Colby the JRT walks along a fallen tree during one of our treks through the woods.
The tick-tick-tick-tick-tick sound of a short-legged dog walking with purpose along the hardwood floor of the hall gave me advance notice of what was about to come.
Next came this whimpering, crying “but-I-really-have-to-go” sound as he stared at me from near my feet. He slowly backed toward the front door in hopes I would rise from my comfortable seat, stop watching Alaskan State Troopers and take him out.
It was 3 a.m. I couldn’t understand why Colby the Jack Russell, a male under 50 in human years, needed to use the bathroom so many times during the night.
I slipped into my Eddie Bauer slides (more manly than saying my plaid slippers), grabbed the retractable leash and headed toward the front door.
Couple of things to tell you about this week.
I picked up my new glasses. They are progressive lenses. You know, the kind you couldn’t wear because they spaced you out. They seem to be doing OK for me. Going down steps is a little weird.
My old house is finally going to closing on Friday. Knock on the wood from 1849 that was used to build it. That will be a big weight off me, as you know.
So glad you were able to spend many Sundays of your last summer here at the new house. Picking crabs, swimming (or floating) with your kids, grandkids and Pops.
Mama Brenda floats in the pool with two of her granddaughters, Emily and Autumn, in the summer of 2015.
And speaking of weight, I climbed out of the dark hole I had been digging and started applying for jobs. Real jobs. Finally decided my search for treasure at the bottoms of bottles of Knob Creek wasn’t really working out for me — no matter how much I tried to convince myself it was.
My brother Stephen (left) and I play with water in the yard of our home in Grifton, N.C., during the summer of 1969. I was 3 here. Within 10 years, my topless days would be over.
Inside my ruggedly handsome shell of a body, beneath the hairy (insert body area here) and the layers of thick protection from the winter cold, a.k.a. fuel for that time I can’t get to the store for months, a.k.a. more bounce to the ounce, a.k.a. more Jeffrey to go around … Inside and beneath it all is a mind that has always been embarrassed by his weight and a heart that feels it.
I stopped swimming at public pools before my teens. I rarely went in the ocean. Mainly because I would make such a great meal for a family of sharks, but there was also the taking off the shirt in public thing. I hate even the thought of using open public showers or locker rooms. Shirts and skins basketball game. Don’t even …
Describing it as anxiety may be putting it mildly.
I’ve told you before how it started with me. Now at 50 years old and looking for work, I feel it even more. Is a potential employer going to look at me and see a hard worker? A smart man who can set his mind to something and get it done? A person who can meet deadlines and work with others to do it?
Or are they going to see a lazy, overweight man who doesn’t even have it in him to maintain his own fitness to any kind of reasonable degree?
I stepped on the scales this morning.
I had dreaded doing it and had actually pushed the scales off to the side at an angle so I could not just step on them. I’d have to drag them out away from the wall and dresser to be able to weigh myself. That was enough extra effort to have to go through to keep me from doing it for the past few weeks.
But after struggling to get the button on my largest pair of jeans through the slot yesterday, pinching my finger in the process, I knew it was time.
There’s something about cooking your own food. Very thankful I had a mom who shared her kitchen knowledge.
The call came on the last day of my vacation.
“Hi Jeff. It’s ….. I guess you know why we’re calling.”
Hmmm. To tell me you’ve missed me?
To say take another couple of days off. You’ve earned it after all those years of working the night shift, extra hours and no sick days.
Just to be nice and say hi?
“No. Not really,” I answered. But I knew it couldn’t be good. In 16 years I had never received a good call. Same as most of my peers.
“Well, we’ve had to make some moves and we’re letting you go. We appreciate everything you’ve done for us, trying to keep us whole and ……”
I didn’t really hear much more. The rest was less about my new circumstances and more about his. Something which I really didn’t care about at the time.