Saturday, August 31, 2013

Withdrawal .........

I have been missing the Internet. For nearly a week! I have all the symptoms of withdrawal. Tired, moody, agitated ........ full of words to share.

Here it is Labor Day weekend and the temperatures have soared to triple digits. No rain for awhile and the area is so dry we are under a campfire ban. Guess I won't have to worry about delivering firewood. I will miss the added revenue, though. I looked out to see all the heads bobbing in the pool. I wonder what the water feels like. Can't be cold,since it was still hot outside at 2:45 this morning.

I went south for a quick trip to see my Dad. I awoke bright and early (4:30 AM) on Tuesday morning and we drove to the airport for my early flight. I arrived in Atlanta before He Who drove me to the airport got back to the campground. There I had a 3 and 1/2 hour layover before the next leg of my journey.

I am not fond of the Atlanta airport and thought this to be somewhat of a good thing, since I may have to hoof it pretty far to find the concourse for my connecting flight. With all that time on my hands, wouldn't you know I would land almost right next to my departing gate. I read a book, walked around and even discovered that the airport had their very own version of the Dollar Tree! Sort of. Everything was $10. Found that the cheapest food was Chik-Fil-A and bought my lunch and put it in my carry on bag. Only 20 passengers on my flight and everyone had lots of room.

I got my rental car, a basic sedan, despite the efforts of the little girl behind the counter trying to upgrade me to a convertible or a Porsche. Considering the fact that I drove half the distance to my destination before I finally found the cruise control, I doubt a convertible would have been worth it.

My Dad has stomach cancer. The tumor is wrapped around his esophagus. He has completed his chemotherapy and radiation. Surgery to remove the tumor, along with part of his esophagus and stomach is next. He has been very optimistic until just recently. Daddy's glass has always been half full. He plods along determined to make the best of whatever life may throw at him.

He looked forward to losing his hair, saying that Mama could stop plucking his ears. A feeding tube was put in place and the nutritionist met with them both. Everything moved along until the feeding tube became infected in July. He was already in a weakened state from the chemo and his optimism was lagging. Daily calls and reports from Mama kept me informed, but ....... I still worried about him and was longing to see him with my own eyes. To make things doubly difficult, this is when my sweet mother-in-law passed away.

Both of us were torn. July is the absolute busiest month of camping season. The time when you collect the revenue that allows you to eat in the winter. Only one of us can leave. I was thankful that He Who mows had been able to make the trip to see his mom in the spring. We both felt it was more important for him to be with her while she was alive. I refused to let him make the trip alone when she died. That is something no one should have to do alone. Instead he mowed and mowed. Then he got out the weed whacker and groomed everything with the exception of my gardens ...... he knew better than that! I would have looked the other way, during this awful time, but I am glad he restrained himself.

Daddy left the hospital with his wound packed and a regimen of nurse visits. I could tell he was not feeling well, but that was to be expected. He was having trouble maintaining his weight and his appetite was gone. He was still pretty upbeat when I called, though.

He went back into the hospital a couple of weeks ago severely dehydrated and very weak. He has macular degeneration and his vision had become worse. When I talked to him he was so very depressed and sounded so feeble. Broke my heart. It seemed like this was just the last straw for him. He said to me, "I can't even read the newspaper." My dad loves to read. He reads everything. Cereal boxes, billboards, road sign ........ aloud.

Pretty annoying when you think about it. Riding along and having to listen to him read out each sign in a sing-song voice and add his own commentary. I now find myself doing it, too. Genes, you know. I called him as often as I could and he was still not himself when he went home with bags of nutritional supplements that were supposed to be administered through an IV while he slept. The whole set-up scared my poor Mama. She has worried herself into a frenzy. Afraid she might do something wrong and the pump would go nuts and kill Daddy.

My son arranged and paid for my air transportation to see my dad and I finally arrived Tuesday around 4:30, 12 hours after I left home. I was going to surprise him, but told him I was coming. He had 2 units of blood a few days before and was like a new man. Still tiring easily, but so much better. I took him a tablet so that he can read books with a font size to suit him. He has fought having a computer long enough!

