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.