As the end of summer draws near, the days get shorter, and I feel depression creeping in. The feeling is especially strong on Sunday nights like this one. And on this particular Sunday, I had reset the timer for the outdoor lights to make them turn on a half hour earlier. So I'm paying extra attention to the time it gets dark.
And maybe joining the Shadow Shot Sunday meme wasn't a good idea. One problem with it is that it starts on a Sunday, the saddest of all days. It's sad because for me it signifies the end of a work-free weekend. Not only that, but it starts on Sunday in Australia, which begins Saturday noon at the latest where I live1. So I'm not even thinking about lunch on Saturday before I'm thinking about Sunday.
And then there's the focus on shadows. Darkness is not conducive to a healthy mental outlook. At least that's what I keep reading. I, myself, am not an expert on mental health, because I tend to lack it so often. So I defer to the experts on this.
I have no remedy for this. But I'll savor my lunchtime walks in the daylight.
"Who's Todd Stevens?" asked the head of documentation where I work. He was looking at an indecipherable signature on a form that he was trying to process.
After telling him who really signed the form, my coworker and I got to thinking how great it would be to have an imaginary coworker named Todd Stevens. Any time anything went wrong, we could blame it on Todd Stevens. This would probably happen at least three times each day. We would page him every few days to get people thinking that he's real. And being a back up IT person, I could create an e-mail account for him and add him to the address list. (I bet he'll start getting spam within a day of my creating the account, too.)
I imagine eventually the company president would get pissed off enough to want to talk to this Todd Stevens, at which point we would declare that he moved to New Zealand to herd sheep. Well, maybe we'll just say he moved away.
Then we'll just start blaming everything on Ted Atkins. And he'll be a consultant.
My hair is the thing I like the least. I have a lot of it, so that's fine. But it's completely white or silver (or whatever) in front. It's like I'm ninety-two-friggin years old. Yet I'm only half that.
Sure I dicked around with DIY men's hair color treatments. But it fades quick and my white roots show in a couple of weeks. So I need to reapply it often to keep it looking real. Also, the stuff tends to look green in strong sunlight. AND, it's filled with chemicals that might just one day tip me over the edge into the abyss of chronic illness. In fact they even tell you to try a test application on your arm just in case you have a dangerous reaction. Oh, and please call them if you do because you're their guinea pig. Not tested on animals? Well, I'm an animal! Yo!
Anyway, Square Peg Person started me on all this belly aching. In fact, this post started out as a comment on her latest Body-Part Wednesday post. So if you have hair that bugs you, go over to Square-Peg Reflections and comment. And if you have hair that you love, please tell me what drugs you take!
I'm in the kitchen in the house I grew up in. But I'm an adult.
I take off my socks and notice that a few of my toes are different. I have six toes on one foot, and two are shriveled. And on the other foot, the second toe is also shriveled down, raisin-like. I massage the toe and make it a bit bigger. It's completely numb. I need to call my doctor, but it's evening. I realize I'll reach the on-call doctor, not my real doctor. I think to myself that it's a shame I left my socks on during my wellness exam a few weeks ago. We might've seen this.
I'm in a large room with stone walls with a group of people. There are tables and chairs, so it's like a library or an art room. A young woman is talking to us about the history of the place. I see that she is reading from handwritten pages in a notebook. I wonder if she invented the history she's telling us. It looks to me like she just wrote some fantasy in pencil and is now reading it off to us. Someone asks a detailed question about trolls, and I look at the walls again, wondering if a troll is pretending to be a wall. The walls are amazingly tall, several stories high, and there are a paintings hung, separated by about ten feet in height. She then tells us to write a word on a piece of artwork. The artwork is some posterboard that someone painted a design on. I notice everyone is writing nouns lightly in pencil, as if the words will be erased. I have a wax pencil. All I can think of are adjectives. I'm not sure if I should use pencil and if I have to also write a noun. I'm trying to think of an engineering-related word because I think the woman will use the words in a story that she'll write, and I want to influence it. Finally I choose "formula." I see myself write the "FOR" in thick, greasy marks.
I arrive at an outdoor location where a group of people are meeting. It's my first time there. The female leader is announcing that people need to have a will or something else will be used instead. Another woman doesn't have the will, so she hands back a large piece of paper that's the alternative. As I listen, it appears that the group is about to purchase some land. They ask if I want to own the land, too. I think it's not a good idea, being that I've only just arrived to check the group out, and I don't know what's going on. I say as much, but the woman is very friendly and inviting. I walk with them to see the land they're purchasing. We have to cross the street. Or perhaps it's just a long driveway because there isn't any traffic. Also, it's winter, and some parts that we walk across are slippery with snow and ice and slush. We all walk abreast holding hands. I'm supporting a woman on my left and another on my right, keeping my arms high and rigid, in case either of them fall. And I'm jokingly asking them to make sure I don't fall.
