Lot in Life

I like things I can control and predict. I like setting goals, making lists, and checking things off of those lists. I do it with work. I do it with movies. I do it with my weekends. There's a certain order to tasks that I find safe, and I'll choose predictable over unpredictable every time. Lord knows life throws us surprises every day, whether we avoid them or not.

I'm still taking off on Monday, even though my dad's surgery got postponed. We're all a little frustrated with some of the reasoning. I can understand needing to meet with a vascular surgeon before having the carotid artery procedure, but after he meets with that doctor on Tuesday, the only other obstacle is the heart surgeon, who's going on vacation and won't be available until mid-April. At that point, my dad will need x-rays and echo cardiograms and all the other pre-surgical tests all over again. We can't understand how this surgeon went from telling my dad he had five months to live and shouldn't wait, to saying he'll do it when he's back from vacation. Obviously, they're considering different doctors now. I'm being objective about it, and reasoning that when the surgeon originally wanted to go in a few weeks ago, he didn't have the additional information about the blocked carotid artery, which changed his assessment. And I recognize he has other patients as well as the need for a vacation. Just because I don't take vacations, or stay late to compensate for days I do take off, doesn't mean I begrudge anyone else from taking a break. I'd rather this guy be fresh and rested than stitching my dad up in a hurry so he can make a flight. It's just hard to be objective when the life of someone you care about is at stake.

We all get busy, and we all get distracted. My dad asked me to check on his lot this week, a small strip of property with a garage and a driveway near my office that belonged to my grandfather until he passed away, at which point my dad's lovely sisters sued him for the property and the family house. They got the house; he managed to keep the lot, and we've taken care of it ever since. It borders on residential property on the right and the back sides, a street in the front, and a warehouse on the left. The warehouse changed owners a few years ago, and the new owner has been letting his fence slowly crumble, arguing that we need to fix it, even though it faces his property, is anchored on his property, and was put up by his predecessor. So neither party has done anything while wood slats rot, and whole panels lean in.

So, with everything I've had on my plate in my personal and professional life, I just didn't get there this week. We haven't been there since before the Winter, but left it in good shape except for that fence. I'm particularly proud of how I've squared off the once unruly front hedge, towering over a stone wall my grandfather built. The lawn is nice and even, and overall that LAND is SCAPED like I'm a professional. After two or three months of major snow storms and rain, anything was possible. Fortunately, one of my coworkers lives on that street and stopped by my office on Friday morning, to let me know the fence had fallen over and, worse, the gate to our driveway was wide open. He thought maybe the plows had pushed it. I had other ideas, considering we found evidence of a party in the form of beer bottles and other litter a few years back.

Due to interruptions and my own inimitable short attention span, I didn't get done half the things on my list, and coffee or no coffee, I wasn't inclined to work past 7 PM on a Friday night. With the sun about to set, I wanted to check on the lot before hitting the gym. Sure enough, our driveway gate was open, but very deliberately. Someone had clearly opened the latch and removed a metal ground post that holds both gates shut. Also, the gate to the lot portion of the property was blocked by a supermarket shopping cart. I left it for now, because it probably was used by one of the denizens of the apartment building across the street. Also, the supermarket was a mile away. I couldn't put it on someone else's property, and I wasn't about to return it to the supermarket myself. My first priority was checking on that fence.

I propped things up as best as I could, hammering in some posts with a piece of metal. It will hold up until the next strong wind, which is probably early next week. I'll have to go back with proper tools, and I suspect the gate was open because the warehouse guys had tried to fix the fence at some point during the Winter. There was evidence, like a single discarded work glove in our driveway. I don't mind that they trespassed to fix the fence; they would need to work from both sides. And if neither of us is going to buy a new one, I don't mind it being propped up. I even understand that the quick fix didn't withstand the last storm we had. What I don't like is that they left the entrance gate wide open like that.

Sooner or later, I'm going to inherit that property. Despite everything that my dad is going through right now, I'm praying and hoping for later. But I do need to take on the responsibility now, and give him less to worry about, and since I work ten minutes from there I have no excuse to not do a drive by at least once or twice a week. I'll have to thank that guy at work again for giving me the head's-up about the problem. Even though my dad was worried and asked me to check since we hadn't been over there in so long, I was definitely on the road to forget. Life gives us new responsibilities every day, and we always take on that which those before us shouldered. The checklist always gets longer, but once something new is added, it becomes part of the routine very quickly. The unfamiliar becomes familiar, and we soon forget a time when the new item wasn't on the list. It's no wonder the days and weeks seem shorter all the time. Time is fixed; it's our lot in life that grows larger than the time we have allotted. There will always be something left to do the next day, and the reality is that we'll never get everything done. All we can do, is do the most we can in the time we have, and live with not doing the rest.


Blogger Lorna said...

good philosophy that's kinda hard to accept, what with guilt being so big and all.

3/20/2010 5:40 PM  

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