Thursday, September 27, 2012

Cope cope

I'm doing so much coping, I'm like Aaron Copland. Fanfare for the Common Coper! I know!

There are very good effects such as much less panic and a positive direction on the financial graph if I had such a thing. And one of those flat blue dose packs of the sanity drugs. I usually hate those because holy cow what a huge waste of packaging that will be around for ten zillion years, but since I'm having a terrible time remembering to take my pill or whether I've taken it or not, I don't mind. Though they are kind of incompatible with OCD, the way they always start with Monday and have those two extra non-days at the end. Ack.

Which reminds me, I just read The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime. And it was awesome! It sort of fizzled out toward the end and there were a few bits of the narrator explaining things he couldn't really know or see that way, but that's okay. Unreliable narrator is one of my favorite things ever. This reminded me of I Am the Cheese. If you haven't read that, please go read it RIGHT NOW. That book, boy oh boy, I read it in elementary school or maybe junior high, one of those (many) years when I was always done with my work ages early and spent all my time reading whatever they had on the bookshelf in the classroom.

Which is interesting because I read The Sound and the Fury the same exact way, classroom shelf book. It has things in common with both of those books.

You know I'm totally putting together a class in my head right now of unreliable narrator fiction. Could I include Hamlet? I think so. Probably Paradise Lost, too. That Satan character is full of lies! (Possibly a triple joke there.)

Anyway I'm still in the land of mildew and despair, though the water has been behaving since the maternal one threatened it with a plumber, though she hasn't actually called the plumber yet. For a while she said she would every day, but then she stopped even saying it and we remain unplumbed.

I suspect it will go awry again tonight. I just have this feeling. I filled my water bottles again in anticipation.

I'm having my yearly fall dehydration spell, where I'm not boiling hot and sweating so I don't drink enough water and then my right kidney tries to kill me with knives. It has knives, I'm telling you. I've felt the knives. Where it keeps them when it's not using them, I couldn't say, but they're there.

The other thing my kidney hates is sugar, alas. Especially the following: juice, candy corn, and oatmeal with sugar on top. Stabby stabby! I think the solution is obvious but I'm pretending not to know, until the knives come out and I'm all, I renounce sugar and all its works! Because man, sugar is so bad for you. And makes me feel like crap! Indeed.

I tried this brown rice hot cereal this morning ($1 at the Amish store) but it was just more unsatisfying gruel. As is oatmeal, obviously, unless you put chopped up apples in it and a ton of sugar on top. Rats.

So much gruel. Gruel and goop. Sometimes I'll make gruel and mix it with the goop. As for instance, lentil soup (goop) and millet (gruel) which are so good mixed together that I get all rapturous about it.

I really do eat insanely healthy food 99% of the time. That last 1% is really bringing out the gangster in that kidney, though.

Mmm, candy corn.

Anyway the doctor said my BP was 112/68 (awesome) and my temp was 1.5 degrees low (F) and then gave me all these printouts on how I should not drink juice or soda or eat various things (candy corn was implied) because of my BMI. Also apparently I'm shorter than I used to be! By 1.25 inches!

I suspect that is not the case, actually. The PA was like, "Yep, everyone's shorter than they think they are," which just made me think: or maybe your measuring thingy is not hung up right on that wall. Because it didn't go all the way to the floor. So it could easily have been an inch low or something.

Some owlets squalled at me and the dog when we went out in the woods. Awesome! That's not quite as cool as the preying mantis I picked up the other day, but it's pretty awesome.

Also I chopped down the burr bushes that were blocking the barn door, which is always left open. Well, the horse is gone, so why lock it? Actually the horse died before my parents bought the place. There was a big horse burial mound in the field by the barn. I wonder what's left 25 years later or however long it's been? There's no mound anymore, at least.

Dog and cat are hanging out with me in my room a lot since it cooled off. Very nice and cozy and homey.

Okay, I've been knitting peculiar items for presentage, but also darning everything that needed darning, which is to say...everything. All these wool socks and my black sweater, which was all swiss-cheesey and shredded. It's nearly done now. Darning KILLS my hands so yesterday I had to quit when I was nearly done, like an hour left. I'll have to wait for tomorrow. You can't darn a black sweater by compact fluorescent light. No visibility at all.

