Sunday, July 31, 2011

Yesterday

It was a wonderful day yesterday.

The wedding was just lovely. James looked so happy. They started the ceremony in a way that I'd never seen before. The minister read a piece from James' parents about how much they loved Rosalind, and then he read a piece from Rosalind's family about how much they loved James. Families are a big part of a couple's new life, and I thought that it was a nice touch. I've got pictures, including a great one of William playing with balloons. He loved them.

The shoes that I got worked well. They were soft as slippers. My sister, who is a dancing fool, dragged me out on the dance floor to do the Electric Slide. I suppose, (dear God!) that there are pictures. There is nothing that screams 'wedding reception' louder than old women on the dance floor. Rosalind's family is Filipino, and there was a lovely array of traditional foods at the reception in addition to the nicely catered meal of chicken breasts and porkchops.

Just as we were about to leave the house, we got a call from Cara. She'd been rousted out of her bed in the middle of the night and told to "Go, go, go right now!" It is monsoon season there, and there has been great flooding w/ mudslides. Loss of life. Travel restrictions. To complicate things, the crash of the Asianic cargo plane was fodder for rumor. Cara never says that she is afraid. She admits to stressed. She's been traveling for 12 hours now. Getting anywhere by ground travel was difficult and crowded. She was able to skype from the bus terminal. She was able to skype again from the airport. She was able to skype just before boarding for Beijing. She made it. She is currently in the air and on her way home. How do I spell relief? A-S-I-A-N-I-C flight.

I am almost done with the last question of my homework. (Sounds like a minor detail, but it is not...that assignment had 30 questions and some of those questions took a half hour to answer.) I got interrupted by events out of my control.

It was a great day. When I finally got to bed last night, my feet and legs were killing me, and I laid awake for a couple hours before dozing off, but know what? It was worth it.

I'll post pictures, but for right now, I've gotta get ready for work.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

This and That, Once Again.

A guy came into the store looking hot and bedraggled and with a bloody nose. "Gees," I said, looking at him, "what'dya do? Snot off to the wrong person?" He looked at me surprised. "Why?" I looked back at him, just as surprised. "Well, to start with your nose is bleeding..." He looked a little dazed. "Is it?" "Uh-huh," I said. He tells me that he was mowing his lawn, and a rock came up and hit him in the face. He did not realize that his nose was bleeding. I said, "My friend, you fought the lawn, and the lawn won." He said, wearily, "I need a shower..." and he dragged out the door with his chicken feed. Poor guy.

I went shopping. I'm having the most excruciating time with my feet. Tim and I are going to my nephew's wedding tomorrow (James and Rosalind). I had to find a pair of flat shoes. I found a pair of shoes that look like ballet flats. I think they will work with my dress. I found myself looking at sexy bras and really longing to wear something like that. I can't. I'm lopsided. Flopsy and Notsy. I contemplated stuffing one side. I don't know. I guess that I have to work up to that. I dread the thought that my husband might find me 'hot', only to get me home and watch me pull the stuffing out of one side. That would be a real turn on, hey? *winces* But anyway, I have a nice pair of shoes to wear that hopefully, will allow me to even get a couple dances in with my husband.

I will spend most of the day with Buddy and Brianna and wee William. I'm looking forward to that too.

I came home and I worked on my homework for three hours. The good news is that I only have three more questions. I will work on them after the wedding and the reception tomorrow, and turn them in (hopefully) Saturday night. It is due Monday, but I will be driving to pick up my Cara. I have not seen her since March, and that is the longest we have gone without seeing each other. I am excited about that reunion too.

So that's it really. Good night all.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

I am Mad.

I had surgery last month, and I received the billings for it. Different departments have their own billing system, which is confusing. I have four bills for four different departments within the same hospital. The bills are not yet due. Not one of them.

Imagine my surprise to answer the phone two or three days ago, and find an that it was an automated call. The hospital 'needed to speak with me about my open account.' I waited patiently, and pushing the appropriate buttons to be connected to the proper department. After waiting, I was told that they were experiencing a higher number of calls that usual, and the nice automated machine suggested that I leave a number where I could be reached, which I did.

Remember: these are not overdue. These bills are not yet even thirty days old.

The call was returned, but of course, it came in while I was at work. I came home from work to discover the call. They needed to speak with me about my account.

I called this morning and spoke with 'Melissa' who explained to me that I had multiple accounts open with the hospital. "Yes," I explained. "I know. I've got the bills in front of me now."

She wondered if I planned on paying these bills.

(WHAT????!!!!!!) Remember: these are not overdue bills. They have a due date on them, but they are not yet due. I was starting to become angry. "Yes. We will pay these bills. We always pay our bills."

She chirpily tells me that if I would like to pay these bills, right now, I could make that payment with her, FOR FREE.

"I wasn't aware that the hospital charged you for making a payment."

She is getting a little impatient. "I just said the payment was free."

"I heard you," I said. "But it would be free when I go down to make the payments next week. It's always free to make the payments."

She determined that I would not be making payment this day.

I remind you, once again, not one of these four bills are overdue. They are not even due. Not until next week.

After speaking with her, I called the hospital to complain about being dunned for payment for a bill not yet due. It was a courtesy call from an outside agency I am told. Just in case I need to set up payment arrangements.

The total amount of these not yet due bills is $450. I found the courtesy call very discourteous. I found it insulting, actually to be dunned for bills not yet due. If I need to set up payment arrangements, I would have responsibly contacted the hospital myself. If they had checked our records, they would have found all bills paid promptly and in full. There was no reason for this call.

The head of the department tells me that it was not rude, and that it how it is done. She herself gets those calls. As if that's supposed to make me feel better. "I don't know how much experience you have with our hospital..." she begins.

