Wednesday, October 29, 2003

I am too busy to breath most days at work—and I mean literally with the way my asthma has been—and I come home to collapse on the couch, playing with Kashi from a prone position.

[Yes...I got a job]

The weekend rolls around and I determine that I will follow-up on some things and find myself staring at the clock Sunday evening with little to show save a few backyard games of catch.

I've not been writing much and even less here on my web page.

But part of that is the legal mess I'm in with a sub-contractor who is unlicensed and chose to threaten me at my home rather than obtain payment from the GC. The police arrested him for trespassing and he turned around a filed a civil lawsuit based on a contract that never existed—I didn't even know his name until two weeks after he installed the a/c.

But, alas, right means little and truth less when it comes to the courts. So, I'm spending money I don't have after three and 1/2 months of unemployment on a lawyer who's so cavalier about the whole process that I fear the "certain outcome with an unlicensed contractor who has no right to pursue payment for non-permitted work" is not so certain. And the second criminal trial—now by jury on appeal—is being tried in two weeks by a second ADA who's not even subpoenaed the police officer who can support my claim nor read the transcript of the first trial. "Don't worry," she tells me.

Believe me, I'm worrying...even as I sleep at night!

I find myself struggling with what passes through my head and the beating of my heart. God has blessed me greatly in the past two months. A job...a Chiristian boss...a new writing student who is an answer to prayer for some peer interaction for my other writing student...a job as a marketing assistant where I get to write and think and share opinions and shape directions...and organize to my heart's content...a new friend who plays games with me again and again...a job with a salary to pay for the recent car repair bills and—yes—one more plumbing bill...blooming roses...a job where I'm wanted and respected and valued...a job that has already given more than I thought possible given my recent work history.

Yet, last Thursday, I passed through one of the darkest moments of my life and cannot, for the life of me, truly fathom why I decended to the depths I found myself lingering in...for days.

I woke up coughing and gasping for breath and ended up in the emergency room. Two breathing treatments and an IV later, I stumbled home to catch my breath and get ready for work. In the cold and rather cubicle at the hospital, I started thinking how little I have paid attention to the losses asthma has brought me as opposed to having MS.

I have accustomed to breathing shallowly to avoid coughing, to avoid attacks. I find myself short of breath while talking. One moment sound is coming out and the next nothing. Lifting anything remotely heavy, including grocery bags leaves me panting and wheezing. And I rarely sing anymore.

That is the greatest loss to me. I enjoy music. I revel in singing. But, these days, if I sing for two long, I end up light-headed or worse. And when I sing, I sound horrible because I cannot sing more than a few measures of anything before I have to stop to breath.

So, I'm sitting in the cold cubicle feeling quite sorry for myself since drug after drug does not seem to make a marked difference other than the Prednisone-weight-gain that leaves me feeling quite uncomfortable and unattractive. I drive to work still wallowing.

Yet I arrive at work to words of concern from co-workers who read on the company calendar the reason for my delay. Concern. Wow. I'm frankly not used to anyone showing genuine concern about my asthma...a few friends when I mention an attack, but not questions about living with it and being careful because I'm wanted around and concern about needing more rest than the hour I indulged in at home before heading off to work.

So, I thought, Yes, God, I hear You...You are walking before and behind and have provided a beautiful place to work...

The owner of the company sent me home early after chastising me to take better care of myself. "Work can wait...your health cannot."

So, I drove home in praise after driving to work in self-pity.

And then I read my mail...

My attorney had send the Bill of Particulars (the plaintiff's argument for why he is suing me) and the Ground of Defense (my defense against each point he made) in the civil case. But it wasn't a draft of the Grounds of Defense. It was a copy of the actual Grounds of Defense he filed without consulting me! Two of the answered he "admitted" to on my behalf should have been denials. The first was that the sub contractor sent me an invoice—he did not—and the second was that since the installation I had never contacted him with a problem...but I had. When he left, he had not hooked up the electrical. When I called him, he said it was the GC's responsibility to finish the electrical since it was his job. The former point makes it seem as if he tried to deal with me in a professional manner rather than merely threatening me, and the latter negates the words from his own mouth that the job wasn't his responsibility and therefore not his to bill directly.

