March 14, 2021 – Right under my nose.

Have you ever asked someone where they put something and after they give you very specific details on where to find it, you swear that they must be mistaken because you are unable to locate it? Let’s use ‘wood putty’ as an example. As it happens, I was the last one to use it and when I went to retrieve it, it was nowhere to be found. When my husband saw me anxiously searching through different rooms in the house, he asked me what I was looking for and I told him. “I swear I left it in the laundry room, on the shelf,” I said. I had already checked the laundry room twice by then as well as the garage, the bathroom, my husband’s art studio/fly tying space, and the kitchen counter. He then proceeded to walk throughout the house and check the most likely places without success. I was nearly ready to give up and just buy another container of it, but before I did, I checked the laundry room one more time. Eureka! It was there all along, right under my nose!! The only reason I didn’t see it is because I had put it inside a plastic container along with a bunch of spackling tools rather than setting it directly on the shelf (which is what I ordinarily do).

Oh my gosh, I wasted so much time! My intent was to fill in all of the nail holes in the bathroom trim but after spending so much time and energy on searching for wood putty, I wore myself out and ended up postponing the project yet again. I cannot even fault someone else for giving me lousy instructions on where to find it because I was the one that actually put it there. I have done that before though. Many times in the past, I have asked my husband where he put something (i.e., a food item that must be kept cold) and after he very carefully told me where to find it, I looked right where he specified, “In the refrigerator, on the middle shelf, to the right.” I stood and stared at the exact location he stated (until the refrigerator started to beep to warn me I’d had the door ajar for too long) and swore up and down that he was mistaken. When I question his recollection, “Honey, are you sure? I cannot find it,” he usually gets up, walks to the refrigerator, opens it up, and points to the item (in the exact location he told me). Why wasn’t I able to ‘see’ it?

Oftentimes, it doesn’t look or appear as I remembered. Maybe the packaging has changed and instead of coming in a square container, it now comes in a round one. I know he was more than exasperated last summer when I was trying to find the gray paint to use on the landscaping fabric (to mark where to put the plants) and after he very deliberately told me the location and I checked it, not once but three times, I gave up. And I had not only checked where he stated, which was on the shelf in the garage, about in the middle (where all the other spray paint is stored), I also went back to the infamous laundry room 3 different times (just in case I missed it the first two times). Once I officially surrendered and asked my husband, “Are you sure that’s where it’s at? I cannot find it,” clearly annoyed, he walked into the garage, stood directly in front of the shelf, picked up the spray can, and handed it to me. What the??!! In this particular case, it had to do with the color of the cap. I was looking for gray but the paint was actually grayish-green (and it threw me).

That’s something else we don’t see ‘eye to eye’ on. He says our house is green and I say it’s gray. Neither of us is willing to concede. Nevertheless, this is something that happens to me far too often and I don’t imagine I’m the only one. There’s a reason people often say, “If it was a snake, it would have bit you!” How is it that we cannot see things that are ‘right under our noses’? And it applies to so much more than chilled food items or wood putty. It can apply to people or places or opportunities. I’ve often thought about how I wish I’d had a strong, loving male figure in my life while I was growing up (since both my ‘dads’ and ‘grandfathers’ didn’t quite cut the mustard). Oddly enough, when I was going through an envelope my brother Clover gave me recently, I discovered several pictures of myself with my Great Uncle Harold (who happened to be a Catholic priest). In every picture, I looked like a Cheshire cat, grinning from ear to ear. It was abundantly clear that I enjoyed him and his company.

