Everyday Life, Humor, Senior Life

Episode 24 – Vicks

“It used to be that when I’d wake up in the morning I couldn’t stand on my foot. I’d fall over. I’d be in such pain. Even that is almost negligible now that I’m going to the gym. I get up and I can stand on my foot. It didn’t used to be that way.”

Denny’s foot is getting better.

“Oh, incidentally, that new class that I demo-ed this week, I got it.


“Ryan likes to send me out to demo. Usually I get the jobs. But once in awhile they go, ‘hmmm—this and that—we wanted a woman…’ and so on,” his voice is high and kind of whiney.

“I have to go poop again,” he announces abruptly. “Since I’ve been going to the gym I have to go poop in the evening. I used to go in the morning and now I go once in the morning and once in the evening. Strange.”

“That’s weird.”

“Yep, that’s weird. I don’t understand it.”

Now Denny is back again.

“You’re toes are looking really good,” I comment as I look at his bare feet from my vantage point on my kitchen chair. He is standing, talking to me.

“Yeah, I spent a long time taking care of them.”

It was probably a year ago when I told him they looked like an old man’s toes. I think that was what finally motivated him. I shared that old men have special foot care people who help them look after their feet. My mom told me they had to do that in home care. My uncle has someone come in and take care of his feet every two weeks. That’s what old men do. Denny started researching stuff online and that’s when he came up with the Vicks Vapor Rub treatment.

“I put that on my toenails and put bandages on them and it worked.”

“How long did you do that?”

“I put the bandages on for a few days until they fell off in the shower. And then I’d put new ones on. My toenail started growing out. You remember that don’t you?”

Come to think of it, I did.

“It had to grow all the way out. The alternative was to go on some medication that would wreck your organs. I’d rather keep my organs intact. And Vicks worked. It was amazing.”

It truly was. His toenails looked the closest to healthy I could remember. It was a pleasure looking at them, pink and smooth, instead of yellow and gnarled. With toes like that I don’t mind if he goes barefoot. But when we visited his parents at Christmas I quickly found some blue knitted slippers in the chest by the door where his mom keeps extra slippers and gave them to Denny. He didn’t question me.

Each time we came into his parents’ house his dad or mom would ask, “Are you sure you don’t want anything on your feet?” He’d say no, and I’d give him the slippers.

Last Spring Denny and I watched a Survivor-style series where a guy goes barefoot in the desert, in the jungle, and even in the snow. Denny was somehow fascinated with this fellow and I began to wonder if he was going to go barefoot and grow his hair out and wear a long braid. Honestly, I couldn’t picture it. But then I began to wonder, how well do I really know Denny? Could he change like that?

He didn’t start going barefoot outside in the winter. He started wearing moccasins to go outside. I worried what people would think at his work. But if you are a musician you can get away with things. Hawaiian shirts, wearing moccasins. Duct-taping your cardboard ukelele case.

First he ordered one pair of moccasins that wore through in just a couple of weeks. He bought another pair, twice the price. It was supposed to last twelve years. Denny felt he could justify the price, given the wear he’d get out of them over twelve years. But they wore through after three months.

That’s when he started researching the water shoes.

Before the moccasins he was into making sandals. It was an adjustment, seeing my husband in sandals made of rubber and paracord. He found patterns he followed on the internet.

“I won’t tell anybody that you’re knitting now,” I told him as I watched him with the paracord.

“I’m not knitting.”

“It looks like knitting.”

“It’s tying.”

“It’s macrame then.”

“No, it’s not,” Denny was grinning. He knew I was teasing him. It really was macramé.

The sandals actually looked amazing. He wanted to buy some rubber that was supposed to be the best and strongest. “But it’s expensive. Fifteen dollars for a sheet.”

“Expensive, for rubber.”

“I know. I don’t think I’ll order it.”

I saw him eyeing my bright green yoga mat. I always thought it was a bit long….

I trimmed the end of my mat and gave it to him. He cut two sandals soles out of it. His new sandals were bright green on top and dark green on the bottom.

The yoga mat soles ended up compressing fairly quickly. Denny only got a couple of weeks’ wear out of them. So he ordered the expensive rubber and made a proper pair.

“What are you studying now?” I look over at Denny’s computer. I’m beginning to think Denny has forgotten about the movie we were going to watch on Netflix. I am settled into the corner of the couch, waiting.

“A phone?”

“No, two phones. It’s a comparison,” he is wearing headphones and watching a video of two phones.

“Which ones?”

“It’s the Nexus 6 and a One plus One.”

“I haven’t heard of that one.”

“It’s a phone that’s not available here. You have to order it from China,” he doesn’t look at me as he’s talking. His eyes are glued to his computer.

Phones are a pretty big deal. I read in the local paper today that there have been a rash of recent robberies in the lower mainland, some guys in their early twenties demanding people’s phones and cash. They threaten people with bear spray, or a knife. Better to just hand over the phone and try and get a good look at the guys and then notify the police. A bit difficult to do if they’ve just taken your phone, though.

I tell Denny about the article warning people not to talk on their phones or text while walking after dark. He looks at me as if I’m crazy to suggest that. He always goes for his walk after dark. What else do you do when you are walking after dark, alone? Right?

He finally pulls himself away from his phone comparison and we watch the movie.

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