Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Summer's End

Summer this year didn’t really begin until July; June was extremely wet and not all that summery.  And then, to my dismay, it began to feel like autumn very early in August.  By now all the less beautiful autumn trees - ashes, willow, locusts are turning brown and yellow and are dropping leaves.  This summer I purchased a gingko tree and planted it beyond my ponds at a point where there was a visible opening in the surrounding greenery in the view from my window so that I would have a bright bit of color in October.  It was dismaying to find that bright bit of color striking my eye in August. 

As I reported before, I returned earlier than planned from India this year, and that allowed me to enjoy the coldest winter in local history.  There were entire weeks that did not get above 10 degrees in temperature.  Just as things began to let up a little, Mom passed away on Good Friday.  She had been to our Sunday Breakfast up until just a couple of weeks before, but since my return from Imphal, I had noticed deterioration in her motor skills.  Mom’s decline into dementia has been very slow paced, but years ago she had reached the point where she was no longer the Mom in whom I could confide, or the Mom who could make me laugh - although she remained very funny long after she didn’t know who I was.  I had had such a long period of gradual loss with the attendant grieving, that the actual passing did not seem to induce any strong wave of new grief.  We were called the evening before by the facility she was in and told that she was in her last hours.  So all of us in the area were able to visit and spend time with her, though she was not really aware.  She seemed a little agitated, kept picking at her blanket, but she did not struggle for breath or show any signs of acute distress.  I am glad I got the chance to be there.  I didn’t feel so much loss, as a feeling that there was now nothing between me and my end.  As long as one’s parents live, one feels one has a bit of a reprieve from having to contemplate one’s own end.

Although I did not feel what I recognized as grief, I entered a period of extreme lassitude.   For the first time I didn’t over-extend myself buying plants and fertilizers and the like in spring.  I ate little (just enough ready-made bad foods to keep me unhealthy), and didn’t feel like doing anything.  The Sunday Breakfasts, after something like 30 years, ended abruptly.  These were events by which I tended to mark my week.  They were where we swapped inconsequential news; the daily kind that no one bothers to call someone about.  I felt pretty isolated.  This lasted until mid-July, when I seemed to get a second wind.

Since my return from India, Priyo and I have talked nearly every day.  He is very busy at the police academy where he was, at last ranking, number one in his class.  His endurance runs have gone from 5K to 10K in length.  He has trained in all kinds of things, crime scene protocol, forensics, ballistics, rights of arrestees and so forth.  He is heartily tired of the routine and eager to be out and actually on the job.  A concerning thing for me is that the Kuki tribal people (who originated from an area in Burma) are in a state of insurrection pretty much in the area he will be posted.  They dislike the Meitei who are pretty much the majority group that runs Manipur and of which Priyo is a member.  I guess I am destined to have the full experience of one who has a loved one in the police force.  Priyo believes that he will be able to visit NY within months of his POP (passing out parade) which is equivalent to graduation.  He is constantly studying, parading, running endurance and in class, so that we have shorter calls on most days.  This is also because the internet has been abysmal at his end lately (I think; it could be my end or both).  As soon as he starts his first assignment in Senapati, we believe that we will know enough about his future situation to begin planning to meet again.  If he will be living in barracks, I can not, of course, stay with him.  If not, then we can go on as before.  I also think he said something that implied that his time in Senapati will include two-month assignments at varying posts within the district.  Eventually he will be able to seek reassignment to Imphal or his home district south of Moirang, but the Senapati posting is for two years.  There is no way we can endure being apart that long, so I may have to have him rent me my own apartment near his posting where we can visit together.  We shall see.  There is nothing we can plan until his situation is clear. 

Just before my birthday, I awoke one morning planning to get several errands done early and went out to find my battery completely dead, although I hadn’t left on the lights, nor caught the seatbelt buckle in the door which causes a ‘door open’ beeping that eventually wears down the battery.  I was so irritated that when I finally got the thing started, I went and bought a different car.  It took a couple of weeks to arrive (I use carMax and the car I chose was in Illinois), but it is here now and I am swanning around in my fourth Miata, this one with a power retractable hardtop.  This has cheered me up immensely.  The nice thing is that the newer model has running lights which turn off automatically (no lights left on accidentally), and not only does the improved seatbelt design not allow the buckle to block the door from completely closing, but even if it did, the car does not beep, so the battery is not worn down. 

I am sorry that I do not have a great deal of wildly amusing events to liven up my writing, but the days, though pleasant enough, are not newsy (thank goodness!).  I have had a spate of new great nephews and nieces born - one three quarters Mexican, one three quarters Native American (in Dubai of all places!), one one quarter Native American and one half Indian (of India) - this last when asked which kind of Indian he is can answer, “Both!” which will no doubt annoy the asker and not be believed. 

When I got my school tax bill this year, I cringed, because it came just when I had to put a big sum down on my new car.  Imagine my surprise and joy when it was only one-third of the amount of prior years!  It turns out that the form that one files in NY each year to obtain the reduction for seniors has a couple of lines that I had previously not paid attention to, and which would have reduced my payments to this smaller sum for years.  I happened to bring my taxes in together with my form for next years reduction, and the Assessor himself was there and pointed out how to maintain this lower assessment.  Yippee-ki-yo-ki-yay!  I don’t think many other people left the office after paying taxes with such a smile as I did.  I don’t know if the Assessor is elected, but if so he has my vote for life!