Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Yesterday I woke up feeling blue. I was't blue about anything in particular just feeling generally yucky. I dressed and decided that I just need to get out of the house. Given that Amelia was out of Nancy Drew books, the library seemed like a good place to go. I gathered the library books from about the house and placed them in one of the 300 or so plastic shopping bags in our pantry. Of the "reduce, reuse, recycle" mantra we are failing miserably at the first one and barely passing at the latter two. More on my carbon footprint in a future post ...

I placed the books in my car and headed to the library. I love my car these days; it one of the few things that affords me freedom. My handicapped placard makes my life easier, especially in the colder months. I'm still waiting for someone to make a crack about me having one because I am not obviously ill, just emaciated. If some smartass ever does say something I have a comeback ready, "I'll make you a deal. You can have my placard but you have to take the disease as well." I don't think I'll get any takers.

I arrived at the library at the same time as an elderly couple sporting their own handicapped placard. The wife and I stepped out of our respective vehicles simultaneously. Afraid she's look at me with judgment, I averted my eyes. She did not say anything to me. I suppose I should give people more credit; perhaps most people realize that an illness is not always obvious.

After dropping the books in the bin, I grabbed a maroon shopping basket and headed for the Nancy Drew books. Amelia has read 37 of the original 64 books so it is getting tricky to pick one that she has not already read. I perused the titles and chose the few whose titles I did not recognize. Then I headed off to find the Henry and Mudge books for Aidan. Aidan reads well, but he much prefers activities that involve building, destroying, or maiming. He likes the Henry and Mudge books and, given that they are very easy for him, I thought he might be willing to read them during his downtimes. As soon as he has one of those; we are still waiting for that to occur.

When I reached the back of the library I was out of breath and had to crouch down. I seem to remember learning in nursing school that kids with some cardiac defect do that as well. I wonder if it makes it easier to oxygenate somehow. Luckily I chose to crouch right in front of the Henry and Mudge books so I placed them into the basket and continued to rest.

"Michelle!" someone called to my right. I looked up and there were my neighbors, Sally and Reeve. They have a son Amelia's age and it was Sally, in fact, who introduced me to the Henry and Mudge series. We started chit-chatting but I quickly realize that I did not have enough breath to speak. "I'm sorry. I am really out of breath." Sally graciously offered to carry the basket to the check out, waited for me to check out, and carried the pile of books to the car. I thanked her and we parted ways.

I am always struck by the fact that I always have the help I need when I need it. I was just trying to figure out how I was going to carry the books when Sally and Reeve appeared. In those moments the mustard seed of faith thinks about growing a little. Of course, I'd really like a big miracle, but I am grateful for all the little ones along the way.

On the drive home I felt frustrated. All I wanted to do was get some books for my kids. It's such a small thing: walk into the library, pick out the books, and bring them home. And I could not do it without help. All I wanted was to be a mom in this small way so they know how much they mean to me, so Amelia could have her Nancy Drew books, and so Aidan could read to me in his sweet little voice.

So I woke up today feeling even more blue. I had a morning coffee date with my friend Kim and she graciously agreed to come here rather than meet at the coffee shop as we had originally planned. As always, she listened to my woes and made me feel a lot better. I guess I just needed to let it all out.

So I tried again today. I got in the car and went to Blockbuster. After returning our prior rentals, I perused the shelves and picked out two movies (Sicko & the new Harold and Kumar). While I was looking for the movies and employee came up to me with the videos I had just returned, "Great, the DVDs are probably in the player." She informed me that they were not from her Blockbuster; they were from the one in Chapel Hill. I'm not sure why Bill drives to Chapel HIll to rent videos but that's his business. So I drove to Chapel Hill. Along the way, my car informed me it was low on gas with it's annoying but useful bell. So I filled the car up with gas and dropped off the videos.

The Chapel HIll Blockbuster happens to be right next to Whole Foods and I really needed to get a few items there. Bill hates Whole Foods in a way that borders on being pathologic. He doesn't even like me to say the name of the establishment. I will grant him that the prices are a bit crazy but, when living a dairy-free life, Whole Foods is a godsend. So I stood there pumping gas and wondering, "Do I brave it? Am I up to a grocery market run?" Then I thought about the kids and what little energy I had. If I went to the supermarket, I would not have energy for them tonight. So I got in the car and went home, accepting my limitations.

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