Morning Un-Routine

Dearest Rachel –

The Army used to have a slogan about how “we do more before 9am than most people do all day.” Considering that I’m sitting in the veterinary parking lot, and it’s a quarter to nine, while I have to confess that while I’m not Army material, I’m at least getting started on the day.

I mean, I do have to deal with when places open, after all.

To be sure, they were open at eight. But I did have to make sure that Chompers was fed, pottied, settled in, and all that.

If you’re wondering why I’m at the animal hospital, it’s to fill up on Chompers’ nighttime pill. Even though he occasionally refuses to take it, he’s still running out of gabapentin, and for what it’s worth, he’s going to need more for a little while yet.

You might also notice that I’m in your car; if nothing else, you should be able to see your reflection and the animal hospital door. There’s a reason for that, albeit nothing serious. I haven’t had routine maintenance done on this car for some time, and I feel the need to have it checked up on. So as soon as I’m done here, I’m gonna take this to Link Automotive (per your preference), and have them look at it today, and do whatever they need to.

It’s weird to be using your car; I feel like a stranger, an interloper trying to drive it. I don’t belong behind this wheel, and the fact that the radio snaps on to listening to K-Love when I fire the car up it’s a reminder of your presence, however ghostly it may be.

By the way, I’ve also scheduled Chompers to come in to the vets’ next Saturday (not this Saturday, the second of October), just to get a professional opinion on his situation. He really does seem to be down to his last leg at this point, and as I mentioned the other day, your folks got rid of Sir Silk for considerably less.

Anyway, at least it seems like we can be inside to see him off, should it come to that (and while it may not when they examine him on the second, it is inevitable – it’s just a matter of time); as long as we wear masks.

I wonder if that’s going to be enough to get Daniel to wear a mask in public; if only out of the need to pay Chompers’ final respects.

The pickup is relatively quick and painless; and the pills are fairly cheap, all things considered. Maybe a little pricier than a bottle of aspirin, but not by much. So, now off to Link, and then presumably to walk home.

Only, no.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen the parking lot outside Link this full.

Turns out, that parking lot was a bad sign. I could try to walk in, but Mike (? I think his name is Mike) tells me he’s booked solid until Monday. Guess I should’ve called for an appointment. Well, another lesson learned. I make that appointment.

And that’s another thing I need to learn to do. You were the one who kept our schedule, informing us where we need to be at what time; I’m just not good at this. I’m starting to learn to use the calendar function on my phone, but when it comes to the faithful use of it, I’m spotty at best. I’m always afraid I’m going to miss something. Still, I’ve got it recorded, anyway. Let’s see if it sticks.

And while I don’t get my exercise in from walking back from Link, it does give me a bit more time to stop into a few places on my way back. For one thing, I’ve been realizing that I’ve needed to get my hair cut for quite some time. I might look okay in a mirror, when I’m staring at myself head-on, but in profile, I clearly need work.

Admittedly, I know that shouldn’t be my takeaway from a photo like this, but some times you see stuff like that regardless. For the record, from left to right: Luke, myself, Nikolai (in back), P.D., J.R., James, Leon, Jonathan, Samuel and Moses.

(It occurs to me that this blind spot might explain certain past and current tonsorial trends such as the rat-tail – which I have to admit to sporting for a few years; why did you never stop me? – and the man bun. These guys just don’t see how ridiculous they look when they face themselves in the mirror, because the offending is obscured by their head.)

I honestly could not remember the last time I’d been in for a trim; I know you were there with me at the time, and I’m pretty sure it was shortly before we were going to be traveling. Personally, I assumed it had been early last February, before we hopped the train to your Aunt Ruth’s, but according to the girl who worked on me, it had been just about two years since I last darkened their doors. So I guess it was before the Sea Bronies’ cruise in December 2019.

Some things aren’t any different; I recall seeing this there last time, complete with you having an ‘aha!’ moment on me because I thought that any charity collecting pop can pop tops wasn’t a thing. That was one of those things that caused you to take forever to dispose of aluminum cans; you had to wash them all out, remove the pop tops – and keep them separate for just something like this – and collect the cans to be taken to a metal recyclery, where we could get money back for them. Although the last time we did that, we probably took over a hundred cans and some leftover drainpipe from the roofing work we’d had done that summer – only to realize that what we’d assembled and absolutely filled our car with netted us something on the low side of ten bucks. Even you had to admit that the effort wasn’t nearly worth it.

Anyway, that was the last of the planned stops for the morning, but as long as I was at the shopping plaza and had the time, I’d make a few more stops…

  • There was the dollar store, for a few more treats for the old boy (maybe something to wrap the gabapentin in better?). For the record, it doesn’t look like the box of waste bags for picking up after him (actually, I guess they’re technically for diaper disposal, but if it works, it works) are going to be coming back. For that matter, what’s going to happen to dollar stores once just about everything is priced beyond a dollar? They’re going to run out of things they can make a reasonable profit on soon.
  • I decided to stop at Jewel, because Daniel does love him those mini strudel, ever since Meema and Poppa’s neighbors gave them some to give to us. Jewel’s the only place who sells the strawberry/cream cheese flavor – which doesn’t appeal to me at all, but if Daniel likes it, who am I to judge? Also picked up a bunch of heat-and-serve soups that were on sale; gonna need those, both with the weather cooling off and Kevin coming into town starting this weekend.
  • I called Daniel at this point to let him know where I was, and asking him if he wanted anything while I was still out, as I was debating picking up something from either McDonald’s or Dunkin’ Donuts. In typical fashion, he asked for something from both places – so I did a little bit of the same.
As I was reaching for change while in the McDonald’s drive-through, I spotted this in the car’s cup holder. I’ve gotten rid of so much of your jewelry, and probably should do the same for this (especially since it’s missing a gem – and no, that little thing in the lower left isn’t it, I don’t know what that is), but I don’t know if I’m quite ready to gut the insides of your car yet. I do need to get the tank filled at some point in the near future, though.

I know that all this sounds pretty dull and mundane; it may not represent a typical morning’s activities, but there’s nothing truly notable about any of it, either. I don’t know what to tell you, honey – I figure that there’s nothing about life back down here that’s of any interest to you in comparison to life up there, so it doesn’t really matter what I relate to you. It’s the sort of thing we would talk about were we still here together – or that we would simply experience together, as you generally went with me on any errands I might go on (think of the last haircut I got, for instance). This was our life, so I might as well fill you on what’s left of mine, no matter how humdrum. I’ll let you sort it out for yourself.

Until next time, remember that I love you, honey.

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I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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