Sunday, September 22, 2019

Fun times at my house

It's funny how the entire world seems to shrink and become smaller when you're sick. I feel as bad as I've felt in years right now. I'm pretty sure another trip to the doctor is in the cards for me tomorrow.

I have so much congestion in my chest that I've been getting short of breath. Friday afternoon I actually went and bought an over-the-counter emergency inhaler. I haven't had an asthma attack in years, and I was truly afraid I was going to end up in the ER for a breathing treatment. I also bought Mucinex DM, which is practically a miracle drug, and it's helped keep some of the worst congestion at bay. I'm running a fever now, too, and I ache all over. I'm pretty sure this is either the flu or bronchitis.

This whole weekend has been terrible. I've been feeling horribly depressed and sad. I'm sure it's just being ill that's making me feel that way but whatever the cause, it's awful. I cried when I got an email from a friend, checking on me. The dogs have been a big comfort. They both sit as close to me as possible, never leaving my side. Ginger, in particular, always makes sure she's touching me even if she's just sitting beside my feet. She's such a good girl. And Georgie looks so sad. He knows I don't feel well. I love those dogs so much.

I went ahead and texted the principal to let him know that I won't be in tomorrow. With a fever, I might be contagious, never mind  how awful I feel. I wouldn't wish this on anyone. Of course, Gregg has gotten sick now, too. That's always scary to me, since he only has one lung. We watch any respiratory infections very closely in case he needs to go to the ER. So far, he's sick, but not quite as sick as least not yet anyway.

How do you cope/comfort yourself when you're sick? I can't seem to concentrate to read for very long, and I have a bad headache to boot. I can't settle on anything to watch on tv, either. This is just the worst!

ps....Our a/c might really be dead this time. I think we're going to have to get some quotes on a new HVAC next week. Thank goodness it's cooler outside or I'd have to go somewhere else to stay. I couldn't cope with being hot on top of everything else!

Friday, September 20, 2019

Enough! Enough!

Somebody just take me out back and put me out of my misery!

I've developed a chest cold on top of everything else. I feel terrible. Terrible. Yesterday at work I just wanted to die. Aches, pains, sore throat, cough, chills, sweats, and the occasional back spasm to round out the fun!

Thank God it's Friday. 4:30 can't get here soon enough.

Sorry about a solid week of complaints. I just have to get it off my chest.

(Off my chest! Ha!)

Back this weekend....if I survive. Happy Friday, everyone.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019


Today has been a better day.

My back isn't hurting as much or seizing up, stopping me dead in my tracks, so the shot really seems to have helped. I've gotten by with only one dose of ibuprofen, which my stomach lining is thankful for. Too much of any NSAID and I have a stomachache to go along with whatever I'm taking it for.

The a/c guy will be here sometime on Friday. In the meantime, our temperatures have dropped into the perfect open-windows range so the wait isn't a hardship right now.

I finally accepted that the book club meeting I was supposed to host next week wasn't working out. I was already behind in household chores I had planned to do this week, and between the bad back and the a/c issue, Gregg urged me to try to trade with someone. He knows how nervous I am about will be my first time ever hosting the club and the biggest group (about 12) I've ever had over. I want the house to be sparkling clean and decorated for the season, and lots of great food. I texted Kathleen,  the group leader, and she readily offered to host next week. What a relief! In return I'll be hosting for her in December.

So that's another worry off my mind.

Here's a a couple of pictures from today to finish off this post.

First: these popped up in our back yard today. Hurricane Lilies!

Does anyone remember my friend Carol giving me fig tree cuttings to root in a bucket of water? It was the most wrong time of year for it and I never thought it would work. Well. Not only do these cuttings have small roots, but they're sprouting at the top and growing new leaves, too.

Sometimes it's good to be wrong.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019


Turns out I just have pulled muscles in my lower back. Had a cortisone shot in my hip, instructed to continue with the muscle relaxers at bedtime and Motrin through the day. The shot hurt like hell. Came home, still hurting, and discovered that our a/c has died again.


So much for that!

Well, I won't be getting that perfect attendance bonus this year at work. I had to leave early today. I have an appointment to see my doctor about my back at 2:15....yes, I finally broke down and called the doctor. I'm not sure what they're going to be able to do for me, since I already have muscle relaxers and no one ever wants to prescribe good pain medicine these days. I asked the school nurse (I have a lot of faith in her) if it was worthwhile to go, and she said yes. She said it wouldn't hurt to have an x-ray done to make sure something isn't really wrong.

I hate missing work and losing out on the bonus this early in the year, although honestly I suppose it's better that way. I'd really be mad if I struggled all this year to go to work, sick or not, and then was forced to call out during the last few weeks! Last year our band director dragged himself into work with the flu in early May because he was determined not to lose out. That's going too far, in my opinion, when you're risking getting others sick. He had plans to use that money for his honeymoon spending cash (he got married in June) and so I didn't blame him, but honestly he should have just stayed home.

