Time Goes By

I was reminded the other day to post more often and when I arrived here I could not believe the entire month of January was missing. I felt certain I’d written something but…perhaps not. And now…now I must write on a different laptop.

My hard drive surrendered the ghost – or enough of it to render it useless – but I was at least smart enough to have a backup of the files. Sadly, Carbonite does not alert you that any folder/file over 10GB has to be selected manually. So I have tried to do manual downloads of that data but it is slow and I begin to wonder just how much I need it.

The only issue now is that this Dell has a “known issue” with the cursor jumping willy nilly during typing. Whether the space bar solder got too close to the trackpad or it is a bad driver no one seems to know. So tomorrow will find me buying a mouse and keyboard to save my sanity. Indeed, I wonder about finding a cute PS2 to USB connector so I can use the beloved MS Natural keyboard. That appears to be an antique and – ridiculously expensive. Sigh…at any rate, that jumping cursor makes anything more than a paragraph quite the endeavor.

It was a rather quiet Christmas. My father chose to return to Florida which was, in the end, a blessing for us. I don’t know that he ever intended to stay as he never really looked for a place. Rather, he looked for a brief time and then surrendered. I think he enjoyed our home but not the constraints. At any rate…we were both unwell off and on during the month of January and now we are back at it – Sarge having brought something home and I having picked it up. At least we are a few days apart in symptoms so when I am laid low he will be in recovery. I hope.

Before I am quite unwell I decided to get some potting up done – I managed to keep a few herbs alive all winter (quite the feat, really) and am so glad I’ve been able to enjoy them in a brutal season. But now they are out in pots, enjoying the spring weather. This, of course, means that we will see a late frost. Always the way, no? I await the drying out of the garden so that I can begin on that – it needs tilled under but right now it is a heavy and wet mess. Best to let it be a few more days. I intend to fill the (42 x 24 ft) space with as many vegetables as I can as the 3 deer we were given this past month are all in the freezer, now. If I can grow a majority of our produce the grocery bill could be halved.

The next major item is a chicken coop for the eggs. I want to do it right the first time, though. I have, at least, selected a good spot and we need to just choose a shape and size. I prefer a large run to avoid issues and a moderate roosting area. I hope to select for eating as well as laying – a chicken every few weeks would be quite nice. We do have many predators, though, so it has to be built well.

The little monster that Sarge chose to ease the heartache left by the loss of Kota grows like a weed.

All the recent snow photos of her looking in her element are…well, somewhere in the backed up data, sadly. In about 6 months we will have to decide on her surgery for her malformed hip socket. Just now it doesn’t seem to bother her too much – she stretches her hind legs way behind her in the mornings and I wonder if it isn’t an instinctual method of ensuring it is in position. Sooner than that she will have to be spayed. Poor thing – I wish she could be a mommy someday but that is not possible, now.

She is extremely intelligent and quite dominant and opinionated. It takes all I have to not lose my temper some days. I call her the Non-Listener. But she IS getting better. Mostly.

Och, this laptop is the most uncomfortable thing ever. It has sharp edges right where one might rest your wrists. Instead, you have to maintain that pianists pose of hands spritely dancing, wrists high.

It was such a harsh month of weather that I find myself, even as I type this, looking out the open window and enjoying the small breezes coming through. It was nothing but freezing temps, rain, snow, and high winds almost the entire month of January – and December held much the same. I had to bundle up 4 times a day to walk the hellion and then clean the floors over and over with the caked on mud and grime. I can understand how the pioneer women must have felt with rammed dirt floors – what a never-ending mess. Even now I am considering just moving everything out-of-the-way and swabbing the decks like a sailor. Ship shape in Bristol fashion, as they say.

Sarge has had little time to do anything on his list which has remained unchanged since November. I decided I’d might as well start tackling them on my own. Some things I cannot manage but many I can with enough time and concentration. But his college studies take up most of his remaining time off work so I haven’t had much room for complaint. It is vital he gets that work done.

