Silver Linings and Simple Pleasures

by Janis Patterson

Update – we still don’t have our new refrigerator despite two unkept promises of delivery dates (thank you, Lowe’s!) and someone finally had the decency to tell us that it wasn’t even in the country yet (thank you, GE!). And yes, I’m being very sarcastic, but my true thoughts on both these entities are not fit for public pixilation. I’ve quit calling Lowe’s for updates and go over to the store to trap the salesman and occasionally his manager for an eye-to-eye confrontation. This last time I was promised (which means nothing, as every failed delivery date was a promise) that I would have my white, basic French door refrigerator by Christmas. (This was after he was telling me the not heartening news that another special order refrigerator had taken 18 months to be delivered.) I looked him square in the eye and asked if he meant Christmas, 2022. It was not encouraging that he said nothing.

Sad thing is, I could have had a bright pink refrigerator within a week of ordering. (Wrong color, wrong size, wrong configuration, waaaay wrong price, though.) I still don’t understand why a basic white refrigerator has to be a special order!

On to other news. Everything seems to have gone wonky this fall – except for our glorious trip to Egypt (and my trip diary is available to read for free on my website). Some backstory on the most painful problem – during his last Iraqi deployment several years ago The Husband injured his left shoulder. It healed pretty much, though it has given him some trouble from time to time, but while in Egypt he had the bird-brained idea to go down in the Bent Pyramid – perhaps the hairiest and most dangerous pyramid available to tourists. Why he went, I don’t know, as he has done it before.

Well, sometime in the tour he reinjured that same shoulder and it has been giving him terrible pain ever since. We’ve been to a doc-in-the-box, our personal physician, an orthopedic specialist, several multi-week rounds of physical therapy, an X-Ray and an MRI… and his shoulder is getting better, but very little and very slowly. (I think I told you that I told him if he ever even mentioned going down in that pyramid again I would sit on him until he gave up the idea or passed out from suffocation!)

However, I have always believed that dark clouds have silver linings. With his shoulder The Husband cannot drive, so guess who gets to be his chauffeur – driving him to his various appointments, waiting while he takes care of things and then taking him home? Right… However, this has been an unexpected blessing in two big ways. If there is grocery shopping needed, we stop at a conveniently located Aldi’s on the way back – and he has to give some input into what we eat for the next few days. (And often he just looks around and suggests we go out, which I like…)

Perhaps the best benefit, though, is that while I’m waiting I read. There’s not enough time involved for me to be expected to take my computer and write, so I just sit and read, both of which for me are rare luxuries. I’ve always loved to read – hey, I live in a house with three dedicated libraries, so that’s a given – but between writing and all its attendant duties of rewriting, publishing, publicity, et al, care of extended family and now The Husband, housework, etc., etc., etc., there has been precious little time for just pleasure reading. Thank goodness for reading apps on my phone!

Which brings me to the important part of this little screed – never underestimate how important it is for writers to read. We become so bogged down in our own work, making sure that our characters and situations are real, that action is always logical for the world we have created, even keeping track of hair and eye color and the time of day, that our word choices and grammar are acceptable, sometimes we forget the simple, overwhelming magic of the printed word. By reading the work of others we learn. Sometimes their work is incredible, opening doors and windows into realms we have never known, or may have once known but time and other things have obscured. Sometimes their work is so bad that it is a salutary lesson in what not to do. And sometimes it is so incredibly bad that it isn’t worth my time to read more than a few pages – but there are still lessons in those few awful pages.

I do sincerely hope that The Husband will soon recover fully and go back to having at least a portion of his own life. On the other hand, it would be a lie for me to say that there has not been at least a sliver of silver lining in my time spent in various waiting rooms. I got to read for pleasure without feeling guilty that I’m taking time away from working and other responsibilities, and that’s always good.

3 thoughts on “Silver Linings and Simple Pleasures

  1. Great post! We have a friend who as been waiting over a year for a pickup he special ordered. Things are just not moving as they did once.
    I’m glad you are getting more time to read for pleasure. I have been making myself read for pleasure while I eat my lunch. Some days that’s 15 minutes and others that 45 minutes. But at least I’m finally getting to some books I’ve been wanting to read. The rest of the day I’m researching, writing, or promoting.


  2. Ah, the trials and tribulations of the just-in-time supply chain! Hope you get your refrigerator soon.

    I’m sure your husband receives a lot of “Thank yous” for his service. As he should. But, I’d like to thank you and your family for supporting him during his deployments. As a career soldier, I know what toll these types of long-term absences create for the spouse/significant other and family members. The same applies to all those in service industries these days given the pandemic and its aftermath.

    So, this holiday season, I salute you and the family for serving as well. And, best regards to your husband.



  3. I’m sorry your husband reinjured his shoulder, but I completely agree with you about the need to read (to keep our own writing on track) and how nice it is when circumstances allow you guilt-free time to do so.

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