sure what was possible to do.  Most of the options were time-consuming and too expensive.

Finally, we headed for a gate.  I’d already texted my host that there was no way I’d make it there that day.  UGH.  We all started to line up to exit.  I got my overhead bag out and braced myself trying not to be too upset and then, and THEN the first-class flight attendant at the door said, “Martha’s Vineyard com’ON, they're holding the plane for you!” and my eyes widened and my face lit up and the passengers ahead of me stepped aside while I scooted to the door where the wheelchair and a gate agent were awaiting me.  Things happened so quickly I never got anyone’s name I just started thanking people as we flew toward gate 34.

“I can’t believe they’re holding the plane…you don’t have another flight today and I couldn’t find one tomorrow…”

“That’s why!” this lovely gate agent said to me, “Don’t worry, they knew that and they’re holding the plane.  You gotta have faith!” and as I whizzed through the door onto the jet bridge and was wheeled down the ramp and quickly made my way onto the plane (with the next two flight attendants welcoming me aboard and congratulating me on making it) I just felt so lucky and so grateful and so thankful that someone, MORE than one someone at American Airlines decided to go out of their way and make my day.

Thank you for such terrific service!
Taken from my window, happily making the flight to my vacation!