Updates and Unsundries—

DSC01337

My heart was hot within me,
While I was musing the fire burned;
Then I spoke with my tongue:
“Lord, make me to know my end
And what is the extent of my days;
Let me know how transient I am.
“Behold, You have made my days as handbreadths,
And my lifetime as nothing in Your sight;
Surely every man at his best is a mere breath.
“Surely every man walks about as a phantom;
Surely they make an uproar for nothing;
He amasses riches and does not know who will gather them.
“And now, Lord, for what do I wait?
My hope is in You.

Psalm 39: 3-7

In case you’re wondering, unsunderies are not sun dried undies, but rather a collection of mismatched odds and ends of this and that’s… pretty applicable to my life’s hodge podge of what makes me, me….but more about such later…

First let me comment on a few things—

If you read my post “Symbolism,” (my story of the Holy Trinity) you may have noticed that I accidentally had two of the same shots or artwork. There were to be 4 of the framed pieces which I had previously “created”… so I’ve gone back in, edited, and fixed that little faux pas, deleting the duplicate and adding the piece sadly overlooked, which was really one of the ones I most enjoyed working on more so then the others—oh well.

DSC00199

IT CAME!! THE PASSPORT CAME!!
If you’ve not read the post dated from February 28th, “Goose chases, Passports and the times in which we live”—may I, first, recommended that earlier post for your reading pleasure as it is the story of my life and one of the funnier posts—unless you like the “Rome, Wine and a bit of Incontinence” post which is also my life in a nutshell. And yes, I can’t help that I am a woman of a certain age…..

I had gone to our county Court House, once I’d gotten all of my “crap” finally together (that’s how I was feeling after having scoured the world for all of these identifying documents). I was so happy. I drove up to our brand new and newly renovated court house, parked in the fancy schmancy new parking deck, walked into the main lobby of this beautiful new building (if a new court house can be beautiful) only to be greeted by the deputy sheriffs and the eerily similar airport security system.

I dump all of my belongings into the plastic bin and send it through the scanner as I sashay my way through the metal detector. At least the deputy sheriffs are friendlier than the TSA folks, no offense to any TSA folks reading this, but it seems to be an important part of the TSA secret club rules, do not smile, do not be friendly lest they detect any weakness.

I kindly ask the officer on which floor might I find the passport office. He replies in the same kind manor “second floor”—with a smile I might add which is more than I can ever say for TSA, but there I go digressing. I head to the elevator and up I go. I follow a sign to the big new wooden double doors. As I open the doors, I enter into a large waiting area that is empty. There are 3 ticket type booth windows in front of me with only one woman behind the far left window.

Naturally gravitating to the window with the person verses the windows with no one (does that not make sense to you? Go to a window with a person verses two empty windows? I thought so but I was wrong). I tentatively approach asking if this is where I need to be for a passport. Without looking up (why do they never look up) she barks “last window on the left”—this as I finally see the sign by her window “traffic citations.” I make my way down to the last empty window and just awkwardly stand there thinking she’s going to come down to this window. I hear her bark again, “press the bell” as I spy a doorbell looking ringer by the window. Now why would I need to press the bell, doesn’t she know I’m here?

Out of nowhere a voice bellows “JUST A MINUTE!” Things are suddenly not going as I would have hoped. My happiness in the delivering of all my painfully sought after vital information, suddenly and rapidly wanes. Finally another woman appears. She is not smiling. I’m getting use to that.

I begin my tale. In mid sentence she stops me and flatly asks, “do you have the correct form?” “Well, I’m not sure, but the last Passport agent I spoke with told me to use this form and include the cover letter (that was in the woman’s hand explaining the entire situation). If I called again—“They’d tell you something else” –she finishes my sentence for me.

“Do you have a photo or do I need to take one”. “oooo, she would have taken the picture” I muse silently. “ I have a picture, thank you.” I didn’t tell her how I’d gone to a photographer in town twice for a passport picture—the first picture had bad hair. I had to have a redo—not much better, but it would have to do.

She tells me to write a big check, raise my right hand and solemnly swear that I am who I am—my Lord, hasn’t that what I’ve been trying to do all these months gathering all my myriad of vital statistics?! I hand over everything and let out a huge sigh—it’s now in the hands of the Passport gods…….

