I am the most inside person you will ever meet. I love the concept of the great outdoors. I love photos and videos of nature scenes. But for me to love being outside, the conditions have to be perfect:
Old fogey, that’s what I am. I just happen to love being inside. Air or heat set at 68. That’s probably why I love rainy days and snowstorms.
That being said – I am dealing with an inflammatory situation in my body these days. A very painful one. Doctor is running tests. The front runner of the doc’s choices is….drum roll…Lyme’s Disease. Of all people, don’t you think I’m the least likely to get bit by a tick? I am outside no more than 15 minutes the entire day – max!
Now, I do sleep with 7 dogs, so maybe one of the pups brought the interloper into our bed. Just seems weird that I, of all people, would get Lyme’s. Still waiting for the test results. I’m actually hoping he’s correct since I presume antibiotics would reduce the inflammation. And I don’t like the other choices.
Today, however, I had to venture outside to attempt to whack some weeds in the easement to keep the city from citing me. My current whacker of weeds is broken so I purchased this dandy contraption from China. I like the concept – just attach two zip ties and out you go. Concept failed. My new contraption only irritated the weeds and nipped a few pieces of clover.
But during that dreadful and sweaty time in the great outdoors – and yes, most people would say it was a perfect day – sun shining and about 80 -- a bug flew into my eye. And of course, my eye closed automatically trapping the little rascal. I think he was dead by the time I got all the pieces of him pried from my red and teary eye. I can only be grateful that it wasn’t a bee. Ouch – even the thought of getting stung in the eye would make me consider wearing a beekeeper’s hat on my outings back and forth to my car.
And now, of course, there is a rattle in my left ear. Most likely it is water from my shower and not another bug burrowing into yet an alternate facial orifice, aiming its way to my brain. You see why I stay inside.
Before I retreated to my air-conditioned house, I yanked some of the tall weeds like a mad woman and then stomped the shorter ones into oblivion, reenacting the scene from I Love Lucy where Lucy and Ethel were stomping grapes.
I tried a perfunctory sweep of all the tree stuff the wind blew on my sidewalk, to almost no avail. If one looks both ways on my block, mine is the only sidewalk covered with brownish tree litter – tree dust of sorts. It was not amenable to being swept….or perhaps I was not amenable to sweeping it after my above recounted adventures. My only thought was, if the wind can blow all of that tree dust all over my sidewalk, why can’t it just blow it away?! Well, I had two thoughts. The second being, what happened to everyone else’s tree dust?
Before I close and put more drops in my offended left eye, I might share with you that my pups are insiders as well. They too, like the concept of going outside. So they yap and twirl and jump at the mere mention of “outside” – and dash out the door only to return in a matter of moments, often to run to their peepad and do their business. They truly are housebroken – they love to run in from outside and go potty in the house.
Lastly, just for the record….my most well behaved pet is my chicken, Glozel. Just saying. I know it doesn’t fit with the topic, but during my quick ventures in and out, she comes when I call her and seems to mind better than my pack of renegades. A+ for Glozel.
Leaving you now – off to order parts for my aging whacker of weeds. Yet another mechanical thing for this aging bookworm to fix. My, oh my, how my life journey is turning out. I could say that things didn’t go according to plan, but that would imply that I had a plan. And if I had a plan, things might, or might not, have been different. No complaints – life is a great adventure and it’s just a matter of playing the cards we are dealt (or deal ourselves) joyfully and with as much grace (ha-ha, says this clumsy one) as possible
It was an April snowstorm. The blustery winds were pelting everything and everyone with hail. Drifts were forming. It was downright nasty. Three days of nasty. Fortunately, I had nowhere to go and no place to be so I was cozy in my cottage with my pups.
On day two, the pups alerted to the sound of someone shoveling snow. I looked out my window to see my friend ambitiously shoveling my driveway. Wimpy as I was, I couldn't fathom going out in this Antarctic weather, so I just waved. In all honesty, my friend was probably just as happy that I didn't go out and help since I seem to get in her way more than contribute. She shovels with purpose and intention and I'd only slow her down.