The blank spots in my memory started to fill in as I began to remember all his regular visits and how he made me feel special. I also remembered what tore things asunder. It was because of me being a brat. I cannot remember if it happened before I went into the military or after, but one fine day I decided to write him a letter and addressed him as ‘Uncle Harry’. He didn’t appreciate it. When he responded, he let me know that in all future communications, he was to be referred to or addressed as either ‘Father Harold’ or ‘Reverend Harold’. I refused. He wasn’t my priest, he was my uncle. Because I wasn’t willing to honor his request, we never spoke again. I recently wrote about wishing I’d had a grandparent that made me feel loved and special when I was a child, having completely forgotten about my Great Uncle. And yet, there he was the whole time, the next best thing right under my nose (until my stubbornness got in the way). I’ve lost a lot of people in my life over pride.

Bringing that up just bummed me out so now I want to talk about discovering things that were ‘right under my nose’ that resulted in something positive. If you’re anything like me, when you go to your doctor, you go to the laboratory he or she recommends. In my case, my doctor always recommends that I visit the lab on the bottom floor of the same building he works out of. It totally makes sense. That’s the one he’s familiar with after all. And just as he recommended, I went to that same lab year after year after year. I hated going there. It was always crowded with long wait times and if my order included a UA (urinalysis), it was a real challenge trying not to pee my pants before a lab tech appeared and called out my name. For five long years, I drove to this clinic for routine bloodwork (which was often due to my renal disease). It always tested my patience and I usually left grumpier than when I arrived. On one particular afternoon, I was discussing the long waits with a lab tech and she suggested that I try the other lab. The ‘other’ lab??

Yes! There is another lab (that I was completely unaware of) that happens to be located in the hospital (steps from my house). Can you believe it? I think about all the time I wasted, driving to the other clinic and sitting in a crowded waiting room for typically 30 minutes to an hour, totally unaware of this ‘other’ lab (which is only five minutes away on foot). It was right under my nose and I had no idea!! I wish I had known about it sooner, but let me tell you, I am so glad I know now! The waiting area is never crowded and I usually only have to wait about 5-10 minutes. It’s wonderful! I had a similar experience with my pharmacy. For years, I had been using the Safeway pharmacy for my prescription medication. Their staff constantly screwed up my orders and the wait lines were terrible. They had some goofy automated system that would call and notify me when my prescription was ‘supposed’ to be ready and each time I would show up after getting the call, they would apologize and indicate the order wasn’t actually ready. Apparently, their system had some glitches.

If I get frustrated enough times, I usually look for a ‘better way’. The ‘better way’, I soon realized, was available through Albertson’s. As I recall, when I had stopped by to pick up some groceries, I noticed a ‘pharmacy’ sign and decided to check it out. Behind the counter stood one pharmacist and two technicians and there wasn’t a single customer in line. I walked up to the counter and asked if they accepted my insurance and from that day on, I’ve been using Albertson’s. That pharmacy had been there all along but I had not thought to utilize it until my blood pressure went off the charts enough times (going to Safeway). It’s so much more pleasant going there. They’re much more efficient, and when they notify me that my prescription is ready, it’s actually ready. I bet if you have things in your life that frustrate you to no end, the answer or answers are closer than you think, potentially ‘right under your nose’. That’s how my life tends to work. Sometimes it’s about asking the right question(s) and/or being open to possibilities when they present themselves.

Alright, my friends. I am having my bedtime snack and calling it a night. After driving back from my brother’s and arriving at home around midnight, I stayed up until nearly 4:00am writing my daily blog post and then I didn’t actually fall asleep until 5:00am because my hands and feet were like popsicles. Morning came much earlier than I expected when my neighbor and his friend decided to tinker on his boat’s motor (right outside my bedroom) at 8:30am. I don’t know about you, but I don’t function well on 3.5 hours of sleep. Anyway, before I go, just a quick reminder, don’t forget to adjust your clocks. It’s officially ‘daylight savings time’. Thank you so much for stopping by. For the folks that are ‘following’ me, I am grateful for you and the continued interest you have in reading my blog. I’m no poet laureate or anyone with significant credentials to speak of but I do enjoy the opportunity to share things about my life and family or to just make simple random observations. If all goes well and I haven’t run you off, I trust you will return tomorrow as will I.

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