Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Nudity and the older woman

For some reason, this is in my mind, and I have to write it down. Don't ask me why, but it is now a compulsion.

A few months ago, I "babysat" my 83 year old grandmother. She's got mild dementia, she's always been a little selfish, and, she's to the point where she can't stay alone because, well, one, she panics whenever my Grandfather is gone very long, 2. because she refuses to take care of herself and 3. because she really is frail and someone should be close.

Anyway, she got up at one point to make a trip to the bathroom. I knew what she was going to be doing in there because she always shares the state of her bowels. Daily. Sometimes hourly. She came out of the bathroom fine, didn't fall or anything, which was a relief to me because there's a reason why I'm not a nurse.

She'd put on a Depends because, well, because evidently things were loose. The sad part was when she had to show me the Depends. Yep, she just flashed me, her own flesh and blood, she flashed me her Depends.

Now, I've seen my grandmother in various stages of undress over the years, but she never flashed me before. I know our bodies will change as we age. I already miss my firm stomach and thighs. They are long gone and left behind that memory. But I really wasn't ready to see what lay in store for me down the road. I have always taken comfort in the fact that I will be thin again...maybe when I'm 83, but at that point, I'll be thin again. But, I had in my delusional fantasy the idea that my thinness would be firm, taut, smooth skin. Not saggy, baggy, loose scar-ridden skin. And, this isn't the image I want in my head when I think of my Grandmother.

My family is pretty open about nudity (Well, my mother and I are, Daddy would die if he ever thought I saw him nude.) Anyway, Mom never spent a minute alone in the bathroom while we kids were home. So, I've seen my mother nude numerous times. As a self-absorbed teenager, I swore to myself that when I was "old" like my then-in-her-30's mother, I wouldn't be saggy, or lumpy or even the slightest bit jiggly. Nope, not me. My body was NOT going to look like my Mother's.

But it does. And I wonder, will it look like Grandma's, when I'm 83? And if so, will I abuse my not-yet-born granddaughter with a flash?

Somehow, over the years, I've been blessed to see other nude older women. Like when I was a Junior or Senior in High School. I sold Avon. I sold Avon to primarily 20 ladies in town, some of whom were widows. Lonely widows. Women on fixed income. One in particular was very lonely. I never knew what to expect when I went to visit this lady.

We'll call her Do-do (pronounce it doe-doe). Anyone from Englewood will remember her.

Do-do owned the liquor store in town for years. I don't know how many customers she had, but I'd guess most were truck drivers. She probably never had much money, and she was lonely. She was an lonely old lady who had stupid little hairy dogs. One dog's name was Misty and you had to coo over Misty and make a fuss over that stupid little hairy dog before you could do any business with Do-do. I really didn't mind visiting Do-do, I knew she was lonely, I understood that that damn dog was her entire family. And, Do-do was one of my best customers.

So, every two weeks, I'd take some time on a Saturday morning to go deliver her order and take the next order. I always planned on being at Do-do's for at least an hour. I'd have to fawn over that damn hairy little 2 lb dog, then we'd visit, then she'd go through the catalog, write me a check, and I'd be free to go. One morning, a beautiful spring morning, I arrived around 9 a.m. with Do-do's Avon. I rang the bell and waited until she answered the door.

She did--wearing nothing but a tee-shirt. Not a long tee-shirt, but a rather short tee-shirt. Her nether regions were hanging out there for me to "enjoy." Grey haired nether regions. Nether regions partially covered by her belly, but not covered enough. Do-do also had a naval hernia which was very evident through the thin white tee-shirt that didn't cover up her nether regions, it looked like a blue egg resting on her stomach. Do-do had also had a mastectomy and didn't have a falsie. And, she was rather large busted. Bosoms on older ladies don't stand at attention either. That solitary puppy was closely examining that eggy hernia as it looked down toward the nether regions.

So, there I was, an innocent 17 year old getting flashed by a 75-80 year old woman wearing only a tee-shirt sharing not only her nether region, but her herniated belly button and 1/2 of a large bust resting on a large belly. I didn't know what to do. But I know what I did,

I left and returned later in the day.

I don't know why this all came to me today, but it did. I had to get this out. But I promise, this is as "out" as I'll ever get. I promise.

random thoughts

1. The highlight of my birthday trip to Cabela's was finding a bottle of Ruby Red Squirt at a convenience store. Isn't that so weird? A bottle of pop is the highlight of a weekend get-away. But, I can't get it anymore here at home, no one sells it anymore. The Coke distributorship for our area doesn't stock or market it. I can get it when I go east--towards Salina, or north, into Nebraska, but not anywhere in Western Ks or in Colorado. I was so excited to find in in Ogallah, NE, that I bought 3 bottles. THREE bottles! Two are gone, but I'm saving that last bottle for a day when the hankerin' for it is irresistible.