What else? Watching lots and lots of Warehouse 13, including the crossover episodes with their hideously awkward Claudia/Fargo smooches. Reading lots of books. Finishing things. Wondering if I really can just pack up and waltz off to Oregon just like that. I mean, can I? Obviously I can physically, but the rest of it seems pretty iffy lately. And the logistics give me seriously headaches.

Though I did think of a solution I sort of liked. Go back to Maine, unpack the trailer, repack it with only essentials, leaving the rest in storage there, and drive away that way. It's not perfect but it's better than any other solution I've come up with. Most of them are kind of just wish fulfillment fantasies about driving away lightly loaded. I mean I kind of did that already. But I could be much more lightly loaded, is all.

My only real quandary right now is the election. I must vote! But to vote here I would need to get a driver's license because this is a voter ID state (hateful) which then means sticking around until November. UGH. But you have to register 30 days in advance, which is to say, soon. I need to be there where I'm going to vote by a month before the election. This state doesn't allow absentee ballots for just anyone, either. I don't meet the requirements.

It's a tough one. Today I went around and around and then went out and started cutting the wild roses that hang over the area of the lawn that this Amish boy mows. I already cut them off where I mow. I can't imagine how that kid isn't cut to ribbons. And then I cut down the burr bushes because my dog went straight into them, of course. I would love to excavate the bridge by the barn from the bushes that ate it but I think I might meet maternal resistance. What she likes about bushes the size of a semi truck, I do not know. I look at them and think about chainsaws.

The axe is in the car, by the way. Waiting to get sharpened. I love the idea of walking into this old-fashioned hardware store in town with the axe in my hand. They won't bat an eye.

Actually the handle is cracked so it might need a new handle, too. With the price of that and sharpening, I might just buy a whole new axe. Sheesh.

The machete is really dull too.

I realize I have my own dull axe and dull machete in storage in Maine. Yes.

It could be ages before I can afford to get out of here with any degree of security. Horrible! If I had more hustle and chutzpah I could go tomorrow, honestly, but that doesn't feel tremendously likely.

Hustle and Chutzpah sounds an awesome Jewish rap/basketball movie. I would totally watch that.

Speaking of which, I laughed my hat off when Pete called Artie Jerusalem Jones in the Egypt episode. Hurray! So so funny. I love Artie so much. I want him to be my alternative Cylon-type person in my head when Tim Gunn is unavailable.

And little Baltar's fake American accent on Eureka is horrible, I'm sad to say. It hurts to listen to it. Isn't that odd? I would have thought he'd be awesome at it. But it's always very hard to listen to someone do an accent when you know what they really sound like. It's much easier when you have nothing to compare it to.

Hi! I'm rambling, huh? Are you still here? I'm not! Later!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

I forgot the axe

But I did deal with a LOT of things that were making me tense, okay? So yay! Awesome! Rock and also roll!

So exhausting. I've been cuddled up with dog and quilt and cat and Warehouse 13 to recover. Ridiculous how tiring doing some errands can be, huh?

I have to do all this endless tedious CRAP in the next few days. I'm just reserving some complaint time in advance, which usually means I won't need it. Let's hope!

I'm drinking all this cranberry raspberry juice like some kind of compulsive juice consuming machine. Mmmmmm. Juice.

Really I wish I had a great big vat of candy corn but it's so bad for you, isn't it? I might need some anyway. Some MORE. I mean I did have some last week or the week before or whenever. But I kind of want more. More. More please!

Though I could sure use something from the Salty Snack Aisle to go along with it. There is nothing! Ack!

Tonight is going to be an early night, I can tell already. Clearly my brains have already checked out for the night. Let us therefore knit simple items!

Oh and although I went out with the full intention of getting the axe sharpened, I forgot it. I'm quite sure I'll forget it tomorrow, too. So I've been edging the driveway and making it all sharp and neat to salve my OCD-osity and try to live up to the tidy tidy neat freak Amish neighbors. Goodness, their yards are nice. I like the neatness for sure. I also really hugely like outdoor activities I can do while my dog romps happily in the yard.

Guess what? I gave little niece Despicable Me for her birthday and she loves it! Hurray! Now I want to see it again. What a great movie. I also gave her Book of Kells, that wacky gorgeous trippy medieval animated movie that I adore.

I am going to see a doctor. I'm all full of trepidation. So many bad doctor experiences! But I hope it'll work out okay. It could, right? Yeah! It totally could!

