Friday, April 19, 2013

Looking up at McKinley from base camp

Mount McKinley is the highest mountain peak in the United States and in North America with a summit elevation of 20,320 feet above sea level. I plan to make that climb tomorrow. Of course my Mount McKinley has a big  WalMart sign over the door. But because we are also facing a fridge empty of fresh fruit and veggies I'm hoping to go to the grocery store as well, so it's a WalMart/Sobey's (i.e.) McKinley/Kilimanjaro day.   

This is a daunting, if not frightening prospect, and the ascent takes preparation. The pantry, fridge, freezer and supplement supply must be checked and a list prepared. The weather forecast must be taken into account and the closet checked to make sure that the appropriate clothing is clean and ready to wear. (This entails a load of laundry) Several pieces of mail must be put into envelopes, addressed and stamped. The granny cart is taken from its place in the closet and put in the hallway.

The floor needs sweeping but if I do that today I will not be able to make my assault on the twin peaks of McKinley/Kilimanjaro tomorrow, so I leave the floor with rolling tumbleweeds of cat hair and drifts of dust. Sort of like the country around Odessa Texas, where we lived for a couple of years when I was a kid, with fewer rattlesnakes.

I watch what I eat. Care must be taken not to eat more than the permitted grams of carbohydrates, but to make sure I get adequate calories. The shower will be taken tonight, rather than tomorrow morning. The clock must be watched. Last night I was distracted and forgot to take my pain medications at 9:00, so I could sleep by midnight, which meant that I didn't sleep until 4:00 am. What a nuisance.

I miss the days, long ago admittedly, when I could just grab my purse and go; when I could be spontaneous. These days I have to plan and lay my shopping trips out as carefully as any mountaineering expedition. And I will feel as if I have been beaten and kicked by a gang of angry bikers for two or three days afterwards. 

Why talk about any of this?  It's just the way my life is. I won't lie and say I like it or have some kind of saintly acceptance. I've learned my limits, which I guess is a kind of acceptance, but life is damn hard work and there's no little flashing light that indicates you are struggling just to put the one foot in front of the other. But I still have some gear to prepare for the climb tomorrow, and it's coming up on pain pill time, and I don't want to miss that tonight. Wish me luck.    

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