Several more times, or a gazillion, I do not know, she returned to make sure my driveway was without flake.
By Monday, I knew I had to get the steps and walkway done for the mail person and besides, it was garbage day so I had to find a way to get my garbage to the road. I lay in bed working up the desire? courage? energy? whatever I needed to tackle the task. Soon the pups had to pee, so up I got and we trotted downstairs only to discover the there was a drift blocking the back door - coming halfway up to the window. No going out. Okay...it was time for me to swing into action.
By way of explanation, I have been struggling with chest pains for a bit. And before you get all concerned and "advicey" - smile - my doctor knows and we are testing and treating with more tests on the way. (Although, between you and me) I bet shoveling snow would be counter-indicated.
I started bundling: long underwear, extra socks, several sweaters, my Klondike hat, a scarf around my face and my down coat -- you get the idea - I was a cross between a stuffed sausage and the Michelin man. I thought about calling my neighbor across the street, Bob, and asking him to keep an eye on me and call 911 if I went down. But looking out the window, I could see he wasn't about yet. Remembering that my neighbor two doors up was a third shift EMT who would be coming home soon, I figured she wouldn't mind doing one more round of CPR if she saw me flopped on the sidewalk. So bravely, I put my phone in my pocket (thinking that I would even be able to call 911 myself....maybe), donned my gloves and stepped out on the front porch.
To my amazement, it was clean as a whistle. My friend had stealthily returned and shoveled the steps and walkway. Tears welled in my eyes. Okay - I cried and got snotty - and no, I didn't bring a tissue. What a precious gift!
My friend has the blood of a Yupper and the heart of a Samaritan. A special person to me and to this world.
Since I was already bundled, I figured I'd tackle the back door drift so I could let the pups out and so I could get to the garage. The plan was good. Now the challenge was how to get there. Both gates were not only in a drift but frozen shut. Pondering.
Back into the house I marched and fetched a chair. I came out and placed the chair by the gate and climbed up on the chair. From there, I still had a challenge - but assessing the situation I launched my plan and myself. I bent over and pushed off from the fence posts and did a sideways somersault - okay - a flop - into the snow drift. Between my many layers and the size of the drift, no harm, no foul. Just glad Bob wasn't up yet to see this Olympic move or he might have called for an intervention!
And yes, I remembered to put the shovel in the yard before my leap and tumble.
As soon as I got the door open all of the pups ran out and were joyously frolicking - what fun. Belly laugh fun. I love those precious souls.
I let them in and went back to shovel the door to the garage - not only to liberate the chickens but to make sure I could get to my car. As I turned, there was my street thug, Ziggy.
He remembered the last snow when I tossed snow balls for him to chase - he was staring at me with his little body in ready stance. This snow was not snowball snow but no matter. I started tossing handfuls of snow to him and we both delighted in this winter play.
What a beautiful and glorious morning; and how grateful I am for my tenacious friend.
Not fair leaving all ya'alls hanging - worrying about the sliver in my butt and all. So what was the end (yes, pun intended) of the saga....or has it ended?
My doctor referred me to a surgeon since the sliver was deep and required a larger incision than my family doc wanted to do. The problem started because the surgeon thought the sliver was beneath him -- specialist and all. I explained that the sliver was beneath me and I was tired of not being able to sit comfortably. So we reached a compromise - of sorts. The surgeon, on a Thursday (day 5 of the sliver) said if I would wait until Monday, he would take it out. Mumbling audibly, that the sliver will have worked its way out by then. I wanted to assure him that it would not since it was working its way in a whole 'nother direction, but the door was closed and the conversation was over.
On Monday - voila - I presented myself, butt, sliver and all to the surgeon's office and he condescendingly said, "Okay, let's take a look." We walk into a small office with his nurse and he said again, "Okay, let's take a look." I look to the nurse and say, "Is there a gown I should put on?"
