Living in Society

2022 In Review

Broken furnace fan.

What did I do all year? I am at the point in retirement I had to look. One day blends into the next and I lose track of the calendar.

There is no ending the coronavirus pandemic. The governor extended the state’s Public Health Disaster Emergency Proclamation on Feb. 3, announcing it will expire at 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 15. After that, the coronavirus becomes normalized in daily, routine public health operations, she said. By declaring the pandemic normalized, the governor washed her hands of it. We are on our own. I still wear a protective KN-95 mask when among large groups of people, mostly when grocery shopping.

I got more involved with politics than I wanted to be. I volunteered to be an alternate member of the county central committee from our precinct. The two people who replaced me did not continue for another term so I’m back to being our single, main representative. I attended the county, district and state conventions, and participated in a number of events, phone calls and meetings for varied candidates. I worked as a poll watcher at the Big Grove Precinct polling place on election day. My main work of postcard-writing, door knocking, and events was for the Kevin Kinney campaign for state senator. I continued the long-standing personal tradition of stuffing envelopes, this time for the Christina Bohannan campaign. Politics beyond county offices was a bust this year.

Our last old automobile wore out. The 2002 Subaru broke some things for which we could not get new repair parts. It was a safety issue, so we donated it to Iowa Public Radio and bought a used 2019 Chevy Spark. I would have driven the old car for a while longer if we could have gotten parts. I like the new car’s fuel economy and tight turning radius.

In March, my sister-in-law moved to Des Moines for a new job. In July, our child moved to a new apartment in the Chicago area. We helped with both moves. That is a big task for septuagenarians yet we did the best we could. They appreciated the help.

We spent about $3,000 on “home operations.” About half of that was hiring a contractor to remove stumps and cut back our overgrown lilac bushes. The other big expense was repairing the yard tractor. All of the equipment I use around the house is getting old and in coming years will need repaired or replaced. Just this week we had to replace a fan in the furnace. After almost 30 years, it was developing the sound of failure.

I continue to serve on our home owners association board and as a sewer district trustee. I wanted to exit this work in June, yet there was no one to step up and do it. There is responsibility in complying with regulations pertaining to public water and sewer systems, so it is a non-trivial job. We do the best we can. I understand this water system management is part of living outside city limits and someone has to do the work.

Most of my time was spent writing, reading, cooking and gardening. I began devoting 30 minutes per day to downsizing some of our possessions. Am hoping slow and steady gets this done. I find going through and getting rid of belongings provides new energy for projects.

I seek opportunities to socialize and would do more if I could figure a way. Plain truth is once a person is “retired” they become less of a public entity and less important as younger folks assume responsibility in society. I’m okay with fading away once the need for my services ends. When it comes to community work, though, there may never be an end.

Coming out of the pandemic has been a long process yet that’s where we are. The last three years have been punk times. I’m ready for some new plans and fresh energy. I’m confident about finding both.