Wednesday, June 29, 2005


Did you know that when you have a head cold for a while, and your sinuses fill up with nameless goo, that when you sneeze, your eyeballs pop out? They hit the laptop screen, poink! and then roll under the bedcovers, checking out all the dirty kleenex and such down there. It's a mess. I'm going to keep my eyeballs tucked in my pockets, picking up lint and such, until my cold is gone. I figure it will drain faster without those pesky eyeballs plugging up the works.

My cats have figured out I'm much warmer now that I am sick, and they compete for prime sleeping spots on my virus-riddled body. The hottest spot seems to be on top of my boobs, so I get my daily ration of cat fur up my nose too, while groping for the kleenex which is strewn all over the bedroom. When the phone rings, they LEAP into the air, using all 20 toenails apiece to get the best grip on my torso for maximum peel-out velocity. One cat is polydactyl, which means she has extra toes, and therefore she wins "paws down" for traction. I've thought about sewing velcro to my nighties, and then using the straps to attach the cats to me, some of that industrial strength stuff that defies a single-handed removal, the kind you must use both hands to RIP the stuff apart, so that they can't peel out. But think how awkward it would be when I needed to use the pot for instance.

I'm actually at work today, because I'm so sick of looking at the bedroom walls. Besides, don't you think it's the charitable thing to do, sharing this rare opportunity to get sick with all my co-workers? Have you noticed that all the newer phones for sale now are dark grey or black, instead of putty tan? This is so you can't see the icky handprints on the receiver when you use it. After all, who washes their telephones regularly? Studies have shown, too, that there are more pathological bacteria in the average kitchen than in the bathroom. Think about that, the next time you're rolling out cookie dough on the counter for the little ones to "help" decorate. Personally, I've never been able to figure out how the washing machine gets to be so cruddy, when all it has in it is hot soapy water and bleach, gallons and gallons, and yet it gets this grey slimey dreck all around the top edge of the tub and in the fabric softener dispenser. Ewwww.

Everyone in our neighborhood is maximum ticked off right now. Yesterday they moved a double-wide mobile home onto the corner of the lot across the road from us. All the other houses out here are on 2 acre lots, with (we thought) restrictive covenants to prohibit sub-dividing the lots up for any kind of house, and especially for mobile homes, but appararently it was challenged in court and didn't stand up. The new house, from their front door, looks directly across the road at our sawdust pile, piled up against the barn wall and covered with a tarp, for bedding the horses' stalls. I wonder how long it will be before they start b***ing about the barn, the flies, the fence, etc. Of course we've been here 25 years, horses and all; if they give us too much grief we'll move the manure pile to where the sawdust is now, heheheh. Maybe add some goats too.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

I hadn't realized it has been so long since I posted. We've all been down with the flu, I was the last to get it, and so I got the benefit of extra virulence with it having passed through the rest of the family. Also all the kleenex were used up, and the tylenol cough medicine was down to the last dregs. I missed an entire week of work; I tried to come in on Wednesday, and immediately realized I had made a big mistake, when I nearly passed out in the parking lot from a coughing jag. Icky. We're all better now, mostly, thank you.

We spent the last several evenings trying to get the swimming pool ready to use. We never opened it last year, the weather was cold and rainy for a large part of the summer, and this year when we took the cover off, it was to discover the entire pool is a swampy green frog pond. We bought a high pressure washer and rented a high volume sump pump to drain the pool and clean the crud off the walls and bottom, what a mess. The frogs are highly incensed, but little do they know it will get worse when we pour the shock into the pool....Meanwhile it is 90+ degrees outside and we have to wait until evening to work on the pool, it's just too frigging hot in the afternoon. Why is it, if you're swimming in a lake or pond, it's perfectly OK for the water to be opaque green, but if it's a pool it has to be crystaline clear? Even the ocean isn't clear, mostly. For a few years we had a pontoon boat that we took (or docked) at the local lake, but eventually realized we were using it more as a swim raft than a boat, and that it would be a lot easier to stay home and jump in the pool, so we sold the boat and put in the pool. It's all landscaped and decked, so it looks pretty spiffy (except for the green sludge right now) if I do say so myself. Still, it is a fair amount of work, skimming out leaves, adding chemicals, testing the water, adding water, vacuuming. Fifteen thousand gallons......And I thought a 20 gallon aquarium was a lot of work.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Green green, it's green they say....

We're right in the middle of the worst season of the year. Summer? No-- grass cutting season.
When I was a kid, we lived in Miami. In Florida, you cut grass year round. Ours grew like wildfire. My mother was a lawn fanatic. You'd have thought the grass police would come around and arrest us all if the the lawn wasn't sculpted into impeccable style. She watered, and fertilized, and it grew even thicker. To make matters even worse, we had hedges; all along one long side, completely across the back, and half way down the other side. These had to be manicured with flat tops and perpendicular sides, and we did it with hand clippers. The long one was a hibiscus, and if you let it go too long the branches got as thick as your thumb, and tough as nails to clip thru. The driveway edges, sidewalk edges, and the borders of every flowerbed had to be edged, and we used the half-moon blade manual edger, the kind you step on. When I picture the house in Miami, it's never the inside I think of; it's of me, outside, lopping away at the hedges from hell. Mom and Dad slaved over that yard too, but as I remember it, I was the only kid in the neighborhood expected to do yard work too. Never my sister; she was "too sick". Anyway, I grew to hate gardening or yard work in any and all forms. When we bought our house 25 years ago, the "lawn" was a joke--the 2 acres had been carved out of woods, and between the tree stumps was mostly moss. These days, my hubby and son do all the mowing and trimming, and I keep my mouth shut, cause I'm not willing to do it, and so I don't get to bitch about it, right? But honestly, the lawn is horrible. It's all weeds, and tree roots poking up with sucker growth, except near the barn, where the horse manure that leeches into the soil makes for grass you could cut with a scythe and bale, it's that thick. So I am so glad when the grass finally stops growing in October or so, when the neighbors' lawns, raked, dandelion free, green swathes of even grass, will wither and brown up and make ours look so much better.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Public squeaking

I just started to relax, now that the univ. regular semesters are over for the summer, and I get an email giving me the schedule for the fall orientation sessions that I teach in lab safety. Jeesh! My stomach started up with the butterflies already! You know how everyone tells you that it's only natural to be nervous in public speaking, and how you'll do "just fine" once you get started? They're liars. I've had experiences so awful they make me cringe even now, years later. My voice has a tendency to quaver, and when I hear it, sounding like I'm trying out a really bad microphone, it makes it quiver even worse. It pretty much matches the quivering in my knees. The only thing I haven't done is throw up while at the podium, but give me time. I've gotten so sweaty that my glasses have fogged up til I couldn't read my notes. Ad lib? You must be joking! I couldn't remember my name, much less the fine points of laboratory safety. Last year I staggered through the one I give to incoming PhD. students, and then the next morning, as I'm sliding into my desk grateful for nothing more challenging than data entry, and my boss tells me the fire safety guy had a family emergency and I have to give his talk! In 15 minutes! With no notes! What the f*** do I know about state fire regulations? I thought fast and suggested that the fire expert email the students his powerpoint presentation for them to go thru on their own....and he agreed! Then I went and threw up in the ladies room.

This year, now that I've got the schedule so far ahead of time, I'm seriously thinking of taking annual leave for that whole week. Hehehe.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Trwu luv

Did you read the post down below about pedicures? If not, go read it now, I'll wait. Done? Well OK then. The quasi-pedicure is now history, and so I had to cut my own toenails the other night. I hate doing it. It isn't bad enough that I'm all contorted up trying to reach past my (ahem) thighs and nip in a straight line on an inherently curved surface, but I'm tilting my head up and down trying to get my bifocals to focus at such an indeterminate distance so I don't accidentally nip off my entire toe. Not too bad on the left foot, since I am right handed, but twice as awkward on my right foot. Anyway, I get the job done, more or less. Two days later I notice my big toe is starting to turn black and fall off (well, sorta), and I find that lo, I have an ingrown nail. Great! I'm diabetic, so I take things like this seriously. I'm laying on the bed, trying to prop my foot on the other knee while wielding something that looks like a pair of wire cutters, when in walks hubby, who wants to know what all the whimpering is about. Then--and this where the true love comes in--he sits down beside me, nips off the sharp corner of the nail, FILES all the other nails which 'seem a little sharp' and then POLISHES my toenails! And they look great, and feel great too! Do I know how to pick them, or what!!?