Fast forward…THE PASSPORT CAME and I am now me on all of my major identifying documents!!!—but now there is an impending wedding to plan so all travel trips across the pond are temporarily on hold until further notice—more on weddings later……..
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Ok, so now let’s move on…

I went back to the orthopedic office last week. The ankle is still swollen, still hurts, my good leg is now hurting having to drag around this 50 pound (no not really, maybe 100 lb) dead weight air-boot cast—they took new x-rays.
(if you don’t know what I’m talking about see the post “Pinestraw, the drainage hole, the ER and the broken Cookie”)

DSC01069
(a little less swollen, a little less black and blue—but painful to stand on and terribly weak, it’s the one on the left)

The doctor comes in, tells me things look in alignment and come back in 3 weeks. “What?!” I scream in my head. “That’s it?!”
Impatiently I ask “but what about the tendons and ligaments”—that’s what I’m more worried about, the bone, I know, will heal, it’s those more important rubber bands inside that hold everything together. He assures me things will heal. Time, it just needs time.

He tells me I need to give it time and all I’m hearing is that “Julie, you’re losing time.” Just sitting, resting, healing…hopefully healing. Wait, rest, heal– I hope.
But Scarlet, we won’t worry about it today, for that, my dear, is for another day. I need to go put up my leg. And speaking of… this whole “rest” concept is so foreign to me but I’m working on it.

I read a wonderful post the other day on the blog Following the Shepherd, found on nonfatlatte.wordpress.com —Blessings in the Thorn—sometimes—no actually, all of the time, we’ve got to stop fighting our “thorns” and instead, we need to find the blessings within the thorn! So I am now tasked with the job of finding the blessings in my new 50 lbs leg, forced to slow down to almost a complete stop, but yet, I must quit fighting this forced rest business. I do want my ankle to heal properly. As a friend keeps reminding me, “you know at our age, bones don’t heal like they once did.” “Eat Tums,” she tells me. “Calcium you know.” “Are you kidding me?!” Tums, really Sophie?! Lordy—or as my grandmother use to say “Lawdy!”

My husband came home form work early Wednesday in order to clean out the gutters. He also thought it really important to put in a new pipe for drainage, doing away with the infamous hole I stepped in. Really? Now he wants to clean gutters? With all of the rain we’ve had and all of the expected rain this weekend, he said it was urgent. Was it urgent that he dig out that drainage hole before we cleaned the gutters!!? Hummm…. Seems we didn’t need that little hole after all, as a tree root was blocking the gutter. Really? Now there is a nice new pipe. Humm… All as I was balancing the 20 ft ladder, up against the house, with him perched atop digging out wet goop, dropping it down on my head—me and my one good leg. Really? Suppose he has any sense of guilt as he sees me hobbling to and fro like a weeble wobble? Really.

DSC01260

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

When I first began this blog business, I didn’t know what to expect or think. Those of you, who know me, know that I don’t “do” facebook—none of that social media business for me. My small rebellion to a world gone mad I suppose…what with instant this and that, tweets, facebook, “immediate” just seems to be the name of the game. But a blog, that’s different, isn’t it? I’m more or less musing and offering encouragement, a little southern insight, while people can choose to muse along or not, right? At their leisure, right?

I think this is a good transition for a “retired” educator…you know how we teachers like to “muse.”
Just like in the classroom, people can choose to listen or not 🙂
Today 106 people have decided to “follow” me on my blog of “musing.” That may not sound like a lot, but to me it is 106 new friends in my life. I started all of this on February 25th, today is May 6th—I am honored that other people from all over the world care to hear and/ or see what a 53 year old woman down in Georgia may have to share. That’s nice. Very nice.

I know some of my friends prefer my posts about food, while others the travel tales…upsetting the apple cart, I then go and throw in a bit of the dramatic– to much of their dismay— but as a teacher, it was/ it is, important to me that I let my kids (and others) know that whatever trials, or thorns (thank you nonfatlatte) that they are experiencing– someone else knows and understands the same pain, the same frustration, the same sorrow…we are never ever truly alone. My kids always needed/ need to know that and it was/ is important that I let them know we all have our share of burdens as well as joy. Teenagers especially can feel isolated as they navigate this thing called Life—it was my job to help light the way…as I still feel that is my job.

