Monday, October 28, 2013

Katt and the Other Kitty

Everyone in the house has been sick except for the dog.  The Husband and the Boy have colds.  I am suffering from allergies exacerbated by the chicken house construction (why oh why didn't I wear a mask when moving all that dirt?).  The Husband is also still suffering from throwing out his back when we were finishing the chicken coop.  And Katt is not well from something we don't understand yet.  And my girlfriend's dog had to have emergency spleen surgery.  Okay, her dog doesn't live here, but it sure seems as though sickness is everywhere.

Lemme tell you about illness in the country.  There is no quick five minutes to the doctor's office when you live out in B.F.E.  It is more like twenty minutes.  Not terrible, but think about last time you were suffering from a cold.  You think, yeah, I can manage to get myself to the doctor's office without killing anyone.  You don't have that option in the country--you have to be well enough to dodge the suicidal deer and raccoons  (Why are there so many raccoons running across the road?!?)  and not turn off the side of the road when you sneeze 8 times in a row.  Or, think about when you go to the doctor and they give you a prescription for a hard-core nasal spray to combat the allergies that have been making your ears pop for two weeks and leaving you gagging from the amount of mucus dripping down your throat.  What do you do when the pharmacy says it'll be an hour?  Do you drive twenty minutes home to wait for twenty minutes and then drive the twenty minutes back?  No.  You spend an hour wandering through the drugstore and packing a shopping cart with all sorts of shit that you never knew you needed because you cannot remember the things you actually might need.

Do I sound a little cranky?  That is to be expected.  Don't get me started on what happens if the Husband's back pain gets so bad that I wonder about whether or not I can get him to the hospital if need be, and remember that there is a narrow twisty staircase to navigate just to get him to the main level.  And wow, if I called an ambulance?  What are they gonna do?  Cut a hole in the building and lower the stretcher out by crane?  The crane that could not possibly get down the gravel driveway without hitting about seventy trees?

And then there is Katt.  Katt was a fairly tough country kitty when we got here.  In the last two weeks, she has suddenly had a personality switch.  She is affectionate, and demanding attention, and always underfoot.  And she paces.  All.The.Time.  She's still eating and drinking.  But her foot slides every once in awhile.  And, unlike most cats, she keeps being underfoot, actually under our feet.  So, I think, I ought to take her to the vet.  OOOO!  Another twenty minute drive over gravel roads with a displeased cat bouncing around the backseat as I attempt to miss the worst of the potholes.  And then the vet thinks that maybe Katt had a stroke, or brain trauma, and that she ought to have blood work and a few other tests done.  Poor Katt.  At least she can still chase Amy when she want to.  But she's no longer the Katt I've grown to enjoy.

I am desperately trying to remember what the City Kitty used to do, other than drive a lot less.  I am haunted by the pretty party clothes and gorgeous and impractical footwear that catch my eye in the closet.  My new ring will likely collect dust with all the other bright and sparkly baubles that go unworn as I miss art shows, spontaneous dinners out, or even hanging out with friends at my favorite bar. 

Going into the bigger town, where I used to live, is about a thirty minute drive with traffic, but mostly on paved roads at least.  But going in to teach a lesson or go to an appointment or visit Costco is suddenly like an outing.  I dress up as much as I can justify.  I add earrings and try new eye makeup. I accessorize with cute scarves and try to remember to change purses so they actually match my outfit.  But, I mentioned driving on gravel and dirt roads?  Your car gets dirty.  Like crazy dirty.  And then you brush up against it as you get out of the car and get a white smear on your clean pretty dress.  Real cute.

You probably wonder if this rant is going anywhere.  It is.

I miss city life.  I feel like Katt, whose personality is changing to fit her new physical limitations.  She cannot see as well, so she stays at home and cuddles with the warm people.  I am throwing myself into making that chicken coop, and baking pizza crust from scratch since no one delivers out here.  I spent all day yesterday in the kitchen, making homemade chicken soup for the boys and canning the last of my peppers, before making that pizza crust.  But I am raging against the change in me.

I recently went to a party that I overdressed for-- I had to carry my high heels into the car so they wouldn't sink into the gravel and mud.  And I bought that crazy town ring.  It is bigger than my thumb.  And I never wear rings.  (Where am I gonna wear it?  To open the chicken coop door?)  Last night, after all day in the kitchen, I decided to go into town at the last minute, so I could sit at a bar and look pretty, and then watch a movie in a climate controlled, bug-free environment.

I am clearly having some adjustment issues.  I ought to learn from Katt's example, but the City Kitty is not as adaptable as Katt is.  I get frustrated and should go for a walk, and commune with nature and appreciate what is around me.  Instead, I dress up and flee into town.

I'll be in town tomorrow.  And I am looking forward to it.

(This clearly isn't over.)

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Mother Nature Is Trying To Kill Me

I've got this great friend who thinks I am totally a City Kitty.  I texted him Friday morning....
Me:  A muther****ing deer hit my car this morning.
WF:  As in walked up and hit it? Or as in committed suicide?  And as always...are you okay?*
Me:   Yeah, this is getting old.  I was driving and then felt a shudder, saw the deer flying across the trunk.  It took out the triangle window, door knob, the spoiler, and ****ed the trunk..  I'm okay.  Shaken and pissed off.
WF:  You need to move back to the city.  Mother Nature is trying to kill you.**
Me:  [Husband]'s shaking his head.
WF:  Am I wrong?  And seriously?  The chicken coop tried to kill him!***

*After years of spotless driving, this last 11 months I've had some vehicular challenges.  
** Interestingly enough, the three car accidents were here... in the country.
***As we attempted to do the last bit of construction on the coop, the Husband threw out his back.  Spent two and a half days heavily medicated and on his back. 