But as he focuses on that I begin to worry about our little piece of heaven here…is there future encroachment to come? Will the blessed view be tainted with new buildings? Will the young inheritors choose to sell the family land rather than care for it? So we keep in mind the awful thought that we might have to sell to ensure we get our investment back. With the world being as hazardous as it is – the economy is uncertain. Sell now? Or wait and see? Did we overpay for the place compared to what others might offer? Nothing is certain, anymore, and I think sometimes that this is better than nothing – than being caught with no safe space if things go very wrong.

I hardly know what to say about the world these days…I track a certain Anon person who offers glimpses into terrible mirrors. Even if wild speculation I hardly think it all false. No, there are terrible people with mighty power and they wield it like a scythe. Anything is possible and I know better than to doubt it entirely. Instead, I just try hard to plan ahead, ensure we have what we need, and pray it all goes smoothly. A lot of pieces appear to be in motion and it takes very little to make it a wreck. I keep remembering a piece on Facebook about 3 years ago – maybe 4. It was a military person issuing a retirement message, perhaps. But in it was a sense of Now Is The Time For All Good Men…it felt then like a message – those in the dark, waiting, were told to light their torches and start the march to the light. It was a cue to action, I felt sure of it. And just wish now that I had made a copy of it. Because it seems as if a legion of individuals have been embedded, silently enduring terrible deeds, knowing that they would be called one day to take their position on the line.

I feel it deeply – that good people are working very hard to save what is left after a generation of ruination. But it will be ugly – no one will let go their position without a fight and any price to keep their power will deemed Worthwhile. I believe half of what I see – lies are everywhere. But I will watch – it is what we are charged with as citizens – to watch, take note, and aid when possible. One never knows when their name will be called. Be ready.

 

Christmas Inside Your Heart

It has been such a rough time of late that I have thought of this rather dusty abode only a few times. But as I am sick and alone this Christmas Eve I thought I might spend some of it here, remembering other Christmas nights…I hardly had the time or ability to decorate this year so it is just some twinkling lights and glittery bits here and there. But those glints illuminate scenes for me…

I spent many Christmas nights alone and it isn’t that melancholy, truly. Your stocking has what you like best to eat, no need for fancy cookery when some French toast will suffice. There were some years spent early on the morning of Christmas taking a city bus 90 minutes to see mom, to be spoiled by her cooking, and laugh as her cat sat at table for the annual slice of ham treat.

There was the year when bright crystal glasses clinked with deep red wine within. And the year when the glass tumbled from my hand with a crash and tears, finally, for a greater loss.

There was another year with the power off, the heat long gone, waiting for that January 1st cash to warm up again. Few gifts that year, of course, but those that mom had sent well in time as was her way.

So this night I ride currents of memory along a coast of sharp snippets, scenes flashing by with pleasure and old heart aches. It could be fever, or exhaustion after trying too hard yesterday to be Sociable while unwell. Of course, Sarge has caught the same illness and lags a day or two behind me but remains in the car, check riding the nights away with the Troopers so that they not feel that burden of holidays alone on the road that he knows so intimately.

He will be home soon enough and we will share a late, simple meal with perhaps a medicinal hot toddy to send us off to bed. Off again he will go tomorrow but I think with some warm French toast in his belly and the simple Christmas spirit in his heart.

But for now…as the lights on the small road move with people going to and from their own families…I just let this run…song after song reminding me of the way life will push you from the mundane, from the pointless to your destination – if only you will take that hesitant step forward.

God bless you all.

Still

I wrote this a few weeks ago and thought it posted but I suppose it didn’t…no reason to throw it away as it pertains. But there is Change. That is a post for another day. For now…we live, we love, we move on.

I’ve tried very hard these last few weeks to get beyond my grief and move forward as if life was…normal. A new normal but…I find myself not doing very well at it. I get up, drink coffee, makes breakfasts, set down dinner…but nothing else is getting done. Chores languish as I move in a scattered way through the house, vacuuming a bit, adjusting this or that…but with no sense of completion, little desire for activity.

I cannot look at the photos on my phone lest I see one of Her. I can hardly look at the double dog food bowl stand without weeping. If I even try to think of her comedic self acute pain strikes my throat as I try to not let it all out…all the terrible guilt I feel for missing her sickness – for not seeing how unwell she was until it was too late. I comfort myself with the thought that the heavy antibiotics masked all – that even the vet didn’t know. But I knew – I knew she was not right.

