Tuesday, September 29, 2015

No Water Baby!

You'd almost think the Mighty Dachshund has some feline blood in her veins, the way she hates water. She hates baths. She's peeved when she has to pee and the grass is covered in dew. She's downright offended if she's asked to poop in the rain. Even when I hold my largest umbrella over her, she sometimes refuses to do THAT dastardly deed. In rainy weather, I've seen her suffer for two days, rather than hunker in the wet. After a couple days, though, she usually catches a dry spell, OR gives up and wisely lets desperation overrule stubbornness.

Though not diabetic, she DRINKS more water than a full frat house on Sunday morning. She also will veer into any puddle of water she sees, like some two-year-old kid. Why she hates to pee in wet grass, but will trot through a mud-puddle, I have no idea. I suspect it's a control issue. One thing's for sure; she's a piece a' work! Copyright 2015

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Reality Reset

It would be easy to take a diagnosis of Congestive Heart Failure as a death sentence, perhaps, because it is. The statistic that 35% of those diagnosed with it die in the next year is anything but encouraging. As might be expected, the first few hours after my unofficial diagnosis, I looked at it that way myself. In the first day or two, I went through panic at how to get some things done “in time”, self pity, and anger at myself, for letting myself ever get in this fix.

Gradually, though, a cooler head prevailed. For one thing, if you live beyond that first year, your chance of mortality drops from 35% to only 10%. I intend to survive that first year. I remember, too, that my late brother-in-law lived several years with the condition. Also, one of my readers said that her mother-in-law lived 25 years with that same condition, though I’m sure she didn’t weigh over 400 pounds, like I do.

My weight can be reduced, though, which would help. When the weather cools, maybe I can walk a little, which may help, too. I may never sleep lying down again, though. For that reason, I’ve decided not to fix up Dad’s old iron bed, in order to get my mattress off the floor. In fact, I question if I even need the mattress anymore. I’m trying to give the bed a good home. I’ll wait a while on the mattress. It may eventually be replaced with a lounge chair, though, if I can ever afford one.

Currently, I’m sleeping in a stuffed parlor chair, sometimes resting my feet on a folding chair to get them off the floor and, hopefully, reduce the swelling in my feet and legs a bit. Not being able to lie down at night doesn’t let the swelling go down any. As a result, the swelling is the worst it’s ever been, and my shins ache and throb at times. I go Monday morning to be measured for a pair of compression stockings to help with the problem. They’re $200 for the pair—hard luck for a poor man.

Even before this came up, I was beginning to accept the fact that there were some things in life that I’d never do again. I’d already realized that I’d never cut any timber again, and was in the process of selling one of my chainsaws. With my new condition, I thought about selling the other one, too, but have decided to hang onto it a while.

I’d originally planned to retire at age 62 and do a few things that I hadn’t gotten to earlier in life. I’m not going to build that brick forge now, though, so I probably don’t need to hang onto my grandfather’s anvil. I might still tinker with a brake drum type forge, though, but I can use my chunk of railroad track to beat on for light stuff. I’ll probably never finish the two muzzleloaders I started many years ago and decided to put away until retirement. Even if I did, I probably couldn’t lug them through the woods to hunt with them. It’s probably best to sell them to someone who would finish and use them. I’ll probably sell most of the few guns that I have remaining, to pay down medical bills and such. I’ll keep my little tack-driving Ruger 10/22, and the old Thompson Center Renegade that I had made into a smoothbore. I’ll also keep the old Iver Johnson shotgun that I carried so much in my youth. I might be able to stump-sit a little, plus, there’s always the defense angle.

My antique hand woodworking tools cause me some concern. I know that I won’t have the wind to use many of them, since I can’t currently even sing, or do a good job of whistling, or even humming. No-one else in the family would use them, either. There’s a young man at work that might use them, but I’m not sure. I think I may just sort out the ones that I think I might still be able to use and sell the rest.

I realize, too, that I’ll never build the small addition to the back room of the house, or add a carport. It sure would have been nice have a place to sleep downstairs, without taking up part of another room. It would have been nice to get our cars out of the weather, too. Oh well, I’ve got work that needs done on what house we have already, I guess there’s no need to make more work.