It’s also nice sharing with other people “out there” who are on the same or similar journey—despite countries of origin, language, age, sex, the one thing I know to be true is that we are all more alike than we are different—just as I stated in the beginning of my blog—on the first post as to “why a blog”—it is the similarities that bind mankind, it’s all in how we decide to look at things.

God’s grace is sufficient—that is something I am also discovering—and that is blessing enough. May He continue blessing you, as you are blessing me.

Well I think that’s it for all of the sundries for now. Life—living, loving and learning—that’s what it’s all about. One step at a time and just knowing God is always a step or 10 ahead—thank goodness!

Pinestraw, the drainage hole, the ER and the broken Cookie

IMG_0977

So I’m sure you recall my postings of how I’ve been so like the busy little bee this Spring–right? The sun comes out, the weather warms up and off I go like a mad woman in 50 different directions all at once. Of course those who know me will tell you that is nothing new or unusual. “Julie always is running around like a chicken with her head cut off.”

There is so much to do ridding ourselves of this lingering winter dirge. And now with the pollen having blanketed our world in a dusty unrelenting yellow haze, there is even that to wash away. Maybe it’s because this is my first “retired” Spring where I am actually on the outside verses standing on the inside only wishing I were outside. Maybe it’s just because I tend to be a bit type A personality when it comes to chores…can’t let the sun set without doing it all right now, today!!!

You should know that I love trees. What? What does that have to do with Spring Cleaning? Trust me. I’m not certain as to why I love them— I just find them to be majestic, beautiful and strong. Sounds like something from a dating site, but I digress. My husband, on the other hand, sees them as trouble. They fall on houses and power lines during storms, they need to be pruned, sawed and hacked. And then there are the leaves. The leaves, in his opinion, wreck havoc, on not only that freshly mowed lawn of his, but the gutters as well.

Gutters you say? Yes, the things that help route the rushing rain water off the roof during a storm, down and away from the house. Without such one could face a terrible a time of leaking water into foundations, basements not to mention the onslaught of local ground flooding. Leaves have a tendency to accumulate in gutters and clog them up. Hence why my husband hates trees. Makes perfect sense, right? I suppose it does to other men with gutters.

Each year we haul out the big bertha of ladders from the basement. We, yes we, as it takes two to finagle this behemoth, precariously pushing it up against the side of the house. I stand at the base; bracing the ladder and hopefully holding it steady as my husband ascends to the heavens, or in this case, the gutters. One slip and I need to catch him…hummmm…maybe rather, step aside as he lands.

He usually can’t climb high enough to look down into the gutters as the ladder barely reaches the gutters. This means he must blindly reach his hand down into the wet, yucky unknown, pulling out the “goop” of decaying leaves, bugs and slime, throwing it down below. Do you recall who is standing, down below, at the base? Many times wet smelly black gunk seems to plop down on my head. Do you know how bad rotting wet decaying leaves, straw and bugs smell?

I don’t know why he won’t let me do the climbing while he does the holding. I’m lighter, seemingly more agile, more spider monkeyish, whereas he is the stronger more stable base type. However I always hear the same thing… “Heck no you’re not climbing up here, you’ll fall.” But who is it that pulls out the 10ft freestanding ladder and cuts limbs while he’s at work… that will just be our little secret ok?

Just recently we’ve noticed that there is some leaking, no doubt the result of clogged gutters. Which all goes back to “those damn trees”—his words, not mine. There are a couple of drainage pipes he’s routed from the gutters, diverting the rushing rain water down in the yard away form the house. Those openings will often clog up as well with leaves and debris. This past week he dug out two of the openings of these underground pipes to ensure that the waters do not back up and can freely drain.

Now lets remember who’s been out working in the yard like a crazy woman. 125 bails of pinestraw has to be spread out—all around the bushes and plants, up around my beautifully strong and majestic trees. I do this every year. It’s how I get my lovely pinestraw tan—others call it a farmer’s tan, I like to think of it as the pinestraw tan.

