The Recent Series of Events that Should have Ended my Sanity

If you’re wondering, Cashew makes her own perfume from poop, dead animal, and her sister’s saliva when they wrestle. Then she comes in the house and immediately tries to lay her head on the cushion of my grandmother’s antique rocking chair. In an effort to protect it from Cashew’s lovely perfume i always slide down to cover the whole edge of the cushion before she can lay her head on it so she comes to lay her head on my belly instead and then sighs several thousand times until i pay attention to her.

It began with the dryer. One day i returned home after a long day to do an evening load of laundry. On 45 minutes of sleep i was as usual just going through the motions of my life. I was on autopilot, wordlessly moving things about the one room house to get everything done in time to wake up at midnight to go to work at 4 while a tv court show created background noise to keep me conscious. The little chime signaled the conclusion of the wash cycle and i sauntered over to the stacked units, opened the doors to the laundry machines, and transferred all of the laundry from the washer to the dryer. I closed the door, pushed the power button, pressed medium, and then start. The machine roared to life and as i was walking away it stopped. I thought, of course i hadn’t closed the door well so i slammed and held it and then pushed start again. It roared to life. As i walked away it stopped. I thought, maybe i somehow touched the dial and took it off my presaved settings. Maybe it was no longer on normal. Maybe it was on more dry, which did tend to run a bit and then stop, or wrinkle saver which tended to run a bit and stop as well. I went and got the step stool, placed it on the ground, and stood on it so i could see the settings on the dryer. The little blue square above the dial lit up under normal. I closed the door and pressed start. It ran and then stopped. I pressed start again. It ran and then stopped. I pressed start again. It paused, then ran, and then stopped. I decided that something must be wrong with the unit. I should investigate. Perhaps it was an easy fix. I pulled out the lint trap and pressed the flap beneath it. There was extra lint tucked down under the flap and extending into the tunnel. I would remove that and try again. I stuck my arm all the way down in the tunnel beneath the flap and pulled up every bit of lint that was hanging down. Then i detached the tube from the back of the dryer to the wall, looking for lint. There was no lint, just dirt. I reattached the tube to the back of the dryer and threw all the lint away. I closed the door to the dryer and pushed start. It ran for a bit and then stopped. I stared at the dryer in an angry haze of sleep deprivation. I stared at it some more, as if it had the answer…i just had to suss it out of it in an interrogation room. I grabbed the dryer unit with both hands and shook it screaming, “No! Noooo! Nooooooo! No!” I opened and closed the door again and again pushing “start” “start” “start”…. I tried perm press, normal, delicates, more dry, wrinkle guard, bedding…i tried them all. Each time the music keyed up and each time i opened the door it tinkled down. Eventually i had to accept that it was not going to work. Not ready to do that, i beat the dryer repeatedly with my fists screaming “No! Noooo! Nooooooo! No. Nooo!” The dogs stared at me pensively.

The first order of business was that the wet clothing had to be dried. I loaded the clothes into the car in trash bags and drove them into town. There was only one laundry mat i would use in a highly trafficked area that was always bustling with people because it was attached to a place of business with late hours. I would only use this one laundromat because i’d had a previous negative experience in a laundromat and understood just how often predators and human traffickers used laundry mats as hunting grounds because you are a sitting duck, a captive audience. You cant leave or your laundry will be stolen. So i used $4.25 to dry this load of laundry in a laundry mat and dealt with all the usual creepsters, including the guy who parked himself one table over and narrated my every move while i ignored him before telling him he needed a hobby and retreating to take a nap in the car. When i returned to retrieve my laundry he stood 7 or 8 feet from me while i folded and narrated again, “Oh tough chica is back to fold her undies eh? Look at you. You think you’re so bad. You think you’re bad? What kind of clothes are those tough girl? What are you a nurse or something? Hey how much money you make? Do they pay nurses good? You ignoring me tough girl? You think you’re too good to talk to me, huh?” I continued folding my laundry in silent anger. He was baiting me. He wanted a response. I said what i had to say and i said nothing else. When i was finished folding the laundry i put it in the trash bags and wheeled it out to the car. I loaded the car and pushed the cart back into the laundromat. I climbed into the drivers seat and headed home in the dark. I swore i’d never set foot in a laundromat again and yet the funk of the dog bedding and the fact that i built a chicken pen too close to the laundry line meant i now had no choice. I would return to the laundromat many times over the next month. This would be a problem not only because of the creepsters but because my bank did not have a location near the small town i lived in. The bank i had my mortgage through would not give me quarters because i didnt have a checking account and i had to drive 1.5 hours to get quartets from the bank i had a checking account with. The dollar general offered an option of getting cash back but had a message written on a “hello my name is:” tag taped to the back of the cash register that said “no cash back”. Then if you managed to obtain cash back, none of the banks would exchange it for quarters unless you could prove you had an account with them. It was a whole big headache full of judgmental dressy ladies who felt i was being a negligent adult who needed to get my life together and one really itchy tweaker with no teeth who said nothing but just kept flicking the “hello my name is” tag back and forth rapidly between her fingers for way too long while scratching and swatting at things i couldn’t see.

i did manage to obtain 30 dollars worth of quarters so that will hold me for a while. Don’t ask how, it’s a longer story. The important thing is that i have them. Though i gave 4 of them away to a teenage girl when she didnt have enough to start the machine and a guy told her he’d fund her laundry load if she did a dance for him. I put the quarters in and pressed start. She was high school aged. Men in laundromats are ******* pigs. I guess he took offense that i spoiled his fun because of all the empty dryers in the whole facility, he chose the one right above the one i was using. My laundry was done drying but i couldn’t pull it out because he had pulled his cart in front of the door to load the dryer above it. I watched him as he stood there and loaded each garment very slowly one at a time. When he was finished he left his cart in front of the dryers and went to sit down nearby. I pushed the cart to the side and removed my laundry a few garments at a time to fold them on the nearby table, in order to prevent wrinkles. Occasionally he used his foot to kick the cart back in front of our dryers. I moved his cart to the other side, near the bathroom, and now it was out of reach.

I used youtube to narrow down what was wrong with my dryer. After research and then trial and error i isolated the problem to the moisture sensor. A small couple lines of metal embedded in the same piece of plastic as the lint trap were convinced the laundry was dry and therefore turned off the heating mechanism so as not to start a fire. In fact the clothes were soaking wet. The metal bits were mistaken. The internet said residue can build up on them and confuse them and so sometimes sanding them with extra fine grit sand paper could render them accurate once again. I tried this. Nothing happened. So, it would have to be replaced. I could only use a screw driver to remove the plastic bit holding the moisture sensor and lint trap because the screws were in these finger length and width plastic tunnels. The drill wouldnt fit. So i stood on a stool flipped backwards laying in the dryer drum on a pillow draped over the ledge of the doorway and twisted the screw driver in an attempt to free the plastic bit in question. After hours and hours and so much visceral screaming at the heavens i was able to remove two out of three screws. The third screw was not only stripped but so too was the tunnel it was in. It turned round and round but did not come out in any way. I tried to super glue the screwdriver to it but couldnt really tell if i was even on the screw since my hand was twisted around and the screw driver was in a dark tight tunnel that allowed no light in. After multiple days of tears and begging God i realized that if i hadn’t removed the screw in 14+ hours of trying i wasn’t going to be able to remove the screw. I had even bought a drill kit for stripped screws…despite the fact that at some point i was aware that the drill did not reach to the location of the screw. I don’t know why i thought that would fix the problem. So i found a coworker whose Uncle (had his own construction business) was going to come over and get the stripped screw out. Then i got covid again and the house was a quarantine zone. My grandmother funded some new appliances and i was ready to just be done with this thing and let somebody else handle the disaster of a dryer issue i was having. So i closed the door to the dryer, removed the lint trap (those things come in handy for other projects…keep in shed for future inventions). I also wanted the tubing and the old stack kit but the guys that hauled it away werent willing to take it if i kept that stuff (they are likely going to fix what i couldnt and either use it or sell it). They are not likely to be happy when they realize the lint trap is missing. Hello boys, welcome to my level of frustration in life. It’s not all peaches. Enjoy.

After the dryer went the next thing to go was the septic tank. There is a flap that opens when you flush the toilet and this flap is staying open for longer and longer periods of time with each flush, allowing ghastly air to enter and fill the house. Obviously i stopped using the toilet. The bathroom now has a home depot bucket with a lid. It must be emptied onto the compost pile daily. At this point with the biblical amounts of grasshoppers the compost is not for gardening. I’ve given up on that. Its merely a way to get rid of fruit and veg scraps that the chickens cant eat so that im not trying so hard to smush the trash down to our designated two bags each monday. Toilet paper now goes in the trash.

It was about this time that i noticed the ice cubes in the freezer were water. They stayed that way for 3 days. It seemed like this was more than the usual faulty seals. Then the refrigerator stopped working. All my condiments, my vegan butter, my oat milk…it all soured. The flax oil went rancid and tasted like paint. The whole thing began to stink in such an awful way. So i got out most of the perished items and then refused to open it anymore. It’s now a room temperature plastic cabinet. The motor has stopped making a noise.

The windshield wiper fluid pump on the car is broken. The shock absorbers went so the steering wheel literally bounces out of my hands while im going down the road. It feels like im riding a galloping horse thats more lethal, difficult to steer, and less fun. There’s a flat plastic piece hanging down from the bottom of my car. It drags on hills. The other day i was driving around and realized the air conditioner had also gone out on the car. I had it at level 4, was driving for over an hour, and the air was still hot. So add that to the list of things that are broken.

My credit card was compromised and i had to cancel it after it was used at a gas station pump where the red sticker was broken. I thought to look but only after i had inserted the card. In my defense it was 4 am and i’d had 1 collective hour of sleep. So i signed up for a second credit card considering how often this happens and i end up with no way of buying things for 5 to 7 business days.

My glasses seemingly cracked, they showed me that it was just a shard of lens, and not a crack. Then 1 day later they were cracked for real at the opposite edge of the lens.

During this time i bought, broke, and fixed a drying rack only to learn i can’t use it for multiple reasons and offer it to a family member.