"I'm a cancer patient," I say. I do not say 'I have more experience with your hospital than I actually want, thank you.' It was on the tip of my tongue though. I tried hard to be polite.

She matter of factly tells me that it will be done like this. That's how they do it now. She tells me that actually the young girl was correct. They do charge late fees, so I could have avoided all of that by simply making the payment with her. FOR FREE. I tell her that she is comparing apples and oranges. The accounts are not overdue, therefore there will be no late fees, therefore payment is free. Just as it always is. She tells me that she's not sure what to tell me.

I tell her that Warren General Hospital has lost a client.

She says she's sorry that I feel that way.

She's not, not really. I can tell. But she said the words.

I hung up the phone.

Remember: the bills are not even due yet.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Dog Days

Feet and legs are better today.

I'm still working on homework. I'm about halfway done. Due by Aug. 1. Problem is August 1 is when I'm picking up Cara, and I do NOT want to worried about homework on that day, so am trying to get it done early, so as not to be concerned. I have a B+ in the class so far, and have learned a valuable life lesson. Do not try to take an online test when you are busy, and not ready to give it your full attention. I had plenty of time to go back and check it over, but I was in a hurry, thought 'that's good enough...' I ended up with a shocking 70% in that, which nearly gave me fits. I will never do that again. Totally threw my 'A' away with that one exam.

Other exciting news? The heat has broken. We have reasonable temperatures again. It was windy last night, and I hoped it would rain, but it didn't. I took my aching bones to bed early last night, slept like a rock, probably a combination of the cooler temperatures. Maybe the large glass of wine had something to do with it as well. (Disclaimer: I took the pain killer before noon, and waited to drink the wine until after 7, as the effects of the painkiller began to wane. I did not mix the two.)

I saw this online, and it made me laugh. Passing it along for your laugh of the day as well.

Dog Rules

1. The dog is NOT allowed in the house.

2. Okay, the dog is allowed in the house, but ONLY in certain rooms.

3. The dog is allowed in all rooms, but has to stay OFF the furniture.

4. The dog can get on the OLD furniture only.

5. Fine, the dog is allowed on all the furniture, but is not allowed to sleep with the humans on the bed.

6. Okay, the dog is allowed on the bed, but only by invitation.

7. The dog can sleep on the bed whenever he wants, but not under the covers.

8. The dog can sleep under the covers by invitation only.

9. The dog can sleep under the covers every night.

10. Humans must ask permission to sleep under the covers with the dog.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Arimidex?

Today, after work, I could barely walk. It felt like every bone in my feet had been broken. I was detoured by some road work, and nearly cried with the frustration. I took my shoes off, and it helped a little, which makes me wonder if my feet were actually swollen. By the time I got home, I was hobbling and nauseated with the pain.

I took a pain killer. I have spent the afternoon in a drugged haze. I couldn't even work on my homework. My thinking was too muddled. Nothing made sense to me. This blog post probably does not make sense either.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Tim's Daydreams.

Yesterday we went to hold the new nephew. He is adorable, the image of his big brother, who is adorable as well. We visited with my sister-in-law, and then headed for home.

Tim has been taken with a huge house that a prominent family lived in when he was growing up in his small town. He stopped on the way home to look at it.

We looked at it, with all of its structural details and the extensive stone work. We peeked in the big bay window and saw beautiful molding and wall paper, a gorgeous fireplace. Window seats on both sides of the big room. But the fact of it is that the house is decrepit and crumbling. Tim's right. It WAS a beautiful house in its day, but it has been left to molder and decay.

"No," I said, and I meant it. Too much work. That husband of mine will work himself into an early grave. My vote was no. We did not need this house. No. He did not need yet another project.

Tim seemed a little cross at me. I couldn't understand it, not really. We generally decide these things jointly, although Tim will discuss things until I am just tired of hearing about it and tell him to 'just get on and do what he's going to do, but for the love of God, PLEASE stop talking about it.' It wasn't like that this time. He didn't talk the thing to death. He snapped a little. "I just wanted to look at it. If it's not a good deal, it's not a good deal. I just wanted to look at it."

I tried to figure out what was happening here. Sounded like he'd come to the realization that the house was not something he'd want to tackle. Evidently, we were of one opinion there. There was something else niggling at him.

I rode along on the passenger side, looking out the window, pondering this. I wondered what it was like to be Tim, as a boy, looking, oh, not enviously, I don't suppose, because he is a preacher's son, and he doesn't envy, but looking at 'the haves' from the position of 'the have nots,' maybe wondering what it was like to have that big house, to live in a house like that... Suddenly, I thought I had it all figured out.

I looked over. "Tim?" I asked. "You do realize that you have surpassed anything that you may have dreamed about as a boy." He looked at me and he did not understand. I tried to explain. We are extraordinarily blessed people. If he was wanting that house as some sort of inner sign that he 'has made it,' to own such a house, well, we have made it. He doesn't need that beautiful (but moldering) old mansion to prove it. We have made it.

We are not rich, but we are assembling all the pieces so that we will live comfortably, and independently, and it is happening far more quickly than either one of us had ever reckoned on. How far we've come in 13 years of marriage. I don't think either of us ever expected such a thing. Tim looked at me. He understands that we have made it, he said.

I tried one final time. "Well, I was just thinking that maybe you wanted that house because it would make you feel successful, and I just wanted you to know that you are successful. I didn't want you to buy that house because it symbolized your boyhood daydreaming."

He cleared his throat. "It doesn't," he said. "I don't remember what I dreamed for back then. I don't think I did."

Somehow, that seemed even sadder to me.

We rode along in silence once more.

