Chapters – IX

C09Although the brochure said that there was a fully equipped kitchen, there was no egg slicer in the drawers.”

Of all the complaints on a vacation, I would think this might be one of the most pathetic. Heavens, how did they manage to survive their stay?

This brings up the topic of adapting to one’s environment, which brings up my employment change and living conditions in 2013.

For those who don’t know let me briefly relate the story: In May of that year my boss called me and said that the motel’s sale, which had been pending for awhile, was finally going to be completed…in four days. I accepted the same position within the company at a motel in Keokuk. I had to pack up and move and find a place to live within two weeks. I managed the first and had to adapt to the second. I ended up in my sister’s camper at a campground forty miles north of Keokuk. I spent the next four and half months in that camper with a three week stay in my parent’s permanent site trailer while working and looking for a place that was financially feasible and accepted cats. Nothing until the middle of October when I accepted a job in Altoona and, once again, had little time to pack and move. I ended up in a place that was worse than the last apartment but only twenty miles from work, easy access to Des Moines, the Knoxville writers group, and Oskaloosa for classes.

Adaptability. You do what needs to be done. The cat didn’t enjoy the move, but settled in fairly quickly with the new environment. We even continued our walks after dark. My only anxious time was when he escaped and wandered around the campground on his own for half an hour. I was afraid he wouldn’t return either because he was lost or grabbed up by some nocturnal predator.

I didn’t enjoy the forty minute drive each way to and from work five or six days a week. Yes, it was four lane for half of it, but that road became pretty long some nights.

I did enjoy the solitude, the quiet. Sure the campground had activity what with other campers and the owners mowing every week. But otherwise, there was no traffic, no sirens, no crowds. I was close enough to Burlington to visit on occasion, close enough to Ft. Madison to find someplace to eat. I had to plan my nights out but no big deal since I’m not a party animal. My parents came down when they could and I loved the summer nights outside with campfires and nobody to cause me grief.

The apartment in Carlisle, as mentioned, is smaller than the one in Oskaloosa, but it has more cupboard space. I do like the easy access to a convenience store, the vet, the ice cream shop, and the football field. Carlisle has a small town feel and is relatively quiet. The neighbors in the apartment all have their eccentricities and, after over a year, the landlord finally evicted the noisy dog upstairs.

It’s not the best, but I’ve adapted and will continue to look for opportunities for something better.

As I always have.

I adapted well when I worked up in Keystone, South Dakota for a summer. I enjoyed so much of that summer. I lived in an old camp office, sharing the building with three, and for awhile, four other guys. I made friends, enjoyed the summer attractions, satiated my wanderlust. Work was not hard, but sometimes the hours were long and the pace was busy. It was a different world but I adapted.

I’ve always resisted change. For instance, I needed a new winter coat. I spent twenty minutes deciding between two. Twenty minutes! This was a minor matter so you can imagine the anxiety I feel when moving to a new job or a new place to live. It’s a case of my losing control of the situation, unsure of the future, of being stranded somewhere, or being alone without assistance.

But I know I have family and friends willing to help. The summer of ’87 I was stranded on the Interstate with a flat tire. A friendly person in the nearest house helped. A few years ago I was stranded east of Carlisle on a mud road on the morning of January 1. A friend came and retrieved me.

I didn’t adapt so well when I was up at Camp Dodge between my junior and senior year of high school for an event where the participants all were ‘elected’ to be in government positions. It was a week long event and I lasted two days before two lengthy nose bleeds sent me home.

Otherwise, I’ve done all right.

How have you adapted to important changes in your life?

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