Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Tonight right before the end of my shift, a young man came into our E.R. holding his bloody head. He said, "I think I've been shot in the head."
He was fairly calm and alert, and so the E.R. staff rolled their eyes a little, but they sprung into action. The kid had a CT scan and indeed, he had bullet fragments and chunks of skull lodged in the back of his head. We don't do much neurological stuff at our little hospital, so the ER doc called for a LifeFlight helicopter to take the kid to St. Louis.
So far, so good, right?
Except by that point his 50 closest friends and worst enemies had arrived and were rioting in the waiting room. Security was there trying to break it up, then the cops arrived, and then the hospital was put on lockdown. No entering or leaving until the facility was deemed secure. Okay, that would have been peachy, except the air ambulance guys were among the people who couldn't get into the building. And I was one of the ones who couldn't get out.
My shift ends at 10:30. At about 10;20, we were informed that the hospital was on lockdown and we'd have to stay until the situation was resolved. I think that was the first of about 15 times that I said I just want to go home.
Okay, let's remember. I'm a lab rat. I wear a white coat, I look into a microscope for hours, I get excited about parasitic infections...I'm not a risk-taker. But at 10:30 I clocked out, picked up my keys, and headed for the exit. I figured if I met with any difficult people, I would tell them what I'd tell my own kids: Knock this shit off and go home. Now.
I figured that, plus the Mean Mommy Face, would scare the bejesus out of any thug with half a brain.
So I stopped to pee. Just in case the Mean Mommy Face didn't pan out, I thought I'd lose that authoritative menacing quality if I peed down my leg under pressure...
I went out the main entrance, and there were a half dozen minivans parked out front with alternating groups of people occasionally getting out of the vans, yelling "Motherfucker!", throwing something, and then getting back into the van, probably to watch a DVD on the little DVD player hanging from the ceiling.
Okay, as an aside...when did scary thug people start driving minivans? Was that so they could cram more scary thug people in? Like a clown car? Do thug people carpool to their fights? Do they get to use the HOV lanes for that?
The thug people, however, were not the slightest bit interested in a dweebie lab tech walking out to her truck. I'm sure it was my authoritative menacing quality, like Superman's cape, that gave me an aura of invincibility. Smart thug guys can spot that from a mile away.
So, at 10:30, with all my big strapping young hospital coworkers cowering inside hiding from the scary thug guys, I walked out the door with my cup of ice water in one hand and my book in the other, and glided right through that crowd of angry young men like I was flying Wonder Woman's invisible plane. But without the heels or the golden lasso.
Take that, Motherfucker!
Hey...is that The Sound of Music playing on your DVD player? Can I watch?
"Hmmm, I wonder how this 'video' setting on the digital camera works?" the little duckling asked, with a quizzical tilt of the head. "If I got a couple of my buddies to hop in yon pool, do you think you could try filming us and see how that goes?"
I'll do anything to oblige the ducks, so here's my first attempt at video -- a very brief 30 seconds of the pool. If this works, I'll put up a longer (and hopefully more energetic) video later:
We were marveling just last night over the array of Rovian swiftboat-esque tactics that have been used in this primary, and how easily American voters have fallen for the same old crap -- again. We really thought eight years of Bush and two stolen elections would have slapped some sense into this country. We smugly assumed that this time the American public would be more wary of media hype and manipulation, less inclined to fall for push polls, robotic vote suppression gimmicks, negative ads, surrogate smears and flat-out dirty tricks. Boy, were we wrong.
What the fuck is wrong with the electorate in this country, when we spend this much time vetting a candidate's preacher? I have the sense that Obama probably goes to church like a lot of us go to church. You take the kids to Sunday school, you enjoy the music, you see your friends and neighbors and you hang around for the refreshments afterward. It's a social gathering, folks. It's a chance to wear your Sunday clothes and Sunday shoes, and maybe even a big old Sunday hat. I couldn't tell you one thing I remember from any of my former preachers' sermons, but I remember the Sunday our choir sang a Pops Concert after the service and we had that really great pot luck. How ridiculous would it be for something one of those preachers said in a sermon to come back to bite me in the ass? I wasn't in the pulpit. Hell, I was barely present in the pew. I was there for the singin' and the shrimp dip! But you can't come right out and say that, can you?
