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Valentine’s Flop

Broken heartWell, the day started off with a trip to the shop for our one and only vehicle, an older Dodge Caravan. What we thought was going to be a simple brake pad replacement has spiraled into a $900 bill. Of course other things were wrong with it, things that involved safety issues. Naturally these things needed to be repaired right away.

Next up, I have an eye doctor appointment this afternoon because I’m on my last pair of contact lenses and I have no renewals left on my prescription. That will be another bill. I’d consider wearing my glasses full time but I get a headache when I wear them for longer than a couple of hours.

Yesterday we got Brent’s bill from the VA. It was higher than we thought it would be, for his visits to the Minneapolis clinic to check on his eye while he had shingles (the blistery seeping rash was on his face, including near his eye). Ah, life’s little surprises are joyful, agree?

We aren’t off to a great start if we want to feel reassured that we did the right thing when we bought our nonrefundable plane tickets for our move to Ireland! How can we save for the move at this rate? Yi, yi, yi!

But, hey, this is life. I’m grateful that Brent is past the worst of the shingles adventure. Here it is about six weeks later, and he still has a lingering rash on his face! His eye continues to itch and he’s rubbed half of his eyebrow bare from all of his scratching.

At least he’s shaving again. He was well on his way to looking like a werewolf in transition. It was the first time he’d ever had a beard. It looked good at first, except for the odd coloring. Brent still has a full head of dark blonde hair so it was startling when a shock of gray beard came in. And then the rest of the hair filled in. The whiskers were red and dark, dark brown.

Then the beard grew to a scruffy tipping point. His facial hair filled in the sides of his face. I kept a wary eye on him and let him decide when it was time to shave. I waited and waited. He was nervous that there were bumpy “shingles leftovers” underneath the hair.

Finally I decided a tough love approach was best. I knew he’d feel better if he shaved. I even offered to do it for him, because I’m nice like that. It was time to either groom it or remove it. People were starting to keep their distance from him. He’d gone from my clean-shaven Boy Scout husband to “creepy guy” in a matter of a few weeks.

I was right about the shaving. As the whiskers fell, Brent shaved off the years that shingles had added to his life. He’s still looking rougher and older, but I’m hoping that he’ll shake the rest of that rash soon and get even more of his face back.

We aren’t old. We are as young as we want to be. And these financial setbacks are only setbacks, not a final destiny or a condemnation of our hopes and dreams. We’ll succeed if we don’t give up. We’ll get where we want to go if we are open to possibilities. Obstacles and challenges happen. These events aren’t a “sign” that we can’t make it. These events are merely a challenge. Well, life, I say “bring it”! Game on!

*If you want to help, my son has an indigogo fundraiser (crowdfunding) to hire Air Animal to safely transport his (our) dog Duncan from Minneapolis to Ireland.  He and my daughter are offering cute and fun backer rewards that you should check out. Please send the link to your family & friends. This expense was much greater than we had expected, but I promised him that he wouldn’t have to give up his dog.