My first re-post, ever. Why?
Because I needed it, I went looking for it.
I guess because it’s kind of self-discouraging to talk yourself down from being excited about getting “up to 20 minutes,” 10 years after you were a 50-minute regular.
Upside – I’ve got a new 2020 playlist going, though. (a few links below.)
January 24, 2017: Another 30 seconds
The treadmill followed us to Adrian, where it sat in the den gathering dust.
Until late 2005, when it became clear Jeff would never be able to return to work. I think up until this time, he thought he’d be able to beat it.
Despite medications and injections, his blood sugar averaged 350. What we hoped was temporary neuropathy, turned into a permanent nightmare. Unhealable ulcers covered his legs, which were in danger. Poor circulation and deep wounds prompted one doctor to speculate on the future, citing potential, eventual amputation.
Jeff wasn’t depressed. I was terrified. Carrying 298.7 pounds on a 5’3” frame, I realized I was in no shape to help if it came to that. I wasn’t concentrating on taking baby steps. I didn’t have to. My body determined my pace.
It seems incredible to me now that one full minute was as far as I got the first day. Within two weeks though, I had achieved a regular, comfortable 3-minutes. I mean comfortable as in not gasping for breath, seeing little black spots or needing to chug a glass of orange juice to counteract my blood sugar drops from the exertion.
I’d been to my yearly physical, which I tried to avoid by only going every two or three years. I was declared obese, of course, and pre-diabetic which believe it or not was a shock to me. Wearing a size 28 should have been a clue, but that’s not how I saw myself, mostly because that’s not how Jeff saw me, either.
We developed an evening routine. I would come home from work, change my clothes and treadmill for 3 minutes, sweating horrifically. By the time I’d finished my shower, picked out my work clothes for the next day, Jeff would have dinner ready.
One evening, Jeff stuck his head through the kitchen pass-through. “How many minutes do you have left?” he asked.
“I only have 30 seconds,” I answered.
“Well,” Jeff said, “dinner’s not ready, yet. You can do an extra 30 seconds.”
I might have still had my crabby pants on from work, but I took umbrage. There I was sweating my brains out, seeing the light at the end of the torturous treadmill tunnel and he thinks I’ve got it in me to go another 30 seconds?
But, what I said, was, “Oh, really? Another 30 seconds? You get over here and do 30 seconds if you think it’s so easy!”
Of course, there were a few things wrong with my response. Jeff hadn’t actually implied I was slacking. He hadn’t said he thought it’d be easy. And it was a ridiculously inappropriate suggestion since his feet were continuously painful and he had a great deal of trouble walking.
But, Jeff just laughed. He found it endlessly amusing when I became flustered or got feisty. He wasn’t at all offended . And because that distinctive laugh was unavoidably contagious, I ended up laughing, too.
As Jeff wiped the doubled-over, guffawing tears from his eyes, I glanced down at LED readout.
“4 minutes!” I shouted in astonishment. “See?” Jeff said. “I knew you could do it.”
Enjoy this Week’s Songs for Soul Survivors: (aka playlisting, treadmill time.) @ Knabble-Podcast: Knabble-Pod
Quote for the Week:
Lucia & The Best Boys: Perfectly Untrue (2020)
Michigander: Let Down (2020)
Blue October: Oh My My (2020)
When Jeff was ready to continue, we set out slow walking. It was obvious to everyone who scooted around us, that there was a problem. It really got him down. We made it into the stands and stood for a while at the bottom looking up. The trudging climbers didn’t seem to bothered by the pace.
“C’mon,” I tugged his hand. “Let’s go…” He was dubious, but shuffled forward.
When the upward surging mass stalled, Jeff held on tightly to the rail. “My legs are shaking,” he told me. “That’s ok!” I replied. “You’ll be stompin’ in your seat shortly.” He gave me a little head shake smile, as the crowd crept along. We plodded on, keeping time with the slow bobbing waves of heads. “One foot in front of the other…” I sang off key. He chuckled.
When we’d made it, we both collapsed in our seats. “We made it!” I cheered. “I feel like Rocky…” Jeff huffed. “… after a few rounds.”
Not sure how we lucked out, but we had two seats on the end of the row, which meant Jeff could stand up and sit down easily. Eventually, we both caught our breath, and set about the business of setting up in the stands.
Jeff divvied up the headsets, which sadly were really only brought along for ear comfort. They’d previously hooked up to a radio, set to track channels. We’d listen to pit crews, his favorite drivers and even announcer chatter.
He handed me the binoculars and kept the camera, slung around his neck. Jeff surveyed the situation and sighed. “I hope I don’t gotta go….”
I was looking down re-stashing the sunblock we’d just slathered on the back of our necks, when a shadow came over us. I looked up and caught the tail end of a fighter jet just as it soared out of view. Jeff’s hat came off, smacking me in the face. I reflexively reached up, opening my hand to catch the cap. The sunblock sailed forward and beaned the gentleman in front of me.
In those few seconds of mayhem, the clocked by sunblock fellow turned around. Jeff stepped closer to me, raising his eyebrows and hands in apology. I involuntarily shrieked in surprise as the sonic boom hit. I slapped both hands over my ears as they painfully popped. I’d just experienced my first fly over directly in the path of a fly over. Frozen in place, I stared at Jeff.
He surveyed me quizzically, quickly surmised my shock and threw out his own boom. Jeff’s contagious laugh caught on, as usual. Those around us grinned, chortled, chuckled, and very nicely returned our strewn belongings.
