New coping strategies in the Logistics and Infirmity Divisions of Strategic Household Command Base-Clarkston are underway. Like anyone with a Type-A personality, a little ADD for charm and wit, functional computer competence, and chronic illness that keeps one grounded because life-sustaining routine trumps any pressing need to submit oneself to the pathogenic stresses of air travel within the United States, I have taken on multiple challenges simultaneously.
The immediate and overarching challenge is the heart-pricking distance between SHC Base-Clarkston and my daughter’s family in Alaska, which 2 1/2 weeks ago expanded by the world’s cutest grandbaby. My Daughter the Admirable Woman has faithfully called and e-mailed photos, and hopes to have Skype set up next week. The video calls, while not enabling me to touch my granddaughter’s skin or hold her, will enable me to see her in action and hear her amazing little sounds; and it will enable my daughter and me to see each other while we still look somewhat alike. If my grandchild must live in Alaska, at least she was born in the era of Skype.
I also have a plan for being able to read to my grandchild. I found a small, cute, pink MP3/SD player with external powered speakers — very important, since headphones are not yet appropriate — that I will send with my granddaughter’s first book from grandma, and a recording of me reading it on either a flash drive or an SD. My daughter will be able to play the recording while she shows her daughter the pictures in the book, and my granddaughter will become accustomed to my voice.
An unexpected boon came from a young friend I hadn’t known was a scrapbook genius. She has offered to help me create a scrapbook for my granddaughter with pictures and history of our family. Left to my own poor devices in this area, I would never even have attempted such a thing, but now I will be able to bestow a unique blessing on my daughter and her daughter.
Another pressing challenge is conceding to the reality of Seasonal Affect Disorder, and finding a way to cope with getting up in the dark. I prefer to get up at the same early hour every morning year-round. In summer, we have dawn at 5:30 in the morning, but as the fall equinox approaches, it’s dark when I get up, and I am very much a light-cued creature. I purchased a dawn-simulating lamp, and I would recommend one for those who find morning darkness intimidating, or at least a signal to hibernate. The lamp is programmable for a wake-up hour, and begins illuminating progressively a half hour before the wake-up time so that it reaches your selected light intensity at the programmed wake-up time. Without being obnoxious to my eyes, it illuminates the entire room just like summer dawn. The light has actually helped me feel awake at 6:00 a.m. What the light cannot do is convince the covenant cat not to yowl before 5:00 a.m.
I’m still working on strategies for surviving Wal-Mart. The smell of the Subway pizza bar, the eye-frying dryness of the air, and the logic-defying locations of merchandise (honey is with the peanut butter, not with the sugar or the syrups) are usually trying enough. This morning, after determinedly surviving all of the above, I had also to survive a parking lot altercation between a husband and wife in front of their small children. It was hard to fault his indignation that she had apparently stolen something, but he didn’t choose the best forum, which happened to be immediately behind my car. I simply hunkered down to unloading my groceries, and prayed that somehow I would look like someone who understood only Serbo-Croatian or Finnish, or better still that I would look like someone utterly invisible. God was kind, and the couple were preoccupied unto themselves.
I sincerely hope that some of these strategies will be helpful at other SHC bases. I hope some readers might share their own strategies as well. Ultimately, what all strategically minded people have in common is a sense that life does go on for those who press on.