Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Check engine

The stupid light came on again in my car. Of course having been through this before, I was sure I just put the gas cap on wrong again. Unfortunately readjusting and getting more gas didn't fix it. I should have had it looked at last week when I was off but as you know, I was obsessing and figured I could let it go for another week, since it wasn't flashing or anything. Of course, I'm back on the work rotation and it started acting squiggy.

So now I'm involved in this elaborate plan to get it to the garage which means I have a really early call at work tomorrow. I shouldn't complain, it's ended up that I don't have to deal with it by myself. I feel bad on the one hand, making it a lot more trouble than it had to be, but I'm grateful that I don't have to deal with the mechanic. Even when they're nice, I hate having to deal with car stuff. It wracks up my anxiety. I just like to get into the car, turn the key and have everything work.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Strange days

I've had a rough week. Emotionally, not physically. I've been off but I got nothing of consequence done since I scheduled the surgery. I can't believe how freaked out I am about it. I like to think of myself as a brave person. Hell, I've jumped off cliffs and out of airplanes but this thing has got me scared into a coma. I just want to go to sleep and wake up when it's over and find out everything is really going to be alright. It's weird to feel so scared. I'm not very good at it.

On a cheerier note, although it's nasty and raining today, the weather was great here. I had the windows open day and night for three days running. I had to turn the fan on one afternoon because it got so warm. I like that. And since the snobby girl moved out, the parking situation here has improved tremendously. I think her last boyfriend had four cars and he left them in the close spots for days at a time. It's a drag to have park way down the row when you come home with groceries. That hasn't happened since they left and it's quiet again. Well except for the kids, but I like that.

I lost my little group of teenagers a long time ago but there's some new younger kids around. I have a bunch of new neighbors all of sudden too. Half the apartments on my floor rolled over but I never saw most of them leave or arrive. I find that so weird. I'm gone a lot but I'm also here a lot. When I'm home, I'm here. I don't leave the house much. You would think I would see the moving trucks but I haven't.

The little family across the hall with the Australian shepard dog has been replaced by a Hispanic one. I haven't figured them out at all. And someone new is next door, but I don't have a clue who they are. I saw a couple of kids bikes outside the door the other day, so obviously they have a kid.

The Oriental couple downstairs had a baby. That was the same guy who got arrested a few months ago. I assume at this point it was a domestic dispute. The baby is cute as a button and they seem to have imported a relative to take care of him while the mom works somewhere. The caretaker looks like a mother or an aunt maybe. She wears pajamas all day long. I suppose it might be some kind of traditional outfit but it doesn't quite have enough ethnicity to the cut or the fabric and they look like regular pjs. She took the trash out the other wearing them.

There's also a new family on the first floor. Young couple with a new baby. I mean really young couple. They look like they're barely out of high school. Meanwhile, the mom on the third floor with the four older kids seems to have disappeared. I can't believe they moved out without my noticing. It took them three days to move in. They had lots of stuff.

But the truly bright note in the week is I saw my first hummingbird yesterday. I have this cheesy wind spinner thing on the hook that I got at the dollar store. A pretty big guy buzzed it for a moment. I guess it's time to hang the feeder again. It will be fun to have the little guys back.

And hey it just stopped raining and the sun came out. Maybe there will be a rainbow.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

We all scream for ...

Well that last post was so depressing, I didn't want to leave it on top and I just remembered I had this ice cream truck story. The guy showed up in the McCompound a few days ago. It was a warm day and the snobby girl and her boyfriend are moving out and had a bunch of guys helping. One of the guys stopped the truck and then the people started pouring in.

I haven't seen one in years and this one was really funny. It had the usual kind of tinny music but really loud and it didn't play one jingle like the old Mr. Softee truck used to. It played a medley of really odd tunes. It was so there so long, I wrote them down.

Waltzing Matilda. Clementine. Polly Wolly Doodle. White Christmas. If You're Happy and You Know It. It's a Small World. Row Your Boat. London Bridge. Oh Susannah. It rolled off playing Saints Go Marching In. I wondered if he picked the tunes himself.

I of course bought an ice cream even though the selection sucked and it wasn't very good. Not to mention it was expensive. Buck and a half for an ice cream bar on a stick and that the cheapest thing. The big popsicles were three bucks. Still it was fun to get it for the nostalgic value.

He came again the next day but it was pouring rain. He didn't make any sales and hasn't been back since.