So far I've heard more hand-wringing over the whereabouts of Obama's birth certificate than discussion of his plan for troop withdrawal in Iraq. More innuendo about how he qualified for his mortgage than discussion about his ideas on the mortgage lending crisis facing the rest of us. More redneck angst about flag pins and the Pledge of Allegiance than interest in his economic plan or his stance on gun violence. I'm seriously concerned about us, folks. Is this the best we can do? I keep hearing the Super Delegates (or the "automatic delegates," as Clinton calls them) talked about like a "Survivor-Washington, DC" alliance. Have we sunk so far into the "Reality" TV mentality that we're waiting to see whether Obama will play the immunity idol? Clinton is running for President, not HOH.
Now we're hearing that Obama is an "elitist." He's the pansy-assed arugula to her boilermaker. He's the effete snob to her Rocky Balboa. Guess what? I don't want a president who tosses back boilermakers between bouts while her husband plays grab-ass with the waitress. I don't want a president who has no moral bottom line, who will do anything to destroy anyone who gets in the way, and who will condone anything done by anyone that promotes her.
But a whole lot of people seem to be eating this shit up, so maybe we haven't really had enough quite yet. Maybe four years of McCain will do it. If we're really lucky we'll get Condaleeza Rice as Veep. There. There's your white guy, your African-American and your woman, all in one tidy little war-mongering, big-corporation pandering, middle-America screwing package. Something for everyone. Now shut the fuck up, and if you've got any money left or an able-bodied child who can hold a rifle, send it in. If there's any spare body armor laying around the house, send that, too ... they'll be needing it in Iran.
Saturday, April 26, 2008
I once delivered Sir Paul's paper.
His newspaper carrier had missed him (and I can't imagine how...he's right behind the massive iron gates in the foothills of Tucson), so I took a replacement paper to his house. I drove up to the iron gate, rang the bell on the gatepost and waited. After a time, a McLackey said, "Yes?" and I replied...
He said, "Throw it over the gate." I did. Me and Paul McCartney...we're like this.
Next: Part II, Diana Ross
Friday, April 25, 2008
In the meantime though...
I keep hearing residents of Florida and Michigan whining about being disenfranchised. Did they not understand the Democratic National Committee's rules about when they could hold a primary when they chose to move their primaries forward? Did they think that if they bullied their way to the head of the line they would then be able to bully the DNC into reversing their clearly-stated policy? I don't get what they're so outraged about. They gambled, they lost. They knew the stakes when they made their move forward on the calender, but I guess they thought no one would dare call them on it.
Guess what, Florida and Michigan. You chose poorly. Next time your Democratic machine tries to pull a boneheaded stunt like this, remember to write to your state assemblyman and complain BEFORE you lose your seat at the convention. Then you won't look like such crybabies.
Wah-wah! We tried to cheat and we got thrown out of the game! We want our score to count anyway! It's not fair that only you people who play by the rules get to go to the finals!
And who didn't expect Hillary to keep ringing that bell? I'll bet she's got a checklist in her pantsuit pocket:
Race baiting? Check!
Christian Right Muslim dogwhistles? Check!
Blaming FL and MI political buffoonery on Obama? Check and double check!
Good news! We've hit all the points on the list. We're ready for the coronation.
Hopefully the erstwhile candidate and rarely-heard-from Chairman of the DNC, Howard Dean, will stand tough in the face of the Clinton campaign's desperate attempt to weasel it's way around the rules. I'm counting on the DNC leadership and the super delegates to sit on their hands and not do anything foolish that's going to make the rest of the country feel like chumps for following the DNC's own rules.
Remember, DNC. We got fucked in 2000. We got fucked in 2004. If you cave in to the tsunami force of political pressure from the Clinton campaign and steal our candidate from us, we're just going to pack up all our feminists, lesbians, blacks, Hollywood stars, former Clinton staffers and Harvard law grads and throw our support behind some other Inexperienced Elitist Muslim Election-Stealing Negro with suspicious ties to African Muslim Genocidal Death Squads.
I mean, c'mon. These guys must be a dime a dozen, right?
Monday, April 21, 2008
She also pointed out that I have six songs on my Five Worst Songs Ever Written list. I can't decide whether to change the title or drop a song. Maybe I'll just leave it hanging out there like that, because I can't imagine which of those songs I'd take off the list, and if I just say Worst Songs Ever Written I won't stop before I fill the 100 slot playlist. I'm already missing "Feelings" and "Ben."
Speaking of "Ben," we sat here last night watching YouTube videos. We started with the Pips, then moved on to the O'Jays and the Temptations, and from there it was a short hop to the Jackson Five, where we reminisced about what how handsome Michael Jackson used to be and watched "Thriller." Fun!
Somehow we sequed briefly to David Cassidy (who bears a striking resemblance to my first girlfriend, and may have actually been my first crush on a soft butch tomboy) and Bobby Sherman's choker.