In the midst of all this mechanical nonsense my dog Cashew decided to get in on the fun. I came home one day and stuck the key in the door only to be greeted by a loose dog. My brain died a little bit in that moment. How was this possible? I’d left her in the crate. Well, she was an Australian shepherd and the short answer to the question was, it was possible because the crate was not padlocked. She had in fact gone full hulk and the metal crate was literally bent out of its box shape and into a strange blob. As i looked around the only noise i could make was, “ah, aah, aaah…”. There was urine and potting soil all over the floor. The indoor plants were trashed. The urine and potting soil mixture was smeared all over the floor, the door, the windows, a curtain, and up to the light switches on the walls. It was on the counter, on the stove, the edge of the sink….she had smeared it over several appliance manuals, all my birthday and christmas cards….then seemingly shredded them all over the floor. The house was an absolute wreck. The further i scanned the room with my eyes the worse it got. I suddenly realized she was next to me wagging her stumpy tail and my hands began to shake. My insides filled with rage. Delivery of laundry units was set for two days. We were supposed to be cleaning, not dirtying. It was always one more thing, one more thing….well this was a lot of a thing. There were so many layers to the destruction. The urine would have to be removed, both color and scent, the potting soil smears gotten out of the wall paint, the crate would need replaced, she would need bathed, i would need to purchase a padlock…the cards would have to be salvaged or mourned, the floors and walls scrubbed…. I was in such dismay and overwhelm. I decided the day was progressing and there was no time to deal with the emotion of it, i would have to get to the solution of it first. I was furious with cashew and did all sorts of screaming at her, then told her to load up in the car, which she did. The dog food and potting soil were in the trunk but i figured it was just a short ride to the dollar general and we’d be back. There was no room for them in the shed. Well, when they added produce to the dollar general they took out a lot of other stuff. So they took out padlocks. Without a crate i couldnt leave her at home so she had to come with me to buy a padlock in kerrville. I drove to kerrville with the dog in the trunk on top of the bags of dog food and potting soil.

I called the pet shop to see if i could book a bath in their bathing station so i could have some place to put her while i ran to HEB and bought a padlock. they said the earliest they could fit her in would be 5:30 pm and she would need in hand paper records of all her shots. She didnt have the distemper shot and one other i couldnt afford. All id gotten them was the rabies, and i definitely didnt have the records in hand. So, i gave up on this idea. The groomer noted that if i wanted to bathe her myself in the same station i needed no records, though this did not solve my problem of needing the padlock, the whole reason we came to town besides obtaining a new crate. I called our veterinarian and asked if i could pay to board her for one hour today to run to HEB and buy a padlock. The vet was not amused that i intended to padlock the aussie into her crate…the same vet who knew full well why she couldnt be left outside alone because he had treated her for sticking her head in a rattlesnake and suffering the consequences, chewing electrical cords, aluminum cans, and consuming poisonous mushrooms. I wasn’t interested in his judgment of my dog parenting today i realized amidst our conversation that i would not be permitted to leave her at the vet either because i had refused the two vaccinations besides rabies at their annual visit. I then decided to solve one problem at a time. I first needed a crate. To obtain the crate i had to buy a leash to get Cashew out of the hot car so she wouldn’t die while i was doing it. So i bought a leash, returned to get her, and bought a crate. I figured while i was there i might as well bathe her, so i paid for a bathing station, hooked her to the wall, used their soap and conditioner, rinsed her with the warm water, and then asked them to turn on the blow dryer in station 3. Cashew did not like the blow dryer and unlike my other dog, she is not submissive and if she doesnt like something she will tell you. She tried to bite the blow dryer several times and became absolutely enraged that i would turn this apparatus on her. I used my quiet stern voice to explain to her that dogs that smear the house in urine and mud get blow dried. When she continued to bite at it i put a stop to it with a couple stern sharp “No.” cues and a glance as i held onto her tether tightly. She relented and stopped biting the plastic tube but continued to tense all her muscles and show her distaste for the item all over her face. I should mention i skipped a part where a groomer was returning a very prim and proper fluffy little dog to its owner after a grooming session, bath, and styling bows. The lady was telling the groomer about her dog’s pedigree when she said, “Hold on. Let me pick him up. This dog here looks like it might try something. He looks like he might be vicious.” Cashew literally never barked once, paid her dog zero mind, walked right past the cats in cages, and went into the bath station with no trouble. I have no idea what made her think Cashew was vicious but the look she gave me when we passed her was one of disgust. I had this big dirty dog and she had her perfectly manicured toy. I had about as much time for her opinion as i had for the vet. It was my job to handle the situation on my hands and parent my dog, not worry about her judgements or values, skewed as they may be.