I felt as if someone had punched me in the stomach. I felt as if my own lawyer legitimized the sub-contractor's civil case against me and undermined the criminal charge against him. He made it more about a transaction and less about the right to safety in my own home and his lack of rights being a sub-contractor and unlicensed to boot. I felt overwhelmed and ended up crying for hours...crying in between multiple nebulizer treatments that I wasn't supposed to be taking in my own home.

I felt the whole weekend that no matter how much I've sought to be thankful for all Christ has done for me and to be prosaic about blow after blow that I failed miserably by losing sight of God's kingdom to wallow in my own mire.

I'm just tired. I'm tired physically from MS and the asthma attacks. I'm tired of not feeling well and knowing there's little I can do about that.

But I'm also tired emotionally from my fears of the sub-contractor and what he might do the next time he comes to my house. Tired from the first criminal trial, from the thought of the jury trial and what his reptilian lawyer might do now that he knows my testimony (he was rather brutal the first time around). Tired from the civil suit and fears that even though I've already paid for the a/c (money given to the GC), I'll somehow have to pay again. Tired from the knowledge that it truly doesn't matter that I did nothing wrong and have told the truth, yet I'm paying the price of his deceit.

But mostly, I'm tired, that my head worries and frets on all these things that truly do not matter in light of His kingdom, while my heart truly desires to remain focused on all Christ did for me on the cross and the myriad ways God has visibly walked before me of late, showering lovingkindness and forgiveness and peace, even if I only managed to hold onto that peace for a short while.

One of my best friends and I have started memorizing scripture together. I have been blessed by the experience and desire that I would think of it more often than I do...

Below is a list of our verses each week so far:

Psalm 1
Isaiah 12
Hebrews 12:1-6
Job 42:1-6
Revelation 5:11-14
I Corinthians 13:1-8a
Habbakuk 3:17-19
I Corinthians 13: 8b-13
Exodus 20:1-11
Exodus 20:12-17
Psalm 139:1-12
Psalm 139:13-24
Colossians 3:12-17
Deuteronomy 30:15-12
Matthew 5:1-12

So, tell me...with such rich words committed to memory—savored by my heart and soul—and running around my head, why am I tearful, fearful, and worried?

Oh, what a fickle, stiff-necked Israelite I can be...

Thursday, August 28, 2003

How fortune can change in a day...

I received two calls for interviews on resumes I sent out yesterday. One was a message I returned and am awaiting a call back. The second was a 30 minute phone interview with a VP of Marketing who wants to meet with me on Friday.

Then, I actually received a call from an assistant to a lawyer who is willing to discuss the lawsuit with me. She told me that if I retained the lawyer, I would not need to appear at the first appearance court date in Sept. I will still have to spend more money on defending this specious claim than I would just paying the money, but paying would mean a bad debt judgment against me and most likely opening myself up to more threats and intimidation by this man.

He lies about a contract. I have to pay. Nothing in this world is fair.

Yet, yesterday was such a long and stressful and shadow-filled day for me. And today, I felt as if God was reminding me that He cares and that hope is there for the asking.

No, I'm not saying that I will get the job or that the lawyer will solve my problem economically, but where there were no possibilities of resolution to my joblessness and the lawsuit, I now have possibilities.

And I might get a second writing student...that would be nice!


Wednesday, August 27, 2003

Wow, a new blog interface...I've been away a while...

Today has been the strangest day...or rather yesterday was considering it is in the middle of the night.

I began the day playing Scrabble with a dear friend at the Internet Scrabble Club website. Given that we live in two different states and are avid game players, this web site has become a great blessing to our friendship. We can play games together and chat while we do so. It is almost as good as having her here for a visit.

So the day started well, though I did lose miserably, but it sort of went downhill from there.

I responded to an e-mail and asked what I'm sure to be considered what was a largely inappropriate question. I've learned of late that at times I have no clue what appropriate is. For example, I made a friend uncomfortable when I asked if she had any leftover turkey and gravy at Christmas. I was craving turkey and the place where I celebrated Christmas served roast. Somehow I didn't know that asking for leftovers was not quite appropriate. In any case, I asked a question I've been wanting to know for a long time. It was of a professor, now friend and brother in Christ, who invested quite a bit in me during graduate school. Between my two grad degrees, there were three professors who went far and above the call of duty to teach, nurture, and sustain me. And I wonder if they are disappointed that I am not teaching, not working in a field utilizing the fruits of their labors. I truly hate the thought of disappointing them.

