It Is Until It Isn’t

Dearest Rachel –

It’s always embarrassing when I run into scheduling issues; I tend to assume that my schedule is generally free at any given moment whenever someone asks if I’m available for this or that. And by and large, it is… until it isn’t.

Just as I was leaving the ‘office’ yesterday, I was assuring the folks that I would be in again today as always. Then, last evening, Lars gave me a call to see if I would be available to walk with him in our usual forest preserve, which I accepted. No big deal, I thought, I’d just tell the folks that I could only stay for a couple of hours, and head out at the usual time in order to meet Lars. But then, this morning, just after I sent you the last letter, and I was settling myself in for breakfast, the phone rang again.

Normally, I brush off the landline when it rings; sure, I check to see who it is, and I answer it (if only to keep the answering machine from filling up with junk, which is virtually all the calls I get on that line, as you well remember), but I never expect it to be anyone worth talking to. Nearly always, it turns out to be some spam call about Medicare (which you’d think they’d learn I’m not old enough to be eligible for after a certain point), my car’s extended warranty, or some alleged purchase from Amazon that they’re ‘confirming’ to get me to tell them either my account or credit card number. In fact, more often than not, it turns out to be silence on the line – which I find to be terribly annoying, as they called me; you’d think if they want to talk to me about whatever, they’d have the decency to… you know, talk.

But that’s all beside the point. This morning’s call turned out to actually be from someone I was expecting to hear from, rather than just some random phone number or location. it was from Daniel’s dentist, reminding me of the appointment that I’d set up for him. Wonderful, I thought, how good of them to refresh my memory about tomorrow’s appointment. But no, it was a reminder about an appointment I’d made for today. At it wasn’t as if I could postpone this appointment for later in the day – if I wanted to reschedule, I’d have to wait until some time in the middle of June. And since he’s been away from the dentist, since before your accident, I didn’t think that waiting any longer would be a good idea.

So here I was, having committed to be at the folks’, to walk with Lars, and to get Daniel to the dentist, all at pretty much the same time. How was I going to juggle all this – especially since Daniel was still asleep at this point, and I needed to fill him in on what was happening? Could I count on him to get there on his own?

Given his reaction when he finally woke up (not that I could blame him – no one likes to go to the dentist, and since the last time he went, you took him there, one can only guess what they might find, especially since he’s nowhere near as scrupulous about taking care of his teeth as I am), I didn’t think I could. But I’d also committed to walking with Lars, and I was looking forward to it, as it’s felt like it had been a month since we did so (and I was hoping to test my new colder weather gear). How to make this work out?

It turns out that communication is key in these sorts of things. After filling the folks in on the situation (which they were perfectly fine with, as I’ve no requirement to show up there on a daily basis, it’s just nice when I can), I let Lars know about Daniel’s appointment, and how I needed to get him there myself. We agreed to meet as early as possible, and to only walk for two hours – one hour out, however far that would take us, and one hour back – without bothering to go to lunch afterwards. That way I could get home with a little bit of time to spare before having to drive Daniel to his appointment. In addition, by skipping lunch, this would leave me that much hungrier for the usual Thursday evening dinner at the folks (who, because of this, I would still be able to see today, regardless of whether I could come in to ‘work’). In theory, it should all work out.

And amazingly, so it was. Hey, sometimes theory pans out. Lars and I didn’t quite make it all the way to New Trier, but we did get across both of the bridges we usually traverse on our path. I filled him in on Israel and other events in my life, we discussed the usual topics, and I was on my way home by one. When I got home, Daniel was wrapping up his semi-weekly bath (still not looking forward to the appointment, but resigned to his fate), and we got there with a few minutes to spare. It even turned out that he came away without any cavities (although, as with all such visits, they can’t just say ‘good job, kid,’ but insisted that his gums could use more flossing. Honestly, I don’t see that happening, but given my own regimen, I’m not about to get on his case for that, lest I be accused of hypocrisy). So everything turned out all right in the end.

With that in mind, I think I’ll turn my usual signoff on its head, and thank you for keeping your eye on us, and wishing us luck. However, if you can keep it up, honey, I’d sure appreciate it, since I’m willing to bet we’re still going to need it.

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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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