Yesterday I started my outdoor work at 10AM. By 3PM I was tired and thought I needed to wrap it up for the day. I had strewn straw, cut limbs (remember, that’s our secret) and had been attacked by the hordes of fire ants that the South is so infamous for….oh how I hate them!! There you are just standing on ground, in the grass, minding your own business, who knew you’d just stepped on an ant mound—by the time you feel the first bite, its’ too late—you’re covered. Looking down your foot and leg are both a brown teaming swarm of moving pain.

All southerners know of the fire ant dance. You fling off you shoe(s), sometimes your pants as well—of which I am not ashamed to say I have done, right there in the yard, before God and everyone. Hopping up and down swatting at your extremities. Some people are quite allergic to their bite. They have been known to quickly kill a newborn calf, or any other poor creature, that finds its unsuspecting way on a mound. So needless to say, I had had my share of bites for the day. Plus there was that blasted scorpion that was hiding in the pinestraw bail—just waiting to sting me on the wrist. I hate those little brown devil things as well!

Not that I keep up with such, but I am a “Scorpio” so you’d think that they would leave kinfolk alone but noooo. There I was, minding my own business, cutting the latest bail and spreading out the mass of straw when, BAM, right on my wrist. So between stings and bites, I pretty much figured I needed to call it quits before I fell into some sort of anaphylactic shock. All I needed to do was to put up the ladder, move the Four Wheeler and trailer that I had loaded with the remaining bails of straw which I would unload the following morning. It was Popsicle time!!

Yes, I did say Popsicle. No that is not code. Whenever I’m hot, sweaty and filthy from working in the yard, I always end with a refreshingly cold lime Popsicle. It’s my little incentive. I had already moved my phone and gloves to the front yard lawn chairs, simply leaving me to walk down the bank to the back yard so I could move the Four Wheeler.

Remember the drainage hole? Yes, I knew it was there. I purposely made certain to miss the hole with the Four Wheeler. So down the bank I come when suddenly one leg seems shorter than the other, POP and down I go withering in pain. The damn drainage hole!! How in God’s name had I not spotted it? Popsicle on the brain I suppose.

There I lay, on the ground, Four Wheeler loaded with straw, motor running, cell phone up in the front of the house. “Oh God, please don’t let me be on a fire ant mound!!” I wailed out loud. And then there was my worry of the hot muffler from the Four Wheeler and the endless exhaust. But the pain, oh God the pain!! Great—here I am with a broken leg and I’m actually going to die from fire ants and exhaust fumes.

Panic sets in over the ants as I think I’m about to pass out or throw-up as my ankle is hurting so badly. “You’ve rolled it, just rolled it…you’re ok,” I keep telling myself. “Get up before they bite you!!” I sit up making certain there’s no mound, no ants, and no scorpions. I need to move the Four Wheeler. It’s loaded with straw. I force myself up on the Four Wheeler and drive it under the tree (you’d think it would make sense to drive myself up to the house but no, that would be too easy). I hobble back up the bank thinking I’m still going to throw up. By now my ankle is looking like a grapefruit.

“The Popsicle, go get the Popsicle, it will make you feel better. You’ve just rolled it, you’re ok”, hobbling I go in to get the Popsicle, not the phone mind you but the all important Popsicle. Now you must know that I’m looking like a filthy cowhand. I’m covered in straw, dust, pollen, and sweat. I’m wearing a black sports tank, black running shorts, a ballcap and my trusty Chaco’s. I make my way to the lawn chair and call my husband from my cell phone. I tell him I stepped in the drainage hole. “Didn’t you see it?” he asks rather incredulously. As he hears the pain in my voice he backs off the “stupid you” questions-“–had I seen it, why would I have stepped in it had I seen it?” (say this in your head with a real sarcastic tone)—what kind of question is that!!

I tell him I’m going to go in to take a shower, it should make me feel better…all the while knowing this is more than a rolled ankle. I make it to the shower with the cats following me…they are meowing with that yelling type of meow. I know it’s because “mommy is back in the house and she is here to feed all the hungry children” but I think perhaps they sense mommy is in real pain.

I quickly decide that if I have to go to the ER, I was not going to look like, as my grandmother would say, white trash—no offense to anyone, just her way of telling me to always look my best when going out—dying or not. So cleanse my filth I must, pain or no pain.