Cheese is kind of a salty snack, isn't it? Mmmm.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Facilitate exodus

After no exposure to tv since the Olympics, dog and cat and I watched the Emmys tonight. Even with muting the commercials were a little bit of sensory overload. Also I will not be buying any of those things and why are the Marshalls ads always full of the most hideous clothing in the most improbably unattractive combinations?

The cheeseburgers looked great, though. I might have to go out and get one or six of those.

Halfway through the red carpet thing, where I kept leaning sideways to look around the people being interviewed because I thought I saw Jane, I went and got the last of a half gallon of mint chocolate chip ice cream and ate it straight from the carton. This is what incredibly slim and gorgeous people in amazing gowns do to me.

A bit later I realized the free-floating anxiety was a bit over the top even for me, expecting everyone to fall on the stairs and get played off while they're still talking (so rude! I hate that!) and remembered that I hadn't taken the essential pill that fixes that today, whoops.

I can't believe I forgot that pill. Boy, that is not a good idea.

Anyway I'm having MASSIVE pack-up-and-go urges, though such a plan is unfeasible! But oh oh oh. I want to SO BAD. Grab the minimum and run. You know I always have this to a greater or lesser extent but this is a powerful bout of it, made worse by the fact that I actually could. I mean, I could, really. Just not TO anywhere.

So I sorted out my bag of vitamins and things. Phew! That's vital! No, actually, it's not at all. That was me being ironical. Essentially I'm feeling trapped and helpless and starting to panic, that's what that means.

There are things I need to be doing! That's the thing. I can knit and read Harry Potter and chop brambles for a while but then I really start feeling like I've been in this airport long enough and where exactly is the plane?

Now since watching the show I'm all filled up with undirected Urge For Awesomeness. Must do things! Things that cause awesomeness! Nameless yearnings and whatnot!

My legs are nearly healed up from all the rose scratches and this weird plant burn I got a week ago when my sister was here. Endless searching online has not named that plant. It burned me like jellyfish tentacles burn and left long marks like evil gnomes had whipped my legs.

It's a tense evening because there's a fox or coyote trying to get into the chickens across the street at the Amish farm so their dogs keep barking, which makes my dog bark, which I'm afraid will wake up the materfamilias, so he gets told NO and doesn't understand why because clearly it is an occasion that merits barking. There was even a light on over there a while ago. I fully expect the shotgun any minute, which does not aid in tension reduction, let me tell you.

I took pup on a good walk today. An orange cat was playing tiger in the long grass of a hayfield, lying there flat and eyeing us as we went by. A big blond horse with long bangs and mane ambled over to see us but there was a double fence so I couldn't say hi. Double row of electric fence. And pup saw his first buggy go by. He did NOT like it. Dogs really don't like buggies and I don't quite know why. Fortunately the buggy horses are specially trained not to freak out at cars or barking dogs or motorcycles or anything alarming. And I held him by his harness. Good boy.

My old dog used to go ballistic when we passed a buggy in the car. She would hurl her whole body across the car and bark hysterically. I still tense up when I pass a buggy because of that. My sister says she tenses up too when passing a dog while in the car, even when her dog isn't with her, because she's so used to him flipping out and barking his head off.

There's no water again. It happens like every day now. There's talk of calling a plumber tomorrow. I filled four water bottles when it came back on yesterday so at least I have that. And I did all my laundry as part of my sudden Leave Here Now urge.

Seriously, the Emmys just killed my stomach. What's up with that? Or was it the spinach pancakes I made? But that was just the usual pancake recipe plus spinach, cumin, nutmeg, garlic, and black pepper. SO GOOD. I could eat pancakes and spinach separately with no problem, so why would the combination be an issue? Maybe it was the mint chocolate chip ice cream, heh. Maybe it was the cognitive dissonance!

When the water is off--you will be shocked by this--I don't drink nearly enough water. Hence the filling of every available vessel yesterday. But then I didn't have one with me at the tv and didn't want to disturb the animals by going to get one. So I'm drinking tons of it now. Mmmm, water.

Well, there's a bunch of specific things worrying me so I suppose if I dealt with them I'd feel a lot better. I'll make a list and try to tackle them tomorrow. I keep longing for oblivion in unhealthy ways, like sleeping way too much and did I mention reading all that Harry Potter? And watching all that Warehouse 13? These are my fiction opiate oblivions of choice!