2. Kevin just about crapped his pants when I told him what I paid for our new Aladdin Lamp. I ordered the lamp from Lehman's hardware store located in Kidron, Ohio, the heart of Amish country. I got a lamp, oil, and an extra mantel for a little over $100. Personally, I think it was a good investment. He'll get over the shock. And next time we are without power, we'll have more light than our current oil lamp puts out and I will just smile.

3. Day three, and the dogs still haven't tore up the shop, and they haven't escaped.

4. If the school system in this town would quit letting kids out of school all the time, the school year would end May 1st. The kids are out again this afternoon for another teacher inservice. They started school an hour late last Wednesday for---teacher inservice. And, in two weeks, they'll have a Friday off because of ---teacher inservice. No, actually that one will be for parent-teacher conferences. But they get February 23 off because the kids all scored so highly on their assessment tests. As a parent, it is so annoying. But, since when has a school system ever taken parents needs and wants into consideration?

5. Today's high is expected to be around 21 degrees and snow. The forecast for Friday is 9 degrees, with 35 mph winds. It's going to be a l.o.v.e.l.y. week.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Dogs part deux

While they haven't tore up my house, we moved on to "Plan B" with the dogs. This past weekend, Kevin and I got a stock panel from the dog run roof. We (by we, I really mean HE) tried to dig out the run so the dogs could occupy it again, but after seeing approximately 4 inches of solid ice connecting the gate to the ground, we decided to just leave the pen be.

So, we waded through the snow drifts to retrieve the stock panel, carried it to the shop and then Kev jerry rigged a gate. He wedged one end of the 16 foot stock panel between the sliding door and the wall of the Quonset (IE shop). He then drilled two holes in the door frame on the other door which we can then use to tie the opposite end of stock panel to the door with pieces of wire. Once this is wired in place, the dogs shouldn't be able to pull the stock panel down and they should be able to stay in the shelter of the shop. We can simply untie our wire pieces and let them out. The cats can come and go through the 4 inch holes in the stock panel. (The cats re the true residents of the shop.)

We took the kennels back out for some additional shelter if the dogs want to utilize them. We also left a bucket of water to drink.

The dogs did well yesterday, they didn't get out, didn't make a mess and seemed comfortable. We'll see how today goes because, they did stay in their portable kennels for 2 days or so before escaping. I anticipate this "pen" will work for a week. I know these dogs, they are escape artists, they will escape. Any bets?

Thursday, January 25, 2007


I just did something that's either foolish or stupid. Maybe both. I just left both of our dogs loose in the house. They will be supervised only by the cats for 3 hours until Kat gets home from school. I hope my house is still standing.

Ever since we had the big snow, the dogs have been a problem. Their kennel is outside, west of the goat pen. It' s buried. Not only can you not-get-there-from-here, but you can't shut the gate and the doghouses are buried under the snow. So, we put the dogs in the shop in their travel kennels, then I go home at noon, let them out, then re-kennel them. Only problem with this is that I tended to slip and fall on my butt frequently as I went to and from the shop.

This week, we moved the kennels to the house, and put them up downstairs. But Emily, the 120 lb. lab who stands 30 inches tall, broke her kennel. She broke her nail off too, and it bled all over my floor, but, more importantly she broke the kennel. She tore the door off and out. She broke the plastic. So, today, we relocated her to Midnight's kennel. It's smaller, but still in one piece. We put Midnight in Emily's kennel thinking that he wouldn't try as hard to get out and would therefore be safely contained--both dogs safely contained.


He got out. So, today at noon, I had two options: 1. Kennel Emily and leave Midnight out, or 2. Leave both dogs out.

I chose to try this and left both dogs out. What I hope will happen is that they will simply lay down on a bed or couch and nap the afternoon away. Maybe they will watch some TV (cause I left it on for them) and just relax. You know hang out in the warm house, kick back, enjoy the stress free environment.

What I'm afraid will happen is that Kat will call me telling me that both dogs are out and the front door was standing wide open with 20 outside cats inside the house. Then she'll tell me that the trash is scattered all over, that the meat I left in the sink to defrost for supper is outside, gone, that My bed is in tatters, etc. I can really see this happening. I know these dogs know how to open the doors--they've done it from the outside. Can they do it from the inside?

To make this even better, I can't find a new kennel big enough for Emily in town. Nope, I checked at both stores who carry pet supplies. No extra-large kennels. Anyone have any other ideas? Wonder if I can use sick leave for my dogs...maybe I can...sick because I'm sick of dealing with snow or sick because the dogs will make me sick if they tear up my house? Hummm...

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

blowing snow

I am tired of the snow, and it is blowing again today. Today's winds are forecast to be 10-20 mph from the west. That's fine, because our driveway shouldn't blow shut again, but the highway to town was pretty nasty already this morning, and it will only get worse as the day goes on.

