Friday, March 14, 2014

77 days...

I do not like that I have missed capturing two days this week.  I have so little memory ... remember so little of even recent things, that is ... that I hate missing an entry.  However, I have been rather disturbed by what I read in a news story Tuesday ... and have been avoiding the thoughts and feelings it engendered.

Mariska Hargitay, an actress on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, is working to help advance legislation in Michigan with the aim of convicting more serial rapists through the processing of rape kits.  Yes, legislation is needed to ensure a rather non-novel, should-already-be-happening practice in law enforcement.  Processing rape kits can catch rapists.  Hmm.  A non-brainer.  And yet it is.  The article mentions the discovering of some 11,000 rape kits in a storage facility in Detroit in 2009, the majority of which had never been processed.  In fact, hundreds of thousands of rape kits across America are sitting unprocessed.

That's what our country, our legal system, thinks about rape.
It doesn't really matter.
It really isn't worth the time and energy and man-power to process.
It's over.  Let's be done with it.

If you knew what courage ... what a horrid thing it is to have a rape exam after being raped ... well ... its a crime, at least figuratively, committed against the survivors of sexual assault.  And is it shame upon our nation.

77 days.

I had asked Marie to help me tackle cleaning beneath the couch during her visit.  Even though she rather readily agreed to help me, the asking part was so hard that I started the job before she got home from work today, lest my request be too troublesome.

I pulled the couch out, after chasing Amos off the rug many, many, many times so that I could make room to pull the couch out.  I am embarrassed to say that I do not know what that CD/DVD is.  Some gift, perhaps, unopened.  For shame.

I found a total of six of Amos' balls.
And four toilet paper tubes.
And four canisters of dirt.

If you look real hard (since you are so very interested in my dirt), you will see that in pulling the couch forward, I dragged a lot of dirt forward.  So, I lifted up the bed part of the couch and vacuumed more.

Then I removed the back cushions, so I could switch the right and the left, and turn the center one upside.

Stuffing the cushions back in is so utterly exhausting that this is where I stopped.  So, Marie walked into find the couch this way.

And me sitting on the step by the front door.  Waiting.  Waiting for non-exhausted arms to jamb those cushions back in place.  Since I had help, I asked Marie to help me turn the seat cushions as well, which is something I had never had the energy to do after killing myself just trying to rotate the top ones so that Amos' depression on the right hand side is less noticeable.

Amos was so happy to be able to get back up on the couch when we were done, he let me take ahold of Baby Froggy Baby, who had been lost in the couch for months on end.  Maybe a year or so.  Poor Baby Froggy Baby.  Poor Amos.

After all that exhausting work, we had Beef Stew with Beer, roasted broccoli, and french bread for dinner.  Then, as we did last night, we played Rumikub.  Or rather ... Marie slaughtered  me at Rumikub.  Just like last night, we also traded turns listening to our favorite music.  The idea was not so much to try and choose songs that the other person would like, but to trade turns enjoying music we liked.  So much the better when there was common ground.  Marie is introducing me to progressive rock.  Me the one who never much listened to any rock.

Last night, I chose some Contemporary Christian music that I still like, though it is a deep, dark secret.  For example, this song is way better than "Away in a Manger":

Tears are falling, hearts are breaking
How we need to hear from God
You've been promised, we've been waiting

Welcome Holy Child
Welcome Holy Child

Hope that you don't mind our manger
How I wish we would have known
But long-awaited Holy Stranger
Make Yourself at home
Please make Yourself at home

Bring Your peace into our violence
Bid our hungry souls be filled
Word now breaking Heaven's silence

Welcome to our world
Welcome to our world

Fragile fingers sent to heal us
Tender brow prepared for thorn
Tiny heart whose blood will save us
Unto us is born
Unto us is born

So wrap our injured flesh around You
Breathe our air and walk our sod
Rob our sin and make us holy

Perfect Son of God
Perfect Son of God
Welcome to our world

And, if you are plagued with anxiety and/or nightmares and night terrors, this is just the song for you:

Jesus, King of angels, heaven's light,
Shine Your face upon this house tonight.
Let no evil come into my dreams;
Light of heaven, keep me in Your peace.

Remind me how You made dark spirits flee, 
And spoke Your power to the raging sea.
And spoke Your mercy to a sinful man;
Remind me, Jesus, this is what I am.

The universe is vast beyond the stars,
But You are mindful when the sparrow falls, 
And mindful of the anxious thoughts 
That find me, surround me, and bind me . . . .

With all my heart I love You, Sovereign Lord.
Tomorrow, let me love You even more.
And rise to speak the goodness of Your name 
Until I close my eyes and sleep again.

The universe is vast beyond the stars,
But You are mindful when the sparrow falls, 
And mindful of the anxious thoughts 
That find me, surround me, and bind me . . . .

Jesus, King of angels, heaven's light,
Hold my hand and keep me through this night.

In fact, some of my choices were a heavy doses of Jesus.  Lots of Jesus.  Jesus for me.

