Friday, November 30, 2012

Mother's Guilt

It never goes away. Guilt. As I sit here drinking my coffee I am torn. I have the phone right next to me. But ....... the phone can't smooth her forehead.

My baby girl called me yesterday. I saw her number on the caller ID and I was all set to settle in with a cup of coffee and catch up on her life. But when I answered she was gasping in pain. "Mom, I hurt so bad." She was crying and could only talk as the pain subsided. She was waiting for her fiancee' to come take her to Urgent Care.

I spent the rest of the day waiting for the phone to ring. Longest day ever. She is in the hospital. Her small intestine is inflamed. Don't know why. Tests today and an IV drip with pain meds. She sounds goofy on the phone, but that is so much better than hearing her in pain. I can talk to her, but I can't touch her and everybody knows that a mother's touch has healing powers!

My blood pressure is under control, but the headaches are still with me and strike when I least expect it. A 9 hour drive would be interesting .....

She insists that she is fine and I don't need to come. Her brother and sister are close by and helping with her child. But if I were there ....... I might just be in the way. Gavin is a pretty self sufficient kid. He would have to tell me what to do. He is his mother's child.

So I wait to hear what will happen next. Feeling guilty that I am not there.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Back Roads, Backwards

I did not succumb to shopping on Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and have not taken any cyber bait thus far. I am proud of myself. Even though some of my strands of lights refused to work, I took the fuses out and worked with what I had. In years past I have been known to just go buy new ones.

But, today, the shopping ban ended. I shall now refer to it as Sad Sunday. It all started with a simple request for dinner. He Who works much harder than I do requested tacos. Upon checking my pantry I discovered that I was out of taco seasoning. Needed lettuce, too. So I drove into town. I wandered through Alco to see what I could see. Nary a thing did I long for and left. On to the grocery where I scored some packets of taco seasoning and found lettuce on sale. Ground beef, too. I was horrified to see that chuck roast is now almost $5 per lb!

So, I was happily headed home, feeling noble for not buying anything I did not need. I was zipping along, looking left and right at the Christmas decorations starting to appear. There is one house in particular that always has some message on the fence fashioned out of styrofoam cups. On my way into town there was a tarp covering the message that was no doubt under construction. So, as I headed home I looked to see if the tarp was gone. It was.

I wish I had a camera, but the sun was in my eyes and I might have been exceeding the speed limit. I did not want to cause an accident. The new message for the approaching holiday was simple. Simply spelled out 'JESUS'. Well, sort of. The 'J' was backwards and I think the 'S's were, too. Dyslexic Decor? A tribute, nonetheless. 

Friday, November 23, 2012

Day After Thanksgiving

I felt almost good yesterday. Spent the day in my kitchen, cooking and cleaning. Basting the bird periodically and cleaning the areas of my kitchen that get lost in the season. The shelf above the microwave and the spice racks and the top of the refrigerator. You know the spots.

I cooked a small turkey. Just the two of us. He who likes Thanksgiving meals had suggested Cornish Game Hens. For just $2 more that what they cost I got an eleven pound turkey. When I was finished with the carving and dividing, I made 7 meals out of that bird.

My turkey was cooked old school this year. No fancy rubs, no salt water brine or other elaborate prep involved. I just washed the turkey and salted and peppered it and put it in the oven. I basted it with melted butter and cooked it the required amount of time and then carved it up. It was so good. Good sandwiches, too. I made fresh cranberry sauce, but forgot all about it until today!

Today I tackled the microwave. I have to stand on a step ladder to reach it. It smelled like an armpit when I stood there face to face with it. An armpit that has never seen deodorant. Really. I took all the removable parts out and set them aside as I tackled the job. I clean the microwave periodically and I am always careful to cover my leftovers as I heat them up. He who tows is not so careful and at some point, something came to rest under the revolving platter. I think it was Chinese. Food, I mean. Not a part of a person. It was definitely the source of the odor and I was happy to solve that little mystery. I cleaned all the parts with a solution of bleach and water and dish detergent. Smells like a pool now. But, that is better than an armpit.

