Spring and winter's end

in OCD4 months ago

It is technically the end of winter as far as the months go and today does feel like spring, with the sunshine warming the ground, melting the snow and creating puddles on the ice on the lake. The first image is of the cracks in the surface, which are a bit off putting, but the ice is still very thick, although it is wise to stay away from where water flows underneath.

There weren't many people out on the lake though, so we figured we probably shouldn't be out there either. Next week it should drop back down well below freezing again, so the ice will thicken up a bit. I was actually meant to be on holiday next week, but I have decided to postpone it as it would just be me and we are going back into ridiculous lockdown, so people are getting weird and I'd end up just at home pottering around - writing posts.

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Pretty much every time we go outside, we end up at the park with Smallsteps as she likes to swing. We weren't there long today though, as we went on the way through to the lake and she was more interested in getting out there in the sled instead.

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It isn't really sledding weather as on the pathways the sand and gravel is showing through and it destroys the bottom of the plastic sleds. They aren't expensive, but there is also no point in destroying them. We have had ours for three or four years I think.



And this is something we will unfortunately have to do a fair bit of soon - wash the carpets. This is kind of a weird thing for many people as carpet washing doesn't happen in most places. When @galenkp was here a few years ago, we made him do ours.

It is actually kind of cool, as while the work sucks, the carpets/ mats look and smell much nicer. In Finland, wall to wall carpet is very, very rare, so it is generally mats on hard floors. Also, no one wears shoes in side so things stay relatively clean, but still, dust builds up, fireplaces create smoke etc, so freshening them up is both nice and keeps the carpets usable for much longer.

These pictures are from our local mat washing station, which are generally located in most suburbs near a lake somewhere. The wooden frames are for hanging the wet carpets and in the summer and when there is a day of two of guaranteed good weather without rain, they are full.

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As you can see, the winter is pretty hard on trees as they both go dormant and end up carrying a lot of snow, so branches and entire trunks tend to break under the weight. This year has been a rally good winter with the weather and the snow, as there have been periods of a lot of snow and then a lot of periods of well-below zero temperatures, which keeps the snow looking good but without much more arriving. This means that there are all the benefits of fresh snow, without as much snow work, which is a bonus.

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If anyone remembers from Christmas time, I took a plate of food over to the neighbor, as I knew he was home alone. He seemed embarrassed but also grateful to have someone think about him on what is generally a day for family.

After his wife passed several years ago, he fell into a pretty deep depression, started drinking and broke the closeness of relationships he had with his adult children. I had talked to him a few times over the fence about it and I think that he enjoyed having someone close in age to his own son to have a chat with about various things. I have been concerned about him a couple of times since we moved in, as he would disappear for weeks at a time into a fog of alcohol, so we would try to check on him with the neighbors, who have known him for decades.

A of weeks ago, we found out he passed away ad while saddening in some respects, I am also kind of glad. I always got the feeling that he didn't want to be around anymore and had lost the meaning and will to live, but also didn't want to take matters into his own hands, so just neglected to care for himself and spend his time drinking. I think that the relationship with his kids played a big role in this too, as he expressed a couple of times his regret at the way he reacted to the death of his wife and how his actions affected the kids. There was always pain in his voice.

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In regards to the future, we had some verbal agreements with him about what we had planned to do in our yard, as we want to put the glasshouse a little "too close" to the boundary of the property. Unfortunately, while he agreed and was going to sign some formal papers, that is no longer possible and we have no idea what will happen with the property going forward. If the kids are looking to sell it, we already have 3 potential buyers for it.

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Over the last few weeks I have had a few conversations about getting older and how things change so drastically. Some people think that most of the change is in childhood, yet it is actually after retirement where the greatest change is, as everything we have built in life is taken away from us, piece by piece. Not only this, we recognize it being taken away and have the experience to understand the gravity of the loss.

Children on the other hand have a different experience, as they are looking forward to increasing their lives, gaining new experiences and dreaming about what they are going to become, what they are going to have. It is the innocence of being naïve to the world, not knowing that most of that potential will never be reached and what is, will eventually be stripped away until there is nothing left.

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For children, there is a world of firsts, like for Smallsteps today having her first lollipop. She doesn't realize that she will never have that first again and in time, she will not remember having it this one. All she will know is that she had had lollipops, there will be no individual moment for each.

As a parent, we are there for many of these early firsts, whether they are the first steps or the first skinned knee. Often, we do not realize how important these are going to be in our lives as while our children do not remember, it is these things that help build the connection to our children. But sometimes, life happens and we forget that the way we behave can undo a lifetime of attention, a lifetime of being the support for so many firsts. Children will never know all their parents have done for them, but they will feel it when they are no longer there.

Sometimes, cracks in life open up to swallow a person whole and like in the case of my neighbor, the loss of a parent happens while the parent still lives.

Taraz
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As we age many people lose the circle of communication that they had, it shrinks, through deaths, and changes in life stages such as retirement. You no longer have as large a circle of people to communicate with on a daily basis. When you lose a spouse the circle really begins to shrink and constrict ones life a lot more especially if it was the spouse that had the majority of communication contacts.