When Cashew was clean the store clerk loaded the crate into our back seat and i set out for HEB unsure how i was going to obtain a padlock with the dog in tow. I knew there was a rule that pets could not come in, only service dogs. Everybody broke that rule but i would not. I asked an employee if someone could just run in and buy one padlock with my cash and return. She suggested i just lie and put her in the basket claiming she is a service animal. I told her i couldnt lie and she was not a service animal. She went to get her manager whom i had worked under for my last four weeks. She came up to me as if we’d never met and recited the whole corporate policy on pets and handling of cash. Once i understood the answer was no she took it upon herself to explain to me why no one could hold my dog for me. I was perturbed by this because she was explaining why the answer was no to something i’d never asked for. I told her that nobody needed to hold my dog and that this was never on the table as the dog had to stay with me. It was a matter of whether someone could take cash in and buy a padlock, not whether someone could hold my dog. She simply repeated why no one could hold my dog three additional times as if i had made a plea that someone should. I looked at her in utter disappointment that she could not use her brain and chat with me like a real person right now. She was busy regurgitating some policy on why employees could not hold dogs for a fourth time when i told her firmly again, “i heard you and i understood you. Im not disputing you. You can stop.” She then stood next to me while i called people i knew in town trying to see if they would come up here, take my money inside, and buy a padlock if i let them keep the change for their troubles. No one answered. It seemed as if she was standing by to make sure i didn’t run in with the dog when she wasnt looking. I noted, “if i was going to break the rules i would have just lied and said she was a service dog.” At this point she cocked her head, nodded, and went back inside after telling me one more time that the dog could not come in and nobody could take my money, that they could not do business with me today and i would have to come back another day when i didnt have the dog. If i did not obtain a padlock the dog could never be left anywhere without me, so, this was the small hiccup in that plan. Unable to reach any friends in town i now had two choices: leave the dog in the hot car without a/c or leave the car running and unlocked with the key in the ignition and risk it being stolen. Several cars had been stolen from this very parking lot with our security officer on his scooter doing the rounds so this was a very real possibility. I decided to leave the car unlocked and running. I ran in. All the staff saw me but the dog was not with me so they couldnt refuse me service. Im sure they wondered what i did with the dog and i didnt care. I grabbed the padlock, paid at self checkout, went through the exit, and ran back to the car. Three basket boys were ever so slowly collecting and dragging baskets from docks on either side of my car. They were meant to be spread throughout the whole lot and they were all surrounding my car. They had been watching the whole thing from start to finish as they brought baskets in. I realized what they’d done for me and was grateful but didnt acknowledge it as i knew we were on camera and didnt want to get them in trouble with the boss in any way. I climbed into the car with my padlock and started towards home with a clean and living dog (this was the last day the a/c in the car worked by the way), a padlock, a new leash, and a crate. Once home i put the dogs outside and spent hours cleaning, scrubbing, and deodorizing the mess. I could not for the life of me understand what possessed Cashew to go ape shit and the-hulk bust out of her crate to go on this little field trip through the indoor plants and why had she smeared it all over the walls?! I got my answer around 2 am the following morning. At 12:04 am Sili sat straight up in bed and would not lay down. She moved herself in between me and my pillow and would not budge. I checked to see if there was a snake or scorpion she was trying to guard me from. There wasnt. She could not be persuaded to move. I thought she’d lost the plot. What was wrong with her? Both she and Cashew pointed to the window with interest. I wondered what it was that was out there that had them both interested. I purposely crated both dogs and stepped out onto the porch myself. What i heard was absolute silence. The darkness was still. Not a cricket, a bird, or a toad made a single noise. The only time the night is quiet in the country is when there is a large animal in close proximity. Everything small goes quiet to avoid detection by something that could eat them. Something was very near in the darkness. I didnt like it, but i didnt have time to wait for it to go away. I had to get ready for work and the dogs had to go out in the dog run to potty. So i set the water bowl in the dog run, keeping my ears alert for any growl or grunt in the darkness. I heard nothing but silence. I leashed the dogs and took them to the run one by one. I bungeed the run shut so Cashew couldn’t let herself out and went back to getting ready for work inside the house. When i returned to herd the dogs inside so i could leave for work the silence was still deafening. Not a cricket stirred. Then both dogs perked their ears up and stood at attention at the gate in the dog run. The silence was marred by a noise i recognized at once; hogs. The darkness was full of wild hogs. I wondered if this was what Cashew had gone ape shit about when i was gone for a mere half day the day before. Sure enough, that afternoon, i would walk around the house and find hog prints underneath the window where Cashew’s crate stood before she utterly destroyed it. They had come around the side of the house, traipsed in front of it, detoured over to eat the discarded chicken feed around the pen, and gone right down the dirt driveway and through the gate. So the dog went ape shit which i was not happy about but at least now i knew why. She had to have heard hogs so loud right outside the window. Sigh. Just another disaster to add to the list for the time being.

Here is photographic evidence that at one point in time Cashew was shampooed and conditioned because directly after this she rolled in deer poop, ran through prickers, and took a dust bath.