She says, "No just come over here and pull down your pants."
Over here was like a mound of leather and metal - similar in shape to a small, office size igloo with a kneeling bench not unlike a church pew. She directs me to drop trow and kneel on the lowered rail, and then to bend over the hump, head down, and hold on to some handles on each side.
Odd, but hey -- I just want my sliver out. But then! But then - up we go - into the air - butt first, a bit of a swivel here, a twist and turn there -- I felt like I was riding a mechanical bull, sober, with my bare butt in the air. (Not that I've ever done this.)
The doctor asks me to point to the site of the sliver - I do, and he says, "I can't feel it." I say, "Well, I can, and it's right here."
He said that he would prefer doing the extraction in a surgical center or hospital where he can give me a general anesthetic, and then do exploratory surgery. All during this discussion, mind you, my head was pointing south and my bare butt was pointing north.
I said that I really, really wanted the sliver out today. I said I was good with a local and could he just make an incision and take a look.
"Okay," he said. "If that's what you want, let's do it. By the way, if we are going to do it, you don't mind if I use this as a teaching experience do you?" All I wanted was my gosh darn sliver out -- put it on YouTube for all I care, I just want it out. (I didn't say that aloud...just to myself.) And into the room marched numerous people -- who and how many, I don't know.... remember, my butt is up, my head is down. Then someone slides a paper under my face and said, "Can you sign this waiver of liability?" I started to lift myself so I could take a look at it and she cautioned, "Don't move. You can sign it from down there."
As we got ready for the long-awaited incision, there was more riding of the wild mechanical bull to get my butt in just the right location. The surgeon poked around the general area and said again, "You know, I really can't feel it. If I start cutting around and don't locate it, we will both be disappointed, and you will have a large, ugly scar on your butt."
To which I replied, "I don't care - my butt modeling days are over." And suddenly, the room was so quiet you could hear a pin drop. I don't know why I said that. I tried to pull my foot out of my mouth (figuratively, although on this wild mechanical bull contraption I probably could have literally put it there) - "Actually, I never was a butt model. So let's go ahead." The tittering resumed. Whew.
Again the surgeon said, "this will be exploratory and you may be disappointed." And I said, putting my index finger on my butt directly over the splinter I could feel, "if you cut right here, right under the spot I am pointing to, neither of us will be disappointed and you will have succeeded in removing my sliver."
He did and within seconds, he said, "By golly, you were right - there it is, exactly where you said it was. How long do you think it is?"
I said, "a half inch."
The nurse measured and it was exactly a 1/2 inch. To this day, I swear it would be so much easier for everyone if doctors just listened to what their patients had to say since most of us understand our bodies pretty well.
I heard him say that the area around the sliver was infected. But I was too exhausted and relieved at that point that I zoned out. The wild mechanical bull contraption took off for another ride and then someone began doing stitching.
Ahh -- so here is where the infamous sliver saga may not be over. I know, after numerous dog bites as a dog foster mom, and after 5 years in a trauma unit - never, ever stitch in an infection. But he prescribed antibiotics so I just hoped they would kill any and all germs and various and sundry bacteria.
On the plus side - as soon as I got home, and the anesthetic was wearing off, I Googled my prescription to see if I could imbibe in alcoholic beverages while taking it (since with some you can't) and YES!!! Since we had not discussed pain meds, a large arctic chilled, vodka martini was in order.
Stay tune, if you dare or if you care.
At least I am no longer the butt of many jokes.
It’s all about the butt....
This whole splinter in my butt saga reminds me of a situation that happened a few years back when I worked as support in the trauma unit. I had been paged that there was a police officer shot and in the trauma unit. As I rounded the corner, I saw bundles of SWAT gear tossed near the door of the unit; you could almost smell the testosterone; officers in SWAT uniforms were milling about. As I entered the unit I gave an officer the “what’s up?” look to which he replied, “Officer took a bullet to the flank.” I nodded, he walked out and I walked in.
