Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Mitigating Meanness

Today I read a post written by one of my favorite bloggers. She’s a talented writer, a tad irreverent, and she’s funny. I must say, though, she does rather intimidate me a bit. She’s a hiker, a birder, and she’s very conscious of environmental matters. I bet she never opts for plastic in Wal-mart. Heck, I bet she never goes to Wal-mart.

Today her topic today was the way some of us use the anonymity of the internet to say “mean” things about people. She right, I suppose. I myself have been known to get a little snarky and self-righteous.  But she made me think.

Is it okay if I write that someone should disable the word processing program of  Arthur Wright , well-known author, so that he never writes another stinko novel? Is that mean? If I say, “In my opinion, Mr. Arthur Wright is a hack,” does the “imo” mitigate my mean remark . If I rant about really bad drivers, salesclerks who are just plain nasty, and office staffs what don’t seem to know their butts from their elbows, is that mean? Does “In my opinion shave a little of the meanness away?

In the South, ladies (they do this more than men) can say the most terrible things about people. For instance, “She’s as ugly as a mud fence.” Or there is also the double barrel shot,—“She’s as ugly as a mud fence. She looks just like her mama.”  Two mean things for the price of one. You can get away with saying mean things about people without looking like a bad person. All you have to do is add one simple phrase to mitigate the insult. “She’s as ugly as a mud fence, bless her heart (sigh)”.  See? You’re a loving, caring, compassionate person.

I think “In my opinion” falls into that same category. I’m going to use it more often. Bless my heart (sigh).

Note: I made up the name “Arthur Wright” as a play on words. I don’t want any real Arthur Wrights to think I’m being mean.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Phew! (A Sigh of Relief)

Like all families we Fixits have developed over the years our own Christmas tradition. Instead of singing Christmas carols around the gaily lit tree or having a Christmas goose, our tradition falls in the “uh-oh” category. Every year something happens to put a damper on the Christmas spirit  or to cause Mom (me) to have a breakdown. It’s usually major car trouble. In the last few years, it seems to be health problems. This year it was health again, but it turned out not to be as bad as it first appeared. It merely caused worry and the complete demise of my Christmas spirit.

Mr. Fixit’s oral chemo meds are ordered from a specialty pharmacy in Pennsylvania. Usually, I call for the refills a week before he’s scheduled for the last dose. The pharmacy then sends the refill  by FedEx, and it always is delivered on the day promised. They send it for overnight delivery.

In November when I ordered his December refill, I asked the rep if I should call a few days early for his January refill because of the holidays. She said there was really no need, and she said they can’t refill it if I call more than ten days ahead. Mr. Fixit’s last dose is December 28. I called for the refill in the ten day window on December 19. The rep said the shipment would be scheduled for December 24. I asked her if perhaps it would be better to schedule it a day or so early because of the holiday. She said, “It will be fine on the 24th.” I accepted her word that it would be delivered on the 24th.

We were going to Ben’s house for our Christmas get-together on the 24th. We were supposed to be there at 5:00 p.m. I had warned them we might be a few minutes late because it was raining and the delivery instructions are to leave the package under all circumstances. We needed to be present to receive the medicine instead of leaving it out in the rain. I requested those delivery instructions so I wouldn’t have to chase down a delivery if we missed one.

We waited until 6:30, but no meds. Did I mention that we saw a FedEx truck in our neighborhood very early in the afternoon? Well, we did. That was when I began to worry.

We waited until 6:30 to leave. I was so upset. That medicine is keeping Mr. Fixit well, and I don’t want an error in taking it to mess things up. I spent most of the evening doing what I usually do in times of trouble. I think about all the problems that can arise and the actions to take to ameliorate what could be dire results. After the children opened presents Ben and Jason tried to trace the delivery, but we had no tracking number. I was about to lose it completely by that time.

We came home. It was still raining. Instead of coming the the garage door, I walked around to the front of the house even though I had little faith that the package would be there. Lo and behold, there it was! I have never been as relieved in my whole life. Mr. Fixit has his meds and all’s right in my world (maybe). So far the car is still operational.

I woke this morning with thanks that the holiday is over, and we made it through without plague, pestilence, famine, or flood.

(I do feel sorry for that poor FedEx driver who was working so late on a dark, rainy Christmas Eve. He has my gratitude.)

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

It's Been a Year

Tuesday, December 16, 2014


Jason told me about a very tasty, low calorie, low carb salad dressing. It only has three ingredients, one of which is buttermilk. When I went to the grocery, the smallest container of buttermilk available was a half gallon. I made the dressing this morning and was left with a ton of buttermilk. I decided against making a red velvet cake; I thought making biscuits was a better idea. I made three batches (I still have buttermilk.).