It did occur to me. I thought of Tim's excitement over the new house. He'd dragged me out in the street to see what it looked like a night, all lit up. We stood in the middle of the brick street holding hands and looking at our house. He has plans for after I graduate. He's chock a block full of ideas and plans. Tim the boy may not have had dreams, but Tim the man has plenty of them.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Tim and I Scrap

Tim and I rarely argue. We disagree on stuff, but generally speaking, it works out fairly quickly.


But Tim does have one habit that aggravates me, and we had quite a scrap about it.


By the time we are done, this scrap will be a $5000 scrap.


A big deal.


See, Tim has a habit of collecting cars. Cars that no one else wants.


He tows them home.


He tells me, "There's a lot of good parts on this car..."


Sometimes he'll use the parts. Sometimes he sells the parts. Sometimes, he gives the parts away, because, really, despite everything, he really is a very nice person.

A generous soul.


Sometimes I'll say to him, "Honestly, Tim, someday, I'm going to count cars, and I'm going to be pretty upset at you."


He laughs.

He doesn't believe me.

Even if he did, I don't think it would much matter.


However now someone wants to buy our house.

The cars have got to go.

And his piles of scrap?

They gotta go too.


Let the scrapping begin!


Our truck and the car we're towing in has just been driven off the scale. It is big enough to drive on to. It says that we are are 9240 lbs. This car belonged to a young friend of ours who crashed it. She was a college student. Tim felt sorry for her and gave her a car in exchange for her crashed vehicle.
The car is picked up off our car dolly. Tim has just unloosed the straps. It is carefully set off to the side. Back on the ground again, so that Tim and I can remove all four lugnuts from the tires. Once removed, the crane comes back down. And once again, the car is picked up. The car is shook until the loosened rims and tires fall off. and then it is lifted up and out of the way. Tim is scooting back in to pick up the wheels and tires. They'll take the car with the tires on, but they deduct an extra $25 per tire. We'll bring those tires home, cut them off the rim, take the tires to be recycled, and bring back up another truckload of nothing but rims. And then car is raised to the top of the already massive pile. ... and dropped at the top of the heap. Catalytic converters: did you know they contain platinum?








Big money in catalytic converters.
We've got eight or so.


Tim drives back on the scale, and we are weighed again, without the car and the scrap on the back of the truck. The difference is 3000 lbs. We drive out of there with a check for nearly $500.


Just like that.


We've hauled three loads to the scrap yard.

Embarrassingly enough, we've got several more loads to do, but we're making about $100/per hour doing this work.


Those cars out behind the garage?

Not as mad as I used to be.


City ordinance will prevent him from pulling this when we move.

I am ever so grateful for this city ordinance.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Pray for that Child.

I want you all to pray for a little boy today.

I am not sure what started it, but as I was running checkout, a couple scum bags were there with a young boy. The one snarled at the child, "You wanna do pushups? 'Cause I'm about there...I'll beat your &)^(*%^$ a&^. I was a little shocked and stared. The man went on, "And let somebody call the cops and when they show up I'll smash their *&%$*&% faces in..."

People were beginning to stare. The store was crowded.

"Hey," I said. "That's enough." Quietly, but firm. We don't talk like that in the Tractor Supply.

He started popping off big time then. He wasn't coming back to the Tractor Supply. Not any of 'em, unless he had some C4, he tells us. I was in the Army. I understood that he was threatening to blow up the store. I wasn't scared. I didn't believe it, but you don't threaten. Not in this day and age. You don't talk like that.

"That's enough," I said. "Get out of my store." (where'd that come from?) He started mouthing again, and I told him, "Get out of my store, right now, or I'm calling the police myself."

He mouthed off a bit more. Foul mouthed egotistical pseudo-military idiot. "I'm claiming my first amendment rights," he said loudly. I yelled right back, "I'm claiming my own first amendment rights: Get out of my store because I will call the police."

I heard the little boy say "I'm sorry," to his father, and it stopped me cold in my tracks.

The confrontation attracted a lot of attention, and many customers came up to tell me how well I'd handled it. "Good for you, by God!" they said. "That was a good thing to see," another said. "Excellent." Over and over, I heard people telling me that I'd done a good job.

I didn't. I did not do a good job.

A little boy went out that door with a lunatic, and I can tell you exactly who's going to pay the price for that confrontation.

Pray for that little boy.

I should have called the police.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Deja Vu ~ Again

It was hot. Blistering hot. Over a hundred degrees hot. The kind of hot that slaps you in the face when you walk out the door. Now compared to Mikey, or Painted Promise, it is not a big deal, probably. They live in the desert, and are used to stuff like this. Me? Not so used to it. The temps were up over 100 degrees (40 celcius), and it was a bit humid.

Last night I dragged to bed. It was so hot, I couldn't even sleep. I thought about going down to the other house. It is shaded and cooler there than it is up here. But it was so hot that I couldn't even make myself move. So I lay there miserable and sweating. Tim came home from his second shift job about midnight, and when he came upstairs, we talked about (what else?) the heat. I said that I'd thought about just heading over to the other house after work, but I was not sure that he'd be up to the extra driving. He said, "No. Let's go," and so we went. It was so hot that I just went in my cotton nightgown. Did not even get dressed. Carried my clothes in a bundle.

It was a lot cooler in the new house, probably a good 10 degrees. With a sigh, I headed for bed. Tim, though? Tims have got to putz before they go to bed. He was somewhere upstairs, I was drifting off to sleep, and I heard a scream. A scream, I'm telling you. Tim is not much of a screamer. I also heard a string of cussing. Tim is not much of a cusser. I leapt from bed, and ran for the stairs calling, "Tim, Tim, are you okay? What happened?" just as he was coming down the stairs.

"Get me a paper towel," he gasped. I did, relieved that whatever had happened was not causing him to lose obvious amounts of blood. "What happened?" I asked once again.

He was opening a window, a loose one that did not stay up. It dropped. On his finger. Yep. That finger.