"Would you rather die by having your head struck by rocks, or by having your head cut off with a dull blade?" asked my wife.
This was in response to my asking which was worse: her pain, or the nausea caused by the pain med.
She had suffered from nausea since May 29. We only recently figured out that the nausea was a side effect of the opioid that she started in February, an opioid that brought pain down from 6 - 8 to 1. After multiple visits to her primary care doctor, and referrals to a rheumatologist, an endocrinologist, and a gastroenterologist, each one involving either a blood draw or an endoscopy (and a one-week wait plus a co-pay), the answer was to simply stop taking a medication.
Yet it's not so simple. Now off the pain med, her nausea was indeed gone, but the pain was back. And the Pain Management doctor was away on vacation with no backup.
To me, it seemed a no-brainer -- I'd endure nausea to get rid of that much pain. But apparently the nausea is severe enough even to wake her from a deep sleep.
"Rocks" I answered, thinking that a severed neck was just too invasive for me at this time in my life.
"Well, that's the pain that I have to experience for the rest of my life."
"Maybe you could go back on the nauseating med just until the doctor comes back. It probably won't make you nauseous right away."
"And that Dickwad of a doctor went on vacation leaving me without enough pain meds."
It is said that there are times when it's important to just listen and not try to offer solutions. This was definitely one of them.
One calm Friday morning in the Spring, my wife was reading one of those little newspapers that feature just classified ads. One ad caught her eye. It was for a kitty that needed a home.
This was about three weeks after we got another companion for our first cat, to replace the one that died during our vacation. Well, not replace, exactly, but you know what I mean.
My wife could tell that our favorite shelter placed the ad. Usually that means the cat is so hard to place, they're willing to forgo the "donation" fee in order to find a home for the cat.
My wife could also tell that it was the same cat she asked about when we got our first cat about 18 months ago. But the owner of the shelter dissuaded us from adopting him saying that he was an aggressive cat.
So she cooed to me across the breakfast table, "No one wants him. We have to adopt him!"
To which I replied, "Oh yes, we must do so. Call right away!!!"
And she did call, completely failing to hear the sarcasm in my reply.
Within just 15 minutes, the arrangements were made -- when I get home from work, there would be a third cat to trip over.
The cat was in a foster home. He'd be driven first to the vet to get his claws trimmed. Usually, the shelter trims claws, but they couldn't do his because he was too aggressive. Then the cat would be dropped off here. We were told that he was neutered recently, so we must not pet him for at least one week, and we should not pick him up for two months.
I drove home from work with a mixture of excitement and trepidation. I always love meeting a cat for the first time. (I wish I could say that about people, but some how I lack that gene.) But I was concerned about the effect an aggressive cat would have on the other pets, especially the dog. Our Golden is a gentle angel who once was frightened away from a baby possum because it squeaked at him! I couldn't stand to think what damage an aggressive cat would do to the big lug. I started to regret this.
But I was met with the most amazing site when I walked in. The new cat, which was considered too aggressive to be at the shelter, and which should have been segregated, was sitting in the middle of the kitchen with the other cats milling about somewhat nonchalantly.
Is this the new, aggressive cat, I wondered, almost disappointed?
Well, we were trying to not pet him, fearing that our hands might get raked by Deadly Daggers of Death. Yet he was consistently rubbing against our legs, showing more affection than the other two cats (whom we have fed and fawned over far longer than this new one).
So, I figured that I'd just sort of bend over while the cat was rubbing against my leg, and I'd just sort of let my hand hang down loosely next to my leg, and I'd sort of let the hand get between my leg and the cat. And then it happened. I pet the little fellow. And then he wandered away.
I picked him up the next day. Aside from being rather heavy, he posed no danger to anyone.
He did show the typical feline dislike of the dog. At first he hissed at the dog whenever he saw him, no matter how far apart they were. Then a week later he hissed whenever they were in the same room together. Then he'd hiss only if the dog directly approached within two feet. But lately, I haven't heard a hiss. And I witnessed him sniffing the dog's feet and flirting with them.
I've trimmed this cat's claws twice so far without too much trouble. He does need to be very drowsy, which means there's a narrow window of opportunity in which to do it, like from an hour after breakfast to within a few hours of supper.
He is a bit domineering. But he's really just a softee whom we have plenty of room for!
Here he is, front and center, the Leader of the Pack: