You Can’t Make This Stuff Up

File this post under “You can’t make this stuff up.” We had a long flight home. The first flight from Cape Town, South Africa, to Atlanta, Georgia was a sixteen-hour overnight flight (of course, I couldn’t sleep a wink.) The plane arrives in Atlanta behind schedule due to rain storms. We raced (ok, it’s a relative term for me) through Customs and baggage pickup to baggage drop off and through TSA.

Watching Larry speed walk to our gate ahead of me, I am reminded of a television commercial from the 1970s with O.J. Simpson running through the airport.

We should have missed that flight, but the weather delayed its departure, so we made it to the gate in time to board and then sit like sardines packed in a can for another six hours to Seattle. Even though we’ve paid to upgrade our seats to premium economy, the seat size and legroom are the same as before COVID, and not a meal was served, only a token service of beverages twice. I am dehydrated from these flights.

We landed midday in Seattle. Retrieve our baggage and head to the car park. We begin our two-hour commute to Whidbey Island. Ever organized, Larry pulls into a Safeway for perishable groceries before we board the Mukilteo ferry. Alas, while he is in the store, the car starts acting weird. Lights start blinking on and off until the car just up and dies . Larry returns with our groceries, and I have to tell him that the car is dead.

After troubleshooting the problem, Larry announces it’s time to contact AAA for roadside assistance. We waited to speak to a dispatcher for an hour, and it was another ninety-minute wait for the aid truck. The mechanic finally arrives and jumps the battery (do they still jump cars?) into starting. The mechanic and Larry have an animated conversation on whether it’s safe to drive home or whether we should turn around and go to the Toyota dealership for a new hybrid battery. Larry decides he doesn’t trust the battery, and we head off for Toyota land.

There the service team is willing to install a new battery but wonders if they have one since our Prius is considered an “old” model. Fingers crossed while we wait for inventory to be checked. Yes, they have a battery, and they kindly agree to install it while we wait. I feel like I’m O.J. Simpson scoring a touchdown. Then, I realize I’m just sleep-deprived.

So we wait about an hour and the battery is installed. $400 poorer we head back to the Safeway to repurchase those perishable must-haves for the fridge at home. We catch the Mulkiteo Ferry and an hour later we arrive home. Home Sweet Home.

We had officially been traveling nonstop for more than thirty hours…in the same clothes and undergarments, and nary a nap had I. I told Larry I thought I was catching a cold or Covid–he found the test kits in one of our suitcases. The test is negative. My injured leg had swollen to the size of an elephant’s. Not a pretty sight nor a souvenir I intended. I elevate my leg in the recliner and sleep like the dead.

I slept around the clock on Thursday with my head cold, but Larry woke me up to do another Covid test. Good, I passed. I sleep until it’s time to rise and shine early on Friday morning and drive into Issaquah to have my leg examined by my primary care doctor.

She pronounces she doesn’t like the look of my leg and that it feels hot. She had me wait while the office staff called around to find someone to do another leg ultrasound to check for DVT. I’m in luck. Swedish Hospital in the Highlands will image my leg at 3 PM. I pass this test and we head back to Whidbey Island.

I slept again all day yesterday from jet lag and my head cold.

I woke up at 3:30 AM this Sunday morning. The head cold seems to be not too bad. I write emails until we Zoom with one of our former foreign exchange student’s family in Germany to celebrate the New Year.

I opened and read all of the Christmas cards and letters received this year; I was too sad to read them before we left for Africa. I enjoy every one of those cards and letters and dig into emails dating back to December 18. I get out the new 2023 calendar/planner (I’m old school) and begin to organize where to dig into my projects for 2023.

A new 2023 planner opened. What resolutions will I make for 2023, I ask myself? I write some goals and resolutions in my planner and sketch out a vision board because it’s in the planner, not that I do them often. I’m sure that I’ll promptly forget about those resolutions. But, I write on a post-it note a quote by Mary Oliver: “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” Hmm. This is deep. I need to ponder this question for a while. Perhaps for an entire year. I place the post-it on my computer screen. Tidy up my desk. I think I’ll finish unpacking and take a nap.

However, I decided to write one more post in response to the many kind inquiries I’ve received about my leg injury. I smile, looking back at the photos Larry took in Africa, seeing them for the first time on my desktop screen.

Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life? I turn 65 this week. I think I’d better not tarry any longer and make answering Mary Oliver’s question my top priority for 2023.

Come along with me if you hear Mary Oliver whispering in your ear. Maybe we’ll discover the answer together.

Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?

Debora Ragland Buerk
The Write Stuff
Looking at life from a different POV.