My Old Friend Montezuma Stopped By, and He Brought His Cousin, Ralph

happy superfriends birthdayThis year’s birthday really, really sucked ass.  Then again, I should refrain from any toilet-related verbage for awhile, probably.
I appreciate the birthday wishes everyone sent me Tuesday even though I didn’t reply to anyone on Facebook or anywhere else.  I wasn’t being rude intentionally.  I was home in bed and quite miserable- and not because I wanted to be.
Monday, when I’d already arranged (of course) to take the day off for Sophia’s birthday and then to take Tuesday off for my own, I got to spend both days in the company of Montezuma and his cousin Ralph.  They are not nice houseguests.
diarrhea tsunamiNot my idea of a good time.  Ever.
Steve-o and I left early Monday morning with Sophie to go to Easton so she could do Build-a-Bear for her birthday.  We got through the Build-a-Bear (she picked the Hello Kitty- and her clothes) and then I got deathly ill.
I’m just glad I knew where the ladies’ was at Easton, and that I could trot fast enough to get there in time to avoid a most embarrassing and aesthetically unpleasant scene.  Not too many people are “down with the fountain of brown.” Steve-o had to take me home and I spent the rest of the day Monday and most of the day Tuesday between bed and…well, you know where.
overflowI had better aim than that, thankfully, but yeah, it was about that bad.
It was my typical bad luck to schedule days off only to be sick, but then I thought at least, 1. I had taken vacation time already anyway, and 2. getting sick while on vacation saved me the dreaded necessity of calling off, which I won’t do, unless, of course, I am physically unable to remain vertical.
Tuesday night, once I did manage to keep down some saltine crackers and Diet 7UP, I felt a little bit up to reading the pages on fasting in our Lenten study book from church.  I know my sort of imposed fasting of late isn’t exactly what I’d call a spiritual discipline, at least not when the cause for one’s fast is: Don’t eat – unless you want to visit Cousin Ralph.  Even so, I did not fail to see the irony in reading about fasting when all I’d had to eat in the past 24 hours was a few saltine crackers.  Being hungry sucks.  It sucks even worse when you know that anything you think you’re going to put down is going to come right back up.
throw_upNot one of my favorite activities.  It’s right down there with standing in line at the BMV.
I know as a diabetic, fasting from food, in the traditional sense of a fast, is Not a Good Idea, especially when my blood sugar was 60 Tuesday morning (don’t worry, it was 110 yesterday morning and 118 this morning, which is acceptable, so today at least, I’m staying vertical.) For the past few days, though, in spite of being somewhat vertical yesterday and today, I’ve felt like a freeze-dried dog turd.
crappy-mug
However, even in my non-voluntary fast, I learned a few important things.  One is the ever present lesson that my physical body and stamina are quite limited.  Lately I had been burning the candle at both ends as well as in the middle, and it caught up with me.  Sometimes these annoying (though thankfully, usually brief and not deadly in the long term) ailments give one just enough time to stop and rest and realize that there’s too much noise and too much running around and various crud going on.  Saturday I was between Columbus and Marion.  Sunday I was between Columbus and Lancaster and then back to Marion. Monday I’d gone back from Marion to Columbus after staying in my parents’ guest room, being kept up all night by the spooky sounds of the trains.
train2
It’s a backwater, but even in Marion the trains are diesel-electrics, not like the cool steam engine pictured above.
If you live there, you get used to the trains, but when you don’t live there, the incessant noise of the trains is creepy, probably like the airport would be for people who don’t live less than a mile from Port Columbus.
diesel-electricThis is a diesel-electric locomotive engine- the ones that are in use today- constantly hauling thousands of coal cars back and forth across central Ohio.
The bottom line was I was running too much, and trying to cram 10# of fertilizer into a 5# bag.  That’s sort of normal for me, only the older I get I have less and less tolerance for it.  If my body and mind don’t get the rest and recharging they think they need, sometimes they take it by force. Sometimes they hire Monte and Ralph to do the job.
I was forced to step back and realize that no, I wasn’t going to be able to get all the laundry done.  I was going to have to ask Jerry to go get catfood (and hope and pray that the catfood bags still have pictures of cats on the front so he doesn’t come home with hog feed or something.) I wasn’t going to get to spend a day traipsing about Easton with my son and granddaughter.  I was more than aware that if I wasn’t able to get myself vertical and drag myself out the door that calling off Wednesday would have been a distinct possibility (and maybe should have been…)
catfood
Jerry: no, it’s not cat meat in the bag, it’s what you feed the cats.  Just so I’m clear.
It’s hard to take a hiatus from our own demands, (even if we try to plan for it) but it’s even harder to take a hiatus from the demands of others.
I think I understand what John Lennon meant about sitting and watching the wheels go ’round and ’round.  I’d like to get off the merry-go-round from time to time, but it seems the only time I get that opportunity is when my grip on the merry-go-round gets overwhelmed by the centrifugal force of the world spinning.  I let go, and I fall off of it.  Unlike John Lennon, I don’t have the luxury of staying off the bloody thing for too long, but I need to do it more often, and before I have to be pried off of it by illness, weakness and sometimes, even, my own pride.
There is an even more profound lesson to be found in all of this.  All of our provision comes from God.  Apart from Him I am not able to do anything.  It’s not my strength we’re talking about, but His. Sometimes I need times like this to be reminded that it’s not about my plans or what I’ve set out to do.   Sometimes God simply says: “Sit down and shut up and rest for once. You have no power at all save for Me.”  It’s a necessary and humbling reminder.
Monte and Ralph have beaten me up pretty good over the past couple of days.  I will need to change the cat boxes tonight though, because Jerry will NOT do that.  I took him way out of his comfort zone by asking him to unload the dryer and hang up his clothes. 🙂
 Explosive-DiarrheaThen again, maybe not.

