Family, Old Diary

Obsession


A really close friend of mine was a weather-head.  He has passed now, but lived his life in Kansas and his weather condition records detailed his life in Ottawa for almost 1/2 a century. yahoo weather app I am nothing like him.

I can glance at my smartphone weather app 100 times in the day, see the temp, and then forget it just that quickly.  Or (as many RV’ers who concern themselves with the overnight low when the temps are near freezing) I catch the overnight low… and ignore the rest.  I’m a very focussed guy; sometimes focus gets in the way of seeing.

This time of year I pay a little more attention to the forecasts than the rest of the year.  Spring and Autumn we are usually spent en route from North to South and sudden changes are more likely to affect our travel choices.

  • We avoid high winds when possible
  • We avoid snow (which is to say driving in snow) and ice whenever possible.
  • We concern ourselves with freezing temperatures.  If we are connected to a water supply we disconnect and run off our onboard tanks, and we may hook up our heat tape to our water line and / or turn on our water bay heating.
  • In Spring we try to follow the warm up, in Autumn we try to get South before the cold hits us in the North.

There’s no value for me to keep daily records like my friend did;  it’s unlikely that we’ll be in the same place two years in a  row.  At one time I tried adding daily weather details to the blog and quickly realized that was a dumb idea.  Too much work for no reward.

But…temperature map By keeping our travel plans within average climate predictions we manage to do most of the above without much stress.

Planning pays off. Stay proactive and move before the trouble occurs whenever possible.

Obsessive planning doesn’t. Sometimes we make mistakes and pay the piper for not paying attention to the change of seasons.  That’s what happened in the Spring of ’15 when we stayed in S. Texas longer than we should have.  We hope to avoid the same this autumn — but now we’re dependent on a clear signal from the doctor.

We’re learning how to do this as we go; just like every other RV’ing couple.

flooded campgroundAnd there’s no sense in getting all worked up about our mistakes — unless of course one were to end up in 5’ of water in a flooded campground.  That kind of mistake we all want to avoid.

Obsession is a strange human trait.  About many things, obsession is not a good idea. About some things obsession is the only way to live.  If you are an artist — obsession with your art might be your best friend.  If you are an eater, obsession with food might be your worst enemy.  Finding balance is the trick of all tricks.

This past two months my cardiologist has had me tracking my blood pressure and pulse.  Let me clarify:  he’s had me taking readings 10-14 times a day.  Now think about that.  10 – 14 times a day.  On one level that doesn’t sound like a hard thing.  It only takes a minute — once you are sitting and resting.  So, it’s not really the act of only a minute,  it’s the act of a few minutes.  And then there’s the part about remembering to do it about once an hour — because after sleep and eating, 14 or 15 hours are all that remain of the day.

What we’ve been doing — the doc and I — has been finding the right dosage of a medicine that slows my pulse,  we’re messing with my heart rate.  I have to tell you, that’s not something you do with out causing odd thoughts to pop up from time to time.  Like: “what’s too low?”  “Is this the way I should be feeling?” “Why do the numbers go up and down so much?” And many many more.

Don’t get me wrong,  I’m not a hypochondriac.  I think I have a level head and I can be very analytical — which in itself can be a form of obsession.  But I have been healthy all my life, none of us escapes this world without dying and at some point in time that’s going to happen to me too.  Preferably later rather than sooner, but about some things we have little or no control.  We do the best we can,  maybe we even alter our lifestyle to live a little longer, but in the end we all have an expiration date.

here is lifeAll this blood pressure checking gets into your head though…  Our bodies are these very involved chemical factories and they are very much like this earth in the sense that how we live on earth affects how our planet functions the same way how we live in our body affects how our body functions.  Like gravity there’s not much we can do about some things;  genetics and our past living have their effects, and they are beyond alteration.  About some aspects of life we are quite helpless. Obsessing about them helps nothing.

One of the effects has been to make me less patient with people obsessing about everything that is wrong or bad, and whinging about them incessantly.  That’s life.  Get used to it.

I’ll never stop caring about the weather.  I love the seasons, I love the changes.  Oh, I suspect I’ll never stop disliking the cold.  I’ll never stop caring about my health, that’s a prudent and wise thing to do.  But neither is it good to obsess about it, nor to waste my life whinging about what’s wrong, or right, or happening.

I have always been a bit obsessive.  I know that about myself.  My dad always told me I had a One Track Mind.  He was right.  Great powers of concentration do that.   It’s easy to block out the rest of the world and concentrate on getting done what you want to get done.  Retirement has been hard in a good way  because I haven’t had projects lined up to be accomplished one right after the other.  And it’s taken me four years of retirement to adopt a little more of a  laissez faire attitude.  Some of the projects I have tied up during our stay in Milwaukee have been on my list for over a year — and they just sort of all fell into place while we were here — without straining or stress. It was bothering me that the list of projects was still there — unchanged, or if anything growing longer.  But the fact of the matter is that it didn’t bother me all that much; it didn’t bother me enough to change the situation.  And that is the key.  I could look at them and not feel compelled to do anything.  And I was comfortable with that.