This morning, I said "Tim, I think that you need to go see a doctor." He won't go. He claims that the doctor will just send him over to get an x-ray, which will cost $170, and the insurance company will only pay $40, and he doesn't need to spend that much money to tell him what he already knows. I suggested that perhaps the doctor could give him antibiotics. He suggested that he doesn't need them. Not yet. I guess he'll know when he needs 'em. His finger will start to stink.

*sigh*

Late edit: After I called the doctor's office, and explained my stubborn husband's stance, the nurse spoke with the doctor. He's going to call another antibiotic in for Tim. (One relieved exhale). Thanks Dr. E! You're just the best!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Pictures

Well, I started out this morning with a few hours of work. Then I headed home to feed Tim. Then I headed down to the house to work for the afternoon.
This probably makes it a little clearer why every room in that 13 room house needed to be scrubbed. The house really was dirty. I'm glad to say that I 've done all the rooms on the first floor. I've got one room left on the second, and then the two rooms on the third floor. I will then, finally, be done scrubbing.
Remember this?
By the time that I was done, today, it looked like this.

This....

...now looks like this. Terrible picture, but you can see the gleaming woodwork, right? Just say yes. I worked hard.


The old cast iron plumbing has been knocked out and replaced. One new commode is in place, the other will go in tomorrow. There is still painting that needs to be done, and each room has a splotch that needs repairing where the old cast iron radiators once stood. But painting is being done. We are talking about renting a floor sander next week.


And Bill? I did try to take a picture of that cat, but he did not come to see me this evening. I will keep my camera handy.

*******

Now I'm drinking wine and watching a chick flick while folding laundry. It was a nice day.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Quiet moments

The past few days have been busy, filled, chockablock with work to be done. The normal housework at home, and the exciting rehab work at the new house. The school work. The work work. I've been very busy, and it makes for boring reading, I imagine, this ordinary life I live.

But in the midst of the boring blog reports, there are small moments of pleasure ~ that cat allowing itself to be picked up and petted. He looked around alertly, not at me. He nestled comfortably in my arm, studying the world. As if he was already my cat, as if being held by me was already an ordinary moment for him.

Saturday night, Tim and I sprawled on a blanket under the stars eating piping hot french fries and talking to each other. There were fireworks, publicly. Privately.

I had the pleasure of a long phone conversation with a friend last night.

I have the pleasure of a clean house. (Yes. Still.)

It is the second blisteringly hot day. I am tired, up at 3:30 to go put away freight at the store, up at my mother's to clean for her, back home to tidy my own little house for our company tomorrow. Now I'm sprawled lazily, limp and sweaty, and tired. I listen to the sounds of the woods, knowing that I'll have to get used to different sounds. I'm reading a book, a memoir of a woman's childhood, and what she grew up to be. It's a mildly interesting book, a pleasant read. I have no energy to wrestle with complicated plot lines right this minute. The final lines of it are "I hardly touch ground the last blocks to Grand Central, but come triumphantly to rest alone on Forty-second Street, on the edge of evening. I am beginning. My life is beginning which cannot be true."

I remember the exhileration of being 23. I remember moments when my feet hardly touched the ground. What struck me poignantly is that now I am 54. I realize that although I am nowhere near Grand Central Station, or Forty-second St, I feel as if her words could be my own. Even still.

It's an ordinary time for me, with extraodinary small moments of pleasure.

Monday, July 18, 2011

I did it!

I got all 27 questions (two chapters) done. I submitted them to the online drop box. I did my discussion posts. All that is left is to take my test on Friday night. I'm really very proud of myself.

Wine? Too tired to go down and grab the bottle.

But I did three loads of laundry, and I changed the sheets on our bed, and I did dishes. I've got Tim's lunch prepared for tomorrow, and I walked around the house doing one last minute tidy up. (I'm telling you...I mean for this house to stay clean!) I should have folded laundry, and did some ironing, but I have to be to work at 5 AM tomorrow. I think that I'll hit the hay right now.

Good night peoples.

Another late edit: My post time shows as 6:40 PM? That's the weirdest thing. It is 9:14 pm.

It's Amazing.

We went down to work on the house this morning. As per usual. We put the bathroom back together. I scrubbed the walls and the floor too. It looks nice. (no. Didn't have the camera. That Bush Babe is standing right behind me, isn't she? And she's giving me a very dirty look, isn't she?) I took the last of the curtains down, and they're in a pile downstairs waiting to be washed. (no...it's not like that...I've already got a load in.) Tim installed the new commode. I scrubbed the disgusting bathtub until it looked nice again. All that is left to do in that room, really, is to replace the bathtub surround. We've got Joe painting. He painted two rooms today. He's coming back tomorrow too, bless his heart. I've got one last room on the second floor to wash down, and then it's on to the third floor. We're looking at renting the floor sander in the next couple weeks, and then working on the floor refinishing. Room by room it's coming together.

Meanwhile, I've said what I always say, which is, "Boy, it's a heck of a lot easier to maintain a house than it is to clean a house. So, to that end, I came home, made Tim lunch and spent an hour spiffing up this house.

Now, it's time to work on my Psychology homework. Feeling very productive today, by golly.

Late Edit: I have been working on my homework for a solid 3+ hours now. I was on page seven, when suddenly everything froze and the computer shut down to protect itself. I nearly had a heart attack when the document came up on page three, where I was when I shut it down the last time that I worked on the assignment. I found the autosaved document. Oh, I'm so grateful for 'autosave'. I have four more questions to go. Only four. I am beginning to think that I am going to get it done tonight.

Know what? When (and if) I get it done tonight, I'm heading down to the new house to retrieve a bottle of wine. Ay yi yi.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The White Tornado

I cleaned my house today. REEEEEEEEALLY good. It was like a white tornado went through it.