I have this huge About To Miss The Bus feeling, or like I'm about to be late for work, or whatever variant of that you like. Everything is going to be screwed up if I don't do something right now! That kind of feeling. It's very agitating. Plus I have a cold that comes with massive sinus pain and wicked asthma attacks. That's not really helping either.

It's all footsteps behind you in an empty parking garage, no step when you thought there was one more, look in your bag at the checkout line and realize you left your wallet at home. I got scared by my laughing Buddha three or four times tonight, catching sight of it out of the corner of my eye. A FACE! Oh, it's okay. A FACE! Dude....

It's boring old anxiety but you know anxiety, our brains always think there's a reason for it and keep trying to figure out what it is and how we can fix it. No matter how much you go shhhh, shhhh, brain is all, BUT THIS TIME IT'S REAL.

Though honestly having the water go off basically every day now is really not helping.

I think I'll vacuum out the car tomorrow. And cook the fish. And do that list. You know, things like that. Facilitate exodus. Enable awesomeness.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Milky way!

You may not realize but I count any day when I see the Milky Way as a WIN.

Also counted as a win:

*when I see a meteorite
*when I get to cuddle the dog and the cat both
*days where I have awesome soup
*days where I have fish
*when I get in a boat of any kind
*when I go into the woods with the dog
*when I go for a long walk
*when I get to read an awesome new book

There are other awesome win days but they haven't happened in a long time so I'm not listing them. Shhhh.

I got to read Unspoken, you guys! Sarah Rees Brennan's new book! I have been looking forward to it FOREVER! And there is this outrageously awesome moment where a character says a thing in passing that I know happened to Sarah in real life because she wrote about it online at the time! So how cool is that? That blew my mind.

Plus Once Upon A Time is coming back soon, oh boy! I just saw an ad for Caprica on a Warehouse 13 dvd and now I might have to rewatch the series, which of course I brought with me. I will scream when my word comes on. Once has three words, though technically one is an article and doesn't really count, so let's say two. Now, is that going to be mathematical progression or Fibonacci or what? Time will tell.

I went out and chopped at this tree blocking a path today, using a hatchet. I did not get too far. I had previously tried to cut it with a fairly dull saw and also did not get too far. I'll have another blistery go at it tomorrow, maybe.

Events have proven that the fault in the water system is in the pipes in the basement, a spaghetti-like amateur tangle that my dad put in. Yikes. It stops functioning and gets air in it, though which is cause and which is effect I do not know. I was told it was all my fault that the water doesn't work, and also that the water DOES work and is fine, and then again that it was all my fault that it doesn't work. Everything is my fault, apparently. No, really. Everything. Things I have never touched. Why we are shocked, I do not know.

Tick tick tick. Waiting for my exit strategy to arrive in the mail. Seriously, dude, any time now.

I made a vat of curried lentil soup that smells of hippiedom and keep on making millet and tossing it into the bowl for a meal. So good and so filling! I could not eat dinner after that lunch. Also Amish cheese from the guy who I remember when he was like 18 months old such that I thought he was his dad when I saw him, because he's the age his dad was when I first met him and his son is the age he was then. Time! It passes faster in the 18th century. For true. Seeing the kids who say they're not sure they ever met me and I say, Well, we did meet, but you were...and I hold out a hand knee high. They were babies! The cheese is good, though.

I'm really feeling the exit trajectory creeping up on me. I want to pack. Always obey the instincts to clean and to pack, that's what I say. And to walk away from a conversation.

Unspoken is fantastic but the ending just totally kills you. Argh! Seriously. I got it yesterday and read it twice already.

Also came: Jellicoe Road and How To Ditch Your Fairy, the two books I checked out of the library the most in recent years. Except for the Tiffany Aching books but I own most of them in an anthology.

Some kind of sinus thing has settled in such that I keep going around saying, "I have a headache in my face," and making grumbly noises. Hence the soup. Mmm, soup. Also I have fish in the freezer and you know I am a crazed crack fiend kind of person about the fish. Seriously I'm crazy for the fish. I will eat all the fish. I don't know what's going on there but mmmmmmmmmm, fish! MORE FISH.

I darned most of my handknit wool socks using the great-grand-maternal darning egg (blue) until my hands cried out for mercy. Then I just knitted this fancy weird scarf until I nearly ran out of yarn but not quite. I can maybe finish it tomorrow. Oh poor hands. All the chopping of roses and trees, all the trimming of path-eating bushes and whacking of things with hatchets. I wish there was a real axe here. I'd totally use it on those trees. Where is the axe? Maybe in the woodshed.