The surgeon was working on the officer, and I gave him the “what’s up?” look. He smiled and mouthed: “He was shot in the butt” while pointing to his butt. I nodded and walked out of the unit and the Charge nurse was at her desk giving me the look, so I mouthed “he was shot in the butt” – pointing to my butt. She nodded and turned to the triage nurse across the room at the public entrance and mouthed, “he was shot in the butt” pointing to her butt. And with that – we all knew the situation and got back to our regular duties. Without a word spoken. (Yes, I know, we still violated HIPPA but in a sense, we all needed to know since if it was more serious – we would shift into a different mode of operation.)
Why did I think about this story?
I called my doctor first thing to see if I should come in or go to a walk-in clinic to have the splinter in my butt removed and get a tetanus shot. They said to come in. As I walked up to the registration desk and gave my name, the lady said, “Ahh, I know….splinter in the…..”
“Butt,” I said. She just shook her head and said “ouch.”
The assistant came out to fetch me and as we walked back she said – “splinter in the…”
“Butt,” I said.
So everyone I dealt with that day already knew “splinter in the butt was arriving.”
As I sat on the exam table, she brought in a vial and needle and I said, “Oh, is that my tetanus shot?” And she said, “No, this is to numb the spot so we can get the splinter out.” OUCH – I thought.
Fast forward – the splinter just kept heading in deeper – we could feel it but the PA said she didn’t want to cut deeper in the doctor’s office. She bandaged me up and told me to keep an eye on it since there was a good chance of infection and to come in immediately if I saw it starting to get infected.
All well and good except I can’t see it – it’s on my butt – the sit down part of my butt. At home I tried standing on the tub to see if I could see it in the mirror of the medicine cabinet – I caught a glimpse before I almost tumbled head over heels into the tub and figured more serious injury could occur.
I tried jumping up and down to see if I could see it in my dressing room mirror – but again – I could only peek at it on the up part of the jump and the down part come too soon. Doesn’t look infected in the one second look.
Of course – you know I live with 7 dogs. First thing about that is that this makes a floor sliver even more deadly. The second thing is that privacy is in short supply. They all want to see what I’m doing – which is ½ the reason I got the darn splinter in the first place. The nurse said to “keep it clean”….well, duh!
So as I was getting ready for bed, I was in the bathroom and took off the dressing she put on. I lined up my large Band-Aid and the Neosporin, and was washing my hands with Thieves anti-bacterial soap so everything would be nice and sterile when, in dashed Fred, a little doxie, and he stretches up and licks the site of the splinter and I thought, “I’m gonna die!”
This is the end of the blog post. Most of you already know how I got the splinter from following on Facebook, but for those who do not, and are curious, carry on below:
It was a peaceful Sunday morning. I was luxuriating in my bed and wanted to check something on my new phone. (New, because my other phone melted – whole ‘nother story.) And I got the message that my phone wasn’t connected to wifi. I thought “Dang! Don’t tell me my new phone is a lemon!” So I trudged downstairs to use my computer instead and found out that it wasn’t connected to the internet.
All y’alls know what that means…..a trip under the desk to unplug and replug the router.
So I get down on the floor and sit in front of my desk. Note two things:
As I sit, six of the seven decide it’s hop on mom time; they start jumping on me, some getting toenails stuck in my sweater so they are yelping and pulling yarn threads out (of my new sweater I might add – also, toenails are getting clipped today).
There was such a cacophony of jubilation and excitement, that I decided to slide closer to get my front under the desk and free from pups to work on the various wires and components. They could fling themselves at my back while I worked.
Only….drum roll….this slide was the slide that picked up the splinter….and so it begins
….with pain in the end.
What I did know, is that I have been warned over and over again to be careful of using car the wash in the winter. Why? Because your doors could freeze shut and you would be unable to get into the car the next day. This has been drummed into my conscience by every Wisconsinite each winter.