I was drying laundry at a friend’s house at 8:30 at night when our mutual friend came to pick up some device that was supposed to help hip pain. She asked why i wasn’t at the friday group and i laughed and said, “oh i have a few things that are broken that ive been trying to deal with and i just kind of knew making it to the group wasn’t something in the cards for me right now.” She asked what was broken. I then told her everything you just read and she turned to my other friend and said, “Look at her. She’s laughing. I’d be crying, curled up in the fetal position right now and she’s laughing. You have such a good attitude.” Her statement knocked me back a bit as i hadnt realized my outward reaction didnt match my inward one. Outward i appeared somewhat put together, like the recent events didnt bother me and i had some sort of direction or plan. Inward there was a little figure in a red track suit with a terry cloth headband and wild hair running around in circles pulling fire alarms, hitting panic buttons, and just straight up screaming. I laughed to myself. Somehow i had succeeded in portraying a semblance of maturity. She thought i was adulting well and i wasn’t going to correct her. I told her i hoped her hip felt better, gave her a long hug, and returned to my laundry. Perhaps that was what maturity was about…hearing the little dude in one’s head in a track suit with its panic buttons and then ignoring said dude while he does his thing. I suddenly realized that the series of disasters i was currently dealing with seemed like disasters to others as well. My friend asked, “How do you do it?” I answered, “The dogs are alive, the chickens are alive, Im alive, the property is not repossessed by the bank (knock on wood that never happens), we’re not living in a war zone. It’ll work out. It could be worse.” She answered, “that’s a good attitude. It could always be worse.” She told me she would pray that some of my broken things got fixed.

It’s almost time to tell you about the disaster that was supposed to be the first home depot delivery.

A Poem

My heart is broken for the aggressors that never chose aggression, the fugitives that never imagined themselves without roots, the thinkers that have fallen silent as they’ve noted that to disagree is to invite violence.

My heart is broken for the death rattle filmed as the streets are painted crimson and cluttered with pieces of mothers’ souls.

Souls sent to God for judgment all the same; some for duty, others pride, but most tragic those sent of dispensability.

What does it mean to be called one or the other? Is it blood that determines darkness or light? Is it spoken word? Is it value or belief? Is it loyalty and if so, to whom or what?

Is it enough to know in one’s heart that the answer was given thousands of years ago, or must it be said, and what ears would it fall on if spoken? The answer is love, not hate.

When all of clarity is shrouded in the suffocating mist of emotion, when earth is cleansed by a darkening plague of fear, When small men stand on pedestals in the midst of turmoil and giants shrink into shadow to disappear,

Will we recognize the long slender fingers of the reaper when it stands our turn? Will we remember, love is life and death is hate?

My heart is aching for the upright animal lost in a flurry of destruction, grasping at the shards of meaning strewn about the earth.

So preoccupied is the massive collective with the answer that the question has not been considered.

Meaning is the falsity which hides the truth behind its veil. Focus not on interpretation but the words that be hidden in plain sight.

Answer hate with Love.

Life Without a Refrigerator

Eating has grown cumbersome. It is a process i no longer enjoy and quite dread. It’s more of a chore than a reprieve these days. Anytime something is cooked it must be either perfectly portioned or babysat in order to prevent bacterial growth. A baked potato takes me 1.5 hours to cook. I’ve been eating a lot of potatoes lately as they keep well outside of the refrigerator. However, i usually make more than one at a time. Now i can’t do that as there is no refrigerator to keep leftovers in. So each potato is its own separate 1.5 hours of prep time. Apples and oranges can be eaten whenever and im thankful for them but they are more of a snack than filling. Pasta must be perfectly portioned to a quarter of the bag so that it makes one plate exactly because what am i to do with leftovers? Actually at times i do make a whole bag of pasta but then every three hours i have to add a cup of water to it and place it back on the stove to heat it again so that i can prevent it from going rancid. Every three hours i recook it until the final time that i let it cool, dump it in a ziploc freezer bag, take it to Fredericksburg, put it in the break room refrigerator while i work, and then thaw it on the car ride home to eat for some meal located half way in between when lunch and supper should be. Because there is this effort to keep the pasta from going off before i can eat it, once i make it i must eat it for supper, then breakfast, then supper again. I get tired of eating the same thing for three meals in a row but the sooner i get rid of it the sooner i can stop babysitting the thing trying to make sure it doesnt grow things and also doesnt congeal and stick to the bottom of the pot. I’ve gone from three meals a day to two. It’s just easier that way. Im not hungry for three meals and i cant handle the effort of planning three eating sessions. I eat once in the morning and once in the afternoon. This is simply what must be done for now. Wednesdays are the one day a week that the county produce warehouse is open. I still go but i can only buy things that will keep well outside the refrigerator: onions, potatoes, butternut or acorn squash, apples and oranges. I considered buying a 12 cubic foot refrigerator vs a 20 because then i could fit it in my suv and get it to the property myself. I wouldnt have to wait a month for delivery. I then realized i hadnt thought of who was going to haul the old one away…. Also, the 12 cubic ft fridge was still a hefty 146 lbs. i would need a dolly and a second person and i still couldnt lift the old fridge over the threshold to get it down the stairs and into the yard. I remembered how awful it was to have a random laundry unit in the yard for a year and didnt want to return to this aesthetic. Half of the attraction of the 12 cubic ft fridge was that it was a vintage themed fridge with a powder blue exterior and a vintage door handle. I thought to myself, “This will help me budget. If it wont fit, i cant buy it. Im one person. I dont need more than 12 cubic feet of food a week.” In fact most of my 20 foot fridge just holds dishes im procrastinating washing. I just throw them in the refrigerator to keep them from needing attention urgently with the idea that i’ll tend to them later. After reading all the concerning reviews of the particular brand and realizing that my patients had the same brand of mini fridge in their rooms, i interviewed my patients and realized that these were crap fridges that never ever worked right and often leaked water or had insufficient seals on the doors. I gave up on the idea of the vintage themed slim fridge. I called around and realized if i went with another company it would be december 7th before they could get me laundry units and never before they could get me an out of stock fridge and they didnt offer take away services either. I was stuck. There was nothing to do but wait and try not to food poison myself in the process. My family member from the city said, “well wait until it gets a bit cooler and then you can just keep all the food outside”. In Texas, she means to say wait until december or january…and the refrigerator is supposedly available before then. Also, the idea that food is going to be kept outside and not immediately raided by little masked bandits if not every other living creature in the woods, is a very concrete jungle thing to say.

