Thursday, October 16, 2014

Torn Between Here and There

The sun is shining and from all reports it will be a beautiful day. Reservations are pouring and it should be a great weekend. I have plans to spend a nice evening among my friends Saturday night and all appears to be well in my world.

Appearances can be deceiving. I feel caught between two worlds. I should call my Dad every day and hate to admit that I don't. It is not that I forget. I don't think one hour goes by that I don't think about him. It is that the calls leave me drained. Hearing him sound so weak and resigned to his fate breaks my heart. I need to go and I want to go, but I also want to stay here and pretend it isn't happening.

I find myself sitting for long periods of time watching mindless TV, or cleaning out closets and cupboards in a frenzy. My car is loaded with things to take with me. I look forward to the trip and dread it all at the same time. I have decided to drive, as I doubt the flu shot will protect me from Ebola on a plane.

I hate to leave my cozy little home and my four legged children. I don't want to go a lone and I do want to go alone. My mind is neither here nor there ......

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Dinner Show

The rain seems to be never ending. I am miserable, the dogs are miserable. Cabin fever is setting in. My back has a catch in it. Right beneath my left shoulder blade. All my joints are staging a protest, and the flu shot arm still aches.

All I managed to accomplish yesterday was to cook a meal and clean the kitchen. Comfort food. Country style steak and gravy, mashed potatoes (I would have preferred rice, but buying 15 lbs. of potatoes dictates that I use them) and peas. The peas were my downfall.

We have no set time to eat here. Check-ins and tow calls interfere and when I find both of us inside at the same time I serve it up. I prepare both plates at the stove and put them on the table. The only constant about our meals would be the presence of our canine children under the table. Oscar is always positioned at my feet. Toni Louise makes herself known and begs relentlessly. Wall-E and Cujo are in the background patiently waiting until the first morsel should be offered.

Last night, I was hungry. I have no table manners to speak of when it is just the two of us. I tend to eat fast and talk all at the same time. Bad habits, both. But I am always in a hurry to complete a thought before I should be interrupted. He Who tows could get a call. While I have him trapped at the table next to me I can talk at a normal volume and be heard. Last night was no different. I was eating and talking ......

I inhaled a pea. I stopped talking and started coughing. I turned to my right, away from my dinner companion and carefully sucked in enough breath to cough. Over and over again, I felt like I was going to cough up my toes. There was Toni Louise, watching me with great intensity as I coughed. When the pea flew out of my mouth, she caught it in mid-air!

After the pea left my body, I was still coughing and made my way to the bathroom as I found that my bladder had failed to hold it's contents. Toni Louise followed along, hoping for another pea, I suppose.

All the while, He Who Eats continued with his dinner. Seems like the dogs were the only ones concerned about my well-being. He did say that he was watching and that he would have performed CPR if the need had come up. I was duly comforted by that.

My throat is sore and I felt something in my back grab me while I was in the throes of expelling the offensive pea.

This is what we call a dinner show in these parts.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Flu Shot

I stood at the door looking out on my soggy parking lot as I listened to the coffee maker do it's special thing. A fifth wheel sat idle in the exit drive and the driver came round the back and began replacing the huge rocks he ran over with considerable effort, looking back from time to time. Guess he was wondering if anyone had witnessed his error in turning. Let me explain right now that the driveway is plenty wide and the parking area behind is huge. An 18 wheeler can make the turn without disrupting my garden.

I realized that I simply did not care. I cleaned the muddy mess in my bathrooms yesterday and simply did not care. I witnessed a Dodge Ram pick-up truck violating my 10 mph speed limit and said nary a word. The children in the park are the would be bomb making terrorists and I did not feel particularly protective towards them. I figured they should have a fleeing instinct since they are practicing to live outside the law.

Nothing seems important. Nothing tastes good. No activity appeals to me. It must be the flu shot.