One think that I feel is making a difference in older people's lives now is the internet. It used to be very common for spouses to die pretty close in time frame to each other. I think in the 80's if a person over 65 years old lost their spouse their life expectancy was six to twelve months. There is always those that are above and below the average.

With the internet and social media, people can find communication outlets easier then ever before. Those in the 60-75 year old group have the understanding of the internet, and have been for the most part using it for the last 25 years. There is no more relying on the aid of others to come to you or to take you to others when your mobility is not what it once was.

I don't know if spouse survival times are increasing, but to me it seems that way. Block chain is a good place to find people to stay engaged to communicate with others. Yes there are bad apples, but the trollish type behavior is not as prevalent on the block chain as it is in other types of social media, I think that is why there is a pretty active group of people over the age of 55 on Hive.

!ENGAGE 25

This is a very interesting topic imo. I wonder if there are statistics somewhere on it.

I know many people who have died close to each other in this way, and I suspect that my in-laws might go like this. But you are right, the internet has changed things in this regard as even if they don't actually connect with people, they can feel more connected as they are more actively consuming, rather than passively - especially for the older group.

It would be a fascinating study.

Before retirement I drove everyday of the week, I would spend 4 or 5 days a week surrounded by co-workers, sometimes a lot sometimes not so many. Just prior to retirement I started to take notice of some of the people that retired a few years ahead of me. Some would sit at the coffee shop sipping coffee all day and just passing the time away, others would hit the bar, a few would re-turn to work to hang out.

When i retired, I was done working, and meaningless conversations...well had no meaning anymore. It took several years for the driving habit to stop, I still have an itch between 1 and 2 pm to go somewhere to do something, because I was a shift worker for so long and that was the most frequent time I went to work.

I think there are a few things a study would show, those that retired and did nothing, (me). Those that retired and died of boredom, and those that retired in name only still working and doing things with people only not getting paid. Retired life is strange, and I think different for just about every individual.

For children, there is a world of firsts, like for Smallsteps today having her first lollipop. She doesn't realize that she will never have that first again and in time, she will not remember having it this one. All she will know is that she had had lollipops, there will be no individual moment for each.

For some things you just never forget your first time. Just sayin' :)

Motorcycle ride, of course. On a '53 Indian Chief. What were you thinking?

My mother's life trajectory was a little like your neighbors in that when her baby died she just flat quit. My siblings and I could see it, and tried everything we could to get her attention, but she was just done. Let's be realistic: She had a great run with 85 really good years and 4 that were less than ideal.

I'm glad that you could relieve a little of the pain for your neighbor. I worry that so many face that end with all the pain fully intact, and in fact magnified.

I'd like to think there are things I can do that I enjoy right to the end. Writing and photography even if I'm taking pictures of my freaking toes. Baring Alzheimer's of course. In which case the end comes way before death.

I don't remember riding my first chief... ;D

Let's be realistic: She had a great run with 85 really good years and 4 that were less than ideal.

It is hard to be realistic at times though, isn't it? I think part of the problem of the world today is we are judged on our worst, not our best, even if the worst of us is just a sliver amongst the rest.

I'm glad that you could relieve a little of the pain for your neighbor.

It doesn't take much effort to have a chat to someone over a fence, yet few seem to do it these days.

It is great to have something to do of value til death, whenever it comes knocking. I think that if the knock came today, most people would look at their last months and perhaps years and think - I could have done more and that more probably should have been something else than what I did.

There has already been too much ENGAGE today.

If my mom had her heart attack and stroke in Yuma instead of Spokane, Wa she'd have never had the last 4 years. Her living will said 'no heroic measures' but was in her house here and not traveling with her.

For me, the last for years were a miracle that allowed me to tell my mom hundreds of times that I loved her. It didn't make up for the times I'd forgotten to say it, but it made the last 4 years more palatable to me.

Her mobility was REALLY limited those last years, and when her baby left she just knew at some level that she'd had all she could take. Took about 90 days.

the last for years were a miracle that allowed me to tell my mom hundreds of times that I loved her.

Something many people might not realize is important, until it is too late.

I said goodbye to my mum 8 months before she died and only got t speak to her a handful of times prior, as I couldn't afford the phone calls more often. I never really got to say anything to my dad, as he withered away and a lot was left unsaid. However, I am okay with it, as I spoke to both of them a lot about things well before death was close and I think it made a difference to process it this way through distance.

At some point for many, I think it would be a relief to be able to say - I have finished living.

There has already been too much ENGAGE today.

Winter is beautiful with all that beautiful white snow around makes great photography but i am sure you are looking forward to that warmer weather.

Winter is gorgeous here at times and the spring is welcome once the trees are green. There is an in between period where it looks like a desert though and there is so much dust in the air that breathing is hard - but still, the sun shine is welcome :)

Myself i would love spring all year round if it was possible and we had a choice but it's not going to happen unfortunately we have to take what mother nature dishes out.