No big towing jobs yesterday. He who tows had agreed to be here for the holiday. This is why we had a lonely turkey in a quiet little house instead of a big family celebration at my son's house. No chaos, no crying children, no embarrassing stories about me from the mouths of my children ........ no hugs and kisses from the best grandchildren in the world. It was lonely. And I tried to tell him that he would not be busy ....... all those road ragers were camped out at Best Buy!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Five Minutes Ago

I am feeling no worse, although not really better. I wait to either feel better or a whole lot worse. Limbo.

While lingering here in limbo I have become addicted to LMN. Watching one sappy movie after another. When I encounter one I have already seen, I skip over to Dateline ID for a dose of bloody murder scenes and court drama. Animal Cops is also a favorite. Toni Louise loves that one and will watch it with me.

Now, lest you envision me on the love seat in my jammies with my pillow and a maid servant delivering endless cups of herbal tea at my pleasure, please know that I am ambulatory and maintaining a level of order in my home. That means I am still cooking and cleaning, just spreading it out and resting in between.

I am sleeping better and did not grace the TV with my attention until 9 this morning. I was savoring my one cup of coffee and watching some mindless drivel on a morning news show and checking my e-mail. The phone rang.

I arose from the comfort of warm dogs and went into the office to find the handset. Local number. I answered and found myself locked in conversation with a man claiming to be a very close friend of my husband. "We go way back." he tells me.

I am always a bit skeptical of those who would claim to be so close with my husband ...... wouldn't I know them, too? This man is not drinking coffee. He is a drummer and his band just released an album and he is on tour. He is home for the holidays and wants to "interpret" to my husband what being on the road is like.

He blathers on and on and I find it difficult to break into his monologue as I try to end the call. I have been told that I am a master of changing the subject. It is a well known fact that you cannot out talk a drunk and I have met my match. I know too much about this man's life on the road already and tune him out as he recites his upcoming itinerary. Finally, after promising that I will relay his message he ends the call with "I love you, honey."

I called he who tows. I did not want him to miss this opportunity for interpretation of a drummer on tour. He laughed. The man is a mere acquaintance and starts drinking beer upon awakening. I wonder how many others he tried to engage in conversation before he got me ....... I made note of the number on caller ID and I will not be held captive for five minutes again!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Why Are You Here?

I have a headache for three days. Not a migraine, not sinus. Just that dull nagging pain that never really leaves, but ebbs and flows. I tried all the ready remedies. Aspirin is my drug of choice for anything. Can't really hurt, might help. I use it  for arthritic pain and it seems to work the best for that, but won't touch a sinus headache. But, I always try aspirin first, my thinking that if I have a heart attack, I am all set.

Along with the headache, I have had just general malaise ( or crappiness). Insomnia, irritation and slight nausea. I figured that I may have picked up a bug from a poorly wiped grocery cart handle. I made the best of it by getting a good bit of writing done and some sewing. The weather was just beautiful yesterday and I longed to be outdoors, but just had no energy.

He who tows was busy all day long with stranded motorists and I was alone much of the afternoon. The headache was making it hard to concentrate and after many attempts to re-thread the sewing machine, I gave up and decided to eat my lonely supper and take my meds, then zone out in front of the TV. But, I decided to check my blood pressure. No reason, just did. It was 170/100. Gee, no wonder I feel so crappy. I decided to take an extra dose of my blood pressure meds. Went to bed, but could not sleep. Every sound and movement was magnified and I was so irritable, add to that the indigestion and the lingering headache.

This morning I still felt the same and my blood pressure was 150/98. It should have been a lot lower. I called the clinic to make an appointment. When I relayed my blood pressure I was told to come in right away.

I showered quickly and took my meds, along with aspirin. Hey, I watch TV, I know what those symptoms were pointing to. He who tows came home and took me (he loves me). I felt nauseous on the way. But, that could have been the over-heated car.

Upon arrival my blood pressure as 170/68. The nurse practitioner I usually see is no longer there and the doctor came in to see me. He asked why I was there and I gave him my list of woes. He listened to my heart for at least 2 seconds and then asked me if my headache had caused my blood pressure to go up. I almost asked him which came first, the chicken or the egg.