And yet...during the winter, even Fern, my hippie Kia Soul, looks pretty darn ragged. Salt and grim cover her beautiful flower decals and boulders of ice and muck stick to her underside and rub against the tires. This can't be good.
So I thought. And pondered. And happened upon what I thought was a brilliant idea. So brilliant I wondered why I never heard of it. I discovered a way to avoid the ice between the door jams - so simple, really, just dry the inner doors as you leave the car wash.
All that hot air blowing on the car - like a giant hair dryer - can be put to use to dry the inner door jams. Right? right.
Feeling so smart and rather full of myself, I entered the local car wash after a particularly mucky bout of snow. I sat, smugly during the bubble and scrubble part. And then as I began my exit, ever so slowly I eased into the blow dryer part.
And when I got to the door area, ready to launch my brilliant idea - I opened my car door and LAUNCH indeed!! Yikes!
Did you know the hot air is a vacuum and NOT the least like a hair dryer?
Not only did the suction from the pump yank my door wide open but thankfully I had my seat belt on or I would have been torn from my vehicle and sucked up to the top of the vacuum.
As it was, my muscles from my right arm, across my chest and down to the tips of my left fingers were strained as I clung to the door to avoid losing that part of my car. Say good bye to my hat. At least I kept my glasses on.
Struggling, I closed the car door. Took a deep breath. And thought: "Well, that was something. Who knew?" I wonder if there is a sign at the beginning of the car wash that says: "Don't open your doors during the time you are in the wind tunnel"?
So if you didn't know....now you do.
No wonder I hadn't heard of this "great" idea before.
Feel free to thank me for this bit of wisdom.
I’ve been working on living a minimalist lifestyle. This not only involves a tight budget but also decluttering the possessions I already have. I was raised with the mantra: Save it, we might need it.
Note – I got over the “save it for good” training because I believe every day is good!
But the “I might need it” is a tough one. Nevertheless, I found a site* that offers a 365 day decluttering program. The idea is to declutter 15 minutes a day. Heck, even I, with my ADHD – Squirrel!!! brain, can do that. And I have to admit – I am loving it.
The kitchen drawers were easy. Especially the cooking utensil drawer – I mean, how many cork screws does one need? Okay – so I have reduced the number of cork screws…..but….I put some in my basement “to go bag” just in case “I might need them” someday. I’ll deal with this when the decluttering program works on basements. That will be a challenge. I have cobalt blue glasses down there to set a table for 10 with water, red wine, or white wine glasses. Just in case. But I digress.
Where I had to put my foot down was when we got to dishes. I purposely planned for each dish to be a different shape and color. I hate uniformity. (Well, but for the cobalt glasses in the basement, but that was another time, another place, another me.) When I open my cabinet to the cacophony of colors, it pleases my artistic eye. So this area is sufficiently done and I left it just as it is. So there.
A note on the refrigerator declutter: I must have been in a prior shopping, healthy eating frenzy – which expired in 2016. My fridge was the graveyard of bags and bags of bulgur, oats, and various other grains, all expiring in 2016. Once I tossed all of the offending and sundry bags of natural foods (I tossed them to the hens, by the way), my fridge is quite empty. Boy the light really shines in an empty refrigerator.
I’m eating the Pantry Polka/Refrigerator Roulette cuisine this week. I still have lots and lots of lentils and unexpired bulgur. What was with all the bulgur?!!! If I only know. And bags and bags of dried beans. Secretly I hope the dried beans have a shelf life – I’ve yet to check that.
Lastly – from a minimalist site, I read about the benefits (maybe feng shui) of clear kitchen counters. I thought I did great by eliminating everything from my counter except the two things I use every day: my blender and my toaster over. Good, right? But then, the author of this article wrote: For something you use every day, how long do you use it? He gave the example of a toaster. You use it about 15 minutes a day. Then it sits on the counter, waiting for you, for 23 hours and 45 minutes.