So, I cried a bit during the e-mail, even knowing I might not even get an answer for the nature of my question.

Then I started working on revisions to my chronological detail of events concerning the basement bathroom and a/c installation from last August to this one. I am doing so because the sub-contractor, if you could call him that, whom the plumber brought in to do the a/c has been harassing me and threatening me for money for the a/c which I gave to the plumber and the plumber failed to pay the sub-contractor. Should I mention that they are brothers? From Afghanistan? And the sub-contractor is quite menacing?

We have a court date, the sub-contractor and I, for trespassing, a course of action the police advised. On the day he was served with notice of the court date, he turned around and swore out a warrant for debt to sue me in civil court. All on the basis of an affidavit that we had a contract.

There was no contract. I did not even know who he was until a week after the a/c installation was begun. I did not even have a contract with the plumber. [I know...stupid move on my part.] At one point, the plumber gave me a back-dated proposal, but I did not sign it because of several inaccuracies.

The plumber was a snake and I ended up having to redo much of the half of the job he did. Several people advised me to sue him for the $2,600.00 of plumbing money (that is not including the $1,800.00 for the a/c and $400.00 for a new hot water heater) he had from me. But I thought that $2,600.00 would be a very painful, but profitable lesson for me to learn regarding crooked contractors. If I could walk away from the plumbing nightmare and take control of the situation myself, then suing him would not be in my best interests. Too much stress in an already stressful situation.

Then four months go by and his brother shows up at my house and starts threatening me.

Don't worry, everyone said. You did not have a contract with him. You paid the plumber. He can't bother you.

Really? He can't? After working on the accounting of events that I have been working on in the past week since I was served notice of the lawsuit, I finally talked with a lawyer (NOONE I know knows any lawyers in this area), I learned that it will cost me more money to defend myself against this specious claim that it would just paying the guy his inflated price for the a/c. But I should spend the money in defense because I should avoid at all costs a bad debt judgment against me.

Again, there was no contract. I paid for the a/c. And I'm the one who has to pay again.

Meanwhile, I lost my job nearly three months ago.

So I wasn't feeling too great this evening and ended up sobbing on the phone to my sister, part of my tears stemming from the fact that my family hasn't really called much since I was fired to give support in my unemployed state. And the same goes true for now facing another crisis in this blasted lawsuit. And I didn't even feel bad in my tears when my sister is part of the family I was complaining about.

All I want is for someone to wrap his/her arms around me and hug hard, all the while telling me that everything is going to be alright. Silly of me, eh? I know the words will not have validity, but they certainly would sound good to me just about now.

I hung up the phone and logged on to read my e-mail, where I found a message from a stranger who had visited this web-site. I was surprised given how much I've neglected it lately (more on that later), but my pleasure that someone enjoyed my sight faded upon reading his final words...that I should visit other sites to learn what people would like to see on mine.

What would be the point? This place is all about having voice when I oft feel silenced in my own world. Sure, I'd like to know people are reading, but I am I writing to please them? I think not.

So, here I am, at 3:51 in the morning typing. Since being fired, I have done a prodigious amount of work in my yard, have finished nearly every project on this house, read/re-read dozens of books, and hours of help at a friend's house. And I've taken to staying up later and later in an effort to avoid the thoughts that plague any attempts to sleep when I lay down at night.

Thoughts about how much I miss teaching even though the mother/daughter bookclub has been running for two and a half years now, and I've had at least one writing student for three years...thoughts about why I was fired when my boss kept someone who had been there only six months, someone who knew far less that I did about the business and I believe is far less multi-talented (a crucial factor in a small office) and when not four weeks before he had annouced that everything was fine with the company and he would not be making any changes, that we were all valuable....thoughts about why I long for support from my family during this time when getting multiple sclerosis, then asthma, then arthritis over a period of five years didn't stir much support...thoughts about how at 36 and being a bit weak in health I'm most likely never going to have a family of my own...thoughts about how lousy I am at being a witness for Christ during these days of struggle...thoughts about the dreams of mine that seem to fade so easily...thoughts...

...and no real sleep until 4:00 or 5:00...and since I'm un-employed...sleep until noon or one the next day....that way I avoid thinking about how I should be at work...

I'll finish for now with two additions to this lengthy note:

1. Two of my friends and I have begun memorizing scripture together. We've been doing passages each week, and I have enjoyed the challange and the fellowship of both scripture and of my friends doing this with me. Our passages so far are: Psalm 1, Isaiah 12, Hebrews 12:1-6, Job 42:1-6, Revelation 5:11-14, and (this week's) 1 Cor. 13: 1-8a.

2. If another person tells me that I'm so intelligent and talented I could do whatever I wanted, I will scream. If another person tells me that I lost my job because there is something better out there for me, I will scream. And if another person tells me that I have such an outstanding resume that I will surely be landing interviews, I WILL SCREAM!

Here's to a quiet day tomorrow...or rather later today...

Thursday, April 17, 2003

Tonight I treated myself to alphabetizing books. Whe-hee!

Yes, I must admit that I will sleep well tonight knowing that one more of my bookshelves has finally been organized since I moved into my new home last August. It has take forever, in my opinion, to get to this rather satisfying task. Organization is my middle name, after all.

And...I broke with tradition! The bookshelf I addressed was the one at the top of the stairs (bookshelves seem to appear around every corner in my home) that houses hardback middle-to-young adult books in realistic fiction, multi-cultural fiction (those that won't fit on the multi-cultural-designated bookshelves) historical fiction, and Holocaust books. Well, you see, since the realistic fiction are the ones I had the most of, I previously put them first (with the mullt-cultural ones mixed in) and then historical fiction and then the Holocaust books (an order of quantity). However, that put the latter at the bottom of the bookcase and they are the ones most visitors wish to browse. SO..........I put the Holocaust ones first, then the multi-cultural ones, then historical fiction, then realistic fiction (an order of interest), alphabetizing each section.

Gee, I bet you did not have as much fun as I did tonight...

Dare I mention that I sang my way through all of my Fernando Ortega CD's whilst I worked?

Praising God and delightful Thursday evening!

Tuesday, April 15, 2003

After a stressful time at work and home and months of my dratted ankle, I can finally say that I have had a few pleasant days. Small things to be grateful for…

Today was the first time I did not think about my ankle or feel even a twinge of pain.

I totally forgot about my state taxes and in doing them on Sunday evening, I discovered a rebate that almost exactly covers the amount I owe in federal taxes.

I built shelves, very level ones I might add, this weekend for the closet in my study—such organization to satisfy the soul in there now.

Someone surprised me with perfume that sends many noses a twitching—a fun experience I’ve not really enjoyed before. I can now understand why people can get attached to perfume.

Kashi is recovered from a frightening back injury—muscle related—that made me realize that at nearly eight years old he’s getting to be an old man—gray hair included.

I spent two days digging out a weed-infested swath of ground between the sidewalk and the fence in my back yard that runs from the house to the back gate. It has three trees spread along the length of it. NOW it is a most beautiful garden bed with Autumn Joy sedums, white japonica bushes, great rocks, thick mulch, and green metal edging (that I had to put in twice because I didn’t realize it had a front side)!

Oneness with soil is so soothing…

I would have to say that nothing brings makes me more mindful of the power of the Almighty is spending time appreciating the magnificence of His creation. What a beautiful gift He’s given us in this world.

Wednesday, March 19, 2003

I took a hot bath tonight…something I’m not supposed to do. While the MS-related effects of heat are temporary and will subside once I’ve cooled down, doing so is still a strain on my body. However, with all the things going on lately, all I wanted to do after work was to take a long, long, hot soak in the tub.

I lay in the water up to my chin, staring at the ceiling until the water completely cooled, drifting from end to end of the tub, my long auburn brown hair floating beside me…and learned a few things…

I noticed that the shower curtain rod was crooked between the two walls. This is probably the reason that it comes down from time to time. I straightened it and will wait to test my hypothesis.

I noticed that the underneath portion of the window sill had not been painted by the guy the painter pushed off on me to finish the trim work so the painter could go to his son’s soccer game. I didn’t trust that the new person...mostly because I could not communicate with him (I don’t speak Spanish) and he only wanted cash. I didn’t trust that he cared about doing the work, as he never painted over the fingerprints that got on the front door though I mimed for him to do so three time with him nodding in apparent understanding all the while. Needless to say, he did not finish the baseboards and downstairs windowsills before he disappeared. When I saw the sill, I knew I was right. And that I have become quite cynical about most workers because I feel surrounded by people who do not really care about the jobs they are doing (remember I’ve been through 4 plumbers and $1,800.00 of the work was “re-do”), people who have no understanding of probity or integrity.

I noticed these things because I worked hard to clear my mind of the turmoil at work and the changes in my life and my dratted ankle.

What else have I been missing these past months?

Wednesday, March 12, 2003

Two guys were on a road trip in Texas and stopped in Mexia for a bite to eat. After sitting down, they started arguing over how to pronounce the town's name.

The first guy insisted that since they were near Mexico and letters sometimes had different sounds in Mexican names, such as José being pronounced "ho-zay" rather than "joe-zay," that Mexia would be pronounced "ma-hay-uh."

The second guy argued that instead, since they were in “Tex-as,” the letter "x" was pronounced as "x." Thus, the town would be pronounced just as it was spelled, "mex-e-uh."

The two travelers were still arguing when the waitress arrived, so the guys turned to her for help. "My buddy and I were wondering if you could settle an argument we've been having about the name of this place," asked the first guy. "Would you please tell us how it is pronounced and say it real slowly so we can be sure to hear you. Okay?"

The waitress looked at them strangely before slowing replying, "Dair-y Queen."

~Compliments of my great Uncle Charlie, family joke provider

Tuesday, March 11, 2003

I was ill last week and then another life change was thrust upon me and so I didn’t write. I’m trying to avoid the opportunity to complain. I’m trying to find the good in things. I’m trying to find peace.

I’m not very good at that.

Almost five weeks ago, I fell on some ice as I was leaving the mother/daughter book club. I was walking carefully and watching my footing as I made my way down the sidewalk, but once I reached the driveway, I took my eyes from my feet to look at my car.

Down I went. Hard. I was terribly frightened because of how hard I fell and the fact that I knew I had hurt my left ankle. I just didn’t know how hurt it was or if anything else was wrong. I lay on the freezing ice, crying, for many long moments before I moved, shaking as much from an MS response as from the cold.

I should be thankful. I should have hurt myself worse…a concussion, a broken back, a dislocated shoulder. But nearly five weeks later, with a torn ligament that just doesn’t want to heal, I am finding it difficult to remain thankful for my near escape.

And then another difficult circumstance with a choice to make that is no choice and I think things are pretty bleak.

Yes, I have prayed for wisdom and patience and peace, but my mind still strays to my troubles, so I have been concentrating on the joy I find in Kashi and Fancy.

Now, I must have moved into a very ill neighborhood, for an ambulance comes nearly every week for one of my neighbors. And it drives Kashi crazy. He is truly terrified of the flashing lights. He trembles and buries himself in the far recesses of my closet where no light can penetrate. He does not want to be consoled by his loving “mother.” Since we’ve had three ambulances here in the past week, Fancy has been my more constant companion.

I hesitate to write this, but as you read this, Fancy is growing her seventh tail feather. YAHOO!!!

“Just seven?” you ask. Well, you see, I wasn’t knowledgeable about baby birds and cages when I got her, so I just assumed that she would know how to crawl around the outside of her cage. She didn’t. She fell a few times and broke off many of her tail feathers, not all the way out, but broken off about an inch and a half from her body. Ever since then, the new ones that have grown in have broken as well when she flies down to the floor and lands a wee bit hard. She’s had two or three, but rarely more. It’s my theory that she needs all or most of them as support to each other as she lands since her tail hits the ground first and my bend back up away from her body on the flat surface.

I’ve been working on getting her to change her diet and even more so to try and catch her before she lands if her flight path is long and she’s lost her lift (her wings are clipped so once she leaves the cage, she has a finite amount of lift she can generate). And…knock on wood…she now has her seventh tail feather growing in. I think that means she’s either short three or five of them (they come in pairs and I’m having difficulty counting the stubs that are left).

It’s funny, really, to see her. At three years old, Fancy suddenly has to learn what to do with her tail. She never used to have to lift her stubs as she turned around on my shoulder or on her perch. She is enjoying having more than stubs to preen, though.

Tonight, as often in the past week, she spent the evening on my chest, shoulder or head, preening, snuggling, or napping.

I know people the world over have birds, but I still marvel at times that this rather fragile animal has taken residence with me and claimed me as her flock.

Her latest discovery is milk (I hope the vet doesn’t have stern words for me over that one). I’ve written before that she gets ready with me in the mornings, perched on my shoulder preening as I do the same in the bathroom. She would eat on the graham crackers I usually have, but since I’m not driving much and rarely get to the store and have been eating out of my pantry—soups, dried beans, etc—I’ve just had a tall glass of ice cold milk in the mornings. Three weeks ago, she discovered that milk tastes as good as graham crackers.

Perhaps milk is the key to her newfound stability in her tail feathers…

In any case, I found peace in watching a bird preen tonight and then finally curl up against my chin, a tiny bit of warmth on a cold night.

God has created a most marvelous work in birds.

Wednesday, February 26, 2003

We had several inches of snow today and are expecting up to 10 inches total by tomorrow.

When I let Kashi outside after work today, he saw the fresh snow and took a flying leap off the upper deck to land in what thought was a great snow pile like when we had the 2 feet of snow last week. He hit the ground and skidded halfway across the yard. He didn't know that under those 3 inches or snow of fluff was the same ice-hardened foot or so left from our "blizzard."

Boy...was he disappointed. Toes splayed wide, he quickly did his business and joined me back inside. He wants his playground back.

For myself, I like the snow, but would like a good thaw first. That is because my backyard could serve as a course--albeit a flat one--for the next Olympic moguls competition! All that tromping thorough the piles of snow created deep impressions that iced over. Each time I go out to chase Kashi back inside when those vicious dogs are about, I slip, slide, and fall repeatedly even with my crutches.

Neither of us are enjoying the backyard just now...

Tuesday, February 25, 2003

Ways in Which You Know You're Turning into an Old Maid:

1. You no longer toss out the doggie toys in your bed before you go to sleep.
2. Your parents stop asking about who you're dating and grandchildren are never mentioned.

(I thought I would try for a "top ten," but I'm too tired. Any suggestions?)

Monday, February 24, 2003

Caution...not for the squeamish...

Kashi wanted me to put an update in here because he's been so brave of late.

You see, last month he was injured. Several of my new neighbors seem to believe that the county leash laws do not apply to them. One neighbor in particular allows her two rather large dogs out to run every morning and every evening. Each time I saw them out I would wonder what would happen if Kashi were to be in the back yard when those two monsters came bounding down the alley/easement behind my new home. I have a fence, but it is only half-high and chain link.

Sure enough, when those dogs were let out one morning while Kashi was doing his business, the came running up to my back gate. The fence is leaning crookedly in the back corner and there is a substantial gap between the gate and the fence. I keep a board in the gap, but one of the dogs knocked it out of the way and tried to get through. I ran to the fence and started kicking my foot at the dog. When Kashi ran up to join me, he go to close and he was injured.

His long suffering came with his wretched mother not noticing his injury right away. I saw the bite on his nose and cleaned it off well. But I failed to notice that the other dog had ripped off Kashi's left du-claw (or however it is spelled), that small claw that is high up on the paws of dogs (and other animals). A week of isolated cries of pain and me not being able to figure out what prompted them went by before I saw him limping. I was horrified to find this bloody stump of a claw.

The stump bled and oozed for what seemed like forever. Each time I looked at the red and swollen claw, my stomach roiled with guilt. Each time he whimpered because something touched the area or limped in the backyard, I felt even more guilty. And angry. I should not have to worry about Kashi in my own fenced backyard--albeit a somewhat old fence.

[Note: Putting Neosporin on his injury as the vet suggested DOES NOT WORK with this dog of mine. He would lick it off immediately and sometimes the medicine never made it off of the q-tip!]

