You’ve Got Mail


⌘   I recently installed a sensor in our mailbox that alerts us when the mailman arrives.  We need this device because he is totally unreliable, and we never know when he will deliver our mail.  Our mailbox sits about 80 feet away at the end of our driveway, which means we often make many unnecessarily long trips to check for mail that hasn’t arrived.  Now, that’s not a great distance to walk, but it’s bothersome when the weather is extremely hot or cold, or after dark in the winter.  I connected the sensor via Wi-Fi to the Alexa “Show” that I set up for my wife in the kitchen, and when the mailman arrives, it proudly announces, “The mail has arrived, you have mail”!  That delights her to no end.  It always surprises me about how little it takes for me to make her happy.  She is completely unaware that I instructed Alexa to do that through the app on my phone.  I’m toying with having it say, “Jerilyn, you have mail; send Tommy down to get it.” 😊  When she was notified last night, the temp outside was 33°.  As I raised the garage door and headed down the driveway, I knew the mail was there and that I wasn’t making a useless trip.  Come to think of it, I’m surprised at how little it takes to make me happy. 😊  An old German proverb says that “when a man is happy, he does not hear the clock strike.”  Yup, I agree!

⌘ A few weeks ago, while I was installing our Christmas decorations outside, I discovered that I needed to convert a three-pronged electrical plug into a two-pronged one to fit the timer I was installing.  I had to do a lot of searching in my workshop and garage to find one.  I had an enormous smile on my face as I went back to the workshop with that little device firmly in my grip.  To my dismay, I saw the very thing I was searching for inches away from where I was working.  The smile vanished immediately, and in its place was a feeling of utter stupidity.  I try not to feel that way often, but sometimes it is appropriate.  I just want to make sure it does not happen when the consequences are more severe, such as when I’m driving or using one of my power tools.  You would think that at my age I would be more observant, more mindful of possible bad outcomes, but doing dumb things can happen at any age.  The most we can hope for is that those occurrences are rare.  A good friend told me long ago that if I made no mistakes, that meant I wasn’t doing anything.  Maybe that is true, but it still doesn’t make me feel better.     

⌘ A friend called my wife and informed her that the pine straw in his yard was ready to be taken away.  That happens once a year, so I dutifully get in the truck with my bonus grandson (Brandon) and head over to his house to rake.  Two hours later, Brandon and I are collecting the many piles of pine straw on a large tarp, dragging it to the truck, and tossing it into the bed.  His job is to tamp it down, and mine is to do the tossing.  Soon we are heading back to the house with a tremendous load of straw and hoping Jerilyn has lunch ready for two famished guys.  Luckily, she did, and after lunch we headed back to collect the rest of the straw.  We finished the job around 3:30 p.m., after which I sat down in my favorite chair in front of my workshop and tried to summon enough energy to put away the tools and say goodbye to Brandon as he prepared to head home (20 miles away).  As he walked down the driveway towards his car, it was easy to tell that all this work had little effect on his energy level.  Yeah, I know, he’s 26 and I’m old, but it still made me feel bad that all that work had no effect on him at all.  I tried to remember if all that work would have tired me at age 26, and I concluded that I couldn’t project back that far. 

Fulton J. Sheen said, “One becomes more interested in a job after the first impulse to drop it has been overcome.”  I’m gonna try to remember that. 😊  

⌘ My wife had a pacemaker installed last month.  Her heartrate was dreadfully low (48, normal is 70), but what concerned us most was that her heart would stop for several seconds in between beats.  The doctor had her wear a heart monitor for two days and then downloaded the data and found out that in one instance her heart paused for 8 seconds and in others it paused for 5 seconds.  He said that they didn’t worry about 3 second pauses, but 5 raised concern and 8 could be critical.  He called on a Friday night after reviewing the data and wanted her to go to the emergency room for admission to the hospital.  He wanted her to be monitored over the weekend until he could schedule the surgery for the implant.  Much to my dismay, she stayed home and waited for the surgery.  That was an anxious weekend for us, and on Monday we waited patiently for her doctor to call.  We finally called instead, and they told us the surgery would be on Wednesday morning.  There were a lot of prayers for us to make it to surgery without something going dreadfully wrong. 

The day for the surgery eventually arrived, and it delighted us, as it went without incident.  They whisked her into surgery and an hour later she was back in her room and doing well.  Almost a month has passed and everything looks fine.  Her pacemaker will not allow her heartrate to drop below 60 (70 is normal).  I connected the base to the internet, and it sits on the floor beside our bed, collecting information as she sleeps.  The battery in her pacemaker should last 8–12 years, and the race is on to see who lasts the longest.  I’m puttin’ my money on my wife. 😊

An old German proverb says, “Nowhere are there more hiding places than in the heart.”  I am confident that is so.

⌘ What name do you use when you talk to yourself?  You know, like when you talk out loud to yourself.  When that happens to me, I call myself “Joe Thomas.”  That was the moniker hung on me by two of my favorite uncles (Uncle Claude and his brother, Bill), who twisted my name (Tommy Joe), into “Joe Thomas.”  It has been over 60 years now, but I can still see them patrolling the sidelines of our high school Friday night football games, extolling me to stop the other team or score a touchdown.  Both of them transitioned to the other side many years ago, but they were the first two adults, other than my mother, to have confidence in me.  I was a pretty decent football player and scored a lot of points in both my junior and senior years, thanks to a quarterback who had a lot of confidence in me to catch his passes.  I was the left end on defense and prided myself on stopping anyone from running wide on that side of the field. 

On Saturday morning, my two uncles would come by our house to talk about the game the previous night.  They were so proud of me; it was, “Joe Thomas, you did this, or you did that” and I would listen to them like any proud teenager when being praised.  They instilled confidence in me that remains to this day, and for that I’m thankful.  So yeah, when I’m wondering out loud, I call myself “Joe Thomas” and now you know why.  Just in case you’re wondering…  I’m just saying…😊    

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