Tough week

I can't believe I haven't posted here in so long again. It's been a crazy week. You will either be impressed or appalled to learn that I posting at Air America's blog this week. Newshoggers is guestblogging, which means they're posting our RSS feed on their website, so I've been doing most of my posting there, for what good it does. As usual my timing sucks. I'm just sick to death of this presidential race already. I can't believe people are so damned excited over it. As if it matters in the end which politician is going to screw us. Not to mention, the doctor thing has really got me down so the quality of my writing is off.

I saw the surgeon on Tuesday. That was three hours of fun I'll tell you. Especially the thin needle aspiration. The doctor who does it came in, very sweet young woman, and the first thing she tells me is that she doesn't use pain meds to do the procedure. She then tells me, Ms. Professional Hypochodriac all the bad things that could happen. Needless to say, I wasn't feeling all that great about having a needle stuck into my face.

It really is thin needle though, and it didn't hurt so much going in, so I'm thinking at the outset, hey this isn't so bad after all. I figured she was just going to suck some tissue out and it would be over. But no. She starts the wiggling the sucker around and it goes on some length and the pain builds. It was only for maybe 20 seconds or so but it really hurt. Still I made it through without screaming, which wasn't allowed anyway.

Oh I almost forgot the funniest part of the story. So the procedure is over and I'm thinking what a brave soldier I am. I only whimpered once when I suddenly got so lightheaded that I thought I might pass out which I casually mention to the doctor. "Oh, thanks for telling me," she said and then the place goes into panic mode.

She made me lie down. She called the nurse to sit with me. The nurse put cold compresses on my forehead. She insisted on getting me something to drink. They were fussing over me long after the dizziness passed. I felt like an idiot. But I was glad they didn't have take a second sample. I don't think I could have done it twice.

The good news is I don't have cancer. The bad news is I do have a Plecmorphic Adenoma of the Left Partoid. That's a fancy name for a benign tumor in the partoid gland. I'm going to have it get it surgically removed and apparently there's a good chance I'll end up with some facial paralysis because the nerves run through that gland. Needless to say, I'm not thrilled about it. In fact it rather sucks and I'm still dealing with the idea. I haven't been able to bring myself to schedule the surgery but I'm going have to buck up and do it tomorrow. I can't leave it there apparently because then it could get cancerous.

Anyway, I haven't posted because it's all too distressing but I'll try to get some photos tomorrow so this blog doesn't become depressing news central. The chestnut tree near the dumpster is in full bloom. It's really beautiful.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Little things

Well, despite my best intentions I've neglected this blog again. But not all that much is going on that is interesting in my life. I finally got an appointment with the ENT surgeon for next week so I'll find out if I'm going to live or not. I've been mulling over what I would do if it turns out I'm one of those rare cases where this is a terminally malignant cancer. I'm thinking I might let myself die rather than gain a few more years of living on poison and vomiting. I've always believed when your number is up, it's up and I don't know if the quality of life would be worth cheating death for a short time.

But enough morose talk. The weather is warming up again and the flora are changing. There's a few stray late blooming daffodil type flowers but now we're into azaleas and tulips and I've seen a few early iris wagging their purple tongues in the warm breeze. And the non-flowering trees are finally busting out there million shades of green and building the natural privacy fences that cover up the view of the neighbor's storage sheds and whatnot.

The bugs have begun to arrive but not in force yet, although I had a conversation with a bumblebee the size of a 737 the other afternoon. I swear he was just hanging there listening to me ask him to please stop buzzing the deck because it was freaking me out. I swear he stopped doing it, after we had our little chat.

Meanwhile, I'm still working this afternoon, so I'm off for now but I'll be back this weekend with some updates. Otherwise, if you want to read something exciting, check out Fearless Freddy. The Stuntmen are in California doing a tour of talk shows and stuff to support the Young at Heart documentary. I missed all the shows. They've done Nightline, Ellen and Jay Leno. I hope somebody gets some YouTubes off their TIVO because I'm really sad to have missed every single one.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Pick up on aisle four

So I had this craving for baked beans out of a can. It's been many years since I've had any kind of baked bean, unless you count the refried at the Mexican restaurants, but as a kid I loved Campbells baked beans and I got this craving the other day that was so acute I could taste them.

It passed, but anticipating that it would strike again, I decided to buy a can at the grocery store. They didn't have Campbells, but they did have a dizzying array of other choices. So I'm standing there studying the stupefying display and comtemplating whether I want to go through with this purchase and this really tall guy, attractive really, probably in his early 40s, sidles up to me and delivers the most endearing ice breaking line I've ever heard.

"Hey. You're standing in my favorite section of the grocery store."

We had a rather long conversation about the joys and intricacies of baked beans. He recommended his favorites and informed me I should add some honey because it just ain't baked beans unless they're a little sweet. Then his mom showed up. He bought some red beans, carefully finding the one with the black label.