While the debate of flying versus driving is still on-going, I went in for my semi-annual check-up. Only because my re-fills were out and I wanted to make sure I had a three month supply before I go back to Georgia. I love my nurse practitioner in my primary care clinic. Hate the doctor, but that is another tale to tell. She was concerned about some of my "symptoms" and sternly admonished me about not having my mammogram done this year. We talked about my dad's cancer and that I was planning a trip back to Georgia. She insisted that I have a flu shot, especially if I planned to fly.

I don't like flu shots. No, I am not afraid of needles. I just don't like the idea of injecting a virus into my body. I explained all this and she totally disagreed with me and convinced me to get the shot. Last time I had a flu shot was 40 years ago. It made me so sick. I was working in the ER in the hospital and the shot was a requirement. But, I remember just how crappy I felt and that 7 months later I gave birth to twins.

If that happens again, I will be very upset.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Mischief Makers

Have you heard of the endurance course known as the Tough Mudder? It is an obstacle course that is in mud and apparently, folks will pay to challenge themselves to "compete" in this event.

It came to our little town last year and the Chamber of Commerce was agog with all the revenue they expected to bring to our county. They sent representatives out and about to encourage local businesses to welcome the crowds. I was told that the hotels and motels were all booked and there would be more tent campers than I could handle.

Events were planned to celebrate this surge of economy and street vendors prepared to take advantage of all the crowds. I took reservations and was prepared to rent some portable toilets to accomodate the crowd. So glad I waited, because I had cancellation after cancellation when it was discovered that homes nearer to the event were offering their lawns as tent sites at a highly reduced rate.

This year when taking reservations, I let it be known that I would be charging a cancellation fee. It is this weekend and it has rained since Wednesday. Cold and wet is not my idea of fun, but, what do I know? I have been checking in Tough Mudders all day long. When not checking them in, I have been answering phone calls from those who will be arriving late. No, I will not stay in the office until midnight to check someone in.

My front door is plastered with site maps for the 5 late arrivals and I am ready for bed. He Who was out delivering firewood reported that a gaggle of prepubescent boys were gathering our gas cans and looking for stuff in his barn (aka Fred Sanford Emporium). When he questioned them, they informed him that they were looking for stuff to build a bomb.

Now I am afraid to go to bed. I want to kick them out, but He Who was once a boy and did things his mother was lucky enough to never know about, assured me that he told them to stay out of the barn. Somehow, I don't find any comfort in this and I have sent him out to report the actions of the boys to their parents. Had these kids even mentioned this at school, they would be expelled.

I have been told to go to bed, the parents are aware now. I still don't feel safe. What kind of people are these Tough Mudders if the kids want to build a bomb?

Friday, October 10, 2014

Cat and Mouse Games

After I found the first snake and dispensed with him, removing his head from his body, I went on with my outdoor chores.

I grabbed up my pail of paint and headed to the fence that had been taken out by a camper and recently replaced. This fence is on the corner of the main road going to the full hook up sites, put there to prevent drivers from going into the deep ditch next to it. I painted it redwood stain, like everything else in the park, but am wondering if I should paint it neon yellow, glow in the dark ....
This is not the first time it has been hit, but it does prevent one from ending up with their wheels in the ditch and needing to be pulled out. I have adorned it with reflective lights ...... maybe I need more.

But, there I was, slathering paint on the new and old boards. I was required to step carefully on the back side to paint it. I was hyper-vigilant since the snake made his appearance. I saw what I thought to be a bird feather in the tall grass. Normally I would have pulled that weedy grass up, but figured it was preventing erosion and should just be treated to a good shave by the weed eater. I peered closer and thought I saw a face in the feather. I nearly lost my footing and decided to just slap the paint on the fence and get done.

But, curiosity won out and I took the shovel that had been used as a murder weapon on Mr. Snake and using it as a walking stick to maintain my balance, I got a lot closer.

A tiny mouse. whose eyes had yet to open was my "feather". I gently scooped him onto the shovel. Rolling onto his tiny back he squeaked and stretched his tiny arms out, no doubt looking for his mother. He was about the size of my thumb.
This time, He Who Mows, responded to my text and came to look at my find.