Did I tell you my house is clean?

See, I'm making a deal about this, because it's not really one of those things that happens on a consistant basis. I try. I usually get started, and then something else comes up, and then I never quite get back to it. But today, I got it done. (Did I mention?)

A couple came to look at the house. (Is this connected to the frantic house cleaning? Maybe...why do you ask?) They left telling us that they are "very interested". They are going to the bank. They both have good jobs. It seems very possible that this could happen. Tim and I keep looking at each other and saying, "But we weren't going to put it on the market until next spring..." In this uncertain economy, though, if there is someone who wants to buy a house that you are planning to sell anyway, well, you'd be wise to sell it.

We went out to dinner tonight, to a place that makes a good grilled chicken salad. We're not celebrating. It's way premature for that, but we are amazed at how this has all unfolded: the new house at an unbelievably low price, home repairs proceeding at a remarkable clip. And now someone just up and wants to talk to us about our house. It just seems strange to us that these things are unfolding with absolutely no effort on our part.

Today in the restaurant, there was a man, with a pot of coffee, sitting alone at the booth, staring out the window. The waitress brought him his entree, and he ate it, slowly, the giant man with his head low over his food, looking neither left or right. Just eating. He just looked so lonely. I wanted to talk to him. I really wanted to know his story.

Today at the Tractor Supply

Mikey's posted a few pictures of Mercy on her blog. When Mercy is giving her an ornery look, she refers to it as 'getting the stink eye'. Makes me laugh.

So I'm working at the store, and a woman pushes her cart up, stacked high with feed. A little girl maybe three years old is sitting on top of the feed, and if ever was a body giving the stink eye to the world, it was this one. I laughed a little at the expression on her face, and her mother shook her head, explaining that the child had just woken up.

As I was scanning the prices, the girl sat there planted in the middle of the feed. Noticing that one of the bags was dog food, I said, "Do you have a doggie at your house?" She smiled a little at that. "Yes," she said. Encouraged, I said, "So what's your doggie's name?"

She looked at me with her bright blue little eyes, and she said, "His name is Remington. But sometimes we call him Darn-it."

I just about fell over.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Dear Cat:

That cat was back at the new house today. He studied me from in front of the garage. "Here kitty kitty," I said, and he approached me, warily. I spoke to him, and he began to wind around my legs. I was a little surprised. I was even more surprised when I reached down and petted him, and he pushed up against my hand. So. I picked him up and cuddled him while rubbing beneath his chin. I noticed that he did not purr, but he seemed to enjoy being held.

Since we now are on friendly terms, I feel more at ease about approaching this delicate subject.

Dear Cat:

Tim and I both love asparagus. That little patch there? That's where we planted the asparagus. If you could find a different place to crap, it would make both of us very happy.

Thank you.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Take One Life, Stir Vigorously

It's been a busy week. I've worked every day, even put in a couple long days. Last night, I treated myself. Brianna and I went out for supper. I got some time with her and William. It was the first time that we'd ever gone out with the baby, and it was a lot of fun to walk around carrying a baby. It was nice to talk.

Tonight, I worked on my Abnormal Psychology. It is a challenge to sift through the information yourself, and draw your own conclusions to answer the questions. I worry about whether I am doing it right. I have no classmate to turn to. It is just me. I have 27 questions to answer by next Friday. I worked hard tonight, answering only seven questions, but filling three pages. Ack.

In a stunning turn of events, a couple is interested in buying our house. We've not advertised it. It's not ready. The excited wife explained that they are interested in fixing it up the way they want. They've been driving by, hoping to see a "For Sale" sign go up. "We just think it's so beautiful." They are coming to look at the inside this weekend.

Who hit the fast forward button on my life?

I'm working hard, Tim's working even harder, and somehow, between the two of us, we manage to keep up. Just barely.

Yeah. I'm amazed too.

Funny story from the store:

I hadn't seen the couple with the white dog for some time. I was glad to see him in the store. "Where's your wife? Where's your dog?" I said looking around. He rolled his eyes. "The dog got excited, jumped in the front seat and smacked my wife in the mouth. She's bleeding and the two of them are in the Jeep pouting." I had just gotten off work, so I walked out to the parking lot to visit with her. Yup. She had quite a fat lip. I had a biscuit for the dog, and for the first time, she took it from my hand. So I hung over the driver side window visiting for a while.

Soon, the husband came out the door with the part he'd come for, so I said my good byes, and headed for my car. The husband is seldom at a loss for words, so he made one smart aleck comment. I turned back and hollered, "You just shush. I saw that poor woman's fat lip. She's so embarrassed she didn't even dare come in the store. You're a brute!"

A couple people stopped to stare. He was speechless, just for a moment, but long enough for his wife and I to burst into laughter. He shook his head. "The two of you are too much."

And remember the W's? Cripes. Two days after I wrote my post, he was life-flighted, suffering a near fatal heart attack. But he's back home now, doing better. Mrs. W was so traumatized by the experience that I couldn't bring myself to ask her the first thing that popped into my mind: "Okay...did you find 12 cents in his pants pocket, or what?" I'm sure glad that things have settled down for them though, and that, friends, is no joke.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Cara Weighs in on Bears.

Cara sent me an e-mail: "Yeahh. Your bear problems aren't over yet."

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Yeah. Okay. That there? That's a bear problem. We don't have a bear problem.



A girl at work insisted that "someone up there is feeding the bears." I didn't say much. I don't know anyone who is. She continued to spout her opinion that someone had to be, because the bears are accustomed to humans, in her words. She claimed that she was riding across the road on her horse and came upon a bear who just stood there looking at her. 'This was very bad," she said. 'He wasn't afraid', she said. She also claimed he was a great big bear. Everyone claims that the bear they see are huge. I don't know why. Usually, it's not even true.