I guess I am a real Country Kitty now--I've been initiated into the Deer Collision Club.  The deer ran off.  And while I hope he's dead (because otherwise he'd be lame and in pain, I mean), I wish he could have died near the road so I could have at least HARVESTED HIS ROADKILL @SS!!!  'CUZ 50-100 POUNDS OF VENISON TOTALLY WOULD'VE MADE UP FOR TOTALING MY CAR!!!  Because, see, this car was a 1996 Saturn.  Bluebook value is between $600-$1200. Bye-bye, Saturn.

Bragging rights?

I am trying to see the bright side of things.  As everyone keeps telling me, I came out unharmed.  The Boy wasn't in the car, where he would have been showered with broken glass.  If I had been driving even a bit slower, the deer would have hit the driver's door rather than the backseat door.  And I was lucky that an off-duty sheriff's deputy happened to drive by almost immediately, and he stopped and helped me.  

(Kinda off topic, but really not:  I am just gonna give a HUGE shout out to the county's sheriff department.  Every single accident, these guys have been so helpful and friendly, and I even had three different deputies stop to offer help after the second accident, when I was just waiting for the tow truck.  These guys are awesome.)

Anyway.  Mother Nature is totally out to get me.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Sounds In The Rain

(and now for something completely different)

These are the sounds I might hear in the rain
when I walk the fields this morning:
the drip drip drip of individual drops into puddles of standing water;
or the soothing applause of the rain as it meets the treetops
and the soprano hiss as I move beneath the pines;
the percussive patter of the falling rain in the gravel;
or perhaps the calm chirping of two cardinals as they hunker down
into the fading tall grasses, and take startled flight at my approach;
the rustling and snapping of dead wood as a doe abandons
her warm nest among the fallen leaves, flashing a glimpse of white;
and the steady rumble of the water disturbing the surface of the pond
and the splashes of the tiny rivers forming in the earth.

Those are the sounds I might have heard in the rain
as I walked in the fields today
and learned that I am no country girl:
for these are the sounds I did hear in the rain
and noted
when I walked the fields:
the protests of the dead thistle as the dog galloped gleefully along the path;
the steady swishing of my rubber boots
tangling with leaves and grasses
as they carried them along for a noisy ride;
the airplane beginning its descent as it approached the airport thirty miles away;
the occasional hiss of a car passing on the muddy dirt road across the field
and the distant wail of a siren far to the east;
and the noisy buzzing of my cell phone next to my body
as it vibrated a useless notice about the rain.
But mostly, what I heard
was the sharp and incessant tapping of raindrops overhead
as they struck the umbrella,
that I could not convince myself to set aside.

October 10, 2013

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Hornets and Roofs in a Nutshell

European hornet, lateral viewEuropean hornets pretty much suck.  They are huge, and they are mean as hell when disturbed, and their sting feels like sticking a flaming ice pick through your skin.  Here is a pic I got off the internet.  I chose the one with a pin through its body because I HATE them.

And we had a huge nest in the hollow of a huge old tree in the front yard.

I say had, because one wandered into our house on a cool night and decided that my Husband's pillow was a great place to chill.  He stung the Husband in middle of the night, which necessitated a crazed visit to the ER, which involved waking up the Boy, which made me rage against the next one I found flying lazily around the bedroom the next day.  I employed my best curse words and a lethal application of fly swatter.

And then I got on the internet and found a local exterminator.  Two days later, two charming gentlemen arrived to employed a three-step plan to destroy the nest.  Wham, bam, and suck it, hornets.

BUT.  The thing that kinda sucked more than the actual wasps... is that a bunch of guys came to clean and paint the roofs of the house and corn crib.  And they came the first day after the hornet nest had been powdered with poison.  That means the hornets were pissed off right about then.  And I was pretty sure that getting stung while clinging to the roof of an old farmhouse was NOT in the contract.

I warned the contractor, and even suggested they begin with the corn crib, which is a few hundred yards from the nest.  He gave me a funny little smile and asked where the outdoor faucets were.

I spent three days waiting, just waiting for a howl of agony followed by a shudder on the roof preceding a big thud in the yard.  Every time I heard voices, I paused to make sure that it was a request for more paint/rags/hose and not a "Oh ****, run!"  Three days, when every rattle of the metal roof made me pause to identify the noise as a step and not a body dropping from lethal injections of hornet venom.  Three days fearing for the lives of those swaggering roofers overhead.  I even worried for the exterminator.  

But, I am a worry-wort, really.  My husband got all the bad luck, apparently.  Everyone else was lucky, thank goodness, and had a happy ending.  No one else got stung, the hornets are mostly dead, and the roofs are all shiny and green now. 

I'm thinking that next time, maybe I outghta make sure to check ahead of time before scheduling a hornet nest's destruction, just to make sure that there WON'T be men dangling from the roof at the same time.  But maybe that's just crazy talk.