Well, it’s Wednesday, April 20, 2022 – Hump Day, Midweek Madness, When-the-Heck-Does-the-Weekend-Start Day – here in my corner of Lithia, Florida. I have some relaxing classical music playing on Amazon Music – Essential Mozart: 32 of His Greatest Masterpieces – as I sit at my desk and gather my thoughts to write this – my 839th post – in WordPress.
Right now, this “thought-gathering” process is, to put it succinctly, a mess. Unlike on Monday, when I knew that I was going to review the graphic novel The Lions of Leningrad, I started my writing day without so much a glimmer of a topic for today’s blog post.
I didn’t do anything terribly exciting last night. After a quick dinner – the Caregiver’s middle son prepared fried tilapia and white rice – I thought that I would watch another episode of The Office; I have only watched the first episode – Pilot – since I started a rewatch of the series on Monday night. But my watching moods are weirdly fickle, so I ended up watching an episode from the first season of Star Wars: Rebels instead.
I actually intended to watch two episodes – Spark of Rebellion, the animated series from Disney’s Lucasfilm Animation studio’s one-hour premiere, was split into two parts for the home media release – but because I was served dinner after 8 PM and I’d been up since before 7 AM, I was so tired that I barely got through the first part and turned off my Blu-ray player and television shortly after the second part started.
Now, it’s early afternoon here in the Tampa Bay area, and even though I had breakfast – a bowl of Kix Cereal and two cups of Folger’s Coffee – I am still sleepy, lethargic, and dealing with a mild but nagging headache.
I can deal with the headache easily enough – I have a bottle of Extra Strength Tylenol gelcaps here – and I will attend to that minor malady soon. The sleepiness and lethargy part? That won’t be too easy; I don’t have my mother’s ability to take naps in the afternoon, I can’t sleep if the light levels in my room are high. My Venetian blinds are drawn, as are my curtains, so the lighting in here is diminished but still bright enough to keep me awake.
I also wish – as frequent readers of this blog know – that we had a Denny’s restaurant within walking distance in our part of FishHawk, the sprawling development where I’ve lived since April of 2016 after moving from my mom’s townhouse in South Florida. In my previous neighborhood, we had a Denny’s which was only a third of a mile away from the house.
During my last eight months in Miami I, of course, did not eat at that Denny’s more than twice a month, but it was nice to have a place where I could get a hamburger or a Grand Slam Breakfast if I wanted.
Here, depending on which route one chooses, the nearest Denny’s location is between 10.8 and 11.7 miles away from the house where I live. I can walk long distances, yes, but I don’t think I’ve ever walked that far. Besides, whenever I did walk long distances in South Florida, I did so because I knew the geography well and did not get lost easily.
I have lived in the Tampa Bay area for nearly 10% of my life now, and I had visited the region before, mostly between 2001 and 2004. That having been said, we don’t go out regularly anymore – especially after the Caregiver embarked on a new romantic relationship and moved her new boyfriend into the house. So, I don’t have the same navigation savvy that I had in my hometown of Miami. Plus, as much as I want a Denny’s hamburger or Grand Slam Breakfast, I’m not hiking nearly 12 miles to eat one. (And because I’m not as trusting of strangers as I used to be in my younger years, I am reluctant to go with Lyft or Uber.)
Intellectually, I know that I’m better off living in a house where I’m in a “family setting” and that at least the Caregiver likes me well enough to give me a room of my own in exchange for a rent that is lower than what is the norm in Hillsborough County. And I was happy here for the first four years of my stay, despite some differences between the Caregiver and me that seemed bearable in the beginning but – apparently – became irreconcilable as time went on.
Emotionally, though, I wish I had been able to afford to live in my house – yes, it was legally mine for a while – and that the original plan to repair and renovate it had come to fruition. Not only would I not be frustrated by all the restrictions on me – here I can’t even cook my own meals because gas stoves and I don’t mix well, for instance – but I could go out on my own without having to depend on anyone else.
And yes, I could walk that one-third of a mile to Denny’s and eat one of their specialty hamburgers whenever I wanted!