He seemed unconcerned and told me to increase my dosage and wrote a new prescription and sent me on my way. Oh, he did say I should call if I continued to feel bad.

I left feeling no better or worse than I went in. Ironically, while waiting to be called to the exam room, there was a warning about ignoring the signs of a heart attack on the health channel that was playing in the waiting room.

You hear it all the time ....... women ignore the symptoms because they don't want to be a bother. I felt like I was bother today. He even asked me why I was taking my blood pressure. Because I can. No, I monitor my blood pressure because I take medication and it is a good idea.

This is why women do not seek help with vague symptoms. I was less than impressed with this physician. He made me feel unimportant and silly. This clinic is my only option for health care right now and I am not feeling warm and cozy. 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Sheet Lotto and Cat Naps

I finally found some sheets. At Target. Free shipping. The pockets are only 20", but I do have those handy-dandy sheet garters.

Still, I sent e-mails to all the sites that neglected to put the actual depth of the pocket in their description of the sheets. Maybe they will decide to send me a king fitted sheet for going to the trouble of pointing out this little omission. One can dream. Just picture daily arrivals of fitted sheets from about 12 sources.

It would be like winning a bed sheet lottery!!

Yesterday was sunny, so I decided to hang my laundry on the lines. I was happily going about my business mid-morning. Pinning the worn out fitted sheet to the line (I could use it as a pattern to make my own fitted sheets; there are parts that are okay and I can use them to make "sheets" for Oscar's dog bed ......... I am frugal, I can't seem to help myself!!), I hear a plaintiff meow and it occurs to me that I have not had my morning purr fest with Mr. Martha.

I assumed that he exited the building when he who left for work. I later learned the he refused to come in the night before. He sleeps in the office and is the responsibility of the last one in. It was not me.

I looked around the yard and did not see him. I called out for him, "Marrrthaaa". More timid meows and I still don't see my cat. He can now scale the fence with little effort, so I waited a few minutes to see if he would appear at the top of the fence post. Called out again and added, "kitty, kitty". He answered again and I finally look up to see him on the roof of the shed, hunkered down as if to jump. He was afraid. I could tell by the timid meow.

"Mommy's coming, Mr. Martha, hang on." I found a 6" board about 10' long and leaned it against the building. He looked at me as if to say, "You are kidding, right?". I reminded my feline friend that I do not climb.

By now the three dogs were all looking up, too. And me without a camera! I motioned for him to use the plank of wood as a ramp and come on down. He stoop up and looked the remedy for his situation. He took a deep breath (I swear, this is true) and ran lickity split down the board and then to me to be scooped up in my arms. He not only purred as he burrowed his head into my neck, but made a garbled sound of mewling. He was, no doubt, telling me about his ordeal.

The three dogs waited their turn to examine their feline sibling. He was sniffed and flipped over by Toni Louise and thoroughly checked out. He came in, ate, drank and then promptly took a nap in Daddy's chair. All is right in his world again. I do have remarkable pets, don't I?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Deep Pockets

Wonder about the title? Am I about to mount my soap box and rant about politics or some injustice perpetrated by someone able to buy their way out of trouble?

No. Today my rant is about fitted sheets. Those labeled "deep" pockets or "deeper" pockets. Can they not simple state the dimensions with a number? The width and length are clearly labeled with numbers, so why not the depth?

My mattress is 15" deep, add to that the 4" memory foam topper and my mattress is 19" deep. Most sheets labeled "deep pockets" are 18" deep. I know this, because I carry a tape measure in my purse and am not afraid to whip it out and measure before I buy. I have also been known to return items I find to be less than satisfactory. Not afraid to complain, either. Really. Ask my family.

I had a favorite set of sheets. You know the ones that make you say "ahhhhhh" when you climb into bed at the end of a long day. I was doing just that and rubbing my feet against the texture and snuggling down for a long winter's nap. I felt something give and the well-worn fabric gave way. I was devastated. My favorite sheets!! The deep pockets did not quite tuck, but I put garters on each corner to hold them in place. Not so easy to do with my arthritic thumbs, but it was worth it.