A Glimpse of a Migration

These guys flew right over my head, from one end of our property to the other. They were all honking at once in an excited frenzy and the noise was unmistakeable but i was too busy trying to locate them through the trees and neglected to pull out and unlock my phone until they were basically gone. They were flying in a check mark formation. My heart filled with joy as i knew these guys had left early enough to beat hunting season. I watched as these huge dark feathered geese that had flown right over my head became fuzzy lines in the distance and then faded from view altogether, their honking barely audible. I remembered how the city of Denver Colorado had taken a vote one night and decided they were sick of the goose poop in the park and shot them all. I used to visit them when i went to see my aunt and uncle. I was fascinated by the presence of these huge hissing birds who would run around with wings outstretched and poop green slime everywhere. So too was my little cousin, like me in so many ways. He would chase the birds with glee while my Uncle shook his head and stood by ready to grab him when the bird grew tired of this game and decided to charge. My little cousin got it. There was something magical about a bird as big as he was that went “HONK” every few minutes. And then one morning they were just gone. That is the danger for all things wild in the city. They might massacre you if you don’t fit into the neatly manicured scene. You see, in the city there are no dung beetles to roll turds away with impressive speed and thoroughness. The sidewalks show green goo in a way that fields and swamps don’t. This small group of geese would be safe. Perhaps they would make it to their destination. Hunting season began in early November and they were flying over country where nobody cared if they pooped. I whispered “good luck” and they were gone.

Mieke

As i was climbing the porch stairs after work yesterday i noticed a familiar shape hanging against the well house door and i knew instantly that it was an orb weaver! I loved orb weavers above all other spiders. They were such lovely creatures. They spun beautiful impressive webs and then waited for their prey to come to them. They didn’t jump or chase or scurry. They were pretty stationary spiders. You could usually find them sitting in their webs and they were big enough that you could see all the detail of their intricate markings. They were great listeners and amazing to watch when spinning a web or a meal. They didn’t seem to mind the company. So as i approached the well house door i couldn’t believe my luck. It wasn’t just an orb weaver, it was a female spotted orb weaver…my favorite of all varieties of orb weaver. She had a brown body with lighter and darker brown markings. Her legs were the reason i loved the spotted orb weaver above all others. Bands of dark brown were present on her translucent bright red legs. They just looked so cool! What a pop of color can do when the light shines through it! I named my new friend Mieke after a character in a war film and vowed to combat any praying mantises that discovered her.

A Day of Rest

I was given the opportunity to pick up 10 hours of work at a quiet facility between friday afternoon and saturday. It was not in my plan. Resting and recuperating was in my plan. However, it was good money and a chance to see some patients that didn’t otherwise have a therapist due to unforeseen circumstances. I had the opportunity to have a regular saturday gig and i quit on day 2. Trust me, i have my reasons. When you walk in and you just know this is not going to work out but you give them 6 unpaid hours of your time between 2 days anyway and then pull the plug on something that’s not gonna make sense financially or mentally and emotionally due to what can only be described as “chaos”…. This quieter facility is my almost regular gig’s sister facility. I will likely only work there on saturdays to cover therapists’ vacations or sick days. This will not be a regular gig, but the work is paid hours and the people and environment are calm and kind. I would rather have a once in a while saturday gig at a quiet facility than an every week gig at a place that will leave me without my mind. With all that sussed out, i couldn’t really say no to 10 juicy hours in 2 days so i took a bunch of supplements, ate a lot of oranges, and paced myself. I managed to get through the 2 days without backsliding into symptoms but the fatigue was still quite present. Yesterday i helped a rather involved patient toilet and i was glad i had left her treatment for the end of the day because i had to lock the office door and take a 12 minute nap in the office chair before i could make the drive home. But, the patients were all lovely and i got to work with some awesome CNAs. I was happy to have grabbed the assignment and i made a few hundred dollars which is always welcome these days. I had all these plans about how i was going to clean the whole house today in anticipation of the laundry machine delivery on thursday. I was going to sweep, dust, scrub the sinks, the mirror, and the toilet…. I was going to get up early and make it all pretty. I fell asleep yesterday with one of the dogs around 3 pm and didn’t wake up until 7:30. I fell asleep again around 11 and didn’t wake up until 3 when i took morning meds and went back to sleep until 5 when i donned my night retainers which might as well be day retainers at this rate. The rubbing alcohol is bleaching them white but i can’t put them in without killing the illness germs so it must be done. At 5 am i put both Sili and Cashew in the bed and laid down. Cashew had been so good to howl at maybe 45 different alarms i had set to wake me up only to find that i’d turned it off each time, given her a pat or a cracker, and gone back to bed. She never gave up and threw the towel in even though i was making sounding the alarm clock wake up call pointless. I felt she deserved to sleep on the memory foam for a few hours so i put her on the bed. She stayed draped over my leg, everything but her head and front paws covered with the blanket. Sili stayed on the pillow next to me with a paw draped over my arm and her back feet tucked against my ribs. I covered her with the blanket as well. It was dark and the perfect temperature. Both dogs were cozy and settled. I decided we were sleeping in. Cleaning would have to happen another day. I would get up and let the dogs and chickens out at 8 and then go back to bed to web surf and nap while the temperature was perfect and the time was there to rest. I would get up at noon and steam all the masks i wore this week in the pressure cooker but other than that, i was taking a day off. Rest felt good now that my symptoms had subsided enough to enjoy it. I had to chuckle to myself that i’d worked friday and saturday and i was this exhausted. I’d had the weekend, monday, tuesday, wednesday, and thursday to rest at home but it doesnt really feel like rest when you’re sick i guess.