Ev and You Tube are just about my favorite things that have happened on the Internet.
Sunday, April 20, 2008
To know Ev is to know which are the Five Greatest Songs Ever Written.
To know and love Ev is to not only know the Five Greatest Songs Ever Written, but to be able, at a moment's notice, to flawlessly perform the Pips backup to "Midnight Train To Georgia." All of her kids totally embrace Pipping, and spontaneously Pip whenever the song plays, without any prompting. I'm learning (a superstar, but he didn't get far), but I miss the "woo woo!" train whistle more often than not.
We met and started dating in April. April is the anniversary of the first time we had The Killer Sex. It's also the anniversary of our first day trip in the car, which is when I learned about the Five Greatest Songs Ever Written. Since it's once again April, and I'm romantic that way, I spared no expense finding the new widget gadget and installing it so that Ev can listen to the FGSEW whenever she wants to ... and so can you!
Ready, set, PIP!
Happy Anniversary, my little floppy-eared butch!)
I woke up this morning to the sound of agitated, loud peeping, and instantly knew what was going on in the guest bedroom. One of the guests was running around the bedroom floor, peeping like mad, and the other guests were running around inside the pool, also peeping like mad. It was quite obviously moving day!
Luckily, I went to Rural King yesterday and bought them a lovely hutch and enclosure and assembled it in the yard under the shade trees.
The ducklings seem happy in their new outdoor home. They've been eating dandelions and scrabbling in the dirt for bugs, but so far they aren't too crazy about their little wading pool. I put them in ... they jump out. I put them back in ... they yell at me and jump back out. But aren't they pretty in their new daytime home?
At night they'll be sleeping in the shed, where they have a little enclosed space with straw bedding and their heat lamp.
I can see my future laid out before me:
7:00am - remove waterer and feeder from shed, clean and refill same, move to outdoor pen.
7:15am - remove ducks from shed (two at a time until they learn to follow me) and move to outdoor pen.
7:00pm - remove waterer and feeder from outdoor pen, clean and refill same, move to shed.
7:15pm - remove ducks from outdoor pen (two at a time until they learn to follow me) and move to shed.
The checker at Rural King asked me if we had a rabbit ... she has rabbits ... she said she loves rabbit and dumplings. I told her we have ducks. She said, "Ooooh! Duck and dumplings is good, too!"
Saturday, April 19, 2008
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Here's what's going on around here:
My project for tomorrow is to build an enclosure for the ducks. I think they're ready to graduate from the guest bedroom to the outdoors. I've got a nice semi-shady spot picked out for them in the yard.
It's time to start mowing again. I mowed for about an hour today but then I had to quit and get ready for work. I realized that that's going to be the quiet time I'll need to get down to the business of grieving (And, dare I say it? Processing that grief.), and maybe then turn my attention elsewhere.
The thing I've learned by living in the world for a few decades is that no matter how much you'd like to hurry sadness along, it stays as long as it damn well pleases. Sometimes it tries to move in and share space on the couch if you're not careful. The easiest way for me to send it on it's way is to spend a day or two paying attention to it, listening to it fuss about all the ways life's not fair, and then show it the door. Sometimes it takes more than a day or two.
Experiencing emotional upheaval is like listening to a child tell a story. You can interrupt it, but the kid's going to start telling the story again from the beginning, over and over until you shut up and listen to it all the way through. Better to just settle down and realize that you're going to spend the next few minutes listening to the story. Sadness is a story you have to listen to straight through from the beginning to the end before it lets you do something else.
So tomorrow I'm going to try and spend a quiet day working on the duck pen and mowing and listening to the story my heart needs me to hear. Then I'm going to settle down, stop worrying about who's going to die next, and get back to the business of living my life.
At least, that's the plan. I'll let you know how it goes. :-)
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
This is the way the babies looked a week ago ...
We stopped using the blanket over the bedding a few days ago and let them start playing in their wood shavings and ground corn cobs. They tried to eat it for the first couple of days, and it's funny to watch them taste-test everything and then spit out what they can't eat. Sometimes Omelet will stop in mid-spit with her little tongue sticking out of her bill. (I'm assuming she's a girl, since she's quite petite and still much smaller than all the others.)
Look how duck-ly and tall they are! Those big feet sound like a herd of thundering elephants when they start running around the pool. They're going through a gallon of water and emptying the feeder every day now, and it's going to be no time at all before they're ready to move outside.
It's not hard to get a picture of all eight of them together, since they never do anything without the whole flock. When we take one out to hold it the rest of them get worried and stand there peeping at us until the missing duckling is returned.
