There, swirling miserably in the bottom of my morning coffee mug, are the dregs of summer. I had such plans just a few months ago. There would be a beach trip. Several rounds of golf. About two dozen novels that I have not had time to read in the past year or so. Time to put the finishing touches on our home and sell it.
We have had a thousand conversations this summer, all of them exactly the same.
“Honey, have you seen the _______?”
“Sorry, babe, it is in storage.”
All we have left in the house, it seems, is a fork, a spoon, and a scented candle, but to what end? We’ve discovered that there are three types of potential buyers out there. There are those that LOVE the house, but need to sell theirs first. There are those that LOVE the house, but haven’t made up their minds yet. And then there are those that don’t really love anything, but will kick the tires on everything. They have no intention of buying, but still they come. For them, the price is too high, the kitchen too small, the grass too green. These are the kind of people who go to funerals of people they didn’t know. They just like to feel like they are part of something, that they’re in the game.
Once it became clear that our house wasn’t going to sell in the two weeks we had foolishly allotted in our planning, we began to look toward the beach again. We could make last minute arrangements and sneak in a trip before vacation was over! But then something terrible happened. We managed to find an opening for a procedure that I have been putting off for quite some time now, the same procedure, more or less, that we have scheduled for our puppy in a few weeks. Yep, that one. Goodbye, fertility. Hello, Vicodin!
I had still hoped to make that beach trip, but the doctor quickly scuttled that notion.
“You’ll be spending a few days resting with your feet up,” he said. “All you will need is rest and ice packs. Keep them rotating. Lots of ice packs.”
I wasn’t timing it, but the procedure itself took about twenty-eight seconds. The Doc and I were discussing the “Cash For Clunkers” program, while I kept my eyes fastened on a spot on the ceiling. I wasn’t really all that nervous, but I also wasn’t really anxious to see what devices he was planning to use in the procedure either. It was easier to imagine that I had just dropped by to discuss current events for a bit.
Then, there was a strange little puff of smoke, and in a few more seconds it was over.
“You mean, that’s it?” I said. “That’s what I’ve been dreading all this time?”
“Well,” he said, hesitating a little. “The numbing hasn’t gone out yet...but this part is over. Do you have any questions?”
“Yeah, do you know anybody that wants to buy a house? Do you know where I can find another summer? I seem to have lost mine.”
He was right, of course. The thing about “the procedure” isn’t really the procedure. It’s the recovery. My wife said that one of her customers told her that he ran a 5K race immediately after his procedure. I, on the other hand, look like a guy walking on a giant sheet of bubble wrap trying to not to pop any of the bubbles as I tip toe from one room to the next. My face has frozen into a seemingly permanent grimace. And this morning, perhaps as a measure of preemptive revenge, the puppy trampled my lap, causing me to discover an octave I didn’t know I had in my vocal range.
Sing it with me now.