A Gift from Grandma

Having been really sick in my tiny home i wasn’t sure how to gage the amount of time that should pass before i asked somebody to come into the space of contagion to help me work on all the dead or malfunctioning appliances. I decided not to ask my coworker’s uncle from up the road to come try to get the stripped screw out of the dryer. Right before i was sick the septic tank became an issue and then right after i fell ill the refrigerator broke. Also the shock absorbers on the car went. It was one of those things you know? when it rains it pours. I had my hands full with the dryer debacle and then seemingly the other items on the homestead all went, “me too, me too, i need attention too!” I wrote everything down and made my calls and scheduled various relatives of coworkers or friends to come out and give me a hand once i got better until the refrigerator broke. My reasoning was that i couldn’t wait to replace the fridge. That would be something i needed to do immediately. Around this time my grandmother decided to gift me the money to replace the appliances. She and my mother have a saying regarding the homestead, “i’m glad you’re happy but i like to be in civilization.” Well, usually i prefer my way but i’d be lying if i said i didn’t like the civilization way of doing things this time around. I was going to fuss and swear and sweat over these wretched uncooperative appliances some more until i sussed out what was wrong, removed the pieces in question, ordered parts, and put them back together. It sounds easier than it is because nothing goes according to plan. Some screw always gets stuck or you’ve misdiagnosed the problem or the part you ordered doesnt actually fit because contrary to the seller’s belief, it is not compatible with that model number. I had several months of fixing things ahead of me. Instead i just ordered new appliances on homedepot.com. They deliver, install, and take the old one away for a 40 dollar fee. I bought a new stacked front loading samsung washer and dryer arriving on the 20th of this month. The refrigerator was not available until November 23. So i am limited what grocery items i can buy until then, but, there wasn’t really a choice. It was no fridge or fridge on November 23, so i ordered it. I told myself it would give me something to be super thankful for on Thanksgiving. I knew it would take me more than a month to figure out how to fix it myself. Really anything involving a cooling system went over my head. Science class was not my forte in school. In fact it was the thing i was usually failing. I just couldnt understand non-concrete concepts. So, a/c units and refrigerators were a bit out of my league. If backed into a corner i’d figure it out eventually but it might take me half a year so if there was any other way, it seemed like i might better take it. Who is that guy who builds flashing glitter bomb skunk spray decoy packages for porch pirates? Or Otto from that Alaska the Last Frontier show….if i was either of them things would be different but alas im not. The broken fridge was a Frigidaire and it had been some level of broken when i moved in. The freezer went through cycles of freeze and thaw which spoiled fish and made it difficult to maintain ice packs. I figured it couldn’t hurt to try the other option for my price range so i went with the LG. Its just a basic refrigerator but if it works it will be a most treasured item on the homestead. So that there is the civilization way. You click some buttons, enter your personal info, pay, and not only do they deliver it to your house but they install it and they haul the old one away. I’d say this is a rare time when i agree with my mother and grandmother. This one time, the city way of doing things was pretty nifty. I still can’t believe they’ll deliver out here. I’d be lying if i said it wasn’t a huge relief to be done with fixing things for a bit. I do it out of necessity, not love of the process. This is probably the best early Christmas present i’ve ever received. I am really beyond grateful. It feels good to have something checked off the list during this season.

A Full Moon

I wasn’t feeling too good when i went to bed last night. I buried my face in Sili’s fur, pulled the blanket around me, and hid from life. Something made me roll over and when i did i noted what i first mistook as a flashlight shining through the window. As logic returned to me i realized it wasn’t a flashlight at all. It was a brilliantly illuminated full moon. As it rose it moved higher in the window but remained just as impressive. i usually liked to water the plants during a full moon because it lit the yard so well you didnt need the lantern but i had watered the plants two hours early due to illness and wanting to be inside by the time the temperature became cooler.

A Better Day

It rained for a week and the weeds grew but the grass remains dead for lack of water. It’s so patchy i’m not sure it’s worth mowing. The bushy part next to the well house is the bit that i leave every year so the butterflies and bees can enjoy the naturally occurring thistles.