Well Dang! That made sense. No need for appliances, even my blender and toaster oven, to sit around all day – at least 23 hours – waiting for me. So I made spots for them in the cupboards below. So each time I need either, I bend down and fetch it and call that movement: EXERCISE.
The first time I came downstairs, into my kitchen with totally clear counters, I thought a) there was a robbery or b) I was moving. Then I relaxed and enjoyed the feng shui of my minimalist counters. And you know what? I like it. This IS pleasing to my eye.
So the month of January is all about the kitchen. Clean, decluttered, organized and beautiful….at least to my eyes. I’ll let you know when we get to the basement.
I just never know what memories will dance through my head. This morning, knowing it was a snow day (yay!), I reached in the clean laundry basket (don’t judge – I’ve been sick!) and pulled out a tee shirt and slipped it on. It felt all bunched up and there was something stuck to my head.
Looking in the mirror – I was sporting a pair of purple panties on my head. And wiggling around inside my shirt, I was able to extricate a few more pairs of underwear.
Static electricity field day!
Which…..reminded me of the first underwear story. Years and years ago, when I was a trial attorney, I was walking down the long hall toward the courtroom – it must have been a motion day because there were about a dozen attorneys all heading the same direction. I glanced down and saw a funny tangle in the young attorney’s pant leg in front of me. I couldn’t take my eyes off this snarl of fabric and soon, a tip of white peaked from the bottom of his trousers.
Just as we entered the courtroom, his pants birthed a pair of silky white undies as he was passing the bailiff. The bailiff – one of the kind ones (see the next story for the other type) bent, picked up the undies and handed them to the attorney. I loved the puzzled look on his innocent face. He couldn’t fathom why the bailiff was handing him a pair of women’s undies as he entered the courtroom. The bailiff then whispered in his ear; the attorney stuck the offending pair of undies in his pocket. And I imagine he and his wife had a little chat about laundry duties that night.
Which….reminded me of another underwear story – involving attorneys, courtrooms and bailiffs. When my law partner, Gloria, was a prosecutor, she was in the ladies room revving herself up for a jury trial. Most of us attorneys have to gear up – put on our macho – so we can strut our stuff in a self-confident, aim to win manner.
She leaves the ladies room and begins her walk down the long hall referenced above and parades past the testosterone pit (as the women attorneys referred to the area where the bailiffs stood guard on the comings and goings into the courtroom area). She then hears all of the bailiffs – about six of them, whispering, whistling, chuckling, and about three of them started following her down the hall sing-songing her name, “G-l-o-r-i-a.”
She feels smug – confident – thinks “I’m so fine, they want me.” And continues on into the packed courtroom.
Fortunately, the bailiff at the door was a woman who walked up close behind Gloria, stopped her and said, “Hun, your skirt is tucked in your pantyhose and your butt is showing.”
Lesson one – you should never get too full of yourself because you never know when your butt is showing.
Lesson two – boy oh boy, did she give the male bailiffs the what for that day and for years after. She is now a judge, so her robe would cover all wardrobe malfunctions, hopefully.
By this time, and it was still early in my day – I was cracking myself up! I love to remember funny slices of life. And I hadn’t even made it downstairs yet!
While still finding myself utterly humorous, I remembered my third underwear story.
I was flying first class in my favorite seat – first row, aisle, right side of the plane. Easy access to the toilet. A woman from behind me had just gone into the toilet, about the same time I was thinking of going. I noticed that the “occupied” light did not come on, so I was watching the door, waiting for her to go back to her seat.
Then I see the door to the flight deck open and out walks the pilot – a tall, gangly man, with large polished military type shoes. (Clue: this will be an important fact ). He has his head turned to chat with the flight attendant in the galley as he reaches for the toilet door, opens it and steps inside.