There's a broken axe and a broken bow by the garage door, which makes me think there was some kind of minor Tolkien skirmish in the yard or something. 

Axes are great because of the rhythm. Heave, swing, crunch, pull. Heave, swing, crunch, pull. I used to split wood in high school before they stopped letting me. I got the what do you call it, the wedge thing, stuck inside a log. What is that thing called? A wedge, right? Like driving a wedge?

Anyway you do it because of the times it goes swing, split! and the two pieces fall clattering down and you feel like the queen of the world. Just like throwing darts or whatever where you do it and then you do it awesomely and you're hooked forever, trying to do it so well every time.

My brother cuts up tree limbs with a machete. I know where that is, anyway. The chainsaw mysteriously vanished after I mentioned using it, how odd!

I still want one of those machetes with a saw blade section right on the machete blade. They're like ten or twenty bucks at Lowe's, too.

I have all kinds of online job coming up starting in about two-three weeks and lasting literally until Christmas so I'm getting kind of hyper to get where I'm going and get settled before that starts, jeez! Must get going! Doing that while en route anywhere would be seriously difficult and fraught with peril. Let's get there before that, eh? Universe? Hear me? Send means and I will hie me hence! I will, too! Hup hup!

Warehouse 13 is awfully good. And I've seen every single episode. I think that's so odd! How come I've seen every episode when I feel like I haven't seen any episodes? But that's okay. It's still super good! And I bet there are lots of episodes from No TV Time coming up. Yes! Right? Sure!

Well, that's the scoop. Hard physical labor of various fun kinds. Have not visited the barn yet due to reports of six foot long black rat snakes. Intermittent basic amenities like drinking water and showers. Lots of oatmeal with double apples in the rice cooker, mmmm. Epic sleeping. I'm about to engage in some more epic sleeping right about now, I tell you what. Kzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

I saw the Milky Way tonight! I totally win! Yay!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Water redux

Oh oh oh, the water. The water and the wild roses I've been fighting with to try to find the spring so that we will have water again.

The spring may well be deeply messed up. No way to know!

I thought I sort of knew where it was but I'd only been there once. And the route there was majorly overgrown with nasty spiky thorny wild roses I had to slaughter to get there. That took time.

That was Friday.

Saturday my sister and I chopped our way through that and up around where I thought the spring was. We were up there for hours and got all slashed up but did not find it. Alas.

Sunday I went charging off to the west and tried to find it out there, near the neighbors' land. No luck.

Today I got hold of the ancient hand drawn map from 1976 which my dad had annotated with very misleading and misplaced icons showing where the spring and other things were. The map was deeply inaccurate. The spring was not where the map said it was. Hours and hours in the woods. It was cool, though. I've spent a lot of time in these woods so I know for instance that when I see the gigantic oak I've gone too far east. And the old logging road is the northern boundary. And so on.

Then I got my brother-in-law who is wise in the way of GPS to decode the mysterious numbers on the map. They weren't normal GPS coordinates but some other system nobody really uses, but he knew what they were because he and my dad talked about it years ago. So I was able to find the missing pieces of the code and translate them into latitude and longitude and look that up on Googlemaps.

And now I have a satellite map with an arrow pointing to that exact spot. Hurray!

Tomorrow I'm going up there. Supposing my legs will still move. My dog and I are exhausted, I tell you what.

I also had to replace the shower that I put in to wash my previous dog. It's the kind with a hose, where you can take the shower head down and wash the dog, right? The French name for it on the package was something awesome I can't quite remember. I might actually stand up and go look for you guys so I hope you appreciate the knee pain involved.

Ow. I'm back. But it was worth it. Are you ready? Are you really really ready?

Pomme de douche telephone.

Telephonic shower apple!


Friday, September 14, 2012

Brown couch

Aha! We have moved into the brown couch as an ensemble. Gawain dog adopted it days ago. I would look around, wondering why he wasn't on my feet or otherwise near/on me, and he'd be on the brown couch. There's a view of the mountain and you can hear all the birds yelling their heads off.

Every time I joined him, the kitty joined us, too. So now this is my writing spot, with the laptop on a wooden tv tray and the keyboard on my lap. And quilts! The bookcase quilt of course. But also on the back of the couch is the giant blue quilt I made my dad when he got cancer. So we're leaning on that.

