Here I stand. I’ve never tried standing to write other than a brief tweet or message once in a while on my smartphone. Some people stand all day at their computers. They say it helps their back, burns more calories and makes them think better. I remembered that when I was looking through the latest Costco catalog and came to the article about standing desks. Of course I immediately went on line to see what I could find. But I didn’t need to spend $600 or more for a whole new desk. I have a perfectly fine desk.
So I checked Amazon (sorry if you are one of those people who refuse to shop at Amazon but convenience wins when I need to find out about things, and I get free shipping). First search brought up three pages of desktop standing desks. I ordered this one. It was reasonably priced and the right size for my desk surface.
I came home from work just as the mailman was delivering our mail and waited patiently in the street since his truck blocked my driveway. I knew by the disgruntled, look on his sweat dripping face that he wasn’t exactly pleased having to huff up the steep driveway in 90 degree weather. When I reached the front door I realized why. Hard to believe it but Amazon chose to ship this 56 pound package through USPS. Even harder to believe is that our slightly built mailman was able to heave it up the driveway.
It took two of us to bring it in the house. It took two of us to figure out how to get it out of the package. And two of us to heft it onto the desk. It took me two hours to clear off the desk, re-hook up the computer, glue on the little rubber feet and figure out how to make the innovative simple touch height locking mechanism lift the desk with ease. It would have helped if I had thought to remove the plastic shipping ties hidden under the desktop first.
So, here I am testing this out. It seems ergonomically correct. My arms are at right angles, feet firmly planted, and eyes a good enough distance away for bifocal work. Now about those extra calories we can burn standing – I know someone who says she walks on her treadmill while using a standing desk. Seems like a good way to multitask. Mayve I should check Amazon for one of those. But will it make me smarter? Or just poorer?
“Your mom is very sick.” After five years of marriage, I can read the tension on Eric’s face and feel it across the kitchen table in the grasp of his hands.
“And?” I ask. I know there is bad news to come. News that I don’t want to hear.
“Maybe you would like a cool drink. It’s been a hot day,” Eric stalls. We are in the middle of a heatwave and yet I feel a chill run down my spine.
“No. I think I know what you’re going to say.” I had been visiting Mom at Letterman Army Medical Center at Presidio of San Francisco for months, watching her fade away. Dad had mentioned a week before that Mom would be going to Stanford University Hospital to be evaluated by Dr. Shumway, a pioneer of heart surgery.
“Your dad called earlier and asked me to tell you something. Dr. Shumway says there is nothing more that they can do.”
Eric moves his chair back as I shift around the table and fall into his tender hug.
Don’t cry, I think. I’m twenty-four years old and can’t dodge the recurrent reminder of Dad’s words, “Big girls don’t cry.”
“How long?” I ask, trying to maintain composure. My temples pulse.
“Maybe a few weeks.” His words trail off as the tears come. His tears. Not mine. There’s a swift kick in my belly as I try to digest the pain. My mother will not live to see this baby, I realize.
Is Dad crying now? Is that why Eric is the one to break this news? Only Eric will witness my tears.
Four months later I sit in stoic silence at the memorial service as Rev. Boring offers words of comfort at Carmel Valley Community Church. It feels odd to have someone other than my father at the pulpit. My sister, a blossoming teenager nine years younger than me, buries her tears in a lump of tissues. I see my older brother brush his tears away on his coat sleeve. My head pounds with backed up tears. Did I imagine Dad’s gasps and sniffles?
After the service, we gather at the house. It was Mom’s dream come true, this house on the hillside above Carmel Valley. With a glass of wine propped on my growing belly, I feel the touch of my mother’s sister. Her hand is on my belly. “You are so strong,” she says. “You will make a good mom.”