Still, all-in-all, my condition doesn’t change things as much as I first thought. I’ll continue taking the same medications. I was already scaling back my plans in life, due to getting older and not having the abilities that I once did. Plus, God reminds us that we aren’t even promised tomorrow, let alone the next year, or the next decade. I do wish, too late, that I’d taken a little better care of His “temple.” Maybe, by His grace, I WILL get some of the writing done that I’d hoped. © 2015

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Best Seat In The House

Actually, it’s not inside the house at all; it’s just outside and to the right side of the entry. At one time, my wife and I could both sit in our porch swing. She’s “grown” a little (and me a LOT), so we now have to use it separately. She uses it through the day while I’m at work, while I use it of an evening when she’s resting in front of the TV. Quite often, the one in the swing has the Mighty Dachshund at their feet. She enjoys the chance to get outside to sniff the air, watch her surroundings and listen to the outside world as much as we do.

With my current breathing problems, I’ve begun sitting there for a couple minutes to catch my breath, nearly every time I take the pooch out, even in the late hours of the night and the wee hours of the morning. She wasn’t sold on the idea at first, but she seems to be starting to enjoy it as much as I do, now, so our time sitting in the darkness is gradually lengthening. Darkness isn’t exactly the right word, since there’s always some form of light to be had. Though I turn off the flashlight, my eyes soon adjust to where I can see more than you might think. Besides light from the sky itself, the moon is often present and bright. Plus, the light on the pole, 200 feet away by the road, casts a good bit of light back to the house.

Sounds are as important as sight, though. The summer bugs are still with us, though waning. The fall bugs are now here, too. Sometimes, we hear coyotes in the distance, or foxes, baying hounds, owls, or animals that we really can’t identify by sound. On occasion, a car makes a low humming sound as its wheels roll along the asphalt of our country road. A couple miles away or so, the sound of tire whine and engine brakes mix with the powerful roar of revved-up semis headed up-grade on the two four-lanes in hearing distance. Sometimes, you hear a party at the neighbors, or them calling their dog. One of the most peaceful, though, is the simple sound of the breeze rustling the tree leaves in the forest that closely surrounds three sides of our home.

For a couple days, the breeze has been blowing day and night. The old-timers would have told me that it was “fixin’ to blow something up.” That something came Wednesday afternoon as rain, costing me work on Thursday. It rained some Friday, too, and all night last night and today (Saturday). Even though it was raining, we kept a short vigil whenever we went outside. When the rain would slack off, the water dripping from the tree leaves let the sound continue, while the shaking leaves of the Quaking Aspens would add a certain volume to the sound.

During the day, we’ve been watching our “lawn deer” graze in the overgrown front yard. The pooch wants to raise a howl at them, but manages to just barely contain her enthusiasm at my “shh.” She’s won’t mind my wife at such times and barks and howls for all she’s worth. It’s likewise with other wildlife we see in the yard. She usually stays quiet and just watches with me. A couple days ago, I heard a mewing sort of sound that I couldn’t quite place. Then, I saw two squirrels in the walnut tree and watched one make the sound to his mate. Soon, his little voice was competing with the distant whine of a jet coming in for a landing at the airport a few miles away. Once it landed, we were back to sounds of nature.

A lot of folks love their televisions, but I prefer the porch swing. I even sit there in cold weather and watch it snow sometimes, but I hope the next chance for THAT is a long ways off! © 2015

Saturday, September 5, 2015


I've mentioned this subject before, at some point, though I can't remember when. Most folks have a basic idea that karma is a matter addressed by the old saying, “What goes around comes around.” I hear there's actually more to karma than that, but the idea serves my purposes well enough. The Bible teaches that whatever a man sows, he also reaps, and that bread cast on the waters (good deeds) returns to you, eventually. Of course, the same thing works with bad deeds as with good ones. I recently had an experience that caused me to think of reaping what we sow.

I was having an enjoyable break from making deliveries from New Martinsville's stone yard. A little dirt job in the next county had me hauling dirt from a guy's pasture field, where he was building a pond, to a fill in the nearby town, where they had demolished a block of dilapidated and fire-damaged buildings.

On the second round, my water pill kicked in, and I stopped at a local gas station to use the restroom and buy a small pastry (so I'd be a customer). During the next round, I got a call from the shop telling me that they'd gotten a call from the land-owner, saying that I was taking too long on my rounds and was “gumming up the works.” I told them I'd stopped to take a wiz, and that was all I could think of, but I'd try to be as quick about my work as possible.