And I think of how I forced her dying self to haul her body up the ramp and into the truck to get to the vet – of how she lay dying as we tried to rush her…all in vain. She was so damn strong…she did what I demanded of her just because I was asking her to do it, not understanding why…

I think of how strong I had to be as the decisions were made – the cold, factual calculations and even voice as I held all the pieces of my broken soul together to get through this for her and him…of that final shudder and gasp she gave when she passed over. Did she see Jonesy and Smokey? Did she find a place of comfort or was it just a curtain closed? I weep alone a lot…I glance at the photo as I scan through my phone or files. Just a glance and I am wrecked. But still…still trying to do it all and not let the pieces fly apart.

I know it will pass. It is the one thing I hold to – that I know in time the pain will be distant and I can look again at her silly self in the video, on her back and kicking her legs in the air like some wild miniature pony. Listen to her talking in her woo loo loo hooting with him. Maybe even one day to smell the wee bag of fur that I kept.

Then I think of dear Ranger who can smell things so much better than I – of how every bed, carpet, floor has her smell…he must still be surrounded by her and not understanding where she went. I have washed the blankets and coverings to try to remove that from his senses. But today he sat at the pool just where she used to. He didn’t get in it – he just sat there and looked at me. At mealtime he will pause as he always did to wait for her to come eat then resigns himself to her absence and continues. When we walk he still pauses as if to see if she will come out from hiding somewhere in the house to join us. All these small things I know – these are my daily burdens that he does not see or know.

Recently we went to the rose garden and walked for hours, just enjoying each other and the beauty there. At the little gnome garden under the cypress trees he said we should make a similar gathering under her tree and in that simple statement was so much of our mutual grief that we held each other and cried as the voices of strangers drifted on the wind. She will be interred at the spot she chose the day she died. She scratched at it hard, looking up at me, and I knew even as I knew she was dying – here, she was saying. Here. 20171001_110924We will place the stone, a kind gift, and weep for now…but this place will be planted with all manner of flowers for beauty all year round. Then we can sit and look upon it and, someday, not weep with the loss but laugh with the memories. I pray it is soon.

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Bereft – The Word Now Has Meaning

Kota_Last_Photo_9_27_17We had to let her go last night.

It was strange that, as she lay down in what must have been agony, the storm was coming through and I only asked for no thunder, no lightning – that she not be terrified as well as so very sick. And so it was – the rain pounding but quietly as we tried to rush her to the emergency vet. Too late…much too late. A ruptured intestine with septic infection all around.

I took that photo on her next to last night, her quiet rest and seeming smile did not ease my mind as I knew, knew intimately, that she was not right. She’d seen the vet that day who noted a swelling in her belly and scheduled the ultrasound 2 days later when she could fit her in at lunch. Fit her in…

I could burn the place to the ground in my current state of mind. I consider that their negligence killed my dog. I believe my waiting and relying on them made me her cause of death.

And as the emergency vet stated so gently, so factually, one could operate but she would not make it…she was dying as they put her on the gurney. We made our farewells and I kept my wits in the midst of it. But all night and all day I have known only waking terror and guilt. It will pass, as all such troubles do. But it will take me a very long time to not feel that burden. I shall carry it until its weight becomes one and I no longer sense it…until I don’t open the wound fresh each hour.

Strong, she was so very strong and never once yelped or protested as I forced her in desperation into the truck. Even at the end when they put in the needle she still raised her head in demand, in how dare they…until her head was too heavy and sleep took her pain all the way away. And brought our share to our hands. Strong. So strong. What will I do without my shadow?

Change Of Pace

My…what a week can bring…we survived the storm just fine only to find a new wave coming ashore. We have somewhat unexpectedly moved my elderly father into our home. A lot of familial drama ensued which forced our hand but, in the end, we expected it and had a plan of sorts to execute. Sarge’s dress out room is now Dad’s along with the (blessedly edited to senior living) attached bath.