Wednesday, June 08, 2005


I had one interesting session with the therapist during my recent in-patient sojourn. After covering all the usual topics, history-wise, she mentioned noticing that I hadn't been attending the 'group therapy' sessions. I told her that I wasn't a believer in group therapy, that if I wanted advice on my problems, I wanted it from trained, professional, impartial therapists, and not from a bunch of uneducated, messed up, random people off the street (can you tell I'm a snob?). She said that sometimes there were insights to be gained, and I admitted I'd swapped info with the other cutter I'd found, little how-tos and so forth. I had heard that if you went to group sessions, the docs would know you were 'working' and would let you go home sooner. So I told the therapist that, and then laughed and said, "We both know you'll let me go the very instant my insurance says they won't pay any more" and she laughed and admitted I was right. Today I got the preadmission approval from my insurance co., in which they approved me for 4 days stay. And I was in for..four days. Ah life, so predictable.

In other news, I have just returned from a little 3 day trip in celebration of our TA DA! 35th wedding anniversary. We went to a little B&B about 2 hours away, and did pretty much nothing but taking in the sights (such as they were) and eating. The nearest grocery store was 40 miles away (you'd have to do some serious planning ahead to live that far from food) and the whole town had a population of 20. The scenery was beautiful, unspoiled forest, and the bedroom was tiny, hot, and I was never so glad to get home in my life. Ahem. A swell time was had by all.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

we're going to the funny farm, ho ho hee hee

I went to see my therapist on Friday, and she convinced me to go into the local psych ward for a few days, just because I was feeling a wee bit suicidal, she has to go all doo-lally and I thought, well, how bad can it be?


It isn't just trying to read by overhead lights (no lamps, they have cords, you know?) and not being able to put on all my makeup (mirrors in the compacts) and having to eat ham as a finger food (no plastic knives) and not being able to use my palm pilot (glass screen) and having to use their shampoo (stripping out half my hair tint, since my shampoo is in a glass bottle) and having no belt on my bathrobe or laces in my shoes and having them "check on me" every 30 minutes all night long. No, I could have managed all of that. The real problem is that the entire ward is full of CRAZY PEOPLE. The lady who growls like a dog. The man who wanders into your room. The lady who thinks the man is her father. The biker who shouts about the War. The man who wanders the hall, spitting on the floor. The lady who pees her pants because the bathroom is haunted. The girl who steals food off the other patients' trays. The fights over the pay phones, and the cigarettes. THe TV turned up to maximum volume, and no one in the room. My roommate either cried or prayed or sang hymns all day, I don't know which is worse.

And the 'group therapy' sessions. In one of them, the moderator read a little homily about the virtues of keeping an open mind instead of 'being set in your ways'.
Then he went around the room, asking every one what they thought about keeping an open mind. One by one, they agreed an open mind is a good thing. Then he got to me. I said, one of the reasons the "old ways" for doing things got that way is they had withstood the test of time; that a lot of the time, the "new" way sounded great at first, and then down the road turned out to be hooey. Then I said, it's possible to have so much of a open mind your brain falls out on the floor. There was a pause, and you could see him thinking "Hoo boy, this one's AWAKE! Better move on...." and that was my last group session.

The psych doctor was pretty good, tho I got tired of answering the same questions. It's hard to remember dates, long ago did this start? When did this happen? They changed all my meds around (no surprise) and now I'm fighting off the sleepies during the daytime and bouncing off the walls all night. Do I feel Safe? Not from them.

Back at work, I'm trying not to feel cheated of my three day weekend. I have audits to do but they can wait until tomorrow while I enter data in the database, and thus avoid all people for the day. Silence IS golden, you know?