Keeping track of things

For the 25 years that we lived in Rapid City, our garbage pick up day was Monday. Although many of our neighbors put out their garbage on Sunday evening, we knew that the garbage and recycling trucks didn’t make it to our neighborhood before noon. Monday was our usual day off from work, so I got into the habit of getting up on Monday morning and taking out the garbage and recycling for pickup.

Then we moved. Here in Mount Vernon our home’s pickup day is Thursday and the garbage truck usually makes it before 8 am. It seems like the simplest of changes of routine. Instead of putting out garbage and recycling on Monday morning, all I need to do is to put it out Wednesday evening before I go to bed. Simple, right? Not so for me, somehow. Twice, I have heard the garbage truck in the neighborhood and rushed out in time to get the garbage to the cub just as it was driving up our street. A couple of other times I have been in bed and remembered the chore. I got up, got dressed again and took out the garbage. Try as I might, I can’t seem to make a new habit.

It is a pretty small thing, really, but it is one of many changes that have been a part of our lives in the past couple of years.There are plenty of people who will look back on 2020 and 2021 as years of dramatic changes. The pandemic continues to leave its mark on our communities. For us, the fact that we retired, moved and went back to work has gotten caught up with our reactions to the pandemic.

There are a lot of things that require attention when one moves. You have to find new doctors and health care providers. Then you have to get records transferred. I thought that my immunization records were all in order at my primary care physician’s office in Rapid City, but it turns out that some of the records were at the pharmacy. I’m still sorting that one out. I know that I’ve had certain vaccinations, but I can’t remember exactly when they wee administered. And health care for us seniors means a variety of different providers - new primary care doctor, new dermatologist, new dentist, and more.

However, it seems that a simple mail forwarding order, filed with the United States Post Office or completed online at the official Postal web site, will get your name changed on a whole lot of mailing lists. I didn’t tell South Dakota Public Broadcasting I moved out of the state, but their magazine and appeals for donations have migrated seamlessly to our new address. The same is true for a Rapid City car dealership, and the Audubon Society, and the Arbor Day Foundation, and a couple of dozen charities to which we contributed. I even get mail forwarded from causes that our children and my mother supported. We are receiving mail addressed to them here at our new address, where none of them have ever lived. It has been more than a decade since my mother passed away and she hadn’t been on a cruise ship for a decade before that. However, she still gets advertisements for cruises all around the world. Assuming that those ads are for her and not for me, I quickly place them in the recycling bin when I come in from getting the mail. That means that the recycling bin fills up more quickly and I have to remember to put it out before I go to bed tonight.

To make matters more complex, we opened a new checking account yesterday. It is the beginning of a process of moving our banking to the new bank. I’m pretty sure this one is going to take us months - maybe even longer. We have to change all of he automatic transactions, including auto deposits and withdrawals that we have set up with the other bank. One more bank account is one more thing that needs our attention. It is also one more user name and password to add to all of the other new user names and passwords.

Whew! Growing old and retiring takes a lot of concentration and mental activity just to keep track of things.

So I have no idea how we could have misplaced a pair of shoes. We haven’t lost shoes since our children were little, but we went looking for a pair of shoes yesterday and neither of us has a clue where they might be. We’ve lookin in all of the usual places. We’ve checked in our car and pickup. We’ve both looked in the laundry hamper, though it seems unlikely that they would be there. I guess because it is one place that missing socks hide on occasion we couldn’t resist taking a peek. We’ve checked all of the rooms in the house. We’ve talked through when they were last worn and what we did that day. I’m hoping we solve this mystery soon, but we simply had to go to bed with the shoes missing last night. Neither of us could think of any other place to look. I’m hoping that when we find them we will be able to have a good laugh about it. There have been times in the place when I have replaced a lost item and then found it after I got the new item, leaving me with an extra. We really don’t need extra shoes.

And, of course, we have a new-to-us office at the church, which is one more place for us to forget items. We haven’t been leaving many of our possessions at our office, but we know from experience that things from home will migrate to the new place.

I used to think I was a reasonably well-organized person, but these days I’m not so sure. I watch our son manage his job and commuting and his family and farm chores and taking care of his parents and all of the other responsibilities on his shoulders and I am amazed at how gracefully he keeps up with everything. I can’t seem to manage half of the things he keeps organized. I can’t remember to take out the garbage, let alone feed and water chickens twice a day.

On the other hand, they lose things, too. I know a pair of shoes went missing for quite a while at their farm. It seems that a 10 year old can walk across a 5 acre field in his stocking feet and forget that he took his boots off on the other side of the farm. A 10-year-old boy grows fast enough that by the time they located the boots he needed a larger size anyway.

I guess I should make sure to check out the farm before giving up on those shoes. At least when we find them they should still fit.