Quote for the Week:
The stubborn, problem solver in me, decided it was time to take charge. Something had to be done.
“Wait here,” I instructed Jeff. “Where are you going?” he asked. “I’ll be right back,” I answered, and took off.
My first wait was in the beverage line. I returned with two sugared soft drinks in two different, super-sized, commemorative collectible cups. I’d asked the kid behind the counter to be sure they were different, which seemed to stump him. I found it hard to believe no one else had made that request, but once he figured out what I was after, he happily grabbed a cup from the nearest server’s pile.
I wound my way back through the crowd to the little table, and wasn’t completely surprised to find Jeff talking and laughing with a couple a little older than us. The woman told me they’d stopped to check on Jeff because he was sitting by himself and didn’t look well.
Jeff, of course, insisted he was fine; just waiting for his wife to come back. I thanked them for stopping, and Jeff pulled out a Michigan Hot Sauce Club card. “You come by any time,” he told the fellow, “and I’ll give you a free bottle of hot sauce.” “Oh,” he continued, “and some of that crab salsa, too.” It turned out they weren’t from our area, but their son was, and they would tell him about the shop. Jeff always found a friendly way to promote our business. He always beamed with pride when talking about it. So he was a little more perky than when I’d left him.
After they’d gone, I showed Jeff the cups. He cheered up a little more at the thought of taking them home as souvenirs, along with a half-tire made into a picture frame featuring Dale Earnhardt Sr. Jeff loved it, but decided it would be too bulky to lug around. I offered to carry it, not realizing that half-tires could be so heavy. Yeah, it was a bit of a lug-around for me, but it was super cool, and looked great in our home office.
I told Jeff to stay put, again, and moved back into the crowd. After another wait, I had our lunch. Two hot dogs. One, with every available condiment and jalapenos, the other with every available condiment, minus jalapenos. To make up for that, I included those stinky, raw chopped onions Jeff loved. I like a little bit of fresh raw onion now and then, but I fully stinkied up mine, too. In case, I couldn’t finish it; knowing, Jeff would be happy to help me out.
Clutching the hot dog tray, I stood in line one more time, to secure an overflowing cone of greasy French-fries and a chocolate chip cookie as big as my two hands. Not the most appropriate fare for a struggling diabetic. Admittedly, Jeff and I shared a diet-dangerous, double-trouble, fix-it-with-food mentality.
Quote for the Week:
Quote for the Week:
We weren’t lighting the world, the state or even the city up, but the Michigan Hot Sauce Club was our baby. If we sold one or two of something, we’d order one or two more, plus a new product or two until we’d reach free shipping status. Jeff had long and real conversations with our suppliers. I came across many of them while going through his email after he passed away.
I also have a good number of interesting and humorous exchanges between us. At first, I held onto them accidentally. Clearing out email wasn’t even something I’d ever considered doing, for which I am thankful. I’ve held onto them for a long time, now, considering most of them are 12-15 years old. I haven’t shared them before, but now seems like a good time. So, keeping in mind we were married in 2001, went through deaths of multiple family members and Jeff’s health was failing, here comes a small sampling of some of the best support we offered each other.
05/06/2004 Re; hello?
Me: I love you!
Jeff: wooo hooo!!!! can ya see me do the snoopy dance? ? ? you love me!!! and I love you!!!
05/10/2004 Re: ok… so…
Me: I love you more than the never-ending blue sky that is always around when you are. kisses. me.
Jeff: I think you just made my day … my week… my month… my life… I love youuuuuuuu
09/16/2004 Re: Christmas cards
Me: We have blank card stock, so we need envelopes, but here is my idea [for MHSC]…. Happy Jala-Days!
Jeff: sometimes I think I would like to crawl inside your head, just to see how you think up all your great ideas.
Jeff: I can’t remember if I told you that I loved you this morning… so just to make sure…. I LOVE YOU! Jeff
01/19/2005 Re: American Idol
Jeff: Well shoot. We missed American Idol last night. But I really enjoyed snuggling up together and reading last night. I love you. Bubba
02/09/2005 Re: nothing but trouble
Jeff: You are the GREATEST wife in the world. I don’t know what I would be doing without you. Probably be locked in the basement at Gary & Mom’s is my guess. I’m so glad you came into my life. I hate it when I get short and grumpy at you. I feel like such a heel when I let myself do that. I think for Lent I will give up arguing with you. Oh, did I tell you lately that I love you? Well, just in case I haven’t…. I LOVE YOUUUUU!! If I could get up on the roof of OUR house, I would shout it from the rooftops for all to know and hear! Will you be my Valentine??
Jeff: We can get schmaltz from the mustard guy
Me: Almost quitting time. Looking forward to our long weekend! Do you know when the fireworks start?
Jeff: I’m hoping tonight when you get home. 😉
Jeff: Gappy Valentine’s Day! oxoxox. I LOVE YOU!! TAH DAH! (He was missing a front tooth.)
Jeff: it’s raining cats & dogs. I just stepped in a poodle!
Jeff: I LOVE YOU!! TAH DAH!
Jeff: Seasonings Affective Disorder = the need 2 kick things up a notch when they taste fine the way they are.
Quote for the Week:
I Wish You Could Enjoy This Week’s Discovery Link:
Unfortunately, I’ve spent about an hour and a half searching for the source of our “Tah Dah!” It came from a TV program Jeff and I watched one night featuring a humorous inspirational blonde woman speaker; I believe from Australia. Her two key phrases and matching gestures were “Get Over It!” and “Tah Dah!”