Thursday 22 July 2021

Days of Freedom

If someone came along today, asking me whether I'd like to retire right now, I would exclaim a heartfelt "YES!"

For six weeks now, I have been on an enforced break from work, and what can I say - there was not one single minute of boredom. Admittedly, for the first few days after each operation, I did not do much more than changing from the settee to my bed and back, and of course I had those early morning follow-up appointments at the clinic and at my own doctor's to get up for.

But after that, I was more or less able to do much of what I wanted, which included walks (on my own or with my sister), visiting my parents, doing my shopping, washing, cleaning and ironing, and of course welcome O.K. here at my place for weekends or travelling to his place.

Now this time of freedom is almost up, and I am scheduled to go back to work on Monday. The doctors tell me that my eyes are still adjusting for another 6-8 weeks, so it does not make sense yet to measure for new specs. But I can not really work without them, so I am having provisorial glasses made. Tomorrow or Saturday, I should be able to pick them up, which leaves me with a bit of time to practise before Monday. 

My return to work won't be full force from the start, as I will still need frequent breaks from the screen. But I can at least do something, which is fine - but, honestly, I did not really miss work. I enjoy my job and like most of my clients very much, but there has been an ongoing situation at work for some months now that has left me a little unhappy, encroaching on my main area of competence much more than it should. That, and the freedom I enjoyed over these past weeks, without one appointment or meeting after the other, has left me with a desire of working less, knowing full well that retirement is about 15 years away and pulling out early is not really an option.

Well, we'll see how things go once I am back to my regular life.

In the meantime, here is a random assortment of pictures (mostly) from those days and weeks of freedom:

Flowers my Mum and Dad had sent the day after the 2nd operation last Tuesday:

New pair of "New Balance" trainers I ordered to replace my most-worn pair for the last five years:

View of my living room on the 16th, as seen from my yellow armchair:
Sunset walk with O.K. on the fields south-west of Ludwigsburg on the 17th:
Sunday morning breakfast for O.K. and myself on the 18th:
Later the same day, another walk (which left me more exhausted than I expected, but it was only 3 days after my operation, after all):
No specs fit my eyes at the moment, and I look a bit odd and MUCH older without them; can't wait to have them back:
Another picture of me without specs - here I am 5 years old, and it would be another two years before I got my first pair:
This past Monday (19.07.), once my sister finished work, we walked to the palace grounds and had them pretty much to ourselves:

Thankfully, the kiosk was open - there is always time for a Radler! (shandy)
On Wednesday, I went to see my parents for a chat and a drink on their beautiful balcony. It was close to sunset when I left, and I took a detour home to catch some of that wonderful light:

I keep reminding myself that all of this is still possible when I am back at work - just not so much at my own pace.

Monday 19 July 2021

The Weekend Before Last

The weekend before last (July 9 - 11) was my last weekend before the 2nd eye operation, and since the first op was almost 4 weeks ago by then, I was allowed almost everything I wanted to do (with caution).

It was a weekend with a mix of sunshine, rain and thunderstorms; as most of you know from the news, the rain and thunderstorms caused a lot of damage in many parts of Germany as well as other countries in central Europe. Thankfully, neither O.K.'s nor my area were in trouble, and I am selfishly glad that all my family and friends are safe and well. Still, I am not untouched by the dramatic events; the death toll has risen to somewhere around 120 as far as I know, and the worst affected regions will suffer from the aftermath not for days, weeks or months, but years to come.

Anyway, this post is about what the weekend was like for me - if you think that's shallow and callous, feel free to not read on.

On the Saturday, we finally went for the type of hike I enjoy so much: straight from the cottage, rucksacks packed with sandwiches and water bottles, and a total of just over 24 km, all at a leisurely pace.

Surprisingly few other people were out and about, making for a peaceful and quiet atmosphere in the woods. I loved every minute of it, especially knowing that for several weeks to come, I was not going to be able (or allowed) to do something like that.

View across Diersburg

We were headed to the wind mills you can see in the distance.

One of the two wind mills at the top of Steinfirst.

This completely harmless grass snake (Ringelnatter; natrix natrix) was fully aware of us and made haste to cross the path to safety. The snake was about as long as my arm from finger tips to elbow.

On Sunday, we decided on a walk instead of a hike, and drove the short distance to Ortenberg. You have seen the castle and surrounding vineyards a few times on my blog, but we took a slightly different circuit route from the parking lot behind the town hall, so that we came back with a view of the castle we had not yet seen.

These tiny moths were on the hydrangea near the front door of O.K.'s cottage, maybe 2 cm across. Sorry for the slightly blurry picture, but they looked as if they were made of lace.

A former vineyard left to its own devices.

A particularly picturesque part of Käfersberg, next to Ortenberg.

Ortenberg castle

After that beautiful weekend, I had all of Monday to get things ready for my next OP and the days after, and was able to go to the clinic on Tuesday morning in a rather relaxed state of mind. As you already know, all went well. I am scheduled to work again next week after SIX weeks on sick leave - it feels like I have been practising for my retirement, which is still about 15 years away!

Tuesday 13 July 2021

Almost There!

Just a very quick one this morning, as I am due to appear at the eye clinic in Stuttgart for my second operation in about an hour. It is my right eye's turn now, and I hope to be back home before lunch time, more or less like four weeks ago.

My sister will drive me there and back, and make sure I have all I need. Much of yesterday, I spent getting everything ready here, so that for the next few days I won't have to think about cleaning or shopping but can just rest and stick to my medication plan which will mean using two or three different kinds of eye drops every 1 1/2 or 2 hours. It almost feels like routine the second time around!

Hopefully, in a few days I will be able to read your blogs and comment, and write my own about the beautiful walks we've been on last weekend.

For now, I shall leave you with this view of O.K.'s village, taken during a brief walk the weekend before last. Brief because the weather was so unsettled, we didn't venture far but were ready to turn back as soon as the heavy rain clouds reached us.