He told me to "kill it" before it grew up to raid a camper. It was easy to kill the snake, he threatened me. The tiny mouse, well, that was different. He was helpless, his eyes not yet open. He was cute, too. His head too big for his tiny body and limbs and he was making those squeaky noises again. I could feed him, and train him to be a good mouse. I could name him Stuart. After all, I did that for Martha, the boy cat.

Okay, that would be a problem, I admit. Not only Martha, but Oscar and Cujo. They were bred to eliminate rodents. So, I did not touch the mouse, or cuddle the mouse, or bath the mouse.

Instead, I gave the mouse to Martha, the boy cat. Martha, the squirrel hunter and rabbit hunter. Martha who killed a crow and left it on the lawn to find. This cat is fearless. Apparently, my gift was of little interest to Martha. That is the tiny mouse on the edge of the stump. Martha looked, then sniffed, then lay down with his back to the mouse I gifted him.

Could this cat possibly be less interested in the mouse? The mouse fell from the stump and died in the night, never touched by my picky cat.

I did say "first snake" didn't I? The second one still lives. A garter snake in my garden. A good snake. Perhaps I should have offered the mouse to him!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Mowing Therapy

I am finding that I have an unlimited capacity for tears. Every day I cry. Some days I think I have cried all my tears, but I am wrong. It comes as no surprise that my Daddy is wasting away. I have known for some time that any more therapy was useless. Mama simply refused to accept it. Far be it from me to take her hope away. I did not try to convince her otherwise.

When I left to come home my sweet Daddy could not walk outside with me, but sat smiling at the breakfast table and told me to call him when I stopped for the night. He was too weak to get up. He told me that he knew he was dying when I arrived and seemed to have made his peace with that knowledge. We had a good visit.

He had a doctor's appointment last week to learn the results of his latest PET scan and MRI. I wish I had stayed. There is nothing left to do for him but to make him as comfortable as possible. I knew that, but now that Mama has accepted it, I can't seem to stop crying. Maybe her hope was also my hope.

I try to distract myself with TV, but can't seem to pay attention. I mow and mow, but find it to be a perfect opportunity to cry really loud. My face is not pretty and I don't care.

I discovered a snake under the trashcan in my dog park. It looked like a fat gray shoelace laying there when I moved the trashcan. I stopped, mower still running and entertained thoughts of picking it up so it would not get caught in my mower blade. For all the reasons above, I am not moving or thinking fast of late. I watched, in fascination as the shoelace moved and then coiled itself. I pulled my cell from my pocket and texted He Who mows and takes care of all things reptilian.

I simply texted "snake". He was across the open field on the big mower and I know he got the text because I saw him swerve as he was reading. I fully expected him to change course and drive the mower to me to see my find. I did not want to kill a "good" snake. This was just a baby snake and I am not good at identifying snakes. I used the shovel on my golf cart to scoop the shoelace snake up and move him out of my way.

The shoelace snake had the audacity to strike at me (well, the space between me and him, there was a lot, too). So I pronounced him a bad snake and used the shovel to disconnect his striking head from his shoelace body. Then I texted He Who did not respond to my first text, "dead snake" and continued to mow.

Think I will go mow some more now.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Ode To Billie Joe

 Okay, all Hertz rental cars are equipped with "Never Lost". Took me a bit to get it programmed, but I did. Unfortunately I chose the "shortest route". That means the shortest in miles, not time.

I took highway 78 from Memphis to Birmingham. It was four lanes and 70 mph. A straight shot and not bad at all. There were red lights and the speed limit dropped at every little community. But not so bad.

After my night's stay I was ready to go. Got in the car and Never Lost asked if I wanted to "resume" and I chose that option. I traveled through Mississippi. I crossed the Tallahatchee River. I did not see where Billie Joe McCallister jumped ..... or maybe I did. After I traveled through Birmingham, I think I hit every little two lane road there was in Alabama and Georgia. I had to keep listening to my friend Never Lost, because I had no idea where I was!