A fellow blogger and I have wondered, where’s the year gone? I know, that’s not an unusual question in any year. Where’s the time gone, in general, is a diabolical puzzle. Just yesterday, I was twenty-two, something like that. I could eat what I wanted, now I wanted. Snorted doughnuts for mid-morning snacks. Partied until two AM, then went to work at seven. Ate three cheeseburgers at a sitting. Now I’m on Medicare.
A note on the Medicare. I wouldn’t have joined if not forced into it. I retired from the military. Had Tricare. Can’t elaborate on which Tricare. There are two thousand known variations of Tricare. Others are constantly being found by health professionals in computer systems. To stay on Tricare, once I ‘turned’* 65, as I did at the beginning of July, I had to join Medicare Parts A & B. Where I was paying nothing except co-pay a year ago, I was required to start paying $25 a month for my Tricare. Now I’m required to pay about $117 a month for Medicare Part B (A is free) to keep my Tricare. It’s a different form of Tricare, though. I’ll figure it out later.
Part of the year was spent on determining which Medicare parts I required. That included timing. You can’t just join Medicare at any time, you know. You have windows. You miss your window, you wait for the next window. For me, though, missing the window meant that I’d also lose my Tricare. That covers my wife, too. It’s becoming more necessary as we’ve moved toward being the oldest people on the planet. Other parts of the year were spent on questions about masking, COVID-19 vaccinations, variants, and shopping hours. But those were side ventures. Most of my time was spent wondering what I was going to eat.
In additional to a pantry and a refrigerator/freezer combo, we have a small garden. Tomatoes, squash, green peppers, kale, lettuce. It’s been a hard gardening year. Drought, you know. Hot sun, too. We covered plants up. They still weren’t happy with the heat, suggesting, let’s move to somewhere cooler, like hell.
We also have a chest freezer and additional food supplies in the guest room closet. It seems like I’m always wondering, what do we have to eat? What can I eat now? I can bore you to death with all the food we have on hand. I’m always thinking about more. It’s a joint decision that’s made. My wife and I have to agree on what to eat. That usually involves a discussion of what food is on hand. Then, if we don’t immediately have the answer (“Do we have any brown rice left?” “Go fish.”), one of us must leave our chairs and books or computers, go to the supply sources and determine if we have the needed ingredient.
After we decide, okay, we can make this, we discuss who will make what. “I made dinner last night.” “We had pizza. You got it from the pizza place.” “Still counts.”
A large part of the forces driving our discussion and my angst is that we just can’t go out and get what we want. One, restaurants have reduced hours or shut down. Two, which store will have what we need? How much do we trust them and their clientele to be COVID-19 safe? Is getting Ben & Jerry Ice Cream really worth the risk.
Yes, I say, masking up, and driving there.
What we want isn’t always in stores. If this pandemic has shown nothing else to me, it’s shown how completely dependent I am on our systems to provide me with food to buy. Whether it’s organic or processed, cooked in a restaurant or baked in a bakery, I want others doing it for me. This embarrasses part of me. That part says that I should be more self-reliant. More independent. I can fix computers but I can’t hunt meat. Or won’t.
The other part of me says shut up if you want me to go out and get a snack. Which I might do. Thinking about food has made me hungry, and there’s still a little bit of July to kill.
Where’s my mask?
*That expression of ‘turning’ an age always embellishes my brain with an image of me on a baking tray and someone using a giant spatula to flip me over.