And yet, as we drove in this morning, I had to admit that snow blowing across the ground is pretty. At a distance, it looked like a white blanket was laying across the dark pavement of the highway. As we got closer to the blowing spots, you can just watch the snow float across the highway. Andy and I decided it looks very much like mist over a lake, except that it's moving much faster, and it's moving horizontally. But it just looks like it floats across the surface, about 2 to 3 inches above ground. And, it's very pretty.

But, it won't be pretty in another hour. Then, some of the heavier snow will stop moving across the road and the roads will become snow packed and then icy again. But right now, it's still pretty.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Random acts of kindness

Since digging out our driveway AGAIN last Wednesday, we've been parking at least one vehicle at the highway. With one vehicle at the highway, we can manage to get everyone to school and to work. It would require some juggling, some sacrifices, some headaches, but at least we could get out.

Friday night, Kev and I went out to supper and our conversation there and on the way home revolved around if we should buy a new tractor, and what we were going to do about our narrow, scary driveway, and the snow. As we pulled into the drive, both of us instantly stopped talking, and I know both our jaws dropped.

Looking down the drive, it was wider, much wider than it was when we left at 7:40 in the morning. Some kind soul came by in a large tractor and widened our drive. They then continued in and pushed through our path, widening it and even left a couple of spots for us to push snow if necessary.

We have no earthly idea who was kind enough to help us out. We guess it has to be one of our neighbors, or someone who drove by and either saw Kev struggling, or saw how narrow our drive was. Now, who would ever think that someone could be as excited as we were seeing our drive wider than 6 feet? But we were. We were tickled "white!" We were estatic! We were like kids at Christmas! We kept asking our selves, "Who did it? When did they do it? Wow, I can't believe someone helped up out!" "Could it have been M? Nope, he doesn't have that big of a tractor." "Could it have been V? Don't know, maybe." "Could it have been the C family? Maybe, they do have a tractor." "Wow, this is super nice!"

We've still got a ton of snow, but we had a wider drive. So much stress left immediately. So much gratitude filled our hearts. Thank you to whomever took a few minutes and dug us out.

Of course it snowed again all day Saturday. We got another 8 inches. And, it drifted some, but it was so much easier for Kevin to cope with because:
  1. The drive wasn't completely drifted shut.
  2. The drive was already wider than we'd have ever been able to do.
  3. We had somewhere to pile snow again.

This random act of kindness was greatly appreciated. Thank you mystery snow pusher. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

I'm tired of snow

I didn't come to work yesterday. Not because I or one of the kids was sick, not because I had a day off, not because I didn't want to, but because I couldn't get here. The wind blew all night Tuesday night, and yesterday I'd bet it blew 30 mph.

The wind always blows in Kansas, but this year, we've been "blessed" with over 2 feet of snow. This last snow was pretty dry, so it blew, and filled in our drive...again.

Yesterday was the third time that Kevin has spent ALL day on a tractor. I know for a fact, that yesterday, he spent 13+ hours on a tractor, looking over his shoulder, twisting in his seat for over 13 hours trying to move snow.

He went out yesterday at 7 to start. At 7:30, he came in, asked me to call Lynn to come pick up the kids at the highway to get them to school. I chose to stay home until Kev got us dug out. We anticipated that to happen around 9:00. I called in, told my staff I'd be late, and then I puttered around the house, while keeping an eye on him. (Yes, I could have ridden to town with Lynn, but I didn't think it was necessarily safe for Kev to be at home alone, on a tractor. If he got it stuck, or if it rolled, well, he wouldn't have any help. I'd rather miss work and know he was safe than to worry about him all day while I was at work.)

At 9:00, I called in and told the girls it would be around 10 when I got to work.

I called at 10 and said it'd be 11.

At 11:30, I went out to check on Kev and to take pictures of the blowing snow. It was really whipping around (and if I had a digital camera, I'd post pictures, but I don't, so I can't.) He hadn't made any progress, and from what I could see from how quickly my footprints disappeared, I didn't have much hope that he'd succeed.

I called at noon and told the girls at work to forget it. I wasn't going anywhere.

Kev came in at 12:15, tired, frustrated, and he gave up at that point. He said that he'd get one spot clear, but by the time he found somewhere to pile up the snow he was moving, what's he'd cleaned out was full again. The wind died down by 3, so he went back out. At 6 p.m., He came in and had Andy gather all our extension cords and the big halogen shop light and set it up so he could see down the drive. After 10 p.m., he came and got me. He'd dropped the back end of the tractor off into the ditch at the highway end of the drive. I got the diesel out and pulled the tractor out, then we pulled out the ranger pickup and Kev's car out. We parked the ranger out at the highway, but there wasn't any room for any other vehicle. The drive he cleared is now so narrow that the snow rubs the sides of all three of our vehicles as we carefully navigate our way down the narrow lane.