You can’t believe what a temptation biscuits are for me. I think the cake would have been the lesser temptation. I succumbed—I ate one! Now the guilt is killing me. I feel like I have no strength of character or will power. My glucose levels are down, but I have gained two pounds over the past few days. I guess that walk isn’t helping much. It’s so demoralizing.

But there is one thing I have to say. That was a damned good biscuit!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

He Should Know Me by Now

Since Mr. Fixit has been undergoing treatment, I have been trying to take on some of the chores around the house.  There has been a new division of labor—his job is to get well and my job is to do what I can physically do to make it easier for him. There are exceptions, of course. I don’t go under the house for any reason except to rescue him if he’s doing something under there. I won’t go into the attic. The access door is small, and let’s just say that a rotund lady of certain years should not be crawling through a small attic door. I do have some pride.

This summer I mowed a few times and trimmed the bushes with the chain saw. Now that the leaves have fallen the yard was a covered in about a three inch layer of oak, maple, and pecan tree leaves, not to mention pine needles that have to be raked by hand.

Mr. Fixit attached the thing on the lawn mower that catches the grass and leaves instead of spitting them back onto the yard. I don’t know the technical term for that. I began a few days ago picking up and bagging the leaves for pickup by the city. The problem is that I have little time in the mornings, and if I don’t get things done  early, by afternoon I am useless. I worked in the yard a couple of days, and yesterday (Saturday) he went to help one of the sons work on his car. I decided to work some more on the leaves without his supervision.  I did most of it, but there were places I left uncleaned. I get nervous on that mower going over protruding roots and navigating through the dips and low spots in the yard. He finished it when he came home.

This morning he said, “Did you notice that when you use the brake on the law mower on a slant that it doesn’t hold too well?”

I thought about it and replied, “I don’t think I used the brake except to stop on level ground to empty the leaf containers.”

He rolled his eyes and walked away. He’s known me for 50 years. He should have known my thoughts about using brakes.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Night Lights

12-7-14 001

This is the moon at 8:15 tonight as seen from our deck. I wish it were a better picture. It was a sight to see it rising through the bare trees.

Click on picture for detail.

Step by Step

This morning I did something that I haven’t done in a long time—I went for a walk. Our neighborhood is a circle with only one outlet. I measured it in the car one day to find that it is .3 a mile. Today I walked the circle 3 times which is almost one mile. I was a bit surprised that that I made it that far with my sore foot. Of course, it did hurt after I came home. I was also surprised that I was not winded in the least. I was walking at a fairly slow pace, but I always walk slower than most people. I have short legs.

When I first was diagnosed with diabetes, I walked every day, rain or shine. I increased my distance to 12 circuits at a time. I don’t think I’ll be able to do that again, but I’m happy that I was out there this morning.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Little Boys with Their Toys

This morning I once again heard the pop of a gun. This isn’t the first time this has happened. (The latest was this weekend.) I have no idea what sort of gun is being used. I know who (the students across the street) and I know what (they are shooting at squirrels). I just don’t know why. Something tells me that aren’t starving and need to eat the little rodents. From their laughter, I assume they are just getting their jollies.

As I said, I don’t know what kind of firearm they are using. They seem to pump it many times before taking a shot. I assume that it a pellet gun. It’s not a BB gun. The ammunition seems to be loaded differently than BB’s are loaded. I also know the young men are not great shots because it took many tries to bring down their prey this morning. It fell from the tree but hit the ground running—into our yard. The “marksman” then turned the gun and shot toward our yard.

When that happened I went out and said that I would appreciate them not shooting toward our house. I suppose I am now the “nosy, weird old lady across the street” to them. Nonetheless, they did put the gun away after a few more shots.

I just do not understand the pleasure that comes from deliberately causing any living thing pain. I can understand the taking of animals for nourishment. I understand the killing of dangerous animals if human life is on the line. I just don’t get the killing-for-fun  or the causing-of-pain thing.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

A Turn of Phrase

Most of the time I read for plot. I love a a good plot that I can escape into. Sometimes I read just for the words. I love words that can paint a picture or make me feel. It’s rare that I read to learn or to broaden my horizons. I read for the emotion, whether it is love, fear, joy, or sadness.

Sometimes I read a few words that will just blow me away.  Today I’m reading Aftermath,  a thriller by Peter Robinson featuring Inspector Banks set in Yorkshire. I came across this sentence: “A vicious cold rain slanted in from the iron sky, and waves from a North Sea the color of stained underwear churned up dirty sand and pebbles on the beach.”