First of all, a bear has very poor eyesight. Great sense of smell. He probably smelled the horse, didn't see the human on his back.



Second of all, feeding bears is just plain stupid. I don't know of anyone that stupid up here.



Third of all, she didn't know anything for a fact, and I was not going to start conjecturing about something that was based on her flimsy suspicions.



She said, "Surely you are having problems with them too."



"No," I said. "We've got one small one that came around three times in one day, and a couple days before that. We see them around, but we don't have any problems with them."



"You don't have any problems with them."



"No."



I continued working. Finally she said, "Well who do you think it is?"



It was starting to get annoying. I am not going to stand around and start naming names. Especially since I'm not seeing any evidence of a major problem. I told her that I did not have a clue who was feeding the bears, or even IF anyone was feeding the bears, and I sure was not going to start accusing anyone of feeding the bears.



I was talking to Tim tonight. I found myself beginning to wonder: was she implying that we fed bears?

Bears, Explained

Just for the record, I'm not much on risking my life over a bag of garbage. The bear in the backyard was a small one, even smaller than this one. I know people with dogs that are bigger than that bear was. Black bears are basically pretty timid. Persistant perhaps, but I've never seen one get ornery, although one did huff and throw his head around at me while I was trying to get pictures of him. He had stolen a case of soda and was sprawled out behind our blueberry bushes chomping down on the cans and drinking soda. When he started getting cranky, I attributed it to a caffeine buzz like none other, and backed out of there quickly taking my dog and my camera with me. I have never heard one roar in my life. I would probably wet my pants if I did.

But this latest bear was not an ornery bear. He was a lazy bear who has become accustomed to getting easy food. He'd come to our house at 5 AM that particular day. I woke up to hear the garbage can rattling. Speaking into my pillow, exhausted, I said, "Tim, there's a bear..." Before I could finish my sentence, Tim had sproinged out of bed and was down stairs. (How does he do that? My sproinging days are over, I guess.) I heard him scolding the bear from the back deck. Then I fell back asleep. I got up early that day, and I scrubbed walls at the house. I went to work and unloaded freight, and then came home and took an on-line test. It had been a busy day, and it started early (thanks, bear) and by midnight, that little booger deserved the yelling I did.

Most of the bear that I have seen here are fairly small, although once, we heard the trash can, flipped on the light, and were astonished to see a huge bear with a head nearly the size of the trash can lid he was kicking off to the side. We did not go outside to yell at that one. We are a practical folk here. We watched him eat the garbage and depart. One rousing night, we had two large bear in the yard at the same time. I did not know about the second one until I'd leapt from the back deck yelling at the one who was nosing around the empty bird feeders (one of the feeders had sentimental value...) THAT wasn't one of my brighter moves, no doubt, and Tim did yell at me.

But getting back to the point here, if I had a large bear acting aggressively in the back yard, I'd prudently watch him dine from the sliding glass doors. I wouldn't challenge him if he started gnoshing on blueberries. I'm not (generally speaking) a fool.

Funniest bear story I've ever heard? A fellow tells me that he's sitting in his house watching TV when he hears the back door open. He calls out, gets no answer, gets up and heads to his mudroom. He walks in on a large bear standing there. The two of them look at each other in total shock. The bear loses control of his bladder right there in his house, reaches over, grabs a bag of sunflower seed, and ambles back out the screen door, letting it slam behind him. The man says, "Do you have any idea how much a bear can pee?!!!!" No. But I can guess.

Anyways, once again, getting back to the point here, we take bear precautions. We do not feed birds in the summer. We've never had to put our garbage inside the garage, but if this bear makes a real nuisance of himself, we might have to. I think this video will give you a pretty realistic look at the nature of a black bear.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Arrrrrrgggggh!

I am taking Abnormal Psychology as an on-line course. I've never done an on-line course before, and it is quite strange not attending lecture. I turned in my homework assignment yesterday, and felt fairly confident in my knowledge.

So, after I finished nine hours unloading freight at the store tonight, I got home and took a deep breath, and tackled my first online exam. I was a little nervous about doing it at home because if you lose connection for any reason, you are done with the test. No second chances. Weird things happen when you live in the woods, and I was worried about the connection.

Weird things DO happen in the woods, but it was not a connection issue this time. I sat down and began the timed exam and I heard the trash can rattle. "HEY!" I yelled, jumping up and throwing open the sliding glass door. The bear took off at a fast clip hauling the garbage bag, dropping it only after I charged out the back door after him. I'm damn tired of picking up the trash. We've done it twice in the last two days. I grumpily stashed the garbage back in the can, and rushed back in to my timed exam. It was not more than ten minutes later that I heard the can rattle again. "HEY, I'M GETTING TIRED OF THIS!" I yelled. He scooted off once more. This time, I stormed outside, grabbed the trash bag, climbed a ladder and deposited it on the roof of the back porch. I then stormed back inside to work on my timed exam.

I submitted it and ended up with an 84 on it. I was a bit grumpy about that, but you know, I did not lose my connection. It did not occur to me that there was anything besides that to worry about. Pllt. Now I know better.

The end.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Old Stories

Yesterday was a wonderful day. Tim and I went to his family reunion. The weather was perfect, and it was well attended.

If you all remember, his family meets at the old family homestead, and we bake wonderous amounts of bread in an outdoor woodfired brick oven. This year, Tim oversaw the baking of the bread without the supervision of Uncle Herman, who is in his nineties now, and having some trouble with blood counts. He did get there, and he seemed to be energized by the family which surrounded him, and it did my heart good. His brother-in-law, Uncle Chuck has lost even more weight. A big robust man who serenaded Tim and I with a barbershopper song the first time I met him, Uncle Chuck is now thin. He ate little, and I heard him talking about his wife who lives in a nursing home and does not always recognize him.

