Monday, January 16, 2017

The Art of Aging--or Not

Larry has been having all kinds of issues this winter--back, neck, knees. Just one pain after another. The docs, of course, say arthritis. I think it's more than that; I think it's something to do with a disc in his lower back. So we are working through all the various tests and xrays the doctor orders and eventually they will find what we've been telling them from the start.

Meantime, life has been...interesting...around here. In September we both walked miles a day in England and Wales but today he can't do more than a block without enough pain to make him want to stop. He's using ointments, his walking stick, pain patches and this really cool lavender-scented wrap thingie that you heat in the microwave for a bit before placing on the place that hurts. It was a gift to me from a daughter-in-law years ago and it is one of the best things I know for easing muscle pain. Larry is also taking meds and they help some. But not enough.

The doctor recommended a board under the mattress, or sleeping on the floor. Larry decided to try the floor first. I put down a cot mattress and got him sheets and blankets and he crawled in. It was terrible. At least he got some sympathy and company from Daisy the dog, who laid beside him while he was down there, licking his hand. She felt sorry for him, I guess. Or maybe thought he was in trouble and couldn't sleep in the bed.

Next we tried the board under the mattress. Now to make this work right, it had to go under the whole mattress because we were using the wide table leaves and it took three of them. One wasn't wide enough and two meant I was half on, half off and that, my friends, just wasn't going to work! So we both slept, or tried to sleep, on a rock-hard mattress for about a week. Larry usually got up about 4am and went to sleep on a chair or the couch because he was so uncomfortable. I just tossed and turned and cussed.

All these attempts included middle-of-the-night shenanigans, and not the kind you're thinking. While on the floor, he needed to get up in the middle of the night because he was so uncomfortable and that meant he needed help, which meant I had to get up. The next night he was back in the bed, but hurting. So we got up and put the first table leaf under the mattress around 2:00 am. Much horsing about, which meant a long time dozing back off. The board was so narrow he was afraid he was going to fall off, so he was waking up often, which meant I would wake up too. Lights on, lights off, lights on, lights off.

Then the next attempt with two leaves under--Larry was sleeping when I came to bed. I got in, laid down for a split second, and was back up, yelling, "No way!" Half on/half off just didn't work at all. Lights on, and we found the other table leaves, lifted the mattress and got back in bed. Lights off. Back on to find the heating pad. Off again. Back on when he needed a pillow under his legs. Off. Back on to put ointment on his neck. Off. And then both of us restless all night because of the unfamiliar hard mattress. And he was up and out to sleep in a chair.

One night--or was it morning?--we were up and doing something with the boards, I think. The lights were on once again as we fussed around trying to get things right. I looked at Larry and said, "We're like a couple of old people, up in the middle of the night muddling around and grumbling!"

And it dawned on me: we are old people! I mean 65 is considered old, right? And yet, I don't really think of myself as OLD. I mean yeah, I'm getting Social Security and Medicare, at least until Congress messes it up. I have gray in my hair and some wrinkles. But most days I don't feel old, and I certainly don't think of myself that way, even if I am stiff and shuffling some mornings.

So when does a person finally recognize and admit that they're old? Or do they ever? Do we continue to see ourselves as capable and strong until we're so bad off that we can't function? I don't know. Meanwhile, the night-time rodeo is at a stalemate. His neck still hurts. His back and knees still hurt. I hurt in all the same places as before.

But I am still working hard every day, painting and lifting, cleaning and moving stuff, walking all over the place and busy, busy, busy. He groans around for a while in the mornings then can't help himself--he's back at it too. Right now he's collecting rocks so he can finish his stone wall that's been a three-year project. Later he'll be on the roof of the chicken house nailing down some loose tin.

Aging is physical for sure. Getting old, though, I think that's all in a person's mind. At least until they're really, really old. Whenever that is.

Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Why I'm Marching

I'm not a big radical. I'm not a particularly political person either. I'm one of those that are usually labeled moderate liberal--on some issues I'm conservative as can be, but on others I'm over there on the left. My main focus is what is good for the most people.

Which brings me to the Women's March on Washington. I am planning to go. Or if that doesn't work out, then I will be marching with the Sister March in Charleston, WV.

I grew up in the 60's and 70's but I was not one of the protesters back then. My father was ultra Republican and he had strong views about what women should and shouldn't do, and more importantly what his children should and shouldn't do. So I was pretty much a good daughter. I remember going with my boyfriend to DC to see the burned out places and the tent city during Martin Luther King's time and the civil rights protests. My father would have skinned me had he known. But that was about the extent of my radical teens.