Tonight, Marie and I sat before the fireplace as we played and traded music.  I thought I would test the waters with Country music, as well as some songs I found watching television.  For me, I truly savor the lyrics and beautiful instrumentation.  Lots of my "favorites" have stringed instruments in them.   We both sang along with our music; it was fun when Marie knew my songs and we could sing together.  Getting slaughtered two nights in a row was a tad less fun.

77 days.

I actually managed to make it to the donation center today.  I laughed because it took a while to get a receipt since the men there all wanted to take turns playing the African wooden tongue drum that I dropped off.  One of the tongues somehow got damaged after I moved here, so I could not sell the rather expensive instrument.  However, I feel certain someone would enjoy picking up the drum at a bargain basement price despite the single flat note amongst the twelve notes that can be played on it.

Then, I went to CVS, where I learned that the 200 ml bottles of erythromycin are all gone.  What they were able to order was a 150 ml bottle (10 days).  I asked the pharmacist if he could check how many others were still available.  There were six. I asked if he would go ahead and order them, so that I might be sure to at least have as many days possible left taking that life-changing drug.  Target had called me a few weeks ago to let me know that they managed to track down a 100 ml bottle (7 days). In sum, providing the order placed today is filled, I have 77 days left during which I will be able to digest food with minimal discomfort and in a timely manner.

77 days.

I am extremely thankful that I was able to find out an end date, well in advance, for procuring the erythromycin.  I am also extremely thankful that the pharmacist was willing to place the order to get those final bottles.  I am distressed, though, at the thought of going back to days where more hours are spent writhing in pain and nausea and other unfortunate symptoms than in not.

Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

This whole having-Marie-full-time visit has been such a blessing.  To her, I think, it seems like she's eating all my food, but she's eating freezer food!  [Well, I did buy some broccoli for her.]  She's got to have her beloved curry twice and my stew.  And she's made good inroads on the slabs of Double Chocolate Dr Pepper Cake still in my freezer.  Marie also brought me eggs, which she's using as her breakfast, and half a container of sour cream.  So, I should now be able to have two servings of both Spicy Dr Pepper Pulled Pork and Chipotle Chicken Chili over the final 11 days of this month's budget window since I am dangerously low on sour cream.

Another economy of sorts is that Marie ate seconds of our Cookin' with Marie meal yesterday:  Herb Roasted Pork Tenderloin.

You can see that I made us Crash Hot Potatoes (with properly sized red potatoes) along with the pork.  It is not that I did not enjoy the pork roast, but it is a pale second to the chili and the pulled pork and the stew and the curry and ....  So, Marie offered to have it again for dinner last night if I would make her a second Hassleback Potato.  I did.  And one for me, too.

I did a far better job of evenly smearing on the minced garlic paste this time.  And, I think, I did a better stuffing-the-cuts job over all.

And, in exchange for all that food that I mostly had on hand, I have had great company, game-playing, psalm reading, music sharing, cleaning help, Amos entertainment, and lots and lots and lots of both laughter and being normal.

Anyway, I am still going to end the month with at least a week's worth of cooked meals (one main meal per day, to go with smoothies, oatmeal, and other small "meals"), which was my goal. I also already have on hand that which I need for another batch of chili, one of stew (except for the herbs), and a double batch of pulled pork.  So, I am actually well into food for April.  That is why I care not a whit that Marie's here raiding my freezer with me.  After all, Marie's here!

A perfect excuse to go ahead and spend April's entertainment money on pizza tomorrow, right?
Budgets are supposed to be fluid, right?

Even if I break down and buy a container of sour cream (remember I would have absolutely no problem having every single one of those remaining 9 servings of chili in my freezer over the next 11 days), a review of my credit card account shows that I have still shaved a grand total of ~$324 off of that one multiple-category budget total of $881, about half due to frugality and half due to bartering.  I actually saved a bit more if you consider that I will be paying for 8 more days of erythromycin than needed March 25th, since the bottle size changed and threw the purchase schedule off.

While I am not sure it is sustainable, I would like to cut that one multiple-category budget total to $750 on a regular basis.  That is, no matter what items in any of those categories are needed, to not have more than $750 in charges each month.  That would give me $100 for the tax shortfall and $31 for medication.  My budget already has $80 a month of cushion, something the financial advisor had me build in and something that always seems to get eaten up until this month.  If I am already saving on groceries and if nothing replaces the erythromycin and if I have no hospitalizations, I realistically could end the year without dipping any more into retirement and set a solid precedent for existing solely on disability and whatever bargaining I might be able to do unless I have a hospitalization.  And, with the tax error savings being finished April 2015, I would have room to absorb the inevitable increases in house, car, and health insurance.

I could be totally off, but I am feeling a bit positive about eventually achieving the level of frugality I need.  However, I would rather be having to spend money on erythromycin, than save it.

77 days.

I am Yours, Lord.  Save me!


Cheryl said...

I love "Welcome to Our World"!

Myrtle said...

Do you really, Cheryl?? How cool to know someone who likes that song!!