What struck me as odd was that the owner had left before we even started loading, and hadn't returned. Also, the term “gum up the works” sounded like something a person would say who was ON SITE. The owner wasn't there. The loader-man had no reason to complain, nor the guys where we were dumping our loads. That left only the two other drivers, one from my company, and the other guy, who had a small one-man trucking company in that town. I couldn't help but feel that the other trucker was the cause of the problem and was ratting on me.

During the fifth round, the owner returned for a few minutes, but he wouldn't look at me. By the seventh round, about three hours after the first, I had to make another “pit”-stop. As I started my eighth round, I got a phone call from the shop transferring me to another job. I then heard another driver get transferred to my job by shop radio. I was livid!

The next job was not as pleasant as the one I had been on, but at least I had no rat-fink watching over my shoulder. The only scenario that made sense to me was that the other driver thought that if he could discredit my employer in any way, he might pick up more business. Even if they just worked short a man, the guy would stand to work a longer day. SO, though he called me by name on the CB, and acted all friendly, I'm certain that he was putting a bug in the ear of the landowner. What galled me, is that neither he, nor the owner, cared if their behavior might cost me my job. (I knew it wouldn't, but THEY didn't know that.)

When I got in that evening, I asked if they'd gotten a second phone call. They were a little surprised that I asked, but admitted that they had. I told them the order of events and my suspicions. They felt it was interesting, too.

I asked the Lord to help me forgive the two fellows, because I didn't know if I could do it on my own. I even asked that He forgive them, too. Unfortunately for them, if they've lived a life of similar behavior, some of their actions are bound to come home to roost, in one form or another. © 2015

Poor Feller!

It’s late on a hot, summer Saturday afternoon, and I hear my neighbor mowing his lawn. He’s a relatively new neighbor. He, and the woman I assume to be his wife, apparently paid the nearly half-million dollars for the big house across the road, and the 11 acres that go with it. Frankly, I’m glad to have someone in it, since it sat empty most of the time since the original owner built it. Empty houses invite trouble. The owner’s druggie daughter lived in it a while, but that was little consolation.

These folks look my age or older, and seem quite concerned with the appearance of the place. In fact, I think this is at least the third time THIS WEEK that he’s mowed his yard. Somehow, that strikes me as just a bit obsessive. My wife thinks he’s trying to send me a message, since my lawn is (literally) a couple feet high in spots. Actually, about 40 feet around our house has been mowed for safety reasons, but you can’t tell it from the road.

I think he’s seen my lawn get mowed one time, about the time they moved in a couple months or so ago. Since that time, the weather has been insufferably hot, and I’ve been under the weather. It will get mowed soon, but I’m waiting for a cool afternoon or evening when I’m feeling up to the task. Until then, the crab grass, broom sedge and “greasy grass” will continue to put on their last summer spurt of growth, hoping to seed out before I mow again. They’ll probably make it.

I’ve never been big on following schedules for mowing my lawn. Twenty years ago, one of the deacons at my church made the comment about how pretty my lawn was, “when it was mowed.” I’ve never much worried about my influence on local property values, either. A neighbor, who used to live about a quarter mile down the road, tried for five years to get me to buy a new truck. I KNOW it was because he felt that the old clunker sitting in my driveway made his place less valuable. He finally gave up and moved to another county. Maybe this guy will, too.

Don’t get me wrong, I really like it when my lawn is freshly mowed. I just refuse to go crazy when things prevent me from doing for it. This is only the third time in my life that it’s looked this bad, and it will soon be taken care of, so it’s not like it’s a constant thing.

Still, I sort of feel sorry for the guy across the street. My place really DOES have an effect on the appearance of his place, though I don’t wish it so. Still, I think the man may be possessed—three times in one week isn’t normal in ANY sense of the word. Perhaps if I can get my place mowed this weekend, he’ll get a little rest.

ADDENDUM – My wife made the comment that, once upon a time, the neighbors would ask, SINCERELY, if there was a problem they could help me with. In those days, they would have helped repair my mower, or would have mowed my yard for me until I was on my feet again, or dealt with WHATEVER the problem was. Few neighbors help anymore in this area. Of course, I couldn’t let them, even if they offered, since I have no home-owner’s insurance to cover liability. The times, they are a’changin.’ © 2015