Published in the Rains County Leader on March 9, 2021:
Computer work has been interesting at the Brendle house for the last week since we’ve been without WiFi. We had what we thought was an unlimited plan from a major carrier through a third party provider called Nomad. I don’t know where the wires got crossed, so to speak, but the major carrier apparently thought we were using more than our share of data and cut us off. Nomad has been very helpful, arranging for service through a new carrier and deleting charges for time without service, but it’s still taking a while to receive the new router and SIM card we need to get reconnected. In the meantime, we’ve gone to the church several times to pay bills, file taxes, and other necessities, but we can’t check email, engage with any social media, or watch TV at home – and we can’t do any online research.
I never realized how often I go to Google for a recipe, to answer a question, or to check out something for a writing project. On Saturday I wanted to spend some time working on my next novel, but I had questions about extradition, incarceration of a habitual felon and a parole violator who are awaiting indictment for an alleged kidnapping, and other things a simple country girl doesn’t know about from experience. I ended up with some general notes about the time sequence of a plot segment and a list of questions to ask my lawyer and law enforcement friends who are more familiar with such things than I am.
I also ran into some issues in choosing a subject for my column. My first choice was the hoopla over supposed racism in several Dr. Seuss books, but I didn’t know many details, and doing research on my phone when all I have is an LTE connection isn’t my idea of a good time. Then, I thought about doing some sort of retrospective, a kind of then and now look back at the last year. So I pulled up my file of columns from 2020 with some pretty interesting results.
The column from February 18, 2020 was titled “An Evening at the Theater.” A friend from the Senior Center – which incidentally has been closed for about eleven months – had won tickets from KMOO for a Valentine Date Night performance of Skin Deep by the Lake Country Playhouse at the Historic Select Theater in Mineola. She invited us to join her and her grandson, and we enjoyed hors d’oeuvres as well as the play, not realizing that it would be well over a year before we could even consider attending such an event, even if the opportunity presented itself.
For the February 25 edition, I wrote about “The Call of the Wild,” a retelling of my hair-raising experiences while walking our canine friend Spike as the coyotes howled in the not-far-enough-away-for-comfort distance. Spike’s people were in Israel, and since the only trip they’ve taken in the interim was to a family funeral, we haven’t seen much of him lately.
The following week’s column was “Things I’ve Learned at the Gym.” David and I were only a few weeks into our new fitness regime at the time and were still wondering about workout attire and were struggling with minimum weights and cardio workouts. Now we’ve been working out regularly for the subsequent twelve months – except for breaks for the COVID shutdown, surgery on David’s hand, my own bout with the virus, and the snow. We’ve not turned into gym rat fashionistas, but we both have enough workout clothes to last from one laundry day to the next. I still struggle with minimum weight on the bicep curl, but I can move some pretty impressive weight on some of the other machines – and I think David could bench press me if I could stay rigid enough. We both burn several hundred calories per workout on the Elliptical and the Treadmill, and we’ve both dropped a size or two. Not bad for a couple of septuagenarians.
By far the most interesting column, though, was the one I wrote exactly one year ago for the March 10 edition. It was called “The Brendles Unplugged” and was about how our dryer and our Wi-Fi had gone out on the same day. The cause for the outage was different, but the results were much the same. We did a few household chores we had been putting off, we read a lot, and we talked more than we usually do. But in the long run it just goes to show that there really is nothing new under the sun, and history does seem to repeat itself.