Archive for April, 2012

Oh, Great. Now It’s Quasimodo Time

A sudden paroxysm of coughing doubled me over this afternoon while feeding and carrying 5-gallon feed buckets. When it was over, I had trouble straightening up. Oh, snap. I pulled a muscle somewhere in my left hip/back area, and it hurts like a sumbitch. I’m walking around all zombie like, trying to swing my leg without using my hip or back. I’ve still got a low-grade fever of 100 at night.

Thank God we don’t have a video camera, or there would undoubledly be videos of me on YouTube taken by SwampMan trying to navigate around the yard with feed buckets while coughing, cursing, and trying to make my gimpy leg behave.

I may have to take another day off work tomorrow which worries me. I need all my sick days to take care of sick relatives!

So, now I’m wondering why SwampMan went to bed but, before he did, he turned on WWE for me. Why WWE? Why Monday Night Raw? Maybe it’s supposed to be inspirational. YES! I will kick flu’s ASS. I will kick WWE’s ass, too. Ummmm. I will put them in a time out until they can use nice words to each other. Well. Maybe next week.

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The Sweet Tea Diet

This is the first time in three days that I’ve been awake for more than an hour or two at a time! I’m pretty sure now that I had a “flu” attack. The symptoms fit. I started with a dry cough out of the blue, so to speak, Friday afternoon which I attributed to pollen. I felt fine all day, but a little tired toward the end of the workday. By Friday night, I was sore all over and felt fairly horrid. By Saturday, I was so tired I could barely function and had a high fever. I’m just glad I had my flu shot this year because it could have been worse!

This morning, I dreamed that I was speaking with a coworker. I told him that I wasn’t really there, because I was really at home asleep. He told me that “No, I really WAS there.” I looked down at my fawn-colored dress and bright orange high-heeled shoes, and concluded that I must be there after all. I pinched myself (in my dream) to make sure I was really there, and it hurt! Then we started a debate about what constituted reality. I dunno what the answer was, for SwampMan woke me up to apologize for waking me up, but he couldn’t reach anybody at my workplace to tell them I wouldn’t be there, and he had to leave for work. I would have liked to have known the answer to that question because I haven’t had that dress for YEARS and I don’t think I ever had a pair of orange high-heeled shoes, and the dress and shoes were perfect together. Why didn’t I know that before?

The good part about the flu is that I have no appetite whatsoever and am happy just drinking sweet tea. I figured that since my physical activity was nil, I probably gained weight during that time, but a check on the scale revealed that I was down 5 lbs. Woohoo!

So there you have it. You can lose five pounds in three days on the flu and sweet tea diet. (The sweet tea came from McDonald’s courtesy of SwampMan, who kept me well supplied. I wasn’t up to even boiling water for the past few days.)

Maybe I should write a diet book and/or go out into public and spread my virus around. On the other hand, a primo appetite-destroying virus with the side effect of strange, vivid dreams like this shouldn’t be spread about for free. I should at least charge as much as a movie admission with a Coke and small popcorn. Grin. Unfortunately, I know that as soon as the viral effects wear off, I’ll be back to eating Greek yogurt for breakfast and salads with gluten-free dressing and boiled eggs for lunch again.

Oh, by the way, if you take gauaifenesin tablets to keep bronchitis and pneumonia at bay, which I have been doing, never EVER pop a pill without checking to see if your sweet tea in the McDonald’s cup in the fridge is full or empty. That pill is some nasty-tasting shit and if you suck up a big old strawful of nothing in an attempt to swallow that huge nasty tasting pill, you could have some unfortunate sequelae.

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Occupy Seizes University Research Farm

They’re, uh, gonna “farm”. Sustainably and organically and all that crap. They’re going to do it with (donated? stolen?) seedlings from nurseries that are probably hybrids. Heh.

I think that every one of those occupiers should be sentenced to one year hard labor on the seized research farm in which they have to produce all their own food without purchased seedlings and using only hand tools. I’m sure that the bleeding hearted amongst us would point out that this would be a death sentence for those allergic to work, to which I reply “Oh. Darn. WHAT a pity.”

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I Didn’t Know Eyeballs Could Rattle

I thought I was having an allergy/asthma attack with the sudden onset of coughing yesterday at school. Lots of pollenous hell flowers out there in bloom. The jasmine is particularly potent. The temperature at school was in the low to mid 90s yesterday afternoon, so I thought the dragginess I was feeling could be attributed to the heat. I did a deep watering of the classroom flower garden before heading home for the weekend because there is *no* rain in the forecast. By the time SwampMan arrived to pick me up, I could barely keep my eyes open except when paroxysmal coughs tore through me. Crap. Probably NOT allergies.

I went home and took my temperature. Great. 100 degrees. One hundred degrees isn’t that big a deal, except my normal temperature is around 97.6, not 98.6. Always has been. When my temperature is at 98.6, I’m running a temperature (grin).

I staggered through today as best as I could. I finished my morning chores that are normally finished by 7 a.m. by about 2:00 p.m., then rode to Home Depot with SwampMan against my better judgement. Then we rode out to the grocery store so that I could pick up some milk, we got something to eat (SwampMan got lunch and dinner; I had my first meal of the day) and then stopped by SwampSon’s house so that I could do his livestock chores and plant waterings, and then home to my livestock.

I looked at my chickens. The horizon tilted crazily in my yard. Weird. I reminded myself that if I put one foot in front of the other, I would get there, although the front yard looked like an impossibly long way from the gate and rather steep, considering that it was flat ground. I fed two pens of “orphan” chicks that had been hatched out and abandoned by ducks. I fed a pen of 15 ducklings in the large round pen. I fed two pens of layers although I did not move the pens. I didn’t think I could move them. Perhaps in the morning. Then behind the house to three pens of chicks, then to the back of the house for a hen on a nest and a pen of pullets just beginning to lay. Then to the back pasture for two large pens of layers and one small pen that I’m introducing to the pen that I would like them in. By that time, I was moving like a robot or zombie. Step. Step. Step. Put feed in feeders. Check water. Ignore eggs. Step. Step. Step. Wait. Did I feed the chickens in the back of the house and in the front yard? I didn’t remember. Backtrack. Step. Step. Step. Wait! Did I feed the chickens in the side yard or back pasture? Step. Step. Step.

Okay. I can do this. The headache was like a tight band tightening around my head with every step, and the horizon started darkening and narrowing to a little spotlight of light out at the horse stalls, and Breeze neighed impatiently. My vision cleared. I had work to do. Okay. On to the stables. I can count the steps! One. Two. Three. Uh, where was I again? Oh, right, gotta check the chickens in the wooden chickenhouse and close them in for the night. They need water, too. The turkey poults are calling. There are wild turkeys in the woods, and they might hear the adults calling to one another. Back to the gate for the sheep feed. One. Two. Three. 105. 106. 107. 108. Scatter corn for the rams and dry ewes. 109. 110…..115. 130. 135. 140 and climb over the fence. I’m nearly trampled by ewes and lambs rushing up, running around in front of me, through my legs, and jumping up on me like dogs. Put feed in managers, avoiding stampeding sheep. Step step step back to the house, almost done. Take hamburger out of freezer for Puppy, about two pounds’ worth, and put it in his bowl. He can wait for it to thaw; he has a dozen boiled eggs to eat. Feed Momma cat dry food instead of her beloved canned feed, and take a scoop of dry cat feed out to the back of the horse barn for three cats. Two of them are SwampDaughter’s. I dunno who the hell the other one belongs to, but he apparently thinks we belong to HIM.

I went back into the house and downed a couple large glasses of sweet tea. The tightening band around my head eased. Just dehydrated a little. Did I have much to drink today? Probably not, I didn’t feel like eating. I took another look at my temperature. Now it’s 102. The temperature inside the house is in the high 80s or low 90s, but I just want to wrap up in a blanket and shiver for awhile. I think I will. SwampMan wanted to hover for awhile until I told him to get the heck OUT before he got sick, too.

“I’m glad you’re not a pussy when you get sick like I am!” he offered. Is that a compliment or a criticism? I dunno. I don’t care. I wish I hadn’t taken microbiology those many years ago so that I wouldn’t know that the muscle pain is coming from destroyed muscle cells that the virus has reproduced in and then burst open with little viral replicants to infect other cells, and that the temperature is my body’s attempt to make the body unfriendly to the invaders. Bastards. Explode MY cells? I don’t think so. My body is a battleground tonight and I am ground zero.

SwampMan helpfully left the military channel playing “Ike” for me. Why couldn’t he have left something helpful, like a bottle of hard liquor? Oh, right, *we* don’t drink. I turned on “How It’s Made” instead. I bet it would be MUCH more entertaining with a bottle of medicinal liquor except for red wine. Red wine gives me migraines. I already have one, thank you very much. Maybe red wine would help?

Now I’m tired out. Gotta go cover up and shiver again, then shed all my clothes and stand under the fan a few minutes later. Good times, right?

3:45 a.m.

Back to myself for a bit. I’ve been having fever dreams with lots of bright colors in which I keep trying to do things over and over that I cannot remember with no success. Temperature is down to 101 again. I dunno WHAT this thing is, but it seems to be making the rounds of schools. My next door neighbors told me that my friend, who works at a different school system than I do, had a racking cough and hadn’t gotten out of bed all day. If you have children in the school system, beware!

More pacing the floor because muscles hurt too much to stay still. What I had planned to do this weekend was more T-shirt painting/tie dying along with felting. I felted a flower onto my T-shirt for a school function, and it turned out crude, like many first attempts do, but…not bad. Not bad at all, considering that I was doing it about midnight and suddenly realized I had to go to sleep IMMEDIATELY in order to get five hours’ sleep. If I had done something like sketch it out first instead of doing it free form, it would have probably undoubtedly been a lot better.

Anyway, I had wanted to make some brilliant colored little baby shirts for Zoe with things like fishies and bugs and dinosaurs and flowers (not all at the same time) felted on them this weekend. Maybe it’s a good thing I’m not feeling up to it!

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If I Wanted America to Fail

You don’t really think that our politicians and media have our best interests at heart, do you?

h/t Sullivan’s Travelers

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New Friend

Looks like the kiddies have a new friend! Zoe’s smile looks a little anxious, while Dylan is being very protective of his new furry friend. I think SwampDaughter said his name was “George”. Seems like a good choice of name.

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Are Cockatoos Edible?

My son is working out of town, so I’m taking care of his chickens, plants, and cockatoo from hell. Harley the cockatoo is always excited to see me because he’s going to get a nice piece of finger for dinner. He stations himself directly between his water and food bowls because my fingers are going to have to reach in to grab both to fill them up, and he wants to be optimally placed for his attack. I think he’s misnamed. He should be named Rommel or Patton or Sun Tsu because he’s obviously thought over this strategy for awhile. He probably sits around all day just planning his attack for when I come in the afternoon.

I was able to distract him enough to keep my fingers intact while changing out the water but, while changing out the food, he bit deeply into my thumb and removed a rather large triagular-shaped piece. Little bastard. I had to go into Winn Dixie and do some grocery shopping with a bloody thumb slowly dripping onto my clothing.

Son says that he’s always afraid when I call that I’ll tell him that I went to his house and found that poor little Harley has gone to bad bird heaven sometime during the day. Grrrrr. I couldn’t be that lucky.

Maybe I should play him some music so that he could dance himself into exhaustion.

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This is How We Celebrated Our 35th Anniversary

I was walking to the parking lot in the school today. The sun was shining. A warm ocean breeze was blowing. The smoke from all the wildfires was temporarily gone. And it was FRIDAY! The Friday before the FCAT, but still Friday. Life was GOOD!

I ignored the little signal from my bladder that signified that attention should be paid to bodily needs soon. After all, I’d be home in half an hour or so to start my weekend! I did NOT want to walk back across the parking lot to the school. No. I stopped on the way home to pick up a card for my dear husband and made the decision to ignore my bladder, bypass the road that went to my house, and continue on to son’s house to care for his livestock before returning to mine to hurry up and feed the livestock before dark. Maybe we would be able to go out! Together! But today was Friday the 13th. There SHOULD have been Jaws-type music playing in the background but unfortunately, my life doesn’t have a soundtrack to let me know what’s comin’.

So, there I was, drivin’ down the road, when suddenly it struck me that I was not going as fast as I ought to be. The service engine soon light was on. Apparently it wasn’t kidding, because the engine quickly cut out and so did my steering and brakes. Dang, I HATE when that happens! Luckily I was on a straight, flat road, frantically trying to restart the engine. The engine would restart, giving me brakes and steering for a bit but no power, then would produce large backfires and cut out again.

Boy, was I was glad I recharged that cell phone last night! It is usually dead because SwampMan removed the place where I would recharge it the last time he fixed ol’ gray faithful vehicle, and I just don’t remember to plug the dang thing in at home.

I called SwampMan and left a message on his cell. I called the house and left a message on the phone. Dang. He might not be home or miss me until eightish, and maybe not then. I called daughter, and she gave me his phone number at work. That number was programmed into my old lost phone, not my new phone that’s never charged. *sigh* He answered, listened to my plight, and said he’d be there in half an hour. Thank you, Knight in Shining Armor!

Knight in Shining Armor arrived, backed up, and attached a tow strap. “Uh, hang on there! I have NO steering or brakes!”

“It’ll be okay. I’ll go slow. I’ll signal you when you need to slow down. Go ahead and try to keep it running so you’ll have steering and brakes.” Wait, what? I put the van in neutral and started it up, sort of. He got into his truck, slammed the door, checked the mirrors, and took off into traffic. The van immediately died. HOLY SHIT! He had a short tow strap that looked like I was about 5′ away from the bumper, although I realized it was probably 10′. I was drifting all the hell over the road, trying to start the vehicle and keep from hitting vehicles in the other lane while drifting over into the other lane all at the same time. I was looking at my husband in his rear view mirror screaming at him with exaggerated lip movements so that maybe he could see “NOOOOOO! STOP! THIS IS NOT WORKING!” while simultaneously making cut gestures across my throat. He gave me the “you’re doing just fine” signal. I started running off the road on the left while trying to force the wheel right with all my strength. He finally pulled over on the grassy median on the left and coasted to a stop while I literally stood on top of the brakes to keep from hitting him.

“So what’s the problem?” he asked.

“What’s the PROBLEM?” I shrieked, my normally low pitched voice at least 2 octaves higher. “I can’t freakin’ steer the vehicle on a straight freakin’ road!” Although, in the interests of accuracy, I don’t think I actually said “freakin”.

“Geez, you are just sooooo excitable! It’s only a mile more down the road until we make the turn off to SwampSon’s house!”


“So what are you saying?”

“I’m sayin’ it’s Friday, and I ain’t killin’ nobody today. NO.” On Monday, of course, I wouldn’t have cared about death.

“FINE! Get in, we’ll go get the trailer.”

“And how are we going to get this bitch on the trailer, pray tell?”

“Well, you’ll drive it up….”

“No. If I could drive it up there, I’d drive the sumbitch HOME.”

“Fine. We’ll get a tow truck, then.” Fantastic. That’s what I wanted to begin with. I stumbled to the truck. I’d put so much effort into steering and braking that I was shaking all over and could barely walk.

We went to an automotive place to get a tow truck which may or may not be able to get my vehicle because the tow truck was having mechanical difficulties. SwampMan left my keys anyway, then took me by SwampSon’s house so I could feed his animals. By that time, my bladder was about the size of a basketball, and I swear urine was starting to leak out my ears.

I finally got home to empty my bladder, then we went to get a longer tow strap just in case I actually had to steer that thing home, then went to the van to unload some feed. The tow truck driver called about then to inform us that he was at our house and where the heck were we? YAY! Saved by the truck driver!

We got home, and the tow truck driver was talking to our neighbors. Seems the little 3-year-old girl that usually waits for me to come driving up each evening so she can show me her dress, or her jewelry, or her shoes, and tell me about her day completely freaked when she saw MY VAN on top of a truck with me nowhere around, and she ran screaming and crying into the house to get her Papa and her Daddy and her Momma and her Nana because my van was there and I was missing. I assured her that I was perfectly okay but the van needs a doctor.

“What happened?” they asked. “I dunno! I was driving down the road, and then suddenly it just quit!” “That’s EXACTLY what happened to mine!” the neighbor said. This is not a good thing. I’m using hers for spare parts while she drives a new vehicle.

Daughter said something to the effect “Well, it’s about dang time you got something better to drive!” but I pointed out to her that if it weren’t for SwampSon paying me to look after his place, I wouldn’t be able to afford the gas to go back and forth to school now! How in the world will I be able to support a vehicle payment? *sigh*

Well, SwampMan got us some take out BBQ for our romantic dinner. I got some of the livestock fed and watered before dark, and I’ll get the rest tomorrow morning, then SwampMan and I will try to figure out what’s wrong with the patient. I’m thinkin’, with the age of the vehicle, something with emissions like maybe the catalytic converter, and he’s thinkin’ a fuel problem.

D’OH! Another weekend all shot to hell. Poor SwampMan won’t get to get started building his bicycle unless we can find out the problem quickly.

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No Duck Dinner For Us

SwampMan was supposed to butcher six male ducks. Marauding foxes have snatched female ducks off their nests at night, leaving us with a skewed gender ratio in favor of males. Well, the lovelorn males are killing the ducklings and chasing the females away from their nests, so some have Got to Go in the name of domestic tranquility, namely mine. Besides, I wanted to cook a duck for Easter dinner.

Well, SwampMan has not been enthusiastic at the prospect of Duck for Dinner. He was so unenthusiastic, in fact, that he unilaterally gave the ducks a stay of execution, opened up the detention pen and freed the ducks from death row this morning while I slept.

“What are your plans, exactly, for the ducks?” he asked me when I woke this morning.

“I plan to eat one for dinner. SwampDaughter would like one, too!” I replied.

“Well, how about selling them?” he asked.

“I need the space now. I can’t wait for the next auction.”

“Well, how about taking them back to the wet area and turning them loose? You know, I’d really like to put in a pond just for them.”

For those particular six ducks, or for the ducks in general? “Well, we used to have a pond back in that wet area, and it was full of water moccasins. Remember? It got filled in years ago when the kids were little.”

“Oh, I didn’t mean back there. I meant up here by the house!”

*sigh* “We COULD sneak them into a retention pond somewhere, but that would be ILLEGAL.”

“So you’re saying to turn them loose, right?”

“WHY don’t you want to butcher the ducks?”

“They have sad eyes.”

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First Lamb Fatality of the Lambing Season

Poor little ram didn’t make it. He could no longer nurse without coughing (which is when I tried bottle feeding), but he had problems with that, too. He quietly succumbed to what I believe was aspiration pneumonia late this afternoon.

When am I gonna learn about weak lambs? *sigh* I haven’t had any sleep to speak of for two nights now, and hardly got to spend any time at all with the grandsons. They got to help with chicken butchering today, though, so they’re pretty pleased.

I hadn’t previously gotten the kids’ Easter baskets together because we were going to have Easter together. I was going to cook a duck (still unbutchered as yet), color about 50 eggs, and I was going to do the Easter baskets tomorrow. After two days with no sleep and no household chores done, I realized that since I had no time to even mop the kitchen floor, I probably wouldn’t have time for an Easter celebration this year. Damnit. I hurriedly got some Easter basket supplies this morning and rushed home and out to see SwampMan in the barn. “Where are the boys?” I demanded, expecting them to be there. “I dunno. I thought they were with you!” “I wasn’t HERE, how could they be with me?”

The boys were in the house drinking Yoohoo and playing video games on MY computer. Heh. By the time they went back outside, I had forgotten about the candy in my vehicle until the temperature inside said vehicle was about 125 degrees. Oh, CRAP! I carried in the candy for the Easter baskets. Some of the candy did okay. Some did NOT. I had gotten $40 worth of candy, but only about half of it made it into the baskets. D’OH!

The boys went home with Mommy and Daddy @ 7 p.m. I still haven’t done my evening feeding yet. *sigh* I had my first meal today after the boys went home, and kinda fell apart. My back stiffened up while I was sitting down, and I just didn’t feel like getting up! My sheep, horse, dogs, cats, and indeed some of the ducks are depending on me, so I suppose I’ve got to hurry up and pull myself together before I fall asleep for about 12 hours.

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