Saturday, August 27, 2005

Irretrievably STUPID People...

Just got home, it's 3PM and about 110 degrees
outside--no exaggeration. We're having a really nasty heat wave and I
have to go out every hour and hose off the yard and the chickens. We
had gone out to the local party supply store to get some things for my
daughter's upcoming 6th birthday party. We came out and yippee skip,
the car won't start...

OK, call AAA, tell them it's really hot and we have a young child with
us, they say they'll hurry. Terrific. (I LOVE AAA). We see across
the parking lot a young woman with two kids and and older woman
standing next to a car. The older woman is one the phone, and they
have been since we got there, roughly 10 minutes before. We stand
around sweating...I take my daughter back inside the air conditioned
store to wait, watching out the front windows for the tow truck. DH
is rummaging in the trunk for the jumper cables.

After a few minutes I see him on his cell phone, grab the tire iron
out of our trunk and walk quickly across to where the women and kids and
standing by the SUV. I figure they've got a flat and DH is offering
to help, naturally. After another minute here comes AAA, so I go
outside to meet them. DH has headed the driver off and is directing
him to the women and kids, so I figure DH is going to get them taken
care of them first. No problem.

AARRGGGHHH!!! Every stinkin' year, we see news stories about kids who
die in very short order because their dumbshit parents leave them
locked in the car for 'just a minute' while they run into a store. My
DH had the tire iron because he was just about to break one of the
windows of the SUV! He was on the phone with 911, telling THEM what
was going on since the women HAD NOT! The AAA guy jumped out and
after quickly trying his lockpicking tool on several doors, was finally able to jimmy open one of the
locks. The kids inside had gotten so overheated by then that they had reached the stage where they had
stopped crying, were pale, bathed in sweat and listless. I was all ready to have to preform CPR on them. We told the
women to take the kids somewhere for a cold drink RIGHT NOW, so they
took them next door to the McDonalds. The older woman at least had
the sense to look shaken and was muttering, "Never again..." I also
told her NEVER again to leave the kids in the car like that, it's fatal!

We told the AAA guy he had without a doubt saved two lives that day,
and thanked him all over the place for being a hero. My husband let
911 know that all was well and the car was opened and the kids were
OK. I'm going to call AAA and praise the AAA driver.

I'm so damned mad I could spit. WHY those women had not had the sense
to let 911 know that they had little ones locked in a car on a hot day
for 20 minutes I'll never know. The cops would have been there in seconds. Or why they hadn't flagged down
ANYONE in the parking lot and asked for help. My husband had walked
over to them on his own when he saw them lean over and talk to someone
in the car! If that had been my kid I wouldn't even hesitate or wait
for AAA, I'd grab a rock and break a window immediately and chalk it
up to my own stupidity. But then I have never and WILL never leave my
kid alone in the car, not for a moment for any reason...I've always
been that way.

*whew* OK, I feel better now...but it turns out that my car needs a new alternator...

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Happiness ISN'T...

...getting your freakin' leg whacked open from stem to stern. Here comes a full-on whine: DAMN, MY LEG HURTS!!!

OK...that's better. At least yesterday I made it down to the doctor to get the 900 ton cast removed. Since I couldn't get my left leg into the car on the driver's side around all the gas/brake/emergency brake pedals, J. had to drive me. I took along my old friend, Das Boot (a Frankenstein-ish orthopeadic boot, complete with numerous adjustment knobs, heavy duty black velcro straps and steel reinforcements, it looks like something Q would invent) that I had from the original broken ankle back in 2000. Lucky I did, since they were nice enough to cut off the bulky cast and replace it with the boot, but with a no-nonsense steely gaze and stern instructions NOT to walk around without the boot, and then even only when strictly neccessary.

No problem there. Especially since walking feels like someone is cheerfully holding a red-hot poker against my leg, it's automatically self-limiting. Since they had to make an even bigger incision to remove the hardware than they do to place it, the current incision is something on the order of 10 inches long. J. inspected it last night and said, "Hey, now you've got another new scar!" Whoopee. I told him I was going to come up with an interesting story to go along with it, maybe involving a bar fight down at the docks or the time that little voodoo doll came alive and chased me around the house wielding a butcher knife. Hmmm....

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Just TOO Cool!

Gotta thank my sister H., our gal in China. She just sent N. the neatest envelope...inside was a fun note telling N. all about Auntie H.'s adventures over there, plus some Chinese coins...AND the coolest part, her Dland business card in English and Chinese, and two maps of Hong Kong Disneyland!

Thanks Auntie H., you are the best! N. couldn't be more thrilled, and we've placed all those things away very carefully for her to have always. We had trouble getting N. to stop jumping up and down and waving her hands (her outlet for Big Fun and Excitement) long enough to go over everything with her. She played Chinese Disneyland the rest of the afternoon. :)

Ya Gotta Think Like A Kid...

Tomorrow I go in for surgery...NOT my favorite thing...to remove the metal bar and 6 or 8 screws that are holding my left ankle together. Yesterday and today I've been trying to get the things done that require me walking/driving/leaving the house/being upright. Bank...grocery store...gassing up the car...the kind of chores I refer to as "killin' rats"--that is, things that have to get done, but nobody likes doing. I'm also digging out my Advance Directive paperwork to take along, much as thinking of that kind of thing is Big Time No Fun and makes me cringe a bit, it's gotta be done. My own personal take is: No heroic measures (which means no rescusitating me or placing feeding tubes if it means I'll be a vegetable and have no quality of life), and if I pass away I want to donate any organs they can use and cremate the rest of me. Strip me for parts and burn the rest, heck I'll be long gone anyway so I won't care. *L* J. has the same plans, although he still needs to officially fill out the paperwork. Hate that general anesthetic, *bleah*. I really am fascinated by surgery anyway so I'd prefer to be able to watch, but they don't allow it.