He's FINALLY much better and my guilt has subsided now that I know he is not going to be permanently maimed. And I take my pepper spray outside in the mornings and the afternoons when he is likely to encounter those dogs again.

While I rather like dogs and believe quite strongly that people should be allowed to have them as pets, I am beginning to very much dislike their owners--especially those who seem to have no regard to others when it comes to letting their dogs off the leash. Since I moved to this state, I have been bitten and knocked to the ground and my mother was knocked down by the same dogs that injured Kashi.

With each incident, animal control was of no help. Each time, the officers said they had to witness the event. What good are leash laws if they are not upheld?

Saturday, February 22, 2003

It’s been the longest of days…and I’m glad it’s nearly over.

The day started out pretty well…sleeping in…a bowl of Raison Bran Crunch…snuggling on the couch with my foot propped up and a book and Fancy perched on my cast.

But then my mother called crying because my sister had just been taken away in an ambulance and she was left there with my 3 day old nephew and while I was on the phone with my mother someone knocked at my door and I opened the door to find my neighbor asking me to call 911 and then passing out. I called 911 and didn’t get an answer for 10 rings and then faced so many questions I couldn’t answer that after I determined that an ambulance was coming, I hung up since I need to get dressed (I was in my pajamas) before the paramedics came. I propped my neighbor in my green chair, put fancy in her cage and Kashi in my room, and jumped into some clothes. Kashi got out so I put him in the basement instead of hobbling up the stairs again. I sat in the green chair holding onto my neighbor who slipped in and out of consciousness and who, when awake, was crying, begging me to keep him from dying, and trembling like a leaf in a windstorm. After the paramedics carted away my neighbor, I let Kashi out, but became alarmed when I saw that he was all wet. I looked down the steps to see water.

My basement was flooded.

Sopping up water on crutches is as difficult as shoveling snow on crutches. I did get some help, though...

I am ready for this day to end...but I wonder what tomorrow will bring...

Wednesday, February 19, 2003

I'm finding it difficult to be thankful for snowplow drivers since I have had to dig my car out four times already and the spot I saved (after digging out the second time) by marking it with two plastic deck chairs twice.

That probably did not make sense, but the short of it is that somehow the drivers on my street seem to think that the spot in front of my house is a great place to shovel more snow.

Kashi is have a tough time since the snow is crusted. He will spread his toes as wide as he can and mostly manage to stay up on the crust. However, he does fall through from time to time much to his utter dismay. And he has this horrible habit of deciding he's had enough of braving the wild and will sit down on the snow and cry pitifully, picking up one front paw after another, trying to avoid the cold.

I end up schlepping across the two foot deep snow covered yard with just one crutch so I can carry him back across the artic zone to warm sanctuary of my home (my bed).

I suspect that tomorrow's visit with the orthopedic surgeon with not fair well between digging out my car, rescuing Kashi, and digging out my gutters (tonight's endeavor after hearing dire predictions of flooding should homeowner's fail to clear their downspouts).

The good news is that my back is recovering from all this shoveling. While I am struggling with thankfulness for snowplow drivers, I am brimming with thankfulness for the makers of motrin and celebrex!

Tuesday, February 18, 2003

Could there ever be a time when there was too much snow?

I used to think not. I reveled in the Blizzard of '96. I had snowdrifts over four feet high in the alleyway where my apartment was. Kashi adored frolicking in the snow, and I spent an entire afternoon wading through the waist high stuff to get some milk from a 7-1, relishing the arduous journey as if I were Laura Ingalls Wilder in the Long Winter.

Of course, back then, I was a professor at a college where safety of the students and staff was paramount and there was no thought of going to work until the last vestiges of danger brought by the storm were conquered by the snowplows. I was actually scared driving to work today (seeing a car careening around on my street just as I left was not very comforting).

And... back then...I was not a homeowner. A homeowner with no significant other to shovel snow for me/with me. A homeowner with no significant other and with a fracture cast and crutches for the torn ligament in her left ankle.

Yesterday, whilst balancing on my crutches and digging out my car, straining my lower back wherein lies the worst of my arthritis, I came to the startling conclusion that even I had to admit that there can actually be...too...much...snow!