His appetite is better and he has gained some weight. My Mama is a force feeder! She likes to fill the table with food and expects those around that table to make it disappear. I spent the whole day with him on Wednesday, complete with a nap! I went with him to the retina specialist Thursday morning. Nothing can be done for his condition. He has one cataract that needs to be removed and that will help, but his vision will continue to deteriorate slowly. Audio books won't be a good option, because even with his hearing aid he tends to miss a bit of the conversation.

But he was singing his silly songs and it no longer annoyed me. Mama said it was music to her ears. She is actually my step-mom, but treats me like her own. She makes my dad happy and that makes me happy!

It was still hard to say good-bye on Thursday. I hugged his bony shoulders and grinned as I waved to them, then cried as I merged onto the interstate. I was thankful for the solitude of the rental car. I arrived at the airport on time and sat waiting to board a full flight. Cheek to cheek we were. The flight took off late and we landed a little late .......

No problem, I thought, as I had landed near my boarding gate on the flight down. No such luck this time. I was muttering to myself as I dragged my carry-ons behind me and marched onward for what seemed like a mile to a train that whisked me to my location, where I had to walk another good piece before I found my gate. Another full flight and I had the middle seat on both flights. Flying is such an intimate experience.

I arrived home around 1:00 AM. I am still tired, but so thankful that I got to see my Daddy!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Fences and Signs

Gossip over the fence. Yes, I know the fence needs paint, but it is on the inside of my yard. I am the only one seeing it!

I suppose you could say I have been straddling the fence about the paint job. Mr. Martha loves to sit on a fence post and swish his tail at the dogs to make them bark. That annoys me and then the dogs get in trouble.

A bit of trivia has been stuck in my mind since He Who listens to talk radio shared it with me. To know the number of silks on an ear of corn, you need only count the kernels. That is not exactly what he said, this is the condensed version.

Every time I handle corn, whether it is in preparation or when I am about to eat it, I have to stop myself from counting the kernels. Why would I need to know the number of corn silks adorning that ear of corn? More to the point, I would have to count both the kernels and the silks to prove the adage to be right. And ....... even more to the point, why does this bother me?

It was brought to my attention (by a valued camper, whose opinion matters) that all of my signage throughout the park has negative connotations. "Do Not Enter", "Slow Down, Speed Limit 10 MPH". Now I am looking at all my signs and seeing only negative. He suggested a sign that thanks the customer as he leaves. I like to paint. I like to make signs, too. But, how shall I phrase this thank you?

It has to include a frog, for sure. Should it be short and sweet ....... THANKS, COME AGAIN? or maybe more down home ........ Y'ALL COME BACK.  HURRY BACK ....... I WANT YOUR MONEY. Maybe not. VISIT MORE OFTEN?

I do have a sign on the front porch that says, "Hippity hop, non-stop, down to Kan-Do" Camper Patrick penned that one. I ran out of room for the rest of it ..... "where we have a pad for you". As in lily pad, with the ever present frog included. So, there, DJ, that one is not negative!

Camper Marshell suggests a sign touting all the amenities that the state park lacks. I am on the same road, only a mile away. But you pass me to get there. They are not set up for big rigs, no pull thrus and no full hook-ups. The sites are short and tight. If you are traveling through and want a one-night stop, it isn't very convenient. If you are towing a vehicle, you have to unhook it. They don't have a pool, a camp store, a laundry room. They send me lots of business for ice and firewood.

Problem is, when you make a reservation at a state park, there is no refund. No matter what. It costs more to stay there when you pay the reservation fee than staying here cost. Camper Debbie wanted a sign the campers from the state park could read as they left. "DON"T YOU WISH YOU HAD STAYED HERE?" I vetoed that one. I could only imagine some camper staying here and then finding fault with everything and asking me why I had a sign up that indicated this park was so much better .......

Signs, signs and more signs.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Proud Of My Pot .....

I took this picture after the broken boards were removed. This is a sharp curve in the road beside the culvert that takes the pond overflow into a drainage ditch. We put the fence there to draw attention to the steep drop, in hopes that drivers won't take that curve too sharp and end up in the ditch. Try though I might, I have yet to find something that will grow there and help with the erosion. My latest experiment is mint. Mint is very invasive and I have put several huge clumps there. Maybe next year it will get a good root system and cover that area.

