• Last modified 971 days ago (Oct. 1, 2020)


Another Day in the Country

Being on maintenance

© Another Day in the Country

When you’ve aligned yourself with an application for losing weight, you give yourself over to the rigors of recording every single thing you eat.

“Good job,” says the algorithm when you’ve filled in what you had for breakfast. “Great work,” it says when you’ve also added lunch and dinner.

I have to admit, it’s a little weird to be complimented by an iPhone.

I’ve sort of gotten used to it because there’s a game that I play about words and it is complimenting me all the time, too.

“Wonderful,” comes flying across the screen when I’ve filled in the word “laity” in a crossword puzzle. Evidently, “laity” isn’t a word that shows up in very many conversations — unless you are a preacher’s daughter, that is.

“You are on a roll,” my weight loss app says. “You’ve recorded your breakfast four days in a row.” 

My sister looks at me askance (remember that word if you play word games) and says, “Only four? I’ve never missed recording my breakfast for 148 days.”

That’s the difference between the two of us — she loves making lists and recording data, I tend to rebel.

Given my natural tendency to do what I call “snicky-snacking,” (adding butter to mashed potatoes and all other known vegetables, and listing bread as my favorite food), I’ve followed the rules and lost the weight. I’m back to where I was in my 30s — before the middle-age spread took over. I’m right proud of the accomplishment.

“What do I do now?” I asked my friend DeAnne, who had inspired this transformation.

“You go on maintenance!” she said.

Maintenance, in weight-watcher terms, is how you plan to eat the rest of your life, now that you’ve made a few course corrections. You get a handful more points (which translate to calories in your daily food) and see how it goes.

I’ve been “seeing how it goes” for a couple of months now and decided that I could probably do “maintenance” on my own, without having to check in with my online support. What I’m hoping is that the things I began learning in February have become habits by September. We’ll see.

We’ve been also doing maintenance at the Ramona house. We’d removed an old picket fence that we’d put up almost 30 years ago, saving a little segment on each side of the entrance sidewalk, for old time’s sake.

When Jess got that bit painted we realized, “Wow, the house needs a coat of paint, too!”

We started on the north — almost always the worst side for wear and tear in Kansas, and then went to the south wall. We’ve had bees forever in the east wall of the house and as we came around that side, quietly working our way along, we realized that repairs were in order in a couple of places.

“That’s just the thing with old houses,” my sister mumbled. “There’s always something that needs fixing.”

As I put a second coat of paint on the trim, I ruminated about old houses — this one we’ve been working on, yet again, is well over 100 years old.

“Sometimes I feel like an old house,” I said to my dentist as I was getting a checkup. “There’s always something that needs patching up!” 

“Hand me the caulk,” my sister said. She was up on the ladder, getting ready to paint the porch ceiling. “I’m going to have to ask Art about this,” she mutters, grabbing her pencil and adding something to the list for Ramona’s handyman who gives us advice and help.

Meanwhile, the dentist says there’s a little bad spot “on a back tooth” but if I come in next week, he thinks he can “patch it up, no problem,” and my mind is still thinking about maintenance and the uses and types of caulk shoring things up in old houses, and old bodies.

Maybe it’s the fall of the year that brings on all this extra energy for doing maintenance.

My Aunt Gertie, (who’d love the idea of us still talking about her after she’s long gone), would always get extra energy in September.

“It’s not so hot,” she’d say. “Now I can get something accomplished.”

She’d head out to one of her several storage sheds and rummage around, discovering things, sort photographs or reorganize her “This and That” books.

We’ve accomplished our maintenance goal for the Ramona house — except for a little more caulking. Next we’ll start on Jessica’s house. She wants to change the color — that’ll be fun!

The people on Ramona’s city council were thinking maintenance too. They’ve been out preparing our roads for a coat of “chip-seal,” which is a little like putting another lick of paint on a 100-year-old house.

It’s a good feeling to maintain things, take care of what you have, and do a few improvements. It makes you feel like you are actually making progress, on another day in the country.

Last modified Oct. 1, 2020