Saturday, February 22, 2014

Foiled! By Lake Speed Bump!

So this winter has been useless for walking, what with the snow and ice and bitter cold and all that fun stuff that makes a person with a gimpy leg think twice and thrice about trying to go for a walk. But today was different! Today was mild and the pavement was clear and by golly, it was time to get back into it, at least to the end of my little side street and back -- a quarter-mile walk if I go the full length.

So out I went, and it was glorious. I was marching right along, feeling wicked good, and had made it about two-thirds of the way to the far end of Kimball Avenue, when I confronted my "You shall not pass!" obstacle -- a mini-lake of meltwater accumulated on the far side of a large speed bump. Can't go around it on either side; the snowbanks are high and steep enough to block it, and there's no plowed sidewalk beyond them to get to via driveway. The water was deep enough to get up to mesh areas on my walking shoes and soak through. If my leg worked properly I could have taken a large long step and safely gotten to the shallow end. But it doesn't, so I couldn't.

So I was forced to turn back, thwarted. But it was nevertheless a pleasant, if abbreviated, walk, and I plan to do it again tomorrow. Still, spring can't come fast enough!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Defining Oneself

It is never easy, for any of us, to realize we can define ourselves, and then do it, because we all arrive at adulthood encased in layers of Other People's Expectations and we swim in a constant sea of OPEs. It's far easier to just go with the flow, no matter how miserable it makes us. It took me decades to claw my way out of all the OPEs I'd internalized and accept myself for what I was and always would be, what I wasn't and never would be, and what I could and couldn't do about it all. The end result might not appeal to other people, but it works for me, and that's what matters.

Defining oneself photo a8b25ec9-e393-468f-b32e-e115e5c6972c_zpseffd8c83.jpg Words by Jim Wright/Stonekettle Station; artwork by Rynko Brown.


Watch the gimpy old lady dodge a bullet!

My furnace started making weird noises on Saturday, turning itself onnnn... thenoff... onnnnnnn... thenoff... onnnnnnn...but not blowing hot air up to the registers every onnnnnn time. Sunday it was more noticeable, and when I went to bed the onnnnnn sound took on a whiny overtone. "Oh no," I thought, "is the blower motor going?" So I turned the thermostat way way down to put minimal stress on the thing.

This morning as I woke up I heard it come onnnnnnn... thenoff... onnnnn.... a short pathetic attempt to blow air... onnnnnnnnn no air... and when I went downstairs and turned the thermostat up a few degrees it continued to try but got no air coming up at all. So I turned it off and called my furnace guy. Got his answering machine, called the emergency number it offered me, and left a message on that.

GOD BLESS DAVE WILE! He answered within an hour, came within minutes of hearing my woes, checked it out, and proclaimed the problem: condensation water buildup in some piping. He blew out all the pipes, checked it for further problems, and declared it done -- all for a mere service charge.

Dodged a bullet!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Yelling his fool head off

When I arrive at the barn and get out of my car, Ben bellows. He's so excited to see me! And the bucket of beet pulp mash I'm bringing him. Mostly the bucket of beet pulp mash he's about to get. Definitely the food. People inside the barn know when I've arrived by the bellow.

Yesterday, after giving him his lunch and doing other stuff, I was inside the barn chatting with Hilly. Apparently Ben had finished his mash, noticed my car was still there, put these two items together and come up with: "Bellow! You're still here, come feed me more!"

Hilly told me this Ben story: When she puts the horses out after their breakfast grain each morning, she takes them in a certain order. Ben stands quietly as horse after horse is led past his stall. Then it's his turn and suddenly it's BELLOW! as the excited TB hovers impatiently by his door.

Ben's not the sharpest crayon in the box, but he knows what he knows.

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Sunday, February 9, 2014

Go me! (But where?)

So: Today I turn 65. Whoopee me. My body decided arthritic knuckles, a bum knee and sometimes iffy hip weren't sufficient reminders of mortality on this happy occasion; nope, gotta twist that old knife some more. So I awoke for a bathroom run in the wee hours and discovered:

My inner ear vertigo is baaaaaaaack!

Crap. I lurched cautiously to the bathroom, took the Claritin-D my doctor's prescribed for it, and tottered cautiously back to bed. Woke up at the crack of 9:00, got up cautiously, and began my day with still stuffy ears and lingering vertigo. It's diminished to where I can function all right, so long as I make no sudden moves. Now I just have to wait till it decides to go away.

For a while.

But it will return, oh, yes, it will return. And if not that, it'll be something else. The body is crumbling and there's no escaping mortality.

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Friday, February 7, 2014

A Late-Night Run

Now, this is being an obsessive horse-mom, for sure.

I'm just back from driving over to the barn to change Ben out of his midweight into heavyweight blanket because it's supposed to turn colder overnight. Never mind that he likely would have been perfectly fine if I'd waited till tomorrow to do it; never mind that I might have woken up the barn owner coming down the driveway at 9:30 or so (sorry, Annette! But you know me.); never mind all that. Nope, I'd planned to change him out tonight, and would have gone much earlier if I hadn't been stuck at home working on a mega-rush job. So go I did.

The Benster was lying down when I got there, blinking in mild bewilderment when the light came on. The mare across the aisle whickered hopefully; she knows my off-hours arrival means she's going to get at least a handful of hay. Ben got up when it became clear that cookies would be involved, and wasn't too stiff behind when he first moved -- a good sign that his hocks aren't bothering him too much now that he's got the large good-footing paddock and big stall to move around in.

So the blanket got changed, the pitiful remnants of Ben's supper hay (the barn's regular two/three giant flakes plus my own two large additions) got covered with two more fat flakes of my hay (the special stuff from the farm that he really really likes), the mare got a couple of handfuls, Ben got his cookies, and I got to depart feeling a sense of accomplishment after a hectic day.

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