For so many years I had to have a deadline.  If there was no deadline I made a deadline so that I had one to work towards.  Letting go has not been a battle — because I haven’t exactly been thinking about “I have to let this go.”  I’ve been enjoying other things.  The ones that haven’t gotten done simply had less importance. And to me, that’s the best way to learn.  Let something thrill you, inspire you, excite you — and the ones that don’t just fall away.   That’s healthy.  That’s what I am enjoying about retirement.  I don’t have to, I just do.

We’re still hoping maybe we’ll get out of town around the beginning of November.  We aren’t sure.  Seems that 2015 has been the year of waiting, over and over and over again — each time for a different reason.  Maybe all that waiting has helped me let go of things;  maybe it’s all just a lot of hot air.  Hey, I’ve never been accused of saying too little.  🙂

Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll talk with you tomorrow.

All you hear is the thunder of wings as thousands of snow geese fly out in the morning.

All you hear is the thunder of wings as thousands of snow geese fly out in the morning.

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10 thoughts on “Obsession

  1. Might I suggest a little “weather-head” obsession to keep the blood pressure down? Not so much obsession as dedicated wild abandon, lets say more of a commitment without trappings of actual consequence. Translation – resolve to find something obsessively repetitive, a peculiar little quirk or ritual performed each day without a thought or trepidation other than “holy crap, that’s interesting”. Sounds weird but take it from this space weather obsessed woman, not only does it work, it feels incredibly liberating. Sigh! I highly doubt this made a lick of sense. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • It made sense if you were referring to the ritual of daily investigating. THAT I can understand. And I have my rituals…. first thing every morning I get up and read/write for a couple hours — kind of in my own little world for a while. Peg has figured out I need my alone-time even when we are together and that’s how I get it. Meditative blogging and reading. 🙂

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    • Jim,
      After looking at the month’s readings for Lake Leelanau State Park (which I presume is some place near you) I conclude that by a hair we may be as cool as, or slightly cooler than you. We dipped to 32 last night, 30 the night before — will go to 31 tonight. So, I sympathize with your comment.
      But… may I say… thus far this autumn we have not used propane for anything except the Norcold when the AC power has been off. We have been using 2 1500 watt space heaters that don’t run most of the time. Last night the bedroom heater never even came on (set at 60º); the front one has been running. It’s holding 58º while being set for 60º.
      We cook by induction, and we rarely run the gas heater except when it gets colder than what it is now.
      I suspect that’s one difference between 5th wheels and Class A’s — you have a lot more ceiling height and actually a lot more internal space to heat.
      Stay warm my friend. 🙂 🙂

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  2. Mrs. P says:

    Seems like having to check your pressure so often might change the true and normal reading with all the thoughts that tend to pop into view while doing it. LOL

    I recently had a round of steroids that I had to take at various times throughout the day. I set my phone alarms so I would remember. My problem is that I get engrossed in what I am doing and other activities simply get forgotten, including eating. Then several hours later I find I’m spacey and moody…go figure. Though I have gotten better about eating since I started my new diet regimen…eat small healthy snacks frequently throughout the day. I’s working! 😀

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    • I don’t know much about whether frequent checks would result in skewed results. In that the was to lower pulse in a guy who’s BP was already under control I don’t know how much concern they had for the BP other than insuring that the pulse med wasn’t having the wrong effect. But he got me to 50 bpm and wants it to stay there. so now, 2x a month (1st and 15th) I take it 10 times in one day and as long as the average is still in the ballpark I don’t need to worry at all.

      You sound like me — I get to concentrating on something and everything else goes by the wayside including food. Fortunately since Retirement, with Peg around all the time she needs to eat more often and I take breaks to make sure she’s eating properly. win/win. In the old days I never ate till dinner. No breakfast, too eager to get to work. No lunch — didn’t want to break my stride. by dinner I was ready. 🙂 This is better the way it is now.

      > > > > >

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  3. Reba says:

    Glad you’re taking care of yourself, Peter, and following doctor’s orders. As we all age, we need to take care of our medical issues so we can continue to be healthy and active. I hope you & Peg are able to head south when you want. I’d go south for the winter, but then who would keep the snow off the driveway.?

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    • Reba, Thanks for the kind words. Yeah — you are with your mom where Peg & I were with my dad a few years ago. Someone has to be around to take care of those things. It’s a small price to pay for the lifetime of love we’ve enjoyed. We’ll do our part to try taking care of ourselves and trust that the professionals know what they are doing.

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