Realizing he stepped into an occupied bathroom, he promptly steps back out only to discover that his big clodhoppers were entangled in the woman’s dropped drawers and as he steps back, trying to extricate himself, he pulls her, bare butt and all, into the aisle. She falls into him and he promptly dances her right back, bare butt first, into the toilet. There is some tussle as he gets his shoe out of her drawers. He seems to apologize, closes the toilet door and goes promptly back into the flight deck – never to be seen again.
He sure had to hold it for a long time. And I bet she has a lifetime travel pass. Hahaha – when it was my turn, I locked the door.
And with spontaneous eruptions of laughs and chuckles, I began my day.
I just crack myself up!
Still sick, I eased into bed, finding my space amongst the seven snoozing pups. I elevated the back of my bed so I could sit up…and thereby breathe. As I settled in, I noticed a funny feeling on the surface of my chest. I slid my hand into my night shirt and yikes! I felt lots of little round bumps. My eyes sprung open as I jumped from the bed, “Oh No! It can’t be! MEASLES! What next?!”
Flinging on the bathroom light, as I lifted my shirt and peered in the mirror – “yep, it looks like measles!”
Did a Dr. Google search. Measles: Fever, dry cough, runny nose, sore throat...and a skin rash made up of large, flat blotches that often flow into one another.
Wow! Measles. Who would think I could come down with measles?
And then…..drum roll….my sane brain clicked in and I remembered that I had measles as a kid and that you could only get measles once. And then said sane brain further remembered that during my serious chest congestion, I not only lathered my chest with Vick’s Vapor Rub (like mom used to) but about ten different essential oils on various days.
My chest skin was probably just shouting, “Enough alright, already! Give us a break here.”
So the great spot dilemma solved, I crawled back into my bed, moving a warm pup here, another there, so I could stretch out my legs and drift into peaceful sleep.
Yes of course, there’s more.
The next day I was sitting upright (yay me!) at my desk working on my budget, using both red and green roller ball pens for impact. My nose started running and a sneeze was brewing so I grabbed my tissue and gave my nose a good honk. As I lowered my tissue, I saw that it was covered with blood – and my thumb was also smeared with what appeared to be blood.
“Oh no! What next! Don’t tell me I’m hemorrhaging out my nose!” So I dash to the downstairs bathroom and stare into the mirror. Wowza – my entire nose is bright red. How could that be? Upon closer inspection, my tissue was not filled with blood, but with red ink that bled from my roller ball pen when I neglected to replace the cap. From there, when I sneezed – my tissue transferred the red ink to my entire nose which was now a bright red ball not unlike Bozo’s schnozz. I was relieved that it was ink and not blood, but a bit chagrined that this ink was quite stubborn and was not easily removed.
So I showed up at work (I dropped in for a few trial hours to see if I could return to work for real) with a red stain on and under my nose. A beauty queen I ain’t.
And so goes my wild and boring life – if it’s not one thing, it’s another.
In sickness, which is better, married or single? I’ve been both sick and well. Married and single. In this system of things, I am best off single. I have learned that I am rather head strong, although I prefer the word “tenacious,” and some say I am eccentric, but I say perchance I’m just a misunderstood creative soul. And of course, there’s always the issue of those seven pesky pups and two diva hens who share the Enchanted Cottage with me.
But during these days of being extremely ill, I have had time to ponder the senseless idea of whether it’s better to be married or single when one is sick. Senseless, because if it is the former – all sick single people are not going to run out and find a marriage mate; nor if the latter, they will be too sick to head to divorce court. It is just the frivolous fancy of a delusional drug addled mind.
This morning when I awoke, on day eight of my illness odyssey, I stood in the loft looking down at seven precious pup faces who were looking up at me….waiting….waiting for the “what’s next?” – “where are we going?” – “when do we eat?” – “are we going outside?” And I just looked at them imploring me, their leader, and I thought, “I wish I had a partner to take them out right now. And feed them. And pick up after them. I’m just so very tired….” And then our day began.
