Archive for November, 2010

Rude Awakening

I had intended to sleep in this morning but was awakened shortly after dawn. THUDthudthudthud. What the hell? I got up and looked outside the house. Nothin’. Hunh. I crawled back under the covers. THUDTHUDTHUDthudthudthud. Thud. THUD. THUD THUD THUD THUD THUD. Thoroughly annoyed, I could localize the noise to the roof. Sounded like a bunch of basketball players were up there bouncing the ball back and forth and running between the baskets. Sonofabitch. The buzzards are back on the roof. I gave up on sleep and picked up a book.

Later, when SwampMan was up, I opened the front blinds. Buzzards were lined up on top of the kids’ swing and another bunch were busily engaged in tearing the shade cloth off the top of one of my portable chicken pens. SONOFABITCH! “Look at THAT!” I exclaimed to SwampMan. “I’ve been coming home every day to find the shade cloth torn loose and have refastened it every night only to find it loose and wadded up when I get home. Guess they’re looking to see if anything edible is underneath.” I had had some wool out drying on a screen. That was scattered EVERYWHERE. Maybe they figured with all that wool just lying there, a dead sheep just had to be underneath. Some buzzards were chillin’ on our furniture on the front porch. Others were hoppin’ around with the ducks.

“Hey, you reckon the buzzards up on our roof are tearing the shingles off like they’re tearing the shadecloth?”

SwampMan was not amused. He grabbed the shotgun and went outside to shoot into the air. I thought 12 rounds was a little excessive.

SwampMan came back inside. “I can’t stand them things bein’ here. Gives me the creeps. You need to get rid of ’em.” Hunh. He acts like I found them standing beside the road looking lost, loaded ’em all up, and brought them home.

When we got home from a quick trip to the hardware store, I noticed the buzzards were back but this time they were up in the big oak tree in front of the house trying to be invisible. SwampMan didn’t see them. I think they know that SwampMan is not allowed to shoot them for real. I know why they’re here, of course. We have big trees (and a house and barn) for them to sit around on, we have lots of ducks and chickens running around loose so they figure it’s safe, and we’ve got water for them to drink. It’s been a real dry year, and we’re getting all kinds of wild critters comin’ on the property lookin’ for a drink because the creeks and ponds have no water.


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Awww, Damnit, I GOT The Damn Flu Shot!

We went on a field trip today. A great time, as they say, was had by all, except for me. When I woke up this morning, I had a painful right leg that felt like all the muscles in my calf were in a spasm AND my plantar fasciitis and bone spur in the left foot were acting up. Unfortunately for me, today was a field trip day in the great outdoors. Hours of walking and climbing and some running after wayward children didn’t dampen my perpetual happy attitude toward my young charges, but inwardly I was considering begging for a pair of crutches or an ambulance. The end of the day couldn’t come too soon for me!

When I arrived home, I hobbled around for the 2 and 1/2 hours necessary to do my evening chores with the livestock, then SwampMan asked me what we were having for dinner.

“I don’t think I could stand in front of the stove long enough to cook an egg! You’re doing dinner tonight.” SwampMan elected to pick up BBQ.

By the time dinner was done, my left arm had deeply painful muscles, too. WTH? Did I carry anything unusually heavy with my left arm or, indeed, my entire left side as opposed to my right side this week? Not that I could recall. I retired to my lazy chair with a magazine and quickly fell asleep only to wake a couple hours later sweating, then shivering with cold. Now my muscles are so sore that I can’t find a comfortable position and I’ve got a dry cough.

Oh, HELL, no. I absolutely CANNOT be getting the flu. No, I have pies to bake, damnit! I have casseroles to start! I have a house to clean! Dang. It hurts my fingers to type.

I suppose it was inevitable that I would get something because over the last two weeks, I’ve been covered in a veritable FLOOD of green mucous from very sick snotty-nosed kids. I have been taking vitamins by the pound as talismans against illness. My immune system should be theoretically strong enough (per the vitamin ads) to take on just about any ol’ germ out there, but kid germs are extraordinarily virulent. Or perhaps vitamins are just the modern version of snake oil designed to separate the consumer from their cash.

I wonder if I still have the receipt from my flu shot. You reckon I can take it back to the doctor and demand a refund because it didn’t work?

Heh. One of the (many, many, MANY) things that I have to get done tomorrow is the mammogram that I have successfully put off for many years. I suppose that the silver lining is that I’ll probably be so miserable by tomorrow afternoon that I’ll barely even register the pain of getting the boobs squashed.

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I spent the morning sandblasting the rust off of old tools and clamps. They had originally been sprayed down with WD40 and in good shape but had been setting forgotten in the back of a barn in near 100% humidity for ten years before being rediscovered. Wuh oh. A layer of rust covered everything.

I was on my way out to my former DIL’s house when SwampMan yelled out to me that he needed a few things sandblasted before I left. No problem. Sandblasting is one of those things that I find to be deeply therapeutic. You take an old rusty tool, blast all the rust off, and it looks all pretty and shiny and new. Instant results! I love it.

SwampMan finds all that little nitshit detail work extremely boring and even frustrating. His big hands won’t even fit into gloves so that he can do it. It isn’t just metal work on which SwampMan doesn’t like to do the finishing details. Even in his beloved woodworking, he doesn’t care to do a (in my view) thorough enough job sanding. After all, the appearance of the finished product is all about the effort put in beforehand!

SwampMan: “HEY, that thing is sanded good enough!”

Me: “No, it isn’t. If I put a nylon stocking on here, I’d get instant snags in it!”

“But it doesn’t have to be perfect!”

“Well, if it was one of your chairs and I sat in it and got a splinter in my ass because it wasn’t sanded properly, I’d be a little upset.”

*SwampMan breathing heavily, like he is trying to control his words very carefully but is finding it extremely difficult to do.* “Yes, a splinter in the ass is very bad, but you are working on a FREAKIN’ BIRDHOUSE, DAMNIT!”

Okay, I probably am not cut out for production work.

So I’m carefully and very thoroughly sandblasting through layers of old paint and rust on a metal object that he handed to me. He’s done some grinding on it but can’t get the rounded parts. It must be an important piece of metal, so I take it out of the sandblasting box several times to feel it as well as look at it more closely. SwampMan is standing there with his spray paint waiting to paint it. After about the 5th time out of the box, he said he’ll take it.

“Nah, the rust goes a little deeper here, and I need to go over it a few more times.”

“It will be okay.”

“No, it will rust through. I need to get it better.”

“DAMNIT, it’s the cover to a 35-freakin-year-old panel box! I don’t expect it to be perfect! I don’t CARE if it lasts another 35 years! I’ll buy ANOTHER one if it only lasts 20 years!”

*sigh* Well, if you put it THAT way…..

In the meantime, Breeze the mare is standing outside waiting patiently for me. Whenever I’m outside, she is by my side, a stalwart companiable presence. After awhile, though, she starts to get less patient and reaches inside the barn to a table that has SwampMan’s tools piled on it and starts picking them off the table and dropping them on the floor one by one to get my attention. After all, when she’s out in the pasture, I bang the feed bucket against a gate to get her attention, so I guess she figures it works both ways.


“Don’t you yell at my horse! You’ll hurt her feelings!”


“I told you not to yell at her!”

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Comply With Me

Heh. Iowahawk is freakin’ comedic genius but, unfortunately, the real life situation isn’t all that funny. I wonder why people are complying with this. *sigh* Well, yeah, I do. They’re probably traveling on business and have no choice. Corporations frown on their executives and sales folk stripping nekkid in the airport and mooning governmental representatives. If I had the extra cash, y’all would be seein’ my (and SwampMan’s!) nekkid bod(ies) on the evening news shows, so be very, very thankful that we’re broke.

H/T Robert D at Grouchy Conservative Pundits.

Stewardess with 32 years’ experience and breast cancer forced to remove prosthesis during pat down. Ya know, if I’d have to be groped or irradiated (or both!) before reporting to work every morning, I believe my answer would start with “f” and end with “you”.

I think the airports really be needin’ a flash mob. I can hear it now: “Breaking news: Action news reports that the airport is currently under attack by terrorists in really baggy gold lame pants shouting “you can’t touch this!”

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Self Organization

I went to an event where there were a bunch of people from a few different organizations that were mostly unknown to each other. Oh, sure, a few people knew some other people through cross-organizational ties but mostly we were an unknown quantity. We were getting supplies individually and as groups. The supplies were brought out from the warehouse in bulk, then it was everybody for themselves, so to speak, to divide, rebox, and pay. A recipe for chaos? Nope. A recipe for self organization.

People self sorted into groups in which they may or may not have known any of the other members. People separated, grouped, packaged, labeled, and boxed the supplies, discarding the original packaging, and somebody periodically grabbed a broom to keep the floors swept clean of debris so that nobody would slip and fall while they were working. Nobody had any direction, but spontaneously sorted themselves into groups where manual dexterity (usually but not always women) or physical strength (usually but not always men) were required. There were plenty of jobs for everybody. No one group worked on only their own supplies; this was done for everybody. Some of us were there to just pick up a little but many hands make light work! Three hours later, the last of the bulk supplies were sorted and boxed, everybody was able to find their boxes of supplies, pay the cashier, the youngest folk loaded trucks and trunks for everybody, and then walk out.

Call me crazy, but I think the vast majority of people are capable of this.

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Busy Week!

It has, of course, been busy last week at school with Thanksgiving festivities (you should see my “buckskin” T-shirt all fringed and adorned with seashells and beads, done without too much cussing over pricked fingers, sewed on with 6 lb. test line which I’m sure the Indians would have enthusiastically adapted). A masterpiece. People in the special education programs have a tendency to get really enthusiastic about celebrating holidays.

Hell, we have a rousing cheering section for when somebody peepees in the potty. With rewards. I kind of wonder if I’ll ever be able to return to a regular job where I won’t be standing outside (or inside!) the bathroom stall declaring “I don’t hear any peepee sounds! I better hear peepee sounds before somebody gets Skittles!”

I could see where early in a job change I might get a little confused as to where I’m working. On the other hand, I haven’t noticed that there’s a whole lot of difference in working with special education students and the general public, except that I generally don’t hold a tissue to a member of the general public’s nose and INSIST that they blow or question the cleanliness of their bottoms. Yet. Hunh. Maybe I need to apply to TSA.

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Should I Just Bang My Head Against the Wall, or What?

I got home from work juuuust before dark and was flitting around with buckets of feed trying to get all the livestock fed like some giant mutant flightless bat. I had a piece of expensive (school) software in the truck that I’d nearly had to sell my soul to Satan to obtain overnight so that I could spend the evening creating a reading curriculum for a specific student out of one of my personal books, so I needed to hurry. Right when the twilight was turning to dark, a neighbor pulled up in the driveway to talk. We talked about weather and pastures and droughts. AAAAAACK! Must. Be. Nice. After 15 minutes of chit chatting during which time I tried to keep the eye twitch to a minimum, he went home. Probably told his wife that it looked like that crazy neighbor lady was fixin’ to kill somebody, so better watch her pastures for buzzards.

Soon after he left, SwampMan pulled up. He looked at me frantically running around in the dark feeding. He yelled “Uh, want to go into town and pick up something to eat?” SwampMan knows that I don’t start cooking until the livestock are all fed, sometimes not starting until 9 p.m. “Uh, YEAH, good idea. I’ve got a curriculum to write!” Into town for takeout, and back home. I run back out to feed the horses, sheep, dogs and cat. I run back inside and eat (now cold) BBQ. I get a call from son and run back outside and hand over a socket set we purchased for him at his behest because his set disappeared from work and, with his long hours, he wasn’t able to get it replaced. I chit chat a little more but this chit chat is of the concerned mom variety, because he has a really bad cold. He’s been working 7/12s and looks exhausted. I then get a call from my mom. Her blood counts (leukemia) are getting steadily worse, and she’s got rheumatoid arthritis as well. It can’t be treated because anything that suppresses the immune system will make the cancer worse. We talk for awhile about Thanksgiving, and who is going where. I have a horrible attack of guilt because I haven’t been able to go up and see her for awhile.

So at 9 p.m., I go the bookshelf to get my book. It is not there. I search other bookshelves. Not there. An hour and a half later, I have books all over the floor from multiple bookshelves and I. Can’t. Find. The. Book. SONOFABITCH! I know that damn book is sitting right in front of me somewhere, taunting me. Perhaps it is a different color than what I remember, and I’m overlooking it sitting out in plain sight. I just had that big bastard out a couple weeks ago looking through it. I accused SwampMan of Doing Something with my book. SwampMan muttered something that included the word “insane” and went to bed. I looked under his Lazy chair. My book is not there. I looked under MY Lazy chair. The book is not there. I looked underneath the couch, the loveseat, the dining room table, the dining room chairs, and, considering the grandkids were here last weekend, in amongst some of the toys. Nada. Could it be with the cookbooks? No. Among my gardening books? No! Among my hobby books? NO!

Aaaaargh! I need this thing done by tomorrow morning, it’s past 10:30 p.m., and I STILL haven’t found the book! I have a bad feeling that I may have accidentally turned my book in to the Jacksonville library when I returned about 20 books last weekend.

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