Since sick time can only be used in half or whole day increments, I left work at 12 even though my appointment isn't until 2:15. If they make me do x-rays there's no telling how long I'll be there. I hate going to the doctor! I'd much rather still be at work.

Oh, well.....wish me luck. Hopefully it's just a pulled muscle or something equally minor, and hopefully they'll have pity on me and give me something decent for pain relief. Motrin just isn't cutting it!

I'll check in later. Thanks for all the responses on my last post!

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Is there a cure for this?

I'm becoming one of the most clumsy, accident prone people I know. I keep hurting myself!

Remember how I thought I had a broken toe this summer? It was definitely broken. It took a full two months to heal and is still slightly tender to the touch. I did that by walking into the bottom of our exercise bike on the way back from the bathroom one night.

Two weeks ago I tripped in the bedroom again. I was walking into the room to turn on the light, and I didn't see Ginger lying beside the nightstand. She's a black dog, you know? So I tripped and went down hard, catching myself in the belly on the wooden corner of the nightstand. I hurt the big toe on my other foot that time (thankfully it isn't broken, just "sprained") and also got a big purple bruise right above my navel.

Last January I fell while walking on the nature trail with some friends, and hurt my knee. I also had extensive bruising on the back of that knee that worked its way down my calf over the course of the next month or so. That hurt a lot.

So what prompted this post? This morning I was messing around in the back yard and decided to plant something in the ground I'd had growing in a pot all summer. When I lifted the second shovelful of heavy, moist dirt, I felt a distinct "pop" in my lower back followed immediately by painful spasms. It was so bad I wondered if I was going to be able to get myself back in the house! I was soaked in sweat and trembling like a leaf by the time I managed to get inside. I immediately got an icepack (a big pack of frozen vegetables) on it and took 800mg of Motrin. I've been icing it all afternoon. It was so bad I even took one of Gregg's leftover pain pills in addition to the Motrin. All that seems to have helped a lot. Still, I'm dreading tomorrow morning and what it's going to feel like after sleeping on it. And I really, really don't want to miss work....the district is offering a $2,000 bonus at the end of the year for perfect attendance. I'd hate to lose out on that this early in the year.

What can I do to stop being so damn clumsy? I'm sure this happened today because my muscles and tendons were cold and I hadn't really properly stretched or moved around much prior to breaking out the shovel. I guess I could be more mindful of that in the future. And more careful when I walk in the dark. Sometimes I just fall out of sheer clumsiness, though, and I have terrible balance. Does anyone recommend anything to help with that? Some sport or exercise that will improve my balance and flexibility?

In the meantime...I'll keep you posted in the latest edition of Times When I Hurt Myself. Sigh.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Book review: Hollow Kingdom

You guys, I read the most incredible book this past week. It's called Hollow Kingdom by Kira Jane Buxton.

To start, here is a short summary from Goodreads:

One pet crow fights to save humanity from an apocalypse in this uniquely hilarious debut from a genre-bending literary author.

S.T., a domesticated crow, is a bird of simple pleasures: hanging out with his owner Big Jim, trading insults with Seattle's wild crows (those idiots), and enjoying the finest food humankind has to offer: Cheetos ®.

Then Big Jim's eyeball falls out of his head, and S.T. starts to feel like something isn't quite right. His most tried-and-true remedies--from beak-delivered beer to the slobbering affection of Big Jim's loyal but dim-witted dog, Dennis--fail to cure Big Jim's debilitating malady. S.T. is left with no choice but to abandon his old life and venture out into a wild and frightening new world with his trusty steed Dennis, where he discovers that the neighbors are devouring each other and the local wildlife is abuzz with rumors of dangerous new predators roaming Seattle. Humanity's extinction has seemingly arrived, and the only one determined to save it is a foul-mouthed crow whose knowledge of the world around him comes from his TV-watching education.

Hollow Kingdom is a humorous, big-hearted, and boundlessly beautiful romp through the apocalypse and the world that comes after, where even a cowardly crow can become a hero.

Admittedly, this book might not be everyone's cup of tea. Hell, if the narrator hadn't been a crow I'd probably never have given it a second look (being a crazy bird lady as I am). S.T. (short for Shit Turd, named by Big Jim, his human) loves to swear, and then there are zombies. I know, I know...... it sounds absurd, doesn't it?