Getting out today for our last snowshoe and ski ....

Never tried snowshoes - fun?

Yes. It’s the best.... I post all my snowshoe videos on my Hive blog 🇨🇦.... In this video I had snowshoes on and my son didn’t... he sinks about 3’ into the snow while I hover across the top.

None for the dog? :D

I think her paws act like snowshoes. She doesn’t sink as much as we do.

There has already been too much ENGAGE today.

It is really fascinating, but it is still quite cold here in Berlin. Furthermore, I really do miss Finland so much.

When I first got to Finland, my body had no idea what was going on it seems, so walking to the shops in shorts and a hoodie when it was -25 was okay - these days, my body says, "no".

Wow. That is a fascinating story.

That carpet washing thing was weird. Bloody weird Finn's. It was fun though and I was only looking at those photos a week ago. Damn, that was so long ago now. I'm so annoyed I didn't make it back last year...Wasn't there to wash your carpets. 🙄

Small steps was funny tonight...Her pretty face she does for me on our video chats. So cute. I feel I'm missing out on so much of her life and it makes me sad. I miss her so much. Makes me tear up actually.

Still, I reckon she'd come running for a hug from uncle G-dog if I saw her tomorrow...She knows I'm the world's best hugger and the best uncle!

Although...First lollipops are probably better than uncles to her right now.

She would definitely run in for a hug. She is drawing some pictures for you at the moment.

Funny thing about the lollipop was she couldn't finish it, as it was too sweet and taking too long. I said she could keep it for later though :)

It was ages ago you guys were here and while missing some stuff, there will be plenty more new stuff to come.

Cute...Saving the lolly. Reminds me of when I was a kid. We got those things so rarely we'd savour them. Make them last.

Yeah, someday I'll fly again and will give her a big hug...Hope she's not 12...Won't want anything to do with me by then!

The way they are controlling us at the moment, no one will ever fly again.

I heard that! Fuckng mental. Auckland went back into lockdown for a week at a moment's notice on the back of one case. Crazy shit.

And it doesn't matter who has it...

Yeah...Retarded.

There has already been too much ENGAGE today.

Well, look at it this way, smallsteps will hopefully have her own firsts with her child, or children and that's when the memories flood back into the mind.

So I presume that you guys don't have carpet cleaning machines for hire over there?
We hire a machine for a day and they also supply the soaps and stuff and then we clean our own carpets.

In two, or three months, summer will come knocking on your door.
Lovely photos btw.

Well, look at it this way, smallsteps will hopefully have her own firsts with her child, or children and that's when the memories flood back into the mind.

This is a good point. For me though, the things I do with Smallsteps reminds me of a lot of things I never got from my parents. Lessons learned :)

So I presume that you guys don't have carpet cleaning machines for hire over there?

I don't think for domestic usage. These are more mats than carpets I guess, so a machine migt not be reat for them. Or do they work regardless? As a kid in Oz, we would occasionally have our wall-to-wall carpets done though.

Yeah, I can understand that as I did the very same. One can only see the real results of your efforts when they are adults with their own children and I never brag, but my kids are doing very well with their children.
Whenever I see an old oak tree gnarled from the weathers that it endured over time, and new little green leaved branches growing out of it, I am reminded of my own life and my children.

They call them wet and dry machines that one push over the mats and carpets like a lawnmower.
They also have pipe attachments that can be used to do the curtains and fabric couches and chairs.
Thankfully we only have carpets in our two small bedrooms and I do them with a bucket of soap water and then open the windows and by night they are dry.

There has already been too much ENGAGE today.

One can only see the real results of your efforts when they are adults with their own children and I never brag, but my kids are doing very well with their children.

It would be heartbreaking if it went the other way.

Thankfully we only have carpets in our two small bedrooms and I do them with a bucket of soap water and then open the windows and by night they are dry.

These are installed carpets? That sounds like ruined floors! But I am guessing there is concrete underneath. Here, the floors are often wooden in houses.

One is in the hands of fate when they grow up, but as long as the early seeds were sown, it will blossom at one time or another.
There are many dangers out the waiting to trap the naïve, so school them well in the art of life and they will stand a better chance.

Yes they are wall to wall installed carpets on concrete floors. Durable rubber backed carpets made for high traffic purposes and easy to clean.
Wooden floors underneath will require a strong wet and dry suction machine.

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Just looking at that cracked ice is making me nervous XD (and cold)

Did she enjoy her first lollipop?

I have a photo of my eldest enjoying his first boiled eggs XD (it's very messy but he is very happy, and the others did not get similar photos sadly)

Youngest has only just realised late last year the novelty of "firsts" when he consciously realised that he will never have a "first time playing" any given game ever again after the first time playing, as while you can always look for repeat details that you missed in subsequent plays, the feeling is different from the first time. He initially wanted to get better at skating before he let me video but when I pointed out I would never get the "first time" again, he was happier about it.

That's rather sad about your neighbour :<

This sounds like something I want no part of.

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