I’ve worn glasses since I was in 7th grade – meaning I’ve had them now far longer than I ever lived without them. They feel like a natural extension of my face at this point.
My prescription has changed over the years, but for the last decade or so has been fairly stable. That’s why it was painfully obvious early this year that I was struggling to keep the small print in focus. What’s worse, after long sessions with the book of the day, I’m regularly finding the words blurring together and my eyes just too tired to focus on anything that’s not halfway across the room.
It hasn’t been debilitating, but has been thoroughly annoying and disheartening from day-to-day as it sets limits on how many pages I can get through in a sitting. I don’t make a habit of living in fear, but if there’s anything in life that causes me an unreasonable amount of dread, it’s the idea of losing my vision. It’s precisely the kind of perverse plot twist the Olympians would devise for me.
I took a few hours of sick leave this morning and schlepped over for my annual eye exam and diagnostic for this new issue. This appointment has been on the schedule for months and given the sum of other circumstances in this plague summer it’s one I would have probably cancelled… but since current situation is standing between me and fully enjoying the books, I’m 100% willing to risk painful, suffocating death to get it resolved.
As it turns out, Doc assures me I’m not, in fact, going blind… but it’s yet another instance of bodily succumbing to the ravages of middle age. My fancy new transition lenses should be here in about two weeks.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go find some tennis balls to put on the legs of my walker.
I’ve put it off for as long as I reasonably could, but today was the day that I finally was forced to send my venerable Dell Latitude E6540 into retirement. Sure, it was five year old tech cobbled onto a platform that’s design traced back to the early 2000’s, but I legitimately liked the big brick of a machine (when it wasn’t hopelessly crippled by security patches and software updates). Over the last dozen years I’ve probably had five different variations of this model and as much as it was big and heavy and generally clunky, it was a workhorse. I toted the E-series all over the country. The only times it ever crapped out on me was when I was working at the office… Which makes it about as reliable as any other coworker, really.
OK, so I’m just trading it in for a newer series Latitude from the same manufacturer and this updated unit as a few extra bells and whistles – some of which the powers that be who run the network haven’t decided to eliminate yet – but I don’t have a bond of trust with this generic black machine idling on the corner of my desk. I don’t have the same level of trust in its quiet, differential being that I had in my obnoxiously heavy silver companion.
It’s probably a better machine on all fronts, but the real problem is every time someone has given me a new computer, something horrific happens during the transition – half a decade worth of saved email disappears, the contents of My Documents disappears, various drives stop working, or the internet becomes “unfindable.” I’m waiting to see now what the form of my destruction this time around will be. Who knows, maybe everything will go swimmingly and the transition will be seamless… although based on historical experience that really does feel like the least likely of all available options.
I’d like to say that the transition between career fields is more or less seamless, but I was struck today by the first inklings of the magnitude of the my current unknown unknowns… like how to print to the color printer. Yeah, I had to answer the one request the boss had of me today with “uhhhh… yeah… I don’t think I can do that… sir.” Sure, it’s not exactly a career breaking moment, but still, it was humbling enough to be brought low by office automation. And don’t get me started on the acronyms. I’m keeping a running list of the damned things to look up feverishly when I get back to my desk. It looks like I’m in flat out fake-it-till-you-make-it mode for the foreseeable future. I’ve been here before, though and vaguely remember that this part of the transition doesn’t last too long. Someday soon, I’ll even be the one spitting out unreasonably pronounced acronyms at the newcomer. Until then, it helps to be reminded that even the most humbling day here are better than being an allstar in the court of the walrus king. Such are the restorative effects of being on home soil.
So we’ve officially gone directly from stressing about getting a job to stressing about getting through all the wickets to actually get there on time. It probably says something disturbing about me that I’ve sat down and started keeping track of those wickets using a color coded matrix. Of course this isn’t an exhaustive list by any stretch of the imagination, but it seems like as good a way as any to keep track of the things I need to get done between now and June 4th. I’d anticipate in the next week or so this list is going to be alot longer than it is now. That’s fine. I’ve never shied away from hard work for a good cause… and my escape from Memphis is currently the best cause of which I am aware.
Today was a planned day off long before I got the word that I would be leaving, but I’ve tried to use it to good effect. Aside from the original planned trip to the vet, I’ve managed to set up appointments with two movers for quotes, changed some mailing addresses, started the process of changing my insurance coverage, talked to my sawbones about forwarding medical records, and even packed a few more odds and ends – before running out of boxes (again). That’s a reasonably productive day. I’m gaining confidence every moment that I’ll be able to clear out without too many issues.
Reception on the other end remains to be determined. It would be nice to have a house lined up and waiting when I show up, but the chances of that happening are slim to none. I don’t exactly have alot of time built in to the schedule to go poke around myself so I’m relying on the kindness of friends, family, and a slightly standoffish relator (at the moment) to point me in the right direction. Disturbingly, the most important features I’m looking for aren’t even something for me. I need a rental house that’s pet friendly and has a fence… because lets face it, trying to cram me, two eighty pound dogs, and a house worth of furniture into a two bedroom apartment isn’t going to happen.Neither is me running them in and out to a designated “community pet area” multiple times a night. So yeah, a house and a fence. Pretty much everything else is a point for negotiation.
There’s a metric crapload of things that still need done… and the clock is definitely ticking.
Back in January, I was operating under the assumption that a move was just around the corner. In an effort to save time later, I set about boxing up those things that were “non-essential” and that I could live without for a few weeks during the transition period. What I anticipated being a few weeks, has drug out over two months now and is well on its way to shattering the three month mark before anything resembling a move takes place.
It seems I may have jumped the gun a bit on being prepared. The spare bedroom? Sure, that’s not a problem. I never spent any time in there anyway. The DVDs? OK, but I’m starting to feel the pain on that one. The biggest problem in this premature packing extravaganza is that every tool and general household item I own is boxed up and stacked neatly in the corner of the garage.
Need a light bulb? It’s in a box. Screwdriver? In a box. I’ve learned an important lesson here. Many of the things I have laying around the house are definitely non-essential… for a few weeks. Anything more than that and it gets to be a downright inconvenient proposition. So far, I’m resisting the temptation to crack open the boxes and making due with a Swiss army knife and Leatherman as household fix it tools. I’m reading a lot more to make up for the DVD’s now stacked up behind the couch. Unpacking these boxes even just to alleviate some bit of inconvenience would be like admitting defeat on some level… but I shall never surrender.