I woke up this morning after having a terrifying dream. i was outside speaking to someone as the wind whipped my hair into my face and pulled at my clothes. The house creaked and groaned with each blustery gust. The unknown person which im fairly sure was a tv character i’d seen on an internet clip of Yellowstone was showing me the weather forecast for where he was going to be for the next week. The phone showed “low 0* high 1*” under all 7 days. I chuckled and shook my head, “Boy i’m sure glad that i live in Texas and not wherever you’re going.” He looked at me with confusion written on his face. He said, “No, that’s for here. Read the top of the screen. I’m staying up the road for the next week.” My stomach dropped open and i grabbed the screen from his hands. Sure enough, the forecast was local. “How could this be,” i thought? The man said, “What do you think all this wind is about? It’s blowing in right now!!” I frantically scrolled through the hourly report. He wasn’t wrong. There was no time! It would be 30 degrees within the hour! How would i get all the plants covered?! What about the fruit trees, the aloe vera?! Oh i had to hurry. As i ran through the yard towards the shed to get the blankets the man disappeared and it was like a time lapse ensued…the clouds flew across the sky in fast motion, the position of the sun changed, the weather became overcast and it began to snow. I was outside rushing to get blankets over the trees and it was too late. How could this be happening? In a matter of minutes the weather went from 65 to 30 and now there was snow falling on everything. In my desperation i tripped over one of the blankets and fell. I was sitting on the ground tangled in the blankets which weren’t on the completely exposed young fruit trees when a huge gust of wind slammed into the side of the house and i sat straight up in bed. The wind had been real. The house was moaning and creaking in real life as well. It was 8 oclock. I had slept through dawn. I had slept through the 8 oclock alarm and Cashew was doing what i’d trained her to do: howl until mom actually gets up when the alarm goes off. Sili was tucked beneath my arm under the blanket which was sweet because she had wanted to sleep on my feet. I had felt really crummy and i asked her to sleep on the pillow cuddled up near me. I remembered her sniffing my hair and tucking her muzzle against my face as i drifted off to sleep using her fur as a pillow. Apparently she had stayed put even though she prefers to be free of the blankets when the weather is warm. I unzipped the mosquito net tent and went straight to the front door windows to look out. As i drew the curtain to the side with my hand i noted that there was no snow in the yard. It was 55 degrees. The forecast stated it would be 80 degrees in a few hours. I turned off the alarm and fed Cashew her dog crackers as a reward for howling until i woke up. I took my temperature with the thermometer housed in a sandwich bag because i don’t understand why i should pay extra money for thermometer covers when plastic bags are essentially the same thing and i already have them. My temperature read 97.9. It was the first time in 5 days that i didn’t have a fever. I tried to slowly and calmly let the dogs and chickens out and get them situated with food and water without doing anything taxing or strenuous. Then i ate all the alkalinizing foods; the oranges, the seaweed, the kale/potato/onion/mushroom mixture. I drank my elderberry syrup, colloidal silver, and all my vitamins. I made a decision that i would do very little today. I would monitor my temperature and let my boss know if it stayed around 97…which was normal for me. I noticed i could breathe a bit easier and my headache was gone. Perhaps this was a return to the world of the well. I sooooo wanted to rejoin that world. I was tired of this madness. And so began the struggle to keep myself still for 12 hours so that this could continue to be a much better day than the past 5. I watched a lot of “the people’s court.” That judge will never know how much her show is appreciated. She has these sayings that she sprinkles in here and there that i write down if i find them relevant. Today so far we have “the devil knows more from being ancient than he does from being the devil” and when she wanted to tell a litigant that she had created a situation she said, “the mangoes and rice that you have created…it means you don’t know where the grain of rice ends and the mango begins…”. It sounds way more impressive when she says it in rapid fire spanish but i digress. I do like watching her no nonsense command of the courtroom, so, that is what is on the menu for today…watching the people’s court, taking vitamins, drinking nasty liquids, monitoring my temp, and hopefully staying at 97.9 or below. I usually sit around 97.3 or 97.5. I took my temperature a few minutes ago and it was 97.5. Things are looking up. As for the dream i usually have some form of temperature panic every fall, after the temperatures start dropping in the mornings and before the first freeze. You dont have to think about monitoring the forecast for a number of months and then it can be an adjustment to get back into it. I think it was a bit of runaway weather anxiety as i noted the mornings dipping below 60 and sensed the coming of winter but it doesnt usually freeze until after halloween.

I Have Covid Again

This strain is much more benign. At this point its a glorified head cold, but a glorified head cold i can’t get rid of. There is a cough, a deep voice, mucus, a splitting headache, fever, and fatigue. The fatigue is impressive. After every little exertion i end up sleeping a couple hours. Standing at the counter and slicing onion rounds is grounds for a nap. The fever is the other thing that wont let up. Just when i think i’m on the mend, the evening chores have to be done and as soon as i do them i have a fever again. Every little bit of work sets me backwards. Well, there are no sick days on a homestead. Everyone still needs fed and watered. This is day 4. I’m bored out of my mind and i want to go back to work. I need to go to the post office, home depot, and the laundromat. Lets go lets go lets go immune system. What r ya doin?!