Thursday Observations


If you had a picture of me right now, you'd think I'm living a relaxed life.  I'm sitting in my parents' living room typing away and looking out the window which overlooks a lagoon.  It could be perceived as a charmed life.

In some ways it may be.  I'm lucky enough to have the view and blessed to be able to sit here and write these words.  But that's not all of it.  What appears to be a relaxing day isn't necessarily so.

My day began just after 4 AM (which is actually around the time that I usually get up on weekdays).  I was able to take 30 minutes to do some exercise.  (During the dark winter months I'm "confined" to my "walk aerobics" which I've been doing pretty religiously since 2011 and semi-regularly since late in the last century.)  Then I ran upstairs to get dressed and ready for the day.  Sounds pretty easy thus far...

I was out the door by 5:30 and headed south to my parents.  Their caregiver had an appointment out of state today and they need someone to be there for me.  Since I'm their only child...well that goodness for remote work.  (And a wonderful boss...I TRULY mean that.)  

Observation #1:  There is a ALOT of traffic on the Garden State Parkway even before 6 AM.  While I expected heavy traffic headed north, I was surprised by the amount of traffic  headed south as well.  Until I crossed the Driscoll Bridge, I would say traffic was equal in either direction.  Once I got past the Bon Jovi Rest Stop (you read that right!  The Cheesequake stop has been rebranded.) traffic did ease up a bit, but still was heavier than I would have expected.

Observation #2:  I stopped in Point Pleasant for coffee at Dunkin' (formerly Dunkin' Donuts).  I didn't do the drive through because I thought it would be faster to go in.  (Don't know if I was right on that or not.) I did not wear a mask.  Only the person who took my order (behind plexiglass) was wearing a mask; no other employee seemed to nor did the woman who came in after me.  Note, I stopped there instead of my beloved Wawa because I had an offer of a free beverage by using their app.

Observation #3:  There were plenty of cars on Route 35 as I headed to my parents.  I also made this observation on Saturday when I was down here.  I walked to the post office which required me to cross 35 S.  I had to stand there and wait.  While this would not be surprising during the summer in years prior (pre-pandemic), I could have stood in the middle of the highway for a half an hour or more and not see a car.  Not only is this little island between the Atlantic Ocean and Barnegat Bay being over built, but it’s also quickly becoming overpopulated even during the "off season."

Observation #4:  Postal service in this section of Ocean County is pretty darned good.  Yes, I am jealous.  Before I headed inside (around 7 AM) I checked their mailbox.  There was mail.  Now, it was from yesterday, but...when I went back out to put OUT some mail (prior to 9 AM), there was MORE mail.  Delivery around here seems to be consistent and early.  It IS possible.

Observation #5:  What a difference 5 days can make.  When I was last down here my mother had just been released from the hospital the day before.  At that time she could have gone to an acute care rehab facility or come home.  Because my parents have a live in caregiver, there was no question she would come home and it was definitely the right choice.  While their caregiver is not perfect (no one is), she has taken great care of my mother.  While my mom still has a long way to go (as I write this the sound of the oxygen machine hisses and swisses in the background) she is SO much better.  (And part of that also may have something to do with our decision for her NOT to take the antidepressants which made her groggy ALL THE TIME and had previously given her hallucinations.)  Time and good care are healing.

Observation #6:  Working remotely and looking after my parents CAN be a little stressful.  But looking out the window and seeing the ducks and swans that swim by (or even walk in the street as one swan decided to do) is always a joy.  A reminder that I (and all of us) should take the time to find the beauty and calm that surrounds us.  No matter where we are if we look we CAN find it.

Observation #7 (my final one I promise):  When it's February in the Northeast and temperatures reach the 50s.  Take advantage of it.  I haven't yet, but I AM going to find at least a few minutes to go out and reveal in the sun (although the clouds are quickly accumulating).  Take a deep breath in and appreciate the day.  We never know what will come tomorrow...enjoy today!


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