I lamented the death of the sheet and was about to say that they should have lasted longer, then realized they had lasted longer. They are about 9 years old!! Got them at Target on sale for $39. They no longer carry my particular sheets. I loved those sheets.

I launched a search for sheets online and that is when I became incensed about the labeling of the sheets. I have found some with dimensions, they have really deep pockets, 24". These would actually tuck. I could skip the sheet garters! No, I can't ....... $229.

I can't seem to find just the fitted sheets. They all seem to come in sets. I have top sheets from all those sets that have shallow pockets for skinny mattresses, I suppose. I tried to make a fitted sheet before. It's not hard, just takes a ton of elastic. I guess I will switch my search from sheets to elastic ..........

In the meantime I will continue my letter writing to the those companies that make sheet sets. I am suggesting they make sets with two fitted sheets and one top sheet and four pillow cases. The bottom sheet wears out long before the top sheet. Then maybe the set would be worth the amount they want. Oh, who am I kidding, I still wouldn't buy it!

Monday, November 12, 2012


 The weather forecast was correct this past weekend. A cold front was coming through with some rain. When I arose from the warmth of my bed Sunday morning, my joints confirmed this.

I left he who tows snugged in bed. He was out on a call the night before. Cold front will mean a fire in the stove, and rain will mean wet firewood. I skipped the shower and washed my face and brushed my teeth, threw on some clothes and grabbed my trusty wheel barrow. I hauled wood and stacked wood. I placed it under the shelter near the back door and covered it with a tarp.

While I was emptying the trash into the dumpster, I discovered a lone pumpkin that had grown in my garden. It was totally hidden by the tiger lilies when they were standing upright! And a lovely pumpkin it is!

Even though the gourd vine bloomed late in the season, one managed to mature before the frost knocked down the cone flowers and revealed the hiding place.

Those cone flowers are still trying to bloom!

My clematis vine was fooled by the recent warm spell. It did feel like spring last week.

The Four O'clocks are thriving!

They even have buds waiting to bloom.

So, here I sit. A fire burns in the stove, a cup of coffee sits nearby. My hair glows with product that promises to make all other hair "gel-ous". A freshly bathed fat dachshund is nestled against my leg, a fat boy cat named Martha is keeping my shoulders warm. Contentment.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

A Much Loved Dog

I did not check my e-mail before retiring for the night yesterday. When I woke this morning and brewed my coffee, I settled on the love seat with my cup and my lap top. My faithful dog, Oscar at my side. This is when I learned that my dear friend, Martha had suffered the loss of her sweet dog, Buddy.

I started crying, knowing the pain my friend was in. My Emmy left us last spring and I still miss her. Lately I have been "seeing" her. I had told Martha that I walked into our seating area and thought I saw her sitting on the couch in her usual spot. My spot. Emmy would always move to my spot when I wasn't there, like she was "saving" my seat. It was Toni Louise sitting there and it was only an instant that I mistook her for Emmy. A couple of days ago, I could have sworn I saw her walking into the kitchen in her careful little manner. It was Oscar, and again it was only an instant.

Now I wonder if she may have been hovering close by to help Buddy cross over. I know it sounds silly. They both possessed sensitive temperaments. I saw Martha for a bit today and we cried together as she remembered her sweet Buddy. I hate to see her so sad.

Rest in peace, good boy, you were loved so much.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Struck Speechless, Not Really

Just when I think I have heard all the absurdities in the world.

"Do you have a dispense station for doggie poop bags?" No, I don't. Most stores carry them, but if you are out of bags, I have some WalMart bags ....

"Oh, no, I have plenty. I just wanted to stock up if you had a station here." What? What????? This woman isn't even a guest here. She stopped here to let her dog relieve himself. And, I suppose to steal necessities. Shall I just fix her up with toilet tissue and paper towels, too? You know, so she won't have to actually go to the trouble of stealing them from the restrooms. A goody bag of campground condiments, if you will.