This evening I was out enjoying the grass and visiting with the chickens since I'm going to be in the house for the next few days/weeks (our house is raised and has no wheelchair ramps). Phoenix the rooster

 Ain't he cute? Goofy, but pretty!

came over to be friendly, so I picked him up, talked to him and petted him. I teased him a bit with my standard line as I gently felt his little meaty thighs, "Ooh, aren't we a yummy, meaty bird! Umm, yep he's just about ready to eat, FEEL those meaty little drumsticks!" Phoenix just gives me a "Sure, like you'd ever really eat me. I know you're full of BS." look and bears with it. N. came over and said, "Can I?" OK, I said, but gently. She does, feeling his thigh and saying, "Yum, ice cream!"

I was laughing so hard I had to set Phoenix down. Drumsticks=ice cream, in the mind of a 5 year old... :)

Happiness Is...

...new sod!

Hallelujah and whoopdedoo, the back yard is a dust bowl no longer. Last weekend J. our intrepid and energetic nephew Joey helped us resod the back yard. For those who have never experienced it, laying sod is a trip...mostly a slimey one. To see how the yard got in this pitiable condition, see my previous blog entry about the floods in Dec '04 and Jan. '05.

Before you start sodding the sodding yard (heh, couldn't resist), you have to clear the entire yard of anything you can move, then rototill and level the dirt. We mixed in 20 bags of soil amendment--our local soil makes the dirt on Mars seem like prime bottom land. The chickens, of course, were in Heaven. Joey looked at me like I was a little nuts when I told him that one of his jobs would be to shoo the chickens out of the rototillers' patch using a broom. Actually it took both him AND me to keep them away. Chickens don't know from self-preservation when there is primo food like earthworms involved. J. & Joey used some spare 4x4 fence posts to help level the dirt and I walked the yard picking up more of the ever-popular broken glass, bits of rusty metal and old marbles. Among the things found was a vintage steel Budweiser bottle cap, surprisingly in pretty darned good condition.

Much to our delight the temperature was nearing 100 degrees the two days we had picked out to work in the yard. The minute the sod is delivered the clock starts ticking, you've only got a matter of hours to get it laid as it cheerfully begins dying the minute the sod company cuts it out of the ground. I mostly hosed down the three pallets of sod and the sections that were laid, while J. & Joey leveled, rolled the ground, laid sod chunks and afterwards rolled the sod again.

The chickens very nearly wept with delight at the sight of all that grass, and in order to keep the pallets of sod from being nibbled to death we decided to sacrifice one strip towards the greater good. Here they are, only about two-thirds of the flock fell on it like wolves...the ducks just wanted to sit on it and bask in the grassyness of it all, and Geraldine the tortoise barged in and ate as if the chickens didn't even exist.

This picture shows the three pallets of sod, surrounded by worshipping fowl.

Sod is apparantly grown in dirt mixed with snot....to say that it's slimey stuff is understating it. To make matters worse I had to keep hosing it down so that the damned stuff wouldn't DIE, so that made for slimey snotty dirt to ice skate on while trying to carry chunks of heavy sod. Try it sometime, it's loads of laughs when you are exhausted and it's 100 degrees. At one point Joey, while watching me hose off the pallets, ventured sadly, "That only makes it heavier..." "I know..." I apologized.

Here is the yard, rototilled (which, to everyone's further joy, makes it like wading through 12 inches of fresh snow). The stuff piled in the back is the pool, N.'s slide, lawn chairs, etc.

This next picture shows Day 2 of the Damned Sod, as it came to be known by then. The chickens were running around in a rather Brownian motion-type frenzy lying on different parts of it, as if they were afraid it would suddenly disappear as quickly as it had appeared.

 Finished, yay! And none of the sod (except the Sacrificial Chunk) died! I'm so happy I could cry. I'm still amazed at the amount of incredibly hard work that J. & Joey did, my heros, thanks guys! :) Here's the finished yard, I tried to get pics in the same areas that my previous blog entry during the floods show. The difference is astounding.

N. came home after two days at the Grandparents and her eyes were bugging out of her head. She eyed the grass every bit as hungrily as the chickens had and said, "Can I lay on it?!" Afterwards she ran around yelling "Grass! Grass!"

My thoughts exactly, kid.

Thursday, August 4, 2005

Cool Bug Site And No More DIRT!

Just for fun, we found this cool bug identification site; loads of pics and stories, but NOT for those that don't like up-close pics of creepy crawlies. We were admiring the Toe Biters and sat around being glad we did not live in Florida:


The way has been cleared for the new sod for the back yard, yee-ha! The soil amendment is being delivered today, with the rototiller and sod scheduled for Saturday. N. will be whisked away to the grandparents for the weekend so we won't have to worry about her becoming entralled with the rototiller--like all young kids, she loves heavy machinery and points out her favorite, backhoes, everywhere we go. J. is NOT looking forward to wrestling the rototiller all weekend, but at the end of it we should have a new back lawn! I'm so freakin' thrilled I can't stand it--it's like Christmas. The local cats have discovered the plain dirt back yard and are using it as a giant catbox, so N. hasn't been allowed to play out there for a couple of weeks now. Not to mention the constant dust-bowl-like status of our yard and home--that stuff gets everywhere and I'm sick of it. I've been clearing away the stuff in the yard to make room for the bags of amendment and sod, so my knees and ankle are giving my royal Hell. Oh well, tough luck for them!

After the sod gets laid will come Adventures With Carpet Cleaning, which will be the next fun thing. I'll post pics of the yard renovation, the chickens are going to be SO thrilled to have grass underfoot again to eat!