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Tipping Point

Good morning dear reader! It is currently 7AM and I am squarely deep in the middle of a Nor’easter. Snow began around 10PM, but just lightly; however it steepened overnight. We now have 5” and are forecasted for it to continue until 8PM with rates up to 2-4” per hour with 55+MPH winds. Our totals will likely exceed 20”. Happily it is a light powdery snow so the power lines and trees should not suffer nearly as badly as were it the wet heavy snow we often get around here. Of course light and powdery coupled with wind means drifting which is always interesting. We’ll see what the storm brings us over the next 12 hours!

Speaking of storms and power lines, I bought a generator yesterday – finally. After enduring years of power outages, both winter and summer, I finally bought one. If you’ll recall, we lost power for over a day this past summer and I had to use the inverter on my truck to keep the refrigerator running. It did a reasonable job of that, but marginally; and that was all it could do – nothing else. And we lost power many times in the winter as well.

I’ve always resisted buying one because they are large, difficult to store, and need regular maintenance to ensure they will work when the time comes. And when needed, it is not as simple as flipping a switch (unless you go the whole-house route of course); you need to determine what you want to power, determine if the total load is within the power range of the generator, and then figure out exactly how to get the power to what you’ve chosen. Easy for plug-in items but more challenging for hard-wired things like a pump of furnace. But I now have one and hopefully buying it means no loss of power here for the next three years!

Aside from this raging storm, there has been little else to report here. We watch our newest grandson most every day of the week so mom can work. While my wife could easily manage that alone, caring for a 6-month-old is a lot of work and I just can’t possibly see it fair for me to leave her alone with him while I go off to do something like hiking or whatever; that’s just not what partners do. And honestly he is an absolutely charming and adorable little guy and spending time with him is a great fun.

Well that turned out to be a long break! I stopped writing with plans to pick it back up the next day, as I often do, but ended up going almost two weeks without coming back!! My apologies for the time out. I really am struggling with my new weekly schedule, not in that it is hard, but rather in that it is so different and I have not yet adjusted to it. I get up at 7 in the morning and have a half hour before it is time to head to my daughter’s house to watch Teddy. Yes, I could get up earlier but seeing as I like to stay up late at night, I prefer it this way. We get back home around 5, and it is time to bring in firewood, get the fire going, get the mail, pay bills, order groceries, and all the other little daily odds and ends.

My point is, I don’t have my laptop there (it just wouldn’t work out well with a 6-month-old) and I don’t find much time to write once I am home. It will get easier and I will adapt more readily as time goes on. It won’t be long before we will be bringing him here for most of the day, which will open some measure of opportunity for getting back to a routine with my rambling in this monologue – all part of life and all good! I am so grateful for this time with the little guy.

As I began this post, we were facing a blizzard; today we are facing near sixty-degree weather! Crazy weather but not all that unusual for February. I suspect I’ve written of this in the past, shame on me if I haven’t, but despite being smack dab in the middle of winter, February can bring some truly spectacularly warm days. I usually associate it with Washington’s Birthday (yes, now President’s Day). Going back as far as I remember there has always been a day or two of wonderful warmth in February that serves to remind us that spring is coming. This year it is a little early, but welcome none the less. But enjoy it while it is here because they are calling for a return to winter tomorrow with snow, and then getting back down to the low-teens overnight.

I am coming up on a birthday – a week from today in fact. I mention it for a couple of reasons, none of which may immediately make much sense. Birthdays were always a big deal as a kid, but began to lessen in importance as I aged. There may have been a few here or there that regained some measure of excitement: 18th and 40th perhaps – sort of milestone dates. But on the whole, they did not register much in my life through the years. That may be due to the fact that I was so busy with working and family and all; just no time to acknowledge or reflect on a birthday.

But now that my life’s curve has turned the opposite direction and I am on the downslope, birthdays receive a little more self-notice. I am nowhere near as busy – in fact hardly busy at all – so that surely plays into it. But I think there is more. When you are 42 you are typically still on the upward curve of life. And frankly, 41…42…43, what’s the big difference? They run together and become sort of meaningless. One begets the next and life moves on – not a lot to take note of there.

That generally still holds true in the 60’s. However, I am finding some unexpected changes in my thinking as I approach this birthday, my 66th. Mentally hitting 65 was not a huge deal to me, it was more about the service-related aspects of life such as Medicare. But for some reason, 66 is hitting me harder than I would have expected and I am not completely sure why. I know that at some point or another, we all tend to take pause and reflect on where we were and where we are in life on key dates such as New Year’s and more often, our birthdays.

I suspect that part of it may have to do with the ridiculous trip and fall while carrying that refrigerator a few weeks ago, but honestly haven’t spent much time trying to confirm or deny if that is really the case. I think my first reactions immediately after the fall were to try to get back up on my feet as fast as possible to show it was no big deal and then to next find a tangible and plausible reason for it happening; any reason besides my age. Because I knew that when anyone sees a 65-year-old man fall carrying something, their first thought will inevitably be that he was too old to be carrying that.

I also suspect that, to me, 65 was not a big deal because I was still closer to 60 than not. But 66 is no longer closer to 60, it is closer to 70. Yes, in my mind a one-year difference can result in a decade change. Crazy, right? But it is what keeps popping into my head: a 65-year-old can still be thought of as middle-aged – as distinguished, capable, strong, virile, sexy, manly. But a 66-year-old is an old man closing in on 70 years-old. And that is a tipping point in life. And that is truly weighing on me as I approach it. I am sure I will find a way around it; as we humans always do. I’ll make some mental adjustments to allow me to pass 65 without considering myself an old man.

And rightfully so because truthfully, I don’t feel old. I feel strong and capable. I know I can’t do many things like I used to; I can’t run as fast, but I can still run. I can’t knock off 10 chin ups on a bar but I can still do them. I can’t drop and do 75 pushups, but I can still manage 40 or more. Time exacts a steep toll on the human body and mine is not immune. But I can still do everything I used to do, just perhaps a little less…slower… My point is that while my mind is working on convincing me I am about to become an old man, my body disagrees. More to come on this!

I will wrap this up with a couple of comments on the pandemic. Fauci has declared it is no longer a pandemic – it is now an endemic. For a huge number of people in our world though, it is over. People are done with it – tired of it, fed up with it, and sick of it (pun intended). Inflation and product prices are now the focus for most people. But the virus remains, and will likely continue to evolve with new variants, and will certainly resurge in the fall along with the annual influenza virus, probably joining with each other to create a whole new strain.

What remains is the analysis of the past two years: the lockdowns, the distance learning, the masks, etc. John Hopkins just released a study that claims the lockdowns only reduced the COVID mortality rate by 0.2%. Now when you look at total COVID deaths, even 0.2% represents a lot of people. But it means that 99.8% of the people garnered no benefit from the lockdowns. I never really had a problem with the masks, and certainly had no objection to the vaccine. And I will certainly have no qualms about getting another booster in the fall, should they recommend one (as I am sure they will).

Ultimately time will tell a clearer tale on the last two years, not that is matters much; it’s in the past. And I am profoundly grateful for that; we are back going out to eat, going on small trips, and planning on going to the movies again. I look forward to this summer and hopefully a full return to “normalcy” (whatever that is)! Stay well dear reader!!

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