Our elders are getting older. Gene (Hi, Gene) began to collect their stories, and I think that is a wonderful idea. "How many people were born in this house?" he said, pointing to the old homestead. He was. Other voices claimed it as well. "Who remembers the 4th of July parties when Uncle Herman and Uncle Harold would give us plane rides? Who rode in the plane?" And hands went up once more. I listened enthralled as memories were recounted.

We drove home in contented quiet, each of us with our own thoughts. "We need to get a recorder for these stories," I said to Tim, lost in the thoughts of life as it was when our frail patriarchs and matriarchs were young and running the festivities. When Uncle Herman was flying a plane (he crashed it, and according to his own words, Aunt Anna would not let him have another ~ he still has the wooden prop in his garage). When Aunt Ruby remembered Uncle Chuck. When Aunt Hazel was not slumped over in her wheel chair.

Their grandchildren are having great-grandbabies now, and it would be a shame if they never heard the stories of the people who came before them. I suddenly found myself wishing that I'd thought of it before. I worried about how many stories would be lost forever by the time next July rolls around.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Another Post about Nothing

My back feels better, I am relieved to say.

I had a nice chance to sit down and visit with Brianna and the baby last night. Last night when I went to bed, I realized that it has probably been a couple years since we have sat down and talked together, just the two of us. It meant a lot to me.

Here's a story for you: our July 4th parade generally has firetrucks going by throwing out candy to the children, but this year, it was deemed unsafe, although firemen could go down the street and hand out candy to the children. One fireman walked up to a young woman sitting on a blanket with her children. He offered candy to her children if 'she got up and did a little dance for him.'

Un-be-leeeeeeeeeeeeeeevable.

Worst part of the story? She got up and shook it for him. He told her that she'd made his day, and went on along with the parade.

Wonder how many women heard this line? Wonder how many danced? Wonder if Tim and I are the only people in the world who think this is wrong?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Scented toilet paper, back pain, chocolate covered bacon and rumors

Last week, owing to an incident with a one piece bathtub and surround unit that ALMOST fit up the stairs to a second floor apartment, I injured my back. Instead of getting better, it got worse. Very much worse. By Monday, I was being touted as 'the missing link,' walking in a strange stiff hunched way. Tuesday morning, I got drugs. Lots of 'em. I did not take them until the end of the day, however. I was scheduled to work. We are shorthanded, and I knew that the person who would get stuck with my shift was my dear friend Karen, and I couldn't do that to her. (Although she'd have told me not to worry about it, and done it anyway.) So I went to work. I have the next few days off, and I plan to putter around this poor house (it sadly needs the attention!) and get myself back to rights again.

In the meantime, here's a few thoughts:

I had a cavity filled at the dentist's. On the walk downtown, I saw a shop which advertised chocolate covered bacon. Serious. The same shop advertised 'scented waxed toilet paper.' I found myself stopping to stare. I had reconciled myself to the bacon by reminding myself that perhaps the salt/sweet thing goes together like chocolate covered peanuts or peanut butter cups. But the scented waxed toilet paper. I decided that I don't want slippery toilet paper, I wanted absorbant toilet paper...and then I screamed a little to myself in my head. "Make the pictures STOP," my mind screamed. I walked on briskly. And when I came back to my car, the same thoughts began to run through my mind as I passed the little shop. Ack. I think that they should simply take that sign down.

Late Edit: I could not get over the vision of wiping my hiney with wax paper, no matter how good it smelled. This zoomed right to the top of the "what on earth were they thinking" list. Turns out that waxed and scented toilet paper is not for wiping with. I do feel better. Well. Not my back, but I couldn't get that picture of wiping w/ wax paper out of my mind.

And here's more on chocolate dipped bacon. Who knew?

Last night, a woman from our church posted on facebook that a patient from the Warren State Hospital had escaped, and that the person was considered to be very dangerous, a mentally ill murderer. She said that a command post was set up at the local fire department. She said that he'd last been seen on Egypt Hollow, which is shouting distance from me. To be prudent, I checked 'breaking news' and there was nothing. I try to be sensible, and it struck me that I had to pass Egypt Hollow coming home from work. Here's the thing: if it were such a huge deal that the police had commandeered a local fire department building, there would have been a police presence. I'd have passed a cop or two on the way home. I remember when we did have an escaped killer here a few years back, each and every car was stopped and checked, going in and out of the area. You had to physically get out of your car and open your trunk. So based on that, I decided that my friend's story was bulls**t, and I went to bed. I've been thinking though. Why do you post something like that in a public forum? It may have been possible that a patient escaped. She might have actually heard that, but the rest of it, the fire department part, she had to know that was a lie. The parking lot would have been full of vehicles and cop cars, and she lives right there. Why do people feel the need to breathlessly report rumors and untruths?

(No late edits on this portion of the story, sorry to say.)

This is a strange post, I know. But I am woefully woozy from the painkillers and in my own befuddled mind, this ties together somehow. Tell me how, peoples. Tell me how.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Dumb de dumb dumb.

The old car 'dinged' when it was low on gas. This car does not. So I'm driving home from school (I had to pick up a text book for my Abnormal Psychology on-line class). The car gives this little hiccup, and I look down and am horrified to see that the fuel gauge points to 'E'.

I begin to pray, hard, because the gas station is not far ahead, and much to my relief, I make it. I get to the gas station, and I pull up to the pump. The car dies. Just like that. I get out of the car and I am grateful, ever so grateful that I made it.

Except...

Except THIS car's gas tank is on the other side of the car.

And, no...

It wouldn't start again.

But, yes...

People helped me push it.