Here's a couple of excerpts from Ilana Masad's review from NPR books:

The novel is largely narrated by a domesticated crow named S.T. — short for something unprintable — who has spent his life with a beer-drinking, junk-food-eating, sports-loving, breast-obsessed man named Big Jim, who raised S.T. from a hatchling. A dopey, lazy dog named Dennis rounds out their little Seattle-based family. When Big Jim's eye unexpectedly falls out of his head, S.T. knows something is very wrong, but it takes him a good long while before he gives up on his beloved MoFo — S.T.'s term for humans, learned at Big Jim's bosom — and leaves home, accompanied by Dennis.

Soon enough, it becomes clear that humanity has been seized by something awful. The MoFos wander around aimlessly, their heads bobbing, their fingers swiping at objects without screens, their flesh rotting off them indiscriminately (honestly, don't read this book while you're eating if you're squeamish. Buxton is extremely talented at writing the more horrifying descriptions of the MoFos' physical condition). They don't seem very intent on eating or drinking, they've lost their language, and they become incredibly violent towards living creatures if disturbed — in fact, it's Big Jim's attempt to take a bite out of S.T. that sends the poor crow off to discover what's going on.

S.T. is a brilliant narrator, partially because he has reverence for human things like Cheetos and baked goods and football fandom, but also because he has only half a grasp on what certain human things mean. The book is laced with little jokes referring to pop culture and human idiosyncrasies and narratives...
But S.T.'s love of MoFos, and the deep ache he feels for Big Jim and the life he used to lead read as incredibly sincere. He mourns our loss like few other animals in the book do:
I thought about the other Dennises out there. How many more of him were there, creatures who'd been loyal and good to the MoFos? [...] Creatures with scales or bristles or down, slobbering tongues, good hearts, gentle souls, and soft mouths. Creatures who knew the magic of MoFos, what they give us in protection and affection, what it means to love them with all of your heart and nose and beak. The feeling of those funny bald fingers that can open books and cans of refried beans gently sliding down your back. MoFo is family.
Ultimately, though, S.T.'s real challenge is learning that wild animals, like the murder of crows that roosts at the nearby university campus, are just as creative, resourceful, and lively as the humans he loves. His identity crisis — he so wishes to be human, but isn't and can't become one — is never quite resolved, but he learns, slowly, how to work with his own kind, how to live in this new version of the world.
While it's deeply disconcerting, reading about our own extinction, there is a lot we can learn from S.T. and Dennis the dog's symbiotic relationship in this novel. There's a lot we can learn from S.T.'s getting over his own prejudices about other animals — like seagulls and penguins — in order to work with them. In his wholesale love of us, a species a fellow crow calls "a plague on the earth ... not able to control their numbers or their consumption of the land, and so Nature did it for them," S.T. ultimately gave me hope that maybe, just maybe, we still have a chance to turn things around before Nature is so fed up that she really does set her sights on destroying us for good.
I absolutely loved this book. I laughed literally out loud over and over, and cried several times, too. This book is incredibly touching at times. I fell in love with Shit Turd and the dog Dennis. Maybe it's because of my 12 years of living with a parrot, but S.T. and Dennis' longing for Big Jim and their old life with him really struck a chord. The author has a relationship with two half domesticated crows and has been surrounded by all sorts of other animals, both wild and domesticated. It really shows, too, especially in all the little vignettes told from other species' point of view that she scattered through the book.
If you don't mind a quirky read that's kind of a cross between The Walking Dead and The Art of Racing in the Rain, I think you just might love Hollow Kingdom! 

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Wednesday...still waiting

I got off work two hours early today because of the approaching storm. School is canceled for tomorrow, and the district is taking a "wait and see" approach to Friday. I raced around when I got off, going by the bank, the grocery store for some last minute supplies, and the ABC store for a bottle of Kraken rum. If we lose power I'll drink rum and Coke for as long as the ice lasts!

Once I got home, I spent two hours cleaning and finishing up the laundry so that if we do lose power for a few days, the house will be tidy and all of our clothes will be clean. Speaking of which, I had so much help!

Image may contain: indoor
Supervising the laundry of his joys in life.

Something funny happened with Marco this morning. We had the bathroom window open a few inches, and a small bird (a Carolina Wren) flew into the house. It buzzed past my head and made it all the way down the hall, around the foyer, and into the dining room. Gregg and I managed to catch it when it flew between the blinds trying to get out of the living room window, and took it outside and let it go. A few minutes later, when I was applying my makeup with Marco on my shoulder (he loves supervising all personal grooming, too) I said to him, "Marco! There was a little wild bird in our house!" And I kid you not, he replied, "I know!" Crazy!!! That's one of the phrases he knows how to say, obviously, but his timing is just too perfect sometimes. That's a smart little parrot!

So we're still waiting on Dorian to pass through. Late tonight and tomorrow are supposed to be the worst of it, so I'll let you know how we fare. At least we'll have a little feathered comedian to keep us entertained if we lose power!