If it blows again, we'll just have to stay there till spring. There is absolutely no where else to go with snow. What we really need is a bucket, but now, since we missed yesterday, Kev will have to work on Saturday, so I don't know when we'll have time to borrow one. We may decide to hire someone with a tractor that has a bucket to scoop our snow. If we can just get the driveway wider, then we can hopefully keep it cleaned out. If not, and if it blows shut again, I'll be out when it thaws--or, we'll just have to buy a bigger tractor with a scoop.

needles vs. OTC meds

I took Kat in for allergy testing and treatment. Finally. I've only been planning this for 2-3 years now, but I finally took her in for acupuncture.

Miss Kat is what I call a snot factory. She's always congested, always has a nice full load of snot. She's always sniffing and snorting. I'd call her the Queen of Snot, but she'd be very offended. She is however, the Queen of stubbornness--especially when it comes to taking any kind of medicine.

When she was a baby and had some little thing and had to take amoxicillian, we had to hide it in her juice in her bottle, then sippy cup. She wouldn't take it otherwise. Later, as she got bigger, we'd literally have to sit on her and force meds in her. We still do, and sh'e s 10 going on 11! This child would rather feel miserable than take medicine. We've tried them all, the instantly dissovling pills and those tape things, crushing and dissolving pills, hiding them in cheese, teaching her to swallow pills, chewable pills. She refuses to take them at all. I've seen her with a fever of 101 refusing to take any medicine.

It's enough to drive you mad.

So, this is why we are trying acupuncture. She'd rather have needles stuck in her than to take any medicines. I've heard good things about acupuncture for allergies from some of my friends who've done it. We're trying it.

Kat tested positive for milk, wheat, trees, flowers and weeds. She was treated for trees (since we're safe because of the cold.) She'll be treated for weeds and flowers next. I hope this works. It would be nice to see the Queen of Snot become the Queen of Deep Breathing.

Friday, January 12, 2007

pictures of our snow

This is of the "alley" leading out to the goat shed. That drift in the far rear is the one we step up on, step over the fence into the goat pen, then down to the shed. The girls have about a 3 foot path in front of their shed to pace. Most of the time, they are content to stay inside. Right now, we are also hauling water, because the waterer is buried and frozen. We'll have to replace some parts on it whenever it thaws! You can also see the corner of the chicken house to the right. The chickens can get outside under the roof, but no where else is open. Egg output has dropped from a dozen a day to 3 or 4.

That blurry "lump" on top of the quonset is actually 5 kids. With that snow, heavy, wet snow piled up beside the quonset, they climbed up and then rode their sleds down.

This one shows that even the dog got on top of the quonset. Guess she felt left out.

This last one is just of the driveway. We dug this out twice. It kept blowing shut. Right now, in this shot, it's wide enough for a pickup to get down. That's it. This snow is probably 20" deep, but in spots, it's up to 4' deep. If the wind blows again, this will blow shut...again.

Dual said it best...

During the storm of the decade, which hit December 30, Young Dual said, "We rely way too much on electricity."

Dual is a very smart young man. We do. Of course, it took a power outage during a winter storm for him to realize how much we rely on electricity, but that's when it really hits home.

You need electricity to run your natural gas furnace. (the thermostat is electric. The blowers are electric.)

You need electricity to bake. You can cook on top of the natural gas stove, but these newer ones have a glow bar in the oven that ignites the natural gas, no pilot lights. So, no electricity, no baking.

You need electricity to have water. The well pump needs electricity to pump the water to the house and to the animals.

You need electricity to run the lights.

You need electricity to run the wood pellet stove. (The auger and the blower need electricity.)

Fortunately, we had a generator. Said generator's pull cord broke when trying to start it. Fortunately, I'm married to a handy guy who jerry rigged something to get it running. (Thank god for long shoe strings!) We then could plug in the pellet stove and had heat.

Fortunately, I had an old oil lamp, and lots of candles. So, we had light.

Fortunately, I can cook lots of meals on the stove and we didn't HAVE to have the oven.

Fortunately, the kids know how to entertain themselves. They played outside during the daylight hours and played cards and other games after dark.

Fortunately, we got lots of snow to melt...for water to flush the toilets and to wash up in.

Fortunately, I stock up on food staples. W had plenty to eat. And drink, I also stocked up on bottled water.

Fortunately, I like my neighbors, so welcomed them to our better-insulated and pellet-heated home. (We had fun!)

Fortunately, we have a good friend who could meet us at the highway with more gasoline for the generator and the tractor.

Fortunately, we didn't lose any livestock. We might only get 3 eggs a day instead of a dozen, but everyone is still alive and well.

Fortunately, we got our power back quickly. 13 days later, there are still many folks here in KS without power.

Yes, Dual, we DO depend entirely too much on electricity.