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Saturday, February 20, 2016

Middle Age Has Arrived

Becoming middle-aged requires a great deal of money. First, there was the neck surgery three years ago, which brought me to the verge of bankruptcy. Today, it was bifocals. Bifocals. $560 bucks on little old lady spectacles. And that was with my discount (not one for senior citizens – don't go there, or I'll hit you with my cane!), and apart from the cost of the eye exam that recommended them.

Nowadays, they have "progressive lenses" (isn't that a positive spin on increasing visual debilitation?!), which don't have an obvious demarcation line (so the only clear lines around my eyes are on my skin), so it's just graying hair and shrinking stature that will testify to my advancing years. My mother says I'll find them easy to get used to. I suppose I'll have to, or start wearing two pairs of glasses suspended around my neck like my boss does.

Work continues interesting. I drink large cups of tea and tisane, eat dozens of wintergreen mints and am constantly rearranging my seating position and scribbling incoherent and illegible notes on my desk paper to try to keep myself moving in the right direction(s). It feels sometimes like I'm juggling flaming knives, and while thus far I have managed to avoid being stabbed, I have gotten singed repeatedly. My boss is not given to many words or to hovering, so I get a scattering of one-line messages through the day either acknowledging receipt of work, or assigning more, or (with voluble brevity) pointing out a major blunder I've made. Every couple of days he'll send me a note that says "good job," but these pronouncements are few and precious.

Thursday, a group of my colleagues and I went over at lunchtime to tour a 200-year-old house with elegant formal gardens and some residual issues related to an enormous bat colony that had established itself in the attic and behind the  old wooden window shutters. The bats were recently expelled, but keep attempting to return to their ancestral home, the owner told us.

On Friday, because I had worked extra the preceding four days, I was able to leave early to see my niece, nephew, their father and their cousin on their less-than-twelve-hour stop in Augusta on their road trip back from a cruise in Florida to Rhode Island. I was hoping that they would agree to sleep over, but my brother-in-law was understandably anxious to get a few more hours up the interstate before pausing for the night. The children played Star Wars outside for hours, my nephew astounded that the wintertime South has no snow. Both my brothers came to visit for the evening, too, and each was more cheerful than I have seen him in a long time. And complimentary! Bob told me he liked my haircut and that the upstairs of my house was really neat (he must not have looked in the back room!). And this was before he had had two apple ciders. It meant so much to my mom that they came, though I did get the impression that even though each is in an extremely muscular state, they found the children's energy level somewhat overwhelming.

I gave Rita my blog address. I wonder what she'll think of my stories from her youth?

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