We’re less than a week into the New Year and I’ve already had three major “Duh!” moments, realizations that I’ve been missing the obvious in spectacular ways. I’ve been looking for zebras when there were horses right in front of my face.
But rather than slapping myself upside my head in private, I thought I’d share my lesson: That a simple shift in perspective can make all the difference in solving a problem.
Example one: Plumbing the depths
This is the dumbest and the most embarrassing example of not being able to see the obvious. I called a handyman yesterday to help me with some small problems, a broken faucet and a clogged bathtub drain. When he came over and I mentioned the bathtub issue, he asked, “Did you try plunging it?” Now I know toilets and bathtubs get clogged on the same principle: Too much stuff in the pipes. And I have a plunger in my bathroom. But somehow it never occurred to me to try to plunge the bathtub. Sure enough… problem solved.
Example two: Bad medicine
You didn’t think there wouldn’t be a Frankie story somewhere in here, did you?
Last week, in the post Year End Musings and Newsings, I alluded to the fact that Frankie had begun to have hypoglycemic attacks every time I took him for a long walk. It didn’t make sense; I was adjusting his insulin based on his urine blood sugar tests as I always do. He was also shivering a lot, and putting a sweater on him didn’t seem to help.
I was becoming resigned to the notion that he was getting old and that maybe he wouldn’t be able to exercise as much. I didn’t think Frankie would mind terribly if I never took him by car to our usual walking route — he won’t walk in the neighborhood, which is too long a digression for me to explain here — but I would miss my friends on the trail. Walking without Frankie would be depressing, and I’d have to keep telling people why he wasn’t with me.
But of course I needed to confer with my vet before I made any life-changing decisions. He was away last week but he got back after New Year’s and I left a message for him to call. Before he could phone me, however, it suddenly occurred to me: Urine tests notwithstanding, maybe the insulin I was using was bad.
Sure enough, when I checked my records, I saw that Frankie’s problems were concurrent with my having started him on a new bottle of Caninsulin (the Canadian form of Vetsulin). My vet confirmed: The reason that Vetsulin was taken off the market was inconsistent formulation of the medication. Just because I’ve been lucky for a long time, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t issues.
I’ve just started Frankie on another bottle and so far, so good. Whew.
Example 3: Ich bin travel writer
In the same post I referred to earlier, Year End Newsing and Musings, I also alluded to the fact that I had recently discovered my great uncle’s butcher shop is now part of the Sigmund Freud Museum in Vienna. Naturally I have been dying to get there to see for myself, but I can’t really afford it. I’d been wracking my brain and burning up the internet trying to find research grants when I got an email from a friend asking me to be part of an anthology that gives advice to aspiring travel writers.
This reminded me: I’m a travel writer, who continues to write about Tucson and southern Arizona for outlets like Sunset magazine, even if I don’t do much overseas traveling these days.
The Freud connection is a good hook to a travel story.
Simple shift in perspective.
A semi-gratuitous bit of advice
While I was writing this post, I got an email press release titled “Three Top Things to Avoid at Restaurants.” Aside from the odd fact that the author only offered two things to avoid, the advice was pretty obvious — substitute veggies for fries, water for soda — and unremarkable until the last paragraph caught my eye:
These two simple substitutions save at least 400-900 EACH TIME YOU DINE OUT (depending on drink refills and fries portion size). And you’re avoiding the most harmful foods to your body as well by avoiding the trannies and high fructose corn syrup.
It had never occurred to me that hanging out with transvestites could be fattening, though most are far thinner and more glamorous than I am, thus possibly making me look fat.
Oh, by trannies you meant trans-fats? Um, I’m a food writer too and I didn’t get that. Perhaps you’d better spell it out to avoid confusion.
At least that wasn’t MY Duh! moment.