"Oh, are you making chili again," she said.

"Yeah, let's go see if see if we can find some meat," he replied.

I ran into them again at the frozen potato section where he regaled me of tales of fish sticks and tater tots.

Our last encounter was in the pet section. I was looking at dog toys. They were deeply involved in debating the flea and tick medicines. I got the feeling that they couldn't read. I read the labels for them. Good thing because they were looking at the wrong medicine that would have killed his cats. He decided that snipping the end off a tube and applying the medicine to the skin was too complicated a process and besides, he's only seen baby ticks around so far. Mom agreed that tick season wouldn't start for a while and that was the last I saw of them.

I went home with a can of Bush's baked beans and a bag of tater tots that I will probably never eat. I was kind of sorry they didn't invite me home for chili.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Remember when gas was 35 cents a gallon?

This story about a Kangaroo convenience store in Wilmington that inadvertently sold premium gas for 35 cents a gallon, for a whole day is hilarious. It took the clerks ten hours to figure out something was wrong because nobody mentioned it to them. Click the link for the story but what would you do if you found that price at the pump? Tell the clerk or tell your friends?

Meanwhile, I do remember when gas was even cheaper than that. I told my little story about it, here.

Spring in the south

Even though it doesn't really get all that winterish here, the trees do lose their leaves and the lawns turn brown so when the flora wakes up, it does still feel like an event and it arrives on time, according to the calendar.

Spring is really the best time of year here. The days are warm but not insanely hot as they will be in only a couple of more months. The bugs haven't really arrived en masse yet and the hills and roadsides are covered with flowers. The daffodils are almost past, but the violets have started popping up and while the early fruit trees have gone green with leaves, the mid-bloomers are out in force and they're really the prettier. These cherries are just passing their peak around here, but this is a nice remaining stand in front of a local restaurant.

I haven't been able to get a good shot of the more purple ones. They tend to be thinner and cluster in the woods so I assume they're some kind of wild variant. It's difficult to find a stand thick enough to convey the brilliance of the color in a photo. The wisteria on the other hand covers the landscapes like kudzu, in its annual attempt to choke out any standing trees that dare to encroach on their ground. It's also hard to convey in a photo just how much of it there is but here's a sort of close up to show you how it thrives. It looks like this everywhere you turn these days.

Everytime I see it I think of how much work it is to establish a single thriving vine in New England. Sometimes I feel like digging some up and sending hundreds of plants to my friends up north. It wouldn't even make a dent in what's out there.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Still Alive

Sorry my dears for being absent for so long. I haven't been able to kick this cold, my back went out two days ago and I can barely move and my doctor told me I might have a cancerous tumor but thanks to an idiotic referral system I still don't have an appointment with the specialist three days later and I can't get through to the office by phone. It's been busy all morning. Oh, and I ended up working this week when I was supposed to be off.

Needless to say, I've been a bit distracted. I'm trying to get back on some kind of reasonable posting schedule here but right now I'm waiting to hear if I have to work again this afternoon. If nothing else I have a photo of the wild wisteria that I'll post tonight.

Hope everyone else is doing better than me this week.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Spring fever

I haven't blogged here because I have a miserable cold that makes me want to sleep all the time and I haven't done anything but drag myself through the workday and crawl into bed. On the bright side, spring has sprung here and the ride to work has been gorgeous.

There's two shades of purple flowering trees, I think they're cherries. And there's still some remnants of the pink trees. Meanwhile the late white flowering trees also busted out along with the purple wisteria. The colors are cheering even if my stuffy head isn't.

So all I have to amuse you after this absence is the booze test. Of course thanks to my bartending days, I did well but I didn't get 100%. I had to ask for a second hint a couple of times. Meanwhile, a shot of whiskey and another early night to bed I think will do this cold a world of good.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Looking for that perfect match?

I've pretty much given up on ever finding a compatible life partner but for those of you who are searching for Mr or Ms Right, this map might help. It can't hurt to do your looking in the best hunting grounds...

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Intelligence is sexy

I was over at Erin's place watching her latest YouTube, and if there is anyone who can prove intelligence is sexy, it's surely Erin. However, I got the title for this post when I checked out the other videos at the bottom chyron that pops up after the video is over.

Hot For Words is sexy but doesn't make much of a case for intelligence. Still the boys will like this one.

Meanwhile, Bristle bot by Evilmadscientist Laboratories, may not be sexy exactly, but it surely makes a case that intelligence can also be fun, without wearing a bikini.