Dear Walt,

I’m having a lot of stress and it’s not good for me. I spent a stressful hour yesterday looking for an ENT doc who’s close and on my insurance. It was one or the other though I finally narrowed it down so will call Monday for an appointment. My ear that bothers me off and on has been on for days. I need to get it looked at. I’m sure it’s congestion related which is sinus and allergy related which is construction dust and early pollen related and causing the dizzy headaches that make it hard to work. Hard to think. Hard to do much of anything when I have so much to do.

Tomorrow I have to stop by the attorney’s office to sign some papers. I think probate should be finished next month along with the house. And the plumber is coming by tomorrow afternoon to vet the space for the tub specs. I’ll order that if he gives the okay and we’ll be one step closer to having the master bathroom done. I need to decide what to do about the cabinets in there. Our son in law was working on them but he’s at a loss in a couple of spots. I either need to get someone in or buy prebuilt ones. The woman who was so knowledgeable at the tub store told me to let her know if I needed other help and asked specifically about cabinets; she has many contractors to recommend. I hired the plumber through her and she’s giving me the contractor price on the tub. Since I know the retail price, having researched, this is a great deal. Plus, she’s giving a Harvey discount.

Then Wednesday I have to get my scheduled eye injection. The one I scheduled the day before December 21st happened. We talked when you picked me up about going earlier next time since my later morning appointments always dragged. And now you’re not here to rely on to get me there. I mean I can get myself there but between the shot and double dilation I can’t get myself home. One or the other of our daughters will drive me there and back. But I want it to be you driving me there and back.

We had such a routine, eye shot then tacos, and I miss it just as I miss all of them.

Then there’s the fact that I miss you. And yesterday was particularly bad for no reason that makes sense but that’s grief causing grief I guess. House stuff, medical stuff, you not being here and me not being able to work and really needing to work. It all piled on and left me ragged at day’s end. But I woke up this morning with a story idea that might help me purge a lot of the emotion gnawing at me. Of course this totally ruins the exact plans I’d made for the year but maybe those exact plans were actually adding to the stress. I’m not giving them up; I’ll keep working on those stories but I’m going to spill every bit of my guts onto the page with this one and see how far I get. They say write what you know and I’ve had more than one person say that maybe pouring the complete crap of my current truth into fiction, no matter how corny will be cathartic.

And as you always told me, “Corny works.”

I hope so because I need something. I’m trying to be both me and you and I’m not doing a very good job being either of us. Everyone tells me to be gentle with myself but the stress is making it hard. It’s scheduled to rain the next ten days after tomorrow which doesn’t help. It just means another weather change and more headaches and ear pressure and dogs barking inside instead of out and construction delays of one sort or another. The fence AGAIN for sure. I need to not stress over the waiting for EVERYTHING but I’m having a hard time letting go of that tension and anxiety.

Yesterday I told one of my friends who texts to check in every couple of days that I want to go sit on the beach. The water’s too cold but I don’t want to get wet. I want to sit in the winter sun and breathe in the salty air and listen to the waves and the gulls and the wind. I think that would help and as soon as the rain goes away I’m going to take a day to do that. You’ve still got a beach parking permit on your truck though with my crappy eyesight I’m not sure I want to make the drive alone. But I want to sit alone. Sit and destress and think about you in the waves at Galveston and at Corpus and at Gulf Shores and at St. Petersburg. You always loved being in the water and never understood how much pleasure I got just from the view. The sun on the water.

The sun and the water on you.