This has been a very strange year, I have to say. Lots of changes, some good and some bad...and the recent tragedies that put everything into perspective. It reminded me of what is most important, and taught me what to never take for granted. Most of all, it has given me an almost uncontrollable urge to find laughter and happiness wherever I can, because those moments will help me get through all the rest...or so I continue to hope.
This isn't really a Holiday post. I haven't actually celebrated Christmas yet with my family, due to some family illnesses...nothing major, though enough to postpone the holiday celebrations. Normally that would be driving me CRAZY, not because I am desperate for presents, but because I truly love to give presents to other people, and see if I can make them smile. But after the way this year has gone, especially recently, I'm not really worrying about it...the celebrations will happen eventually. And the snow finally hit last night, giving us another reason to postpone things. Though today's snow is nothing compared to storms of the past, and the ones that are still to come. I live in Upstate NY...bad weather is a given in this part of the country, unfortunately. If I were more adventurous, I'd learn how to ski or snowboard, if only to get some enjoyment out of it...though because of the CMT and balance issues, somehow strapping sticks of wood to my feet and hurtling myself down a mountain, doesn't seem like a very good idea. Go figure! So instead I stay inside as much as I can during winter, only venturing out to clean off my car when needed. I've already done that today, and may have to do it again before the day is over. In the meantime I was reminded of a funny story...and since I'm searching for ways to make myself laugh and hoping I can provide that for others, I'm going to share it. I may have already posted this story before, so if I have please bear with me.
As it's something I live with daily, I often talk about ways to help myself adapt to life. I've shared tools that I use to complete everyday tasks, because of limited function in my hands...which is often a reality when you have CMT. As I have lost more hand function over the years (and I live in an area where snow, ice and cold is also a reality,) I've learned what activities are the hardest. Using keys successfully is at the top of my list...and even though I once bought an adaptive tool to help me turn keys, a lot of them didn't fit, so the tool ended up in a drawer. Getting into my home is hard enough, but the most difficult is opening my car. My Honda is 11 years old, and the key doesn't turn as smoothly as it should...add 10 inches of snow, ice and freezing cold to that list, and opening my car is like trying to break into the Pentagon with a Q-Tip. MacGyver could probably do it, though I'm no MacGyver! And when my hands are frozen solid, what little function I have left is useless to me. So a couple of years ago I asked my parents...no, BEGGED is more accurate...for a remote car starter/door unlock-er, eliminating my need to open it with a key. That was my birthday present, and it's probably the most useful gift I've ever received.
The funny story I mentioned is what led me to beg for that item. A winter or two ago the weather was especially heinous, making key usage all the more difficult. On one particularly cold day, I stood at the driver's side door, desperately trying to get my car unlocked using both hands to turn the key...but the lock just wasn't budging. I had already spent the morning dropping things and getting frustrated, because once my hands reach a certain level of cold, nothing but a hot bath will warm them up...but I had an appointment, and no time for baths. After about five minutes of trying to get my car open (or five lifetimes, I'm not sure which,) I just snapped! I started screaming at my car as if it were a living thing, right in the middle of the parking lot...yelling obscenities only a drunken sailor would use (I'll spare you the actual words.) My rant continued, and I even punched the car a few times. I couldn't help it--I was PISSED. As I drew breath to continue my raving, I heard a pleasant voice say "Hi Christine," which stopped me dead in my tracks. Oh, crap...I thought, and slowly turned my head. Standing there was the office manager of the complex I live in...a very nice woman, who surprisingly still likes me. Next to her stood a prospective new tenant who had come to check out the apartment directly across from mine, unfortunately for him. With a look of pure horror etched upon his face and his mouth hanging open, he stared at me with fear...somehow I doubt he had any desire to move in! The level of embarrassment and blushing that burned my face at that point, could probably have melted my car into a giant puddle...making the need to unlock it nonexistent. Needless to say I finally got the car open and managed to drive away, all the while trying to blend into the background and pretend I didn't exist.
I've learned the hard way that you've got to laugh at the ridiculous moments, because life will certainly throw you a lot of them. Laughter helps you deal with the crazy times of life, and with all the other times that aren't so funny...and if you can't bring yourself to chuckle over the insane moments of your own life, watching a comedy about someone else's can certainly be helpful. I hope at least I've made someone out there smile and laugh today...if so, my work here is done. And I say this with complete certainty; any of you readers who have hand issues, whether they come from CMT or not--consider getting a car remote if you don't already have one...especially if you live in NY. Trust me...you'll never regret it!