I cannot say how sorry I felt for him for all the things he endured in the last month but it is water under the bridge and we are moving forward. However, the changes to all the health programs and SocSec is madness. Add in the VA and you have a recipe for ruination. But we’re slowly knocking it all out, checking things off the list. Imagine changing your address twice with all those agencies in 30 days.

I am, of course, thankful for Sarge’s acceptance of the life. We had at least discussed it well in advance and weren’t entirely surprised. It is just Change. And who knows for how long…he may elect to move back to FLA in 6 weeks, 6 months, a year or never. We’re defaulting to Never to just set our expectations. He is not in perfect health though still quite vital and fully cognizant. All that a blessing for us, of course. But he is chafing a bit at the sedate country life. I have told him we will soon have him active in the VFW, the JCC, his MENSA group, etc. Just takes time to get settled and organized.

It hasn’t been aided by the fact that my mobile phone went toes up a week ago. It has taken that long for the replacement process due to one error after another. It was insured so the cost won’t be horrid. And, in truth, it has been nice to be disconnected from the minute to minute social updates. I miss my Audible stories, mostly, and the ability to take a quick photo but otherwise…no. The peace has been nice in all this turmoil.

Add on the fact that my dryer decided to die a few days ago – just in time for washing all the new linens for his bed and refresh his wardrobe….well, it has been challenging. But the dryer was fixed today, I get my phone tomorrow, and things will be okay.

One thing that hasn’t been really pressed was his desire to Drive. It is Sarge’s only no-go item and it is wise. We had a very honest and open discussion in which I indicated we’d take him anywhere he wanted to go whenever he liked. He didn’t want to become an imposition, of course, but far better to drive him than to deal with accidents.

At least the weather is getting more temperate. I can almost smell autumn on the wind. And all that rain was such a blessing to the parched ground. The large cracks have closed and the grass is green and high. Truly a lovely sight. But now duty calls…

 

 

Still Here…

The weather has been amazing…gusts at 40 or 50 mph, driving rain almost non-stop since Friday night…at least all the trees remain up. I worry for them if it lasts much longer. The ground in the area has been so very dry that it has taken up the rain rather well – not a lot of standing water. However, the saturation point has surely been reached. Sadly, three large pecans, heavy with nuts, face into the wind and in front of the house so if they go down it will mean a lot of damage and the chance of the 2nd floor coming with them.

That has been my main concern since we still have water and power. We’re squared away for supplies should anything happen – not many worries there. But the trees…they concern me.

We’ve been letting water out of the pool almost 24/7 just to keep it marginally topped off. I will use one of the precious packets of shock in it tomorrow if this lets up enough. Keeping decent water clean is vital. However, the shock can also clean drinking water so I am trying to preserve it.

The dogs are fine – thankfully, not a lot of thunder/lightning which is a real blessing. And Sarge hasn’t had to deploy yet though we assume he will on the next wave. So we’re just trying to consider what we should have on-hand and ready to pack for him. The Bustelo coffee sachets are superb. You can heat a tin of water and enjoy a good cup of coffee. Or, as he notes, make some Ranger Pudding.

Friends had a house in Rockport and we assume it is no more. They hadn’t heard and there is no way to know just yet. Not certain if the news crews have covered it enough for them to have seen their neighborhood. It was brand new, too. Sigh…

The house has taken the incessant beating like a champ – so very proud of it! I have no idea if the newer places have help up as well. I think we’ll load the chainsaw up in a few and ride the town briefly to see if help is needed. Haven’t heard many sirens at all. Hope that is a good sign.

Family is in Cypress, TX – boxed in by water but they have power. I won’t be surprised to learn that they get overtaken eventually, though. So much more rain to come and the drainage southward from the waterways will only add to it so…a very long time remains before things dry out.

We are fortunate, we are prepared, and we are together. More I can hardly ask for.