Back to the broken boards. Just 2X4's. No, they did not rot over time and now have to be replaced. They were broken in two, all splintered when we discovered them. A camper had come into the office the evening before I saw them. "I just wanted you to know that I was taking a walk and I leaned on your fence and it suddenly broke. That's all I did. I just leaned on it while I was looking to see what was in the ditch. I did not hit it with my truck or anything. Really, I just leaned on it." Really. She must have a bionic arm and not be aware of her strength! Or, she could be telling the truth. Maybe someone hit it, got out and pulled the boards together so that they looked okay from a distance and she happened to be the one to knock the facade down.

Whatever, I still have to fix it. What I am truly wondering about is why anyone would want to look into a ditch?

I have had this old plastic pot for years. I leave it out in the weather and a few years ago part of the rim broke off. The plastic was pretty brittle, but I kept thinking I would find a way to fix it. I have tried lots of things. It fits nicely at the entrance to the building and I wanted to use it. Once I had the brilliant ( or so I thought at the time) idea of filling it with a few rocks and wadded newspaper, then fill the top with smaller individual pots of annuals, the mulch it. The broken area is about 5 inches deep, so that the mulch kept coming out of the pot every time I watered it. I tried duct tape, but the water and sun weakened it and it only lasted about a week. I tried One of those mesh bags that onions come in. I pulled the mulch out and carefully place the bag against the hole, and replaced the mulch. Next watering made the bag become dislodged ....

It was a vicious cycle. Cardboard was a temporary solution until we had a big rain. I spent so much effort on the hole in the pot, that I neglected the plants in the tiny pots and they withered and died. They were doomed in those tiny pots anyway. The broken pot was banished to back of my veggie garden, where all manner of broken tools reside.

The pot stayed there for a couple of years. It would get moved every time I had a huge fit of cleaning that area. It would land in the wheelbarrow destined for the dumpster and I would rescue it again and again. Never knowing why. Until this year. Garden hoses tend to take a beating here at the kampground. If I fail to move my irrigation set up when He Who mows is intent upon getting the lawn cut, he will either mow the hose into pieces, or go around it.

Like broken pots, pieces of hose end up with my other garden trinkets. Just in case. One never knows when inspiration will strike. Or when I will be stalking the ideas of others on Pinterest.

I grabbed the caulking gun, a tube of liquid nails and the hose and broken pot. The first attempt failed. Do not fill your pot with dirt and plants, then try to glue the hose to the pot. Gravity will rear it's ugly head and even gorilla glue will not save you.

The pot should be empty and upside down, making gravity your friend. If you wait over night and find that your hose still wants to slide down the pot ........... grab your drill and some screws. I screwed one layer of hose the the layer above, since the liquid nails had done a good job on the very first row. The hose fit snugly into the lip of the pot and the glue held it there. The bottom row was tricky and in frustration I pushed the screw right into the pot. I had hesitated to do this, fearing the brittle pot would form a crack and fall in half. It worked, though. I painted the whole thing green. Because the hose was already green and I am thrifty.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

There Is Hope For Wi-Fi

I am still having Internet issues. I can get on, but just as easily get knocked off. Early in the morning is the easiest time to get on ........ and also the best time to get my garden chores done. I am sort of stuck inside through the middle of the afternoon. And that is when I think one of my tenants, who swears she cannot get on-line is streaming movies. She tells me she has never been on-line here, then on another occasion mentions how much she likes my web page ......

So, I am here, at my computer, instead of mowing.
I am still convinced that the wind from the tornado has something to do with this issue. The satellite tower is very close by. Ironically, I registered two men this past Sunday. They will be here for up to 6 months, working in the area. So, like the gynecologist who likes to chat while he works, I asked where they would be working while they filled out the registration. They work for a tower cell company! And, yes, they will be working on my tower and they do work for Sprint (my provider)!!! I am so happy! Some one actually heard me!

As I was answering questions about the amenities of the park, one asked about wi-fi. I told him it would be fantastic as soon as he fixed it! I have high hopes.

This is why I haven't been commenting. I will compose an award winning comment and then it will suddenly disappear as I am knocked off-line. Very frustrating.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Just One of the Family

Cujo and his first shirt. Doesn't he look so happy? I will have to alter my pattern, the sleeves are too long. He was very patient with the dressing part. He wasn't thrilled, mind you, but tolerant.

He went for a ride through the park on the golf cart to spread his cuteness to others. Martha commented that it must be his first day of school. He looked at me with suspicion, but I reassured him, I would never let him leave my side.

He has finally stopped swallowing his food whole. He is friendlier, as long as I am holding him, with strangers. The other dogs have accepted the fact that he is now one of them and is not going anywhere. Oscar seems to like him, which is very unusual for him to accept another dog into the pack so quickly. Oscar is, after all, the alpha. As timid as Cujo is, he will stand up to Oscar. The only other dog that would ever do that was Emmy, Oscar's mate.

Cujo is like Emmy in many ways. He is content to spend most of his time in my lap, or just to be near me on the floor of my sewing room. Emmy had a pillow she would lay on in my sewing room. Cujo has created a little nest of sorts. Out of fabric scraps that hit the floor and an old T-shirt that was destined for a re-make. He has his own toy wiener dog that he keeps in his little nest. If I move it, he will pick it up and put it back in his nest. He has other toys that he shares with the pack, but not this one.

Try, though he did, he could not shake his shirt off. I took pity and removed it for him and was rewarded with a kiss. Although it is not unusual for a dog to grant a big kiss with a swipe of his tongue; Cujo is not apt to do so. His accepts my kisses like a gentleman, but very rarely does he return them. He will lay his little head on my shoulder, but his is very reserved.

My choice of the name still annoys He Who still calls the dog Jo-Jo. I still like the irony of the name and he is, after all, MY dog. He chose me. He has established himself into the family now. Even Martha, the boy cat, has learned to tolerate the new dog.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Doctor's Visit

The doctor's visit went quite well. I actually saw the nurse practitioner. She is new to the office and I liked her. I liked her so much more than the doctor. Last time I saw the doctor he seemed unconcerned and a bit annoyed that I had some questions about my medications. He didn't bother to listen to my heart or my lungs, just renewed all my prescriptions and told me to take more of the blood pressure medication. He did not want to answer any questions and seemed in a hurry to get me out the door.

Anyhoo, I discovered they had a new nurse practitioner and made an appointment with her to have my annual pap smear. There would be no way I was going to have that done by the "doctor". Not because he is a man, but because I don't consider him to be much of a physician based on my last appointment.

I had stopped my blood pressure meds myself, never having started the regimen of "taking more" prescribed by the doctor. I was only taking half the recommended dosage and feeling pretty crappy when my blood pressure would drop. Now we are dropping the meds and keeping track of my blood pressure in order to determine if I even need medication. 

After that I was thoroughly chastised for being so overdue for a mammogram and the exam continued on schedule. 

Years ago when I was still a practicing nurse and worked in the ER it was easy to choose a doctor. At some point they all came into the ER for a patient and one could determine what level of patient care they offered. This was how I came to choose the doctor for my lady parts long ago. He was very discreet, never made vulgar references to any of his patients (and, yes, a lot do). His office staff treated you like queen for a day. His stirrups had cozy little foot warmers and his nurses would drape you so that only the bare necessities were exposed. And ....... the speculum was warmed. It was as dignified as that particular exam could ever be.

I remember once, a few years ago, I had a doctor who seemed to like to keep a dialogue going as he performed his task. It was okay, I suppose he thought it would keep the patients mind occupied. I was just confused at some of his questions. Like, "So, do you like to dance?" What prompted that? Did he see something in my nether regions that made him think I could do a mean jitter bug? I struggled to come up with the right answer. If I said yes, would he ask me to jump up and demonstrate my ability? What if I say no? Will that prompt more questions I don't have an answer for? 

Thankfully he kept on talking and told me he was taking ball room dance lessons with his wife. We tried that, He Who loves to dance and I. It created a problem, though. We both wanted to lead and He Who has attention deficit disorder could not follow the instructor's instructions. This is what caused me to want to lead, to correct him when he was wrong ......... but, I digress.

The doctor continued his dialogue and looked up at me from his perch between my knees and announced that I had a healthy looking cervix. I was dumb struck (this hardly ever happens to me). What is the proper etiquette involved here? Is this a compliment? Am I supposed to say thank you? Is a reply necessary at all? 

But, as he was looking at me, I felt I should say something. I said, "Why, thank you, no one else ever notices!"

Monday, August 5, 2013

Patience, or Patients?

We found this note stuck in the store door last week. We were here, outside working and found it when we came in for the evening. I read it and could not figure out what the note was referring to. You see, I was assuming it was a legitimate "thank you". My sarcasm radar was not working.

In case you can't read it, it says:
Thank you for letting the tent be put in the RV 30 amp area! We really appreciate it. Especially the part of camping right next to us. Thank you so much!

I will sometimes let people in RV's have a tent next to them for their children. Not a big deal. But I had not checked in anyone with that particular situation. I reviewed all my registrations and came to realize that it was the occupants of a class B camper parked in the tent area. They chose the spot themselves and a tent camper arrived after them and took the spot next to them.

I am confused ....... did they assume that they would be in that spot and no one else would come along and camp in an open spot next to them? The tent campers were not loud and did not create any problems. If they had a complaint, why did they not tell me, as I was outside working in full view, easy to spot. Or, call the office. I had the phone in my pocket. I would have offered to make the tenters move if they were too loud or disturbing them in any way. They could have easily moved themselves. Instead they chose to take apart a registration packet and waste it on their "anonymous" letter of sarcasm. Nice. Bet their neighbors just love them where ever they go.

On a much brighter note, the sunflowers are in bloom.

They always look so happy, bobbing in the breeze.

This one does not want to wake up!

I love this one. It looks like it has an eye on the world!

I have not been myself for the past week or so. Cannot really define what is wrong, but I just feel bad. Fatigue, lack of energy, breathless. Like a wrung out dish rag. Limp. Decided to monitor my blood pressure and it is very low. I take medication for high blood pressure and confess that I have been known to regulate my own dosage. I am supposed to take one in the morning and one in the evening.

For quite some time I have been taking half the dosage because I noticed that my blood pressure was low and I felt crappy. Now, I feel crappy again. Yesterday my blood pressure was 88 /48. That was sitting down. I spent most of the day sleeping on and off. I fulfilled my nap resolution for the week. I will be seeing the doctor Wednesday. I have quit taking my medication altogether. My blood pressure medication, that is. With no meds on board, it is 102/62. An improvement, but I still have no energy.

No energy does not keep my mind from working over time. I am frustrated. I want to mow things and plant things and sew things, maybe even cook things. I am  not a good patient, because I am not patient. Patience is a virtue, so they say.

Friday, August 2, 2013

The Money Is In The Register

I found my camera charger! 

It was right where I left it, where I could see it in my mind's eye. Last time I used it and left it there, telling myself I would surely remember the location, since it was in a place one would never think to put it. Behind the cash register. Made sense at the time. There is an outlet there and I usually download pictures at the desk in my office. The desk is below the registration counter and the charger and the cord would be out of the way there. I will tuck it there again and then if I forget, I can go back and read this ......... if I remember.

I have been using my inside time to sew this week and have added five more swimsuit cover-ups for the flea market. Just beach towels and shoe laces with beads added for a little bling. I make my own bias tape, so finding a color match is pretty easy.

I added a little kerchief to this one. It is smaller, by request. I was cutting tape strips and there was this triangle, just staring up at me, so I thought a little head gear would go with it.

Then I started getting requests for adult size cover ups, so thought a mother and daughter set would be cute. Instead of the laces, I decided on some buttons from my stash. Instead of a regular button hole I used elastic pony tail holders so the sides would have more give.

Only have a couple more towels left and then I will pull out some fall projects. Don't know what I want to do yet, still pondering possibilities.

Looks like rain for the weekend. Two cancellations so far. Only one sunny day for the pool this week and that was yesterday. Made for lots of weeding time for me. I tackled the asparagus bed and discovered cucumbers! I had forgotten I planted them there. I thought I had planted some, just couldn't remember where. Perhaps I should look behind the cash register?

I lost a pair of my glasses, too. I was actually looking for them behind the cash register when I discovered the camera charger. I have been known to take them off and put them on the cash register and thought they may have fallen behind it. My next place to look today is my "in" box. I will file as I go and hope to find them there, although I though this might be a more likely place for the camera charger ......

Just so you know, I actually put money in the cash register, too.