I was dumbstruck for only a second. Then I said, "You do realize that is stealing, don't you?" She looked appalled that I would suggest such a thing and informed me that they were free, provided by the state, for state parks. She went on, indignantly, to say that I was acting like I bought the supplies myself!

There she stood looking down her nose at me and I sort of lost it. "Just what is the name of this state park?" I asked. She told me and I responded that her first clue that she was in the wrong park would have been the numerous signs she passed as she drove into my park. The signs that do NOT have the name of the state park on them. I also pointed out that she had not stopped at the STOP sign and that she totally disregarded the sign that says all visitors must check in at the office. I knew all this, because I was outside working when she pulled in. I went on to inform her that I did indeed purchase the supplies for my park and that she was on private property. I then instructed her to scoop up her poop and take it with her when she left, that I also paid for the dumpster located on my private property. She had already made use of my facilities to relieve herself and I wanted to demand payment for that, but felt like I might be pushing it. 

I followed her as she cleaned up her pet's leavings. I used this opportunity to educate her and told her that the supplies in the state parks were paid for by taxpayers and that she was a leech on society. I was on a roll and couldn't seem to help myself.

I don't think she will entertain thoughts of camping here. Not that I would want her to ....... she did not flush the toilet.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Insights and Observations

I am in a strange mood this dreary day as the slow drizzle of rain spots the gray skies.

I usually like Mondays. Mondays are my Saturdays. Weekend is over and all my "guests" have left. Time to scrub the bathrooms and empty all the trash. Start to get ready for another round of "guests".

My joints are hurting. Mainly the right thumb, right elbow and right shoulder. It is right painful (insight). Tiger Balm smells funky. Not unpleasant like  Ben Gay. It has a hint of wintergreen, I am thinking (observation). The directions (if you have a magnifying glass) warn to keep this product away from your eyes and that it is for external use only. Really. This means that someone tried to eat it at some point. Any time you see some redundant rule it is because some person tried it at some time. Maybe not that product, in particular, but a similar one.

You should avoid standing on your glass top stove. I know of someone who did just that. It will only hold so much weight. I was going to buy a canner, but read the accompanying instructions that said "DO NOT USE ON GLASS TOP STOVES". I didn't buy it. I really want a gas stove, but this one won't die .......

Soured sweet tea smells like black olives. I love sweet tea with just a touch of sweet. I like to brew the tea leaves and steep them just so, then pour it over 1/3 cup of sugar for a half gallon. I like it when it is still a little warm and I pour it over the ice. The ice crackles ands pops and that first sip is so refreshing. But I am the only one who drinks it here in my house. I am loathe to waste anything and I don't like it after it has been refrigerated, so I leave it on my counter and try to drink it before it sours. I seldom succeed. It gets sweeter when you put it in the fridge. My grandson called it the frigatory when he was learning to talk. We still call it that. Sounds like purgatory.

Dust balls are rarely shaped like bunnies. I wonder why they are called dust bunnies. Are dust balls similar to clouds, taking on different shapes if you stare at them long enough. Maybe they are called dust bunnies because they multiply so quickly when you leave them alone? Would this be insight on my part?

I am at a standstill with a book I am working on. I do my best thinking when I am occupied with a mindless chore such as weeding or mowing. Since that is not possible this wet and dreary day, I will follow the words of the song floating through my mind (endlessly) and try to want what I've got and not have what I want. I think I will head to my sewing lair to soak up some artificial sun and try to lighten up.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

82 Degrees

A chill is in the air. I love this time of year. I like sleeping all snug and warm under a quilt while breathing the crisp air. My nose may be a tad cold, but I sleep better when there is a chill in the air.

I cringe as I watch him about to toss another log on the fire. It is 82 degrees in here, I just checked it. I am sweating. I dressed appropriately for the season when I got up today, but now I need to change into shorts and a t-shirt. He has long johns on, for heavens sake. Two shirts and heavy socks. He has those socked feet held up to the wood stove.. I just clipped my damp hair up, as my neck is so hot.

82 degrees and he wants to feed the fire. I will never be able to sleep. If it were 82 degrees outside, he would want the air conditioning on.

Apparently 82 degrees in November is different than 82 degrees in June.