Now I'm an old granny. I have grandchildren and even great-grandchildren. I live in a conservative area in a state and county that has voted Republican the past three Presidential elections. I tend to keep my head low and my views to myself. So why am I marching?

I am marching to honor the past: all those women who struggled and went to jail and marched for women's right to vote. I am marching to honor the veterans who fought in wars to protect our right to peaceably assemble and speak freely. I am marching to honor my friend Ellouise and all the women who worked so hard in the face of strong resistance to get the Equal Rights Amendment passed. It never was ratified but their fight was long and saw many successes.

I am marching for the immigrants: the ones who came over 200 years ago to build the America we know today, the ones to whom probably over 90% of us can trace our roots. I am marching for the ones who came later, to escape repression of their speech, religion, and race. I am marching for the ones  like my German great-grandparents, who came to America seeking economic opportunity. I am marching for the ones like my mother who came after WWII to this new land to start families with their American soldier husbands, who found their way in this sea of strangers to start a new life. I am marching for the ones here now who are afraid of what will happen to them and to their families in the next four years.

I am marching for the future: for my granddaughters and great-granddaughters, that they will continue to enjoy the freedoms and rights for women that they take for granted. That they will one day have pay equity. That they will one day not be judged by their gender or by their looks but by who they are and what they do. That they will be able to love and marry the person they choose, regardless of race, social status, or gender identity. That they will never be told they cannot do something because they're female.

I am marching for myself: for all the times I've stayed quiet to avoid making waves, for the years I worked for less because I was a woman, for the many, many times I was told I could not do something because "girls can't." For the times my parents would not let me associate with people of any race or color other than white.

I am marching because of my morals and ethics: I want to let our soon-to-be President know that this granny does not support a man who bullies and belittles others, who treats women as property and worse, who lashes out, often with lies and half-truths, against anyone who speaks against him. This granny will speak against him.

I have lived through Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush 2, and Obama. I have not always agreed with the policies, and sometimes the personal behavior, of some of these men, but they were our Presidents and I respected them. I did not protest their decisions even if I disagreed. This time is different. This time I have to say enough is enough.

That is why this granny is marching.

Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Another Update: Marietta Booth

This was a get-back-to-work week for us! We hadn't been to Marietta for a month--the time slipped by so quickly, and then it turned so cold I didn't want to be away from home that long. So we had lots of catch-up work to do.

Sales were good in December but they're in the toilet so far this month, worst we've ever seen. We assumed the lower sales in October and November were election-related but now I am not so sure. Other friends with retail businesses tell me that they're having the same issue--people are coming and looking but not spending. And restaurants are seeing lower than usual traffic too. So we'll see what happens the rest of the month. I'm running a sale for the rest of the month and probably into February, so we'll see if that helps.

Meanwhile, here's a bit of what we did:
We found this table last weekend and the yellow chairs about a month ago. The table needed only a little cleaning up to be ready. We have had the red chair for a while and decided to just put it in the booth, and priced all pieces separately so people can mix and matcg as they choose. The big silver tray was badly tarnished but cleaned up nicely.

Lots of shiny chrome appliances!

Changed up the display on this table to include silverplate, and some candleholders. Sometimes just moving things around helps them sell.

Looking into one of our booths.

Again, changed up the items on display. Next trip we'll be doing some major changes to this area, moving the Hoosier, etc. to give this booth a fresh look.

I love this Hoosier. It has a fantastic capacity, can hold all kinds of stuff.

Peeking inside the Hoosier--nifty cup rack, isn't it? There are two of them. Quite a few Swanky Swigs have gathered in this booth, so I got them all together.

Afghans, quilts and books on this tall shelf because the floor is shaky in this area and it's not a safe place for glass. It's not unsafe, just, you know...old.

This corner cabinet isn't nearly as wide as the photo makes it look!

I gathered up barware for display on the porcelain-topped table.

The old phonograph is still here. I set it up so people could see inside.--and put a 25% off sticker on it.
That's bit of what we did, anyway. I packed up quite a few things to be stored or gotten rid of--sometimes that has to happen too, if something's just not moving and taking up a lot of shelf space. So today I have some sorting and packing to do as we unload the van. It's a stuff in, stuff out business for sure.

Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.
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