*sigh*

In my next life, I'd like to be bright.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Ws visit Tractor Supply

Yesterday was a slow day at work, but the people were so friendly. A couple of my favorite folks came in to make a purchase. She lacked 12 cents, and did not want to break a dollar. She turned to her husband and said, "Hey, do you have 12 cents?" and he answered no, that he had no change at all. She peeled off a dollar and handed it to me. "Don't worry," I said, "I'm going to give you some sense, since neither of you have any between you." She laughed. "I'm telling you (looking at her husband...) at some point, I'm getting those pants off you. If I find 12 cents, you're a dead man." They both laughed like crazy, and so did I.

They left the store, and I was still grinning. When I went to school with him, he was very quiet, almost painfully shy. 30+ years later, he's happily married, and somewhere along the line, he's gotten over shy.

Next thing, I know, they're back at the foot of my counter. "Did I ring something up wrong?" I asked. "Oh, no," they assured me. With dawning horror, I said, "Oh dear heavens, don't tell me you went through his pants in the parking lot. Mrs. W!!!!!!!! This is a family store here!!!!" and they about fell over laughing.

No. Mr. W. had really admired our charcoal grill, the one on sale. The one with the adjustable tray that raises the heat up and down, on sale for $99.99. They talked about it in the parking lot, and decided to get it. I directed him to the Jack Daniel's charcoal, made from whisky barrels, and he stood reading that, finally deciding on the ultimate grill experience.

The manager came up, and looked surprised to see them again. They are jolly and loud. They're not the sort of people you miss in the store, and he'd noticed them the first time. "I know." I said, shaking my head. "I try and try, but I can't get rid of them," and they said some loud thing that would have sounded really obnoxious coming from someone I didn't know, and I came back with some sort of zinger, and next thing I know, there's folk from the back of the line craning their necks, trying to what all the yelling is about. "Look there," I said, in an aggrieved tone. "You both are starting to make people nervous!" which tickled them to death. "It's okay," I announced to the line. "We're escorting them out!" (A couple of the guys were there to help them load their grill) and they all went out the door laughing their hind ends off.

I love that store. Really.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Life is Good.

I went to the dentist. I met a reader, and we had the most delightful conversation. I really love that. And then the dental hygienist went to school at about the same time as me (she's a little younger), but we talked our heads off. I saw a neighbor, Karen walking down the road, and stopped the car to give her a hug and blab for a time. I like talking to people.

Despite the funeral, this weekend was nice. To correct a misconception, we are not moved into our house. It is completely empty, save for the bed we hauled out of a guest room up here. We just slept there. We celebrated with wine in bed, and talked about how lucky we are. (Neither one of us would have ever dreamed we would be so blessed!) It was nice. The house is cool and well insulated. We heard a few more sirens than one hears in the woods, but they sounded comfortingly far away. The first morning, I woke up to the sound of a cardinal in the back yard. Nice. Very nice.

We watched fireworks from the front seat of our car, holding hands. That was nice.

I like my e-reader very much.

I found a local source for chocolate covered coffee beans. *delighted sigh*

Next weekend, we have the big family reunion/brick oven bread baking reunion. I get to go. And then Sunday, we're heading out again, to Johnsonburg, for the baptism of my newest nephew Brandon. July 30th, my nephew is getting married. Cara will be getting back stateside on the first of August. We're having a party the following weekend. Dylan and Brittani will be coming home. It would be nice to be able to have it at the new house, but we don't know, not for sure. We've got another wedding celebration August 20th. Hopefully, at some point in there, I'll be able to do some grandbaby dandling.

Life is good.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

July 4th Weekend

A couple weeks ago, I had company. An old school mate came with five teenagers. It wasn't for long...four days, I think. It was fun, but it flew by, and there was no time for everything I'd hoped to get in. I had a test at school, I was working. I had a paper due. All in the same week. Ack.

But still, it was fun. When they left, we sent along two laptops. One of the teenagers with her was a refugee. Rebels came looking for his father, and attempted to torture the information out of his mother, in full sight of her children. The young boy cut his mother down when they left, and he kept his family safe as they made it to safety. It is assumed that his father was murdered, since they've had no word of him since that day. Say what you will about refugees. I will tell you that I loved that boy. I'm glad he's here. Furthermore, I'm glad his family is here. We sent my friend back with two laptops, Cara's old one, and older one we'd purchased some time back. Pauline's downloaded educational games for the preschoolers (which the mother is also earnestly working at, despite the fact that she does not have full use of either hand.) The other laptop went to the oldest girl, Elodie, as her own, which is breathtakingly grand.

I received a box today. It had a Kobo e-reader in it. I was completely shocked by such a thing. I'd been playing with their e-readers, and, much to my surprise, I discovered that I would like one, despite the fact that I'd previous spoke passionately about the heft of a book, and the smell of the pages, and the joy of turning pages, etc. Each of her children has one, and I saw them. I coveted, secretly. I mean, it's an extravagance. It's not something I'd have ever done for myself. Yet she did it for me. I'm reading Anna Karenina right now. I love that thing. Really. I still cannot believe that I have one of my own.

Today was the funeral of my friend. She had such a laugh. You've no idea, really. Her laugh was expansive and wonderful and joyous. It was not a rare thing, not while she was alive. And now she is gone. I won't hear that laugh again.

I am still sad, but I am not mad, not any more.

Life is short, you know? Things will be different. I got my hair styled for the first time in a while. I got it colored. I laughed with friends today, and I hugged my dead friend's grandchildren. I've had all of them in Sunday school, at one time or another. All of them. I found myself looking around at the church overflowing, and I realized that those grandchildren have scores of grandmothers. We've watched them grow up before our eyes. That made me feel better.

Well. It's the July 4th weekend. We are spending our first night at the new house. There will be wine. And fireworks. Let me get up from this computer and get living.

Catch you on the flip side.