I thought maybe, just maybe, my run-in at the beginning of the Mercury Retrograde cycle might be the major event. Possibly the rest of the time could go by without incident?
In preparation for the usual breakdowns and tech problems, I bought a new phone and had my car serviced.
My husband was sent to Houston, and I was ready.
Before He Left
It began with two eye attacks, the last one severe enough that my husband told me to throw my beloved contact lenses in the garbage.
The left contact lens was stuck in my eye for four hours. I tried everything to get it out. My husband got right in there and did his best. We went to two pharmacies looking for the tool to remove it that the internet assured me every pharmacy carries – except mine.
I’ve had contacts for about thirty years. I only feel like me with them in. With glasses I lose my depth perception when my entire vision isn’t correct from every angle.
Bascom Palmer Eye Institute is nearby and I wandered in with a bloodshot eye and tears of pain streaming from my left eye. They informed me that they were not an emergency service and could not take me since I wasn’t a patient.
This is so Mercury Retrograde.
“But I am an existing patient, I got my contact lenses right here. On the second floor.”
No, they said. That contact lens service actually rents space from them, but is not part of them.
They wanted to know if I had called that service, which is several hours away in Miami.
Um, no, I can’t see.
But did you find their number and see what they wanted you to do now?
Um, no, I can’t see, can’t find their number, don’t know what their name is, and I’m here because this is Bascom Palmer EYE INSTITUTE with hundreds of ophthalmologists. Surely one of which can help me since the Emergency Room said to “see an opthalmologist” and the internet assures me that all one needs to do is wet the end of one of these syringe plungers and it will pop right out, possibly saving my eyesight?
I sat in the lobby and observed everyone around me, who had clearly been waiting for hours. My little kids would not be denied Halloween. I was supposed to be at work. My husband was desperately trying to get work done before he had to leave for Houston. He walked outside to get cell reception and there I sat, knowing this could be hours of waiting and there was a good chance no one would ever see me, and then what was I going to do?
So I sat for a second and I had this idea. I walked over to the wall mirror where they sell glasses in the lobby and I told my contact lens it was going to come out. And it did.
After He Left
My husband left for Houston, I dropped my kids with my Dad, and I went directly to Costco where the nice lady picked out glasses for me since I could not see.
I acknowledged my Mercury Retrograde lesson: sometimes you have to be willing to give in and adapt. Even if it means you are now old with dry eyes and will never be able to have good peripheral vision again.
It was a blow to my pride but, carry on, right?
I thought I was doing really well, taking those kids not just home from two different schools every day after work but now taking on my husband’s job of delivering them on time, too. Tired, but functional.
Then I turned a corner on a road I don’t ever travel and got hit by a face full of sun. I ran over the curb with my brand new alignment. Boom. BOOM. Front and rear.
Then, face full of old prescription glasses falling off my nose, I backed up a few days later and ran over a curb AGAIN.
That night I went home with a list of things to do. I walked in, dropped all of the bags on the kitchen table and went directly to the bedroom to get changed. Standing there naked, looking for clothes that apparently never got out of the dryer, I heard it.
It was a blaring alarm. But it wasn’t the fire alarm. We didn’t have any other alarms. What in the world?
It was the thirty year old Sub Zero refrigerator that came as a built-in with the house and has been repaired no less than one million times. By my husband. Who was in Houston.
The five-year old helped me push a chair over so I could take the grill off. I had seen my husband do this many times and had even helped…sometimes it just needs to be cleaned. The grill was held by a spring so tight that I couldn’t get it off. I looked to see how it would come off and couldn’t figure it out.
I called my husband and he started talking me through it. Problem is, everything that looks so easy when he does it is an issue for me. First, have to find a screwdriver. And a ladder. They have to get into the kitchen. Then I am informed how the grill folds out and down (aha!). The motor is running, the fan is not, and even I know this means it has to be unplugged or it will burn up and possibly catch fire. Four more days until husband comes home. No sleep that night for me and the kids if the noise doesn’t stop.
The thing is, my husband does not know where the plug is. (What? You are supposed to know everything!) So I start emptying cabinets high and low, climbing up and down the ladder, and foolishly holding on to the top of the cabinet to aid in getting down. I say foolishly because the wood came off in my hand and I fell down the ladder.
I am sweating and panicking and the alarm is intermittently going on and off. I know this means that I have to find the box in the garage that controls the electrical.
My husband tells me to get my oldest son and have him stand in front of the open refrigerator door while I flick the panel switches on and off. I have now turned almost everything in the house on and off.
I keep yelling,”Kid! Is it off yet?” and I hear a muffled reply. I get a yes, and am about to hang up with my husband when I remember my son…and go into the kitchen to check. Every light in the kitchen is off EXCEPT the fridge, whose door is still wide open and shining a light. My son is already in the living room watching tv. “Get back here!”
Finally I see (through my bad glasses in the dark garage) that there IS one marked “Fridge/Freezer” and so I turn it off but mistakenly hit more than one switch. I yell,”Is the REFRIGERATOR LIGHT off?” “Yes!” So I ask him as I flick the other switches off, “Is this it? Is this it?” and again, I get no answer.
I tromp back up the garage steps and once again, the nine-year old is already in front of the tv. At which point I go crazy, and I look crazy, sweating, a phone stuck to my ear and glasses akimbo. The five-year old helps me figure it out. Thank God the big one has the little one because I am not going to live forever.
At this point I tell my husband,”Thank you! I now have complete and utter empathy for every single time I was “helping” you and walked away before you were really done because I “thought” I knew what was going on!”
I’m not sure if he appreciated this or not, but I did. I used to get really upset when he would yell about it in utter aggravation, but now I knew exactly how he felt.
Finally I started taking the food from one refrigerator to the other. Yes, we have one of those tiny fridges in the garage which does actually hold food, although when I peered in it was holding some terrifying looking worm and maggot type things of my husband’s. I had to throw out four garbage bags worth of perfectly good food, and put what I could in that tiny fridge. Every time someone wants something, or I need to make lunches in the morning, or I have to cook, I have to traipse up and down the garage steps, over sawdust and septic issues. It’s like running a gauntlet.
I like to think I am competent at one or two things, but household repairs are not on the list. Just trying to write this post, the little guy overflowed the toilet and somewhere – I don’t think in my house but I am not sure – there is ANOTHER alarm blaring.
I have a lot of Life in my life, but it’s dwindling.
Have you noticed how much has been changing lately? There is plenty of “out with the old” going on in the world, whether it’s people, pets, things or pride. If there is something you need to accept, like the aging process, it’s here to say,”Hello! You are getting old! But fear not, just let that youth and pride crap go and we’ll meet you on the other side.” There has been plenty of help available and being offered, if you are willing to accept it, and accept it you should, even if that means swallowing a bit of pride along the way.