Travel Envy, It’s Summer- So I’m Busy, and 20 Years of Steve-o

Yeah, I did get to go to Niagara Falls back in ’04 which was extremely cool.  If we decided to go now either I would have to get a passport, which I am loathe to do in these days of 1984 meets Logan’s Run, or we would have to stay on the New York side which is both expensive and dismal.  I don’t want my car stolen.   I am not arrogant enough to think that someone would specifically want to spy on me or steal my identity, but I do believe in Murphy’s Law.  Give Mr. Murphy and company time to screw about in one’s past records, and Lord only knows what might get added, deleted or screwed up.   I really don’t need to go to Canada that bad.  Besides, the food all tastes like Clorox up there for some reason.  I’m sure there must be some good cuisine in Canada, but it’s sure as hell not at Niagara Falls.

I thought taking Mom and Dad to North Carolina would be a disaster, but it was actually a pleasant long weekend.  The drive wasn’t as traumatic as usual – not a lot of traffic, and no rain.  The only thing that sort of sucked is that Dad didn’t want the stereo turned on.  It wasn’t incredibly hot either like it was last year, and we did get an afternoon out on the lake in the boat which was almost worth the trip.  How anyone can get sunburn in spite of marinating in Factor 50 is beyond me, but my back still itches.  I would hate to think how fried it would have been without sunscreen.

The only sort of drawback to summer is that’s when I’m the busiest- busy at work, busy at home and I don’t get enough time to do relaxing things like float about in the Cougar Pool (which is most delightful by the way) or read interesting books.  I’ve not even been able to be online enough to catch the whole Wiener scandal, which I really shouldn’t find funny, but of course I do.  Of course I adore travel, but I highly doubt I will get much more than a couple of day trips to the campground, up to Marion, or down to Cincinnati.  What I would really enjoy would be a Cougar Cruise, but I don’t see that happening any time soon. 

Steve-o’s 20th birthday is next week.  He wants to spend it down in Kentucky 4-wheeling through the hollers with his buddies.  He wasn’t born a southerner- but should have been one- as much as he is into redneck culture and activities. 

Maybe I shouldn’t have bothered to fix his teeth? 

A Peaceful, Easy Birthday Everyone Forgot, and I Like It That Way

At my age it is a lovely thing when everyone forgets your birthday.  Jerry can’t remember his own birthday without either straining to read the fine print on his driver’s license, or by checking with the BMV, so I forgive him for that.  His family doesn’t bother to recognize birthdays, likely for two good reasons.  His Dad and his Dad’s fourteen other siblings were born at home, deep in the hollers of rural WV, and none of them have birth certificates.  The date- and year- listed as his Dad’s birthday on his Dad’s driver’s license is likely not his Dad’s actual birthday, but someone’s best guess.  Since his Dad got a social security card and driver’s license long before you had to have a birth certificate to acquire either, his Dad is grandfathered in.

I wonder if he would be able to get a passport?  If he were really pressed could he prove he is an American citizen?  Our friend Bob is an American citizen but he was born in London (his Dad was American but his Mom is English) and his birth certificate is in London.   Bob can’t get a copy of his birth certificate unless he goes to London to get it, but you can’t go to the UK without a passport.  Thankfully the Social Security people recognized his honorable discharge from the Marines as proof of citizenship.  Bob still can’t get a passport though, because when he tried he was told that one has to have a certified copy of one’s birth certificate.  Then again, I highly doubt that Jerry’s Dad would really need a passport for anything, unless they make it mandatory to have a passport to cross the border from WV back to Ohio.  The birth certificate requirement to acquire a passport is probably a blessing in disguise to keep old rednecks from traveling abroad and perpetuating the “Ugly American” stereotype.  Then again, maybe our foreign friends have never tried getting rid of hemorrhoids by soaking them in kerosene.

When you have so many family members that every day is someone’s birthday or so it seems, it’s a lot harder to remember every one and a lot harder to afford to buy gifts for every one.  So, I can see where Jerry gets the idea to  simplify his life and just celebrate all his family’s birthdays every day with a 12 pack of Natties and a couple of packs of smokes.

I do find it entertaining how some people remember my birthday sometime in the middle of March and then send sheepy, belated wishes.  It’s OK to forget.  I don’t really want to be reminded that I’m one day closer to death anyway.

Over time one gets a new appreciation for bodily functions functioning as they should.

Admittedly not everyone forgot my birthday. The BMV doesn’t forget.  I renewed my vehicle registration last week.  No way do I want to drive around in the Central Ohio suburb with the largest number of cops per capita with an expired tag.  I don’t even remotely want to give law enforcement any reason to approach me for anything.  Cops make me nervous.  My Facebook friends remembered, because your friends get reminders automatically.  I appreciate everyone who wrote on my wall today.  My friends from my church group remembered for the same reason- all of our birthdays are on the contact sheet.  But my family all forgot, which is funny as hell.  Steve-o remembered to call- to remind me he needs money.   Jerry acknowledged me coming back after I’d gone in to work this morning with a rousing, “Where’s my breakfast, woman?”  So the world remains the same.