In agony I try taking off my clothes, which mind you, are full of pinestraw. So I just stand in the shower trying to pull everything off. I sit down on the floor of the shower, which is now covered in straw, attempting to scrub my blackened feet—can’t go to the ER with blackened feet. I attempt washing my hair. “Am I about the throw up again?” I wonder. “Oh dear Lord, I can’t pass out in the shower with the water running, do you know what the water bill would be?!”

I drag my dripping self out of the shower grabbing a towel and make for the bed. “Lie down, yes, that will help” I reassuringly mumble to myself. One of the cats jumps on the bed and immediately lies down beside me with his paw on my back. Does he sense I’m dying or simply pondering if he should make me his meal once I’m gone? Cats I fear are a little selfish that way.

“My hair, my hair, I’ve got to dry it and get the straightening iron, I can’t let it air dry!” Thinking I must always go out in public, say, as I would if going out to dinner. I drag myself back to the bathroom. By now I can’t put weight on my foot. I’ve started crying. “Finish your damn hair, a little make-up will help.” Doesn’t make-up help everything?

I call my dear friend whose daughter is a nurse at the hospital. Hopefully she’s working. My friend has her daughter call me. I tell her what’s going on; she says it sounds as if it could be broken. She will call the ER to tell them I’m on my way…driving myself. The other phone is ringing. It’s my future daughter-n-law calling me to tell me about her first job interview. I listen to her in one ear, “nurse Betty” in the other ear—“am I about to throw up again?” Politely I thank my nurse and tell my dear daughter-n-law to be that I’m proud of her but I must be hanging up now as I’m about to drive myself to the ER. Suddenly I think I’m about to pass out…

My husband pulls into the driveway in the nick of time…. off we go to the ER.

It is still before 5PM; hopefully the ER won’t be too crowded. The hospital has just completed a multimillion-dollar renovation and I now get to see it all up close and personal. The staff comes to help as they’ve been forewarned I’d be alone. I think they were a little disappointed seeing my husband. I’m wheeled in and checked-in in a jiffy. I tell my husband to go move his truck, better yet, go back to work; I’ll most likely be a while. When I’m really hurting and in these crisis type situations, I tend to handle it better alone.

Very reluctantly he leaves. “Is he perhaps feeling guilty for digging holes in the yard, knowing I would eventually step in one,” I muse silently in my pain racked mind. I’m in a wheelchair over by the window. The television is on to the Atlanta news. The story is of Boston. I am thinking about how the hospital I sit in is quiet, bathed in the warm afternoon sun—it is calm—a far cry form the hospitals in Boston the day before where chaos and a state of emergency reigned supreme. Here I was sitting with a broken ankle— but at least I had my ankle, my leg, my life. There were now many other people hurting, not only physically but emotionally as well. My thoughts turn to the little 8 year old boy and his sister……….

The nurse comes to get me. She wheels me into a nice new ER room. No curtains here but rather a state of the art room. They wheel in a portable x-ray machine. How cool is that?! I can just sit there and x-ray now comes to me! The x-ray is a little “suspect” but we must wait for the radiologist to read it. By now my friend, “nurse betty’s” mom and my husband arrive.

The PA comes in to tell me that the end of the long outside bone is fractured. Of course she uses big words but I like the simple version. The violent pulling of the tendon just ripped off that part of the bone. A lovely little fracture with some damaged tendons and ligaments no doubt. It’s what I get for having skinny ankles (my thighs make up for that however)—not enough meat for protection.

She moulds a cast to both sides of my leg and wraps them in place. This is temporary as she tells me I must go see the Orthopedic doctor tomorrow. She tries giving me a pain pill. “No!!” I practically scream. Now anyone who knows me will tell you I am not one to turn down a free pain pill, but I had not eaten and was getting really hungry. All I needed was a pain pill on an empty stomach and I’d be throwing up all over the place. I can’t have multiple miseries at once—one crisis at a time please.

And just as quickly as we came, we depart. It was off for crutches and a prescription for pain pills plus a pick up of a take out order from Longhorn’s. Steak—-I need protein I rationalized.

The lesson here is to be careful where you step, don’t let the thought of popsicles sidetrack you—and always keep your gutters clean! And never trust your husband with a shovel!!