Yet, there are times with this cold/flu/pneumonia stuff that I sound like I am hacking giant hairballs; and even when I am just trying to breathe, my lungs are as noisy as lumberjacks sawing redwoods in a mosquito infested echo chamber with helicopters buzzing overhead. When I attempt to recline, the pups are pouncing all over my discordant lungs trying to silence the cacophony. So at these thoroughly unromantic, probably nonhuman, and pretty darn disgusting and gross times, I am glad I live alone so I don’t have to worry about offending anyone else. Who knew the human body was capable of so many alien sounding noises?!
And then there are the occasions when I am walking through the house and I start the sputter-coughing-hacking cycle again, so much so that my southern parts seem to take on a life of their own and start with their toot and bugle symphony. I would hate to have witness to my clenched butt check, legs crossed, hoppity doodah dash to the toilet. Even the pups stare in awe – well, maybe fear and awe.
On the other hand, wouldn’t it be comforting to have some kind one bring me a hot cup of tea and honey? Or change the linens? Or massage my tired and tense shoulders? Or to call 911 when I died, before the dogs chowed down on my lifeless body?
Having a partner has soothing, tender and practical moments for sure. But since I have become rather feral in my dotage, and at times can summon Canada Geese with the mere honk of my snuffy nose, I think things are just as they should be.
I can honk and hack and toot and tinkle to my body’s need as I work my way back to health….alone in my cottage….snuggled by the pups….providing just another source of entertainment for them, and actually, for myself too, since when I am not gasping for breath, I find it rather humorous…the adventures of being human.
We all love new beginnings – I certainly do. I love a new course which I celebrate with a blank notebook and new spiffy pens. A new week – “I’ll start on Monday.” And yes, a new year. Yet, studies show that the vast majority of New Year’s resolutions fail by February! Hence, I am not a fan of such resolutions.
That being said, for the past months, I have been working on a decluttering/budgeting/living-minimally trifecta which I am enjoying. And with the advent of this blog, I will be sharing aspects of this effort.
Today I want to share my personal challenge of zero spending. I haven’t gone daft. I don’t mean tossing out my bank account, and foraging for nuts and berries, dumpster diving, eating bugs and the like – although I am not passing judgment on those activities either. What I mean by the term “zero spending” is actually the concept of zero of reduced discretionary spending.
Why even do this?
What I did was to set a baseline of relatively fixed, necessary expenditures such as:
Food is a necessity but has lots of room for zero spending fixes. No drive-thru purchases, no Starbucks, no ordering out for lunches; limit alcohol, restaurants, and delivery meals like PIZZA. Sad, I know. But each month I challenge myself to see how well I can eat on minimal expenditures.
Most of us can live with the clothes we already own. A fun challenge is to revamp one’s wardrobe and come up with new combinations, new ways to wear something, resulting in breathing new life into our formerly boring clothes selections.
I am amazed by how much of a habit mindless spending was for me. I once told a my business coach (when I co-owned the Creating Calm Broadcast Network) that I was going to kill some time by walking around Target to see if I needed anything. I was stunned by the truth of his reply: “Ann, if you needed something, you would know before you left the house.” Sadly, until that moment, I never thought about it that way, but this one sentence has changed my shopping M.O. drastically.
Confess – isn’t Target one of those stores where you go in for toilet paper and come out with your basket piled high with things you “needed” – even a complete bedroom makeover which you didn’t know you even wanted until you saw their display.
Some of my current practices for my goal of living minimally and spending mindfully:
Cut my own hair—I use a FlowBee – someday I may do a vlog post and show you how this works
Trim the dogs’ hair. Necessary spending: their toenails – we all freak out when I try this at home.
Bring my own food and beverages for the day
Eat food I already have in the pantry – a creative cookery challenge!
Revamp my existing wardrobe
Throughout the year, I will discuss this challenge of decluttering/budgeting/living-minimally. I’d love to hear your ideas of ways you may have succeeded in this area. Leave comments below.
Ann is a modern day Erma Bombeck - enjoying the foibles of her own life and that of living with 7 dogs and 2 hens.