Gosh that's a pretty quilt. It's all different fabrics but all blue, in vertical columns of dark/light/patterned that are offset horizontally. I think the squares are four inches? Anyway it's probably the nicest thing I've made. As long as you don't worry about things like, I don't know, cancer germs.

I'm still rattled from the crash yesterday. My mom pulled into a driveway to turn around but in the two seconds while she was putting the car into reverse, the truck in the driveway suddenly backed into us, crunching the whole right front corner of the car and (incidentally) making it impossible to open the passenger side door.

Apparently the kid had been sitting in his truck, doing who knows what, on the phone or picking out a song to listen to, and when he was ready to go, just suddenly went. He didn't have the brake lights on or anything and the window was smoked and had decals, so we didn't even know he was in there. And as he said, there was nobody there when he got in his truck thirty seconds before.

It was the weirdest long odds, to meet up that way, him leaving just at that exact tiny interval. Five seconds either way and it wouldn't have happened.

My mom's car is pretty crunched up and will have to go in the shop. I guess the insurance said it's his fault even though we were in his driveway, because he didn't look before backing up and we were stopped still.

As minor as it was, I got all traumatized because of those seconds where this huge red truck was backing straight at me fast and I couldn't do anything about it. Except of course scream and flail my arms around over my face like the muppet I apparently am.

And then after we drove the broken car home and got my car and went to Lowe's and got whatever and came back home, the pump was running and running and there was no water at all.

I fixed the plugged up filter on the washing machine yesterday and did my wash. Apparently in this house you can't do three loads of laundry after two showers. It uses up the whole tank of water and you have to wait until morning for it to fill up again. Sigh!

Now I know. All my clothes are clean, though. Yay!

And of course we had water in bottles to drink because water is iffy around here.

My sister is coming to visit with her big black dog! Hurray! The dogs will have so much fun racing around like lunatics. I wish I'd cleared more trails to walk on but oh well. You do what you can do. I did cut a lot more yesterday but the bugs were bad and I got all shredded up by the evil roses because I had shorts on.

Hey! Writing! Writing is going awesomely well, you will be delighted to hear. I'm reworking the outline for this book that is clamoring for attention, the one that's almost 100K words and needs to get whacked into shape. Here are some changes: made heroine younger, so it's YA; deleted family money, so the situation is dire; moved great-aunt into the spooky old 17th century house on the hill so it's more Gothic.

These are major changes but also majorly AWESOME because it wanted to be YA Gothic all along but it was being weird and awkward and stuff.

So I'm very pleased.

I taped pieces of paper to the frame of my monitor that say on the left BUT... and on the right THEREFORE... because of what Amy Berg posted from the South Park writers. It's true, there's a lazy/easy tendency to write things that go AND THEN... but that has no motion to it at all, just sequential. But and therefore are causal and give a story drive.

It's amazing to rewrite an outline with those two headers on each beat. It shows you immediately what needs to get thrown out or changed. I love it!

I also think physically sitting on the brown couch will help a lot because the second I sit in the comfy chair, painstakingly transported across seven states and reassembled, the dog gets in my lap and I can't write a thing. Balancing the external keyboard on a sleeping dog does not work as well as you might think! Even if you think it does not work well at all, it's worse than that! Oh yes.

I cut my hair yesterday. Dudes, it is SERIOUSLY short. I keep trying to see Ginnifer Goodwin but it sort of looks more like some young Lieutenant. It grows fast! It grows!

Thursday the Thirteenth was not marked by things going particularly well, I'll just put it that way. Haircut easily three times shorter than intended, then I rendered the house waterless for twelve hours, then we had a car crash doing something innocuous. Gosh!

I made really good butternut squash soup, though. Or was that the day before? It was. Never mind.

Time for more tea, seriously. Happy Friday!

Monday, September 10, 2012


It's all about the water lately. I bushwhacked (rosewhacked) my way up to the reservoir yesterday and opened it up to find it was full of long roots dangling down into the water. I have to get all the way up to the spring one of these days and see how it's faring.

The reservoir sounds like a big lake but it's a big tank, maybe six feet deep and five feet wide, sunk into the ground, with a concrete manhole cover lid on it. It utterly terrifies me in some fundamental horrifying way. But the water kept slowing to a trickle which makes everything difficult. This is the one and only water supply.