It’s Gonna Blow…

It was a very interesting 24 hours and the next 72 or so will be the same. When Sarge was at the border for a week I got used to an early to bed, early to rise schedule. So yesterday morning he got on the bike upstairs, headphones on, and I took the dogs out. As always the cat-dog came along. Stripey thinks she is a dog, I believe. She eats at the same time and whatever snack they get on their food she waits for her part thereof. Anyway…

We went to the back acre and walked there – got to the fenceline where there is usually a dog or 3 in the neighbor’s yard which my good dogs generally ignore. The neighbor dogs are always changing so you never know if it is a pitbull or terrier or what in there. They bark and run the fence…well, we’d mostly passed the seemingly empty yard when a pitbull came out of the brush and full on into the pasture! My dogs were instantly on it but thank GOD it went belly up so that they didn’t attack. I had no leashes or gun so I did the Good Doggie routine, trying to get my own to come back to the house so I could lock them up. I forgot that the cat was outside, too.

As we got close to the house, the pit trotting right along in happy mood, I saw Stripey inside the pool fence. So did the dog and it made a beeline. She mounted the rocks of the pool, knowing what it was. The damned thing leapt 6 feet high and grabbed her off!! I had gotten Kota in the house, thank GOD, but Ranger you could see was all WTF, dude! I ran toward the battle, slid into home base at the dogs’ side and wrenched its head away from the teeth and claws of Stripey – she was fighting for all she was worth as it tried to get her throat or belly. She knew what I was about and as soon as she could she ripped away and hid. Now, this cat has practiced racing – she will cross the pasture in full bore speed when just playing – so she knows how fast she can run and where the hiding areas are.

I managed to get a choke chain from inside the house as she hid and got Ranger inside. I then went back out just in time to see Stripey making an exit from her spot and the dog lunging at her – a well placed kick in the leg stumbled the dog just long enough for her to haul ass across the yard to the barn, the dog right on her heels but not quite fast enough. She went way up and I collared the bastard, walking it back toward the house. I was so out of breathe at this point having run 2 acres’ worth of terrain in moments, and fighting a crazed dog…I got it penned up in the garage and went inside to tell Sarge after I called the local animal control.

He was on a 45 min bike ride – about mid way – when I stumbled upstairs to tell him. I just gasped out the vital words…pitbull, dogs ok, cat attacked, control called – and he ripped himself free of the pedals, ready to shoot the dog. In truth, I wish we had so that I never had to worry about it again but…we waited for animal control to get there and I had him finish his ride. Meanwhile, I tried to get a ladder to the cat and check her injuries – she seemed okay though shocked. However, I couldn’t quite get her and I didn’t want to scare her into a place we couldn’t reach so I let her be, petting her a few minutes and leaving the ladder in case she tried to get down. When Sarge finished his ride he went out and was able to get her to come to him though she clung to the rafter. I aided in the removal and he carried her to the house. Inside she ran upstairs, looking for the highest ground. I took her water and then her favorite turkey and cheese snacks. Sarge had checked her as best he could and saw no puncture marks or stiff belly so we hoped she would be okay. She ate and drank which was a good sign and I mostly left her alone, checking every hour or so. She eventually went to a blanket on a chair and curled up. I am sure she was just shocked and needed to rest. Brave Stripey

The animal control person got the dog and I am really hoping it wasn’t chipped and that I never see it again. That said, I am bringing the gun each walk because if it comes across again it will die. I felt horrible all day from the adrenaline dump. My heart was out of rhythm sort of and I had to just relax a long time before I felt normal. This just after my doc put me on a new med the day before for my BP. We all managed to recover and Stripey even ventured outside this morning for her usual constitutional. Scared, cautious, but brave.

Now, we are just waiting on the damn hurricane to get here. Our county got hurricane warned so Sarge dealt with the assorted to-do’s. We did the generator maintenance recently so it is fine. But our fancy pool umbrella had to get taken down and the spare gas cans filled.

Just a waiting game, now, and I am hoping for a reasonable storm – it hasn’t done much yet so we should be fine but odds are it will get nasty at 1am. I am not a fan of nighttime storms…now, time to make some dinner and settle in for the night. At least Sarge managed to mow the property today – if he gets recalled to duty down south it could be a week before he gets back so…at least that is done. Sure, I could use the mower but…I prefer not. Too fancy and too fast.

Enjoy your weekend, friends.