I was armed with a ski pole with a strainer duct taped to the end, plus a flashlight, cell phone, rope, and stepladder. Not to go down into the tank because I could not name a sum that would induce me to do that but to lay across the manhole so I could lean on it fish around without falling in. The rope was to tie myself to a tree in case of belt and suspenders, I don't know. JUST IN CASE. Rope an inch thick.

I hauled all the roots out and flung them everywhere and dragged myself back down the mountain all gibbering and bewigged, holding the crucial clump of roots high like a severed head. The roots were being sucked into the water pipe. That's what blocked it up. So yay! Win! And then I had a stiff belt of scotch because I hate wells and underground tanks and anything like that with the screamiest of heebie-jeebies.

Then all the dislodged bits of root and whatnot blocked up the inner float valves in the toilets so they would not fill at all so today I learned how to disassemble the inner workings of a toilet and remove the weedy blockages so water would flow in.

Then I mowed all the grass, which was very wet from all the rain. So I had to stop the mower and unclump it every two minutes.

I have other plans, like cutting fallen trees here, digging out and setting to rights bridges there, continuing my efforts at rosewhacking my way through to the pond (no water in it) and around the field, digging that other bridge out from where it's submerged in mud completely, clearing a way to the barn for no particular reason since no one uses it and it's falling down, and figuring out where the air is coming into the water pipes.

Hint: it's related to where the water is falling out of the water pipes, i.e. all over the basement floor.

I also have to fix the guest shower and bathtub taps which have mineraled up and replace the washers and whatnot.

And I'm going to tinker with the dehumidifier and see if I can make it not ice up and be useless.

Mostly waster-based, am I right? I know!

It's been pouring and pouring and hailing and raining and pouring. It poured most of the way here. Only a few things got wet in the roofrack bags and nothing fell off or got broken or anything. It's a miracle!

Oh and I have to fix the washer because all that weedy detritus has clogged up its filter too so it takes hours to fill.

Overall there's an improvement. I mean sure I kind of broke the toilets and washer by fixing the water flow issue but I fixed the toilets and I'll fix the washer which adds up to one step forward at least. Clearing the path to the reservoir was a major accomplishment and netted me many honorable gouges from the horrible roses. Mowing is major progress also as it was five weeks overdue and there were velociraptors stalking prey in amongst the foliage.

But the original thing, unblocking the water supply, is awesome because when it got blocked, the pump would come on and pump and pump and pump, so you had to watch all the time lest it burn itself out. So there's all this air in the pipes which makes having a shower kind of more exciting than it needs to be, with water bursting out then stopping then fizzling then spraying then shooting at you like a cannon. And the pressure suddenly going away and the pump going whirrrrrrr and not stopping which means all bets are off.

Anyway I guess I fixed two out of three of those. I need some plumber's tape, that white stuff, to fix the other one, if I even can, which I don't know if I can, but I sure as heck will try my best.

This is kind of why I'm here. Things were all precariously balanced and meant that life was sort of lived between and among the capricious whims of the water gods.

I'm all proud of my various coping and wild rose assaults and plumbing wrangling. Of course I love a good puzzle and if it's mechanical and there are tools involved, all the better.

I got my paternal great-grandmother's blue marble darning egg today, so cool! I'm going to darn my hand-knitted wool socks, which are tremendously full of holes. I think I'm wearing the only whole pair right now. They're darned too. I need to knit dishcloths and socks, man! Lots!

Gawain dog is having the time of his life though apparently my hollering at him really carries because I can be halfway up the mountain and bellowing at him to come and it makes my mom jump down at the house. She says dogs all over the county are going to come running. I have a good bellow. I used to be a drum major in the marching band, don'tcha know.

Oh and I can breathe, thanks to inhaled steroids. I was going downhill fast, no lie, but started taking them and using the massive mucinex 12 hour dosages and also my regular asthma inhaler and turned around really fast. And now I'm doing great, just a lingering ugly juicy cough. But obviously I'm all kinds of vigorous and stuff.

I sort of can't remember where the spring is but I think I kind of know. It's odd to walk on and restore paths that haven't really been used for years. But then patches of them look exactly the same. The cutting and clearing I have to do just to walk ten feet overwhelms sometimes but I do enjoy the work.

Oh yeah I might also rebuild and repave this stone path I made years ago that has sort of subsided into mud and moss by the creek. It's just a matter of hauling rocks from the rock pile and laying them out together so they fit. No one would probably use it but me but that was true when I built it the first time, too. I put it there because the walkway was too muddy but then the mud ate the rocks. Hmm!

Restoration! Recovery! Rocks! 

Here is my victorious mighty huntress picture. Bleah! Wad of roots!

Really it should have been all stoic and staring straight ahead like 1912 colonialism but oh well. What I'm holding is unmanageably SUPER GROSS.

I need a haircut. Gosh.

I also might need another shot of that scotch. I went back up to do some followup work on the reservoir late this afternoon and I keep seeing that tank below me, hearing the water fall from the feeder near the top all the way to splash and echo at the bottom. Brrr, shiver.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Wild roses

Wild roses are the hateful invasive species here. I know they sound all pretty and viney and twining and such. But no! They are green barbed wire and they actively want to hurt you. You can get fined for having wild roses growing on your property, that's how bad an invasive species they are.

I've been trying to cut paths to walk the dog up into the woods and around the field. I used to use these paths all the time and maintained them with clippers and loppers and mowers and choppers.

I'm going to whack them into shape, I tell you what.

But the wild roses are defending themselves. I have welts all down my right hand and arm, including fingers. At least I really hope it's wild roses and not, say, poison ivy. I've never had poison ivy despite rampaging through the woods my whole life so they (you know, them) say I'm immune, but who knows?

Gawain dog is having the time of his life, running around in the woods and sniffing everything. I call him all the time because if I can't see him, I get worried, but he never goes far. Tomorrow I might try to do some mowing, too.

Oh! I have bronchitis that turned ugly but then turned around with steroids and now I feel pretty good, though still have a gross nasty cough. I'm nearly done with the antibiotics for my jaw and that's getting healed up--slowly--but isn't there yet. I got seriously over-exhausted packing and moving all that stuff and then driving 13 hours while sick, all with almost no sleep or food. But yesterday afternoon I perked up again and today I'm almost normal except the cough.


I even made sweet potato apple curry soup and fixed my mom's internet. Well, that makes it sound like I did something. I took the new router she bought and installed it and made the computer talk to it. That's all. So basically I followed the directions! And now I'm a hero, hee.

I need my leather gardening gloves to fend off those monster wild roses. I might root around here and see what I could use. If there's nothing, I'm buying some, because with each scratch or thorn in my paw that I have to take out with tweezers, I get more determined to FIGHT. It's the War of the Roses! Except me vs. roses! It's a war on roses, put it that way.

I see bunnies on the driveway a lot. I love that! Dog has not seen them yet. He chased a cat but quit when the cat ran into the bushes, thank goodness. If they don't run, he probably won't even notice them.

Clearly a crazy person packed my stuff because I brought things like my pepper grinder. I don't even know. And a saw. A hand saw. I think the logic was that I was thinking of camping while traveling west so I'd need the saw to cut wood ( campgrounds you're not allowed to cut wood) and the pepper for cooking.

I don't know. I also brought three of those skirt hangers that each hold multiple skirts. See.

So my main mission has been to become less terrifyingly ill. So far, so good! Huge 1200 mg Mucinex pills and my steroid inhaler and my regular inhaler and you name it. And now I have soup!

For the past week I've been getting just drenched with the slightest exertion, sweat pouring down my face in a comical fashion, shirt soaked from the collar down to elbow height in a v pattern, but now that's over too, seriously great improvement, because that was ludicrous. Like the guy in Airplane.

Gawain and Mr. Kitty are doing fantastic, romping around, establishing beachheads, charging across territorial boundaries, playing Smack Your Face. I'm re-reading my favorite Ursula K. LeGuin novels from this one volume collection of five novels. Though I never usually read The Word For World is Forest, I might this time around. Maybe.

I'm surprised by the unexamined sexism in a lot of these books. It's odd to find it where I didn't expect it, in books I've read dozens and dozens of times. Interesting.

If I'm not mistaken, it is time for some CHEESE. Tomorrow the assault on the wild roses begins again. I know where the paths used to be but trees have fallen and creeks shifted and in some places I'm making whole new paths. It's about the most fun thing ever, out in the woods with my dog with a saw and the loppers. And I'll say that even more if this turns out to be venomous wild rose stings instead of poison ivy, which would not be fun at all, would it? Though it did give me a great story idea. Hurray!