But now he's dead at 45, which is also not fair because he's much, much too handsome to die. He moisturizes, for God's sake! People who moisturize should at least get to live long enough to see the fruits of their labors pan out in the form of glowing skin in their declining years.
I could have made you a list of people I wish would have turn up dead on a Saturday morning with no warning, and he never, ever would have been on it.
Another way it's not fair is that I've gone from being 1/3 of the gay people at my work to being 1/2. The pressure just increased by 50%. I will not, however, succumb to the impulse to be nicer. I'll stay strong. For Cory. He'd want me to be a bitch, I know it.
Traci and I had an ungodly number of instrumentation woes last night, and she attributed them to the Ghost of Cory Past using that time to show his love and solidarity for us by fucking up everything we touched. WTF?? Whither Thou Fuckest?? Why would our Cory, he of the tidy pressed Dockers and stick-on henna tattoo of his dog, reapplied semi-weekly...why would that Cory fuck around with our beloved Coulter 750 hematology analyzer in the middle of a shift change?
Cory would sooner eat his daily banana before 11:30 than mess with the analyzer...even posthumously. He was not one to wantonly do anything irresponsible or different. There's a reason God made lunch happen at 11:30: so we'd know when to eat our banana. Duh. Life is meant to be lived neatly, and that includes good analyzer maintenance.
I listened politely to her theory before dunking her in the decorative fountain in front of the hospital. Take that, tool of Satan! Blaspheme no more, Witch!
She survived, so I think that made her a witch. Or maybe not. I get confused about this part. Where is the part where exonerated witches get to go home and resume their backbreaking 20 hours of domestic labor a day? Maybe drowning is the reward for righteousness.
So the real story is that I'm indescribably sad. I try not to cry more than once an hour when I sit in his chair, doing diffs and look up at his stuff and remember that he's not coming back. Cory liked me to tell him stories, so I've been consoling myself by telling myself stories that he would have laughed at. But I still cry.
I hate being a grown-up sometimes.
Saturday, April 12, 2008
For one thing, we're heading into our annual April Crap-Ass Weather, complete with a plunge back into the 30's, overnight freezes, and that ridiculous snow flurry that always happens just after the tulips and daffodils and crocuses and hyacinths bloom and everyone plants flowers and veggie gardens, believing that winter is over. We've seen this before, so we went out today and bought a new chainsaw to cut up more firewood.
The weather turning nasty is really just the rancid frosting on the moldy cake of our week. It started out badly on Monday morning, when the little beagle mix puppy Carrie and the Man Friend adopted last month got hit and killed on the road in front of our houses with everyone watching. She just took off running without warning and there was no time for the woman who hit her to react. So we all started the week sad and mopey, and then the ducklings arrived ... but five of them died. And then this morning Ev got a phone call to tell her that one of her co-workers was found dead this morning of unknown causes. He was 44 and healthy, and one of Ev's very favorite people, and we can't wrap our minds around it.
So what we're going to do now is hunker down by the fire.
Friday, April 11, 2008
Thursday, April 10, 2008
The ducklings are here!
The post office in Carbondale called bright and early this morning to tell us we could either drive there and get them or wait until tomorrow when they'd be at our local post office. Are you kidding?? It's only a 25 minute drive!
We ordered 12, and they shipped 13, and sadly, four of the Cayugas didn't make it. All six Rouens were big and fluffy and jumping around peeping, but the Cayugas were much smaller and only two of the seven were active. The tiniest one was looking really iffy and definitely wouldn't have made it till tomorrow.
We got them home and they all started drinking and eating and running around (and pooping) right away, except the little black one, who's still strugglin' a little and lagging behind. It's eating and drinking now, but only if we put some feed on the blanket in front of it and carry it to the water. Hopefully it's just dehydrated from the trip and will perk up. Of course, it's everyone's favorite because it's the runt.
They're very sweet, and the Cayugas are definitely the calmest ones at this point. They just like to be picked up and cuddled. The Rouens are full of piss and vinegar and want to climb up and sit on our shoulders and nibble at our necks.
More pictures tomorrow!
Wednesday, April 09, 2008
I called the local post office this morning to make sure they had no stray boxes of chirping babies sitting around, and to let them know to watch for them.
So, since we have no babies yet, and it's a drizzly overcast day, and gas prices are too damn high to go driving aimlessly around the countryside in Ev's new truck, we're doing projects. Ev's been cleaning out and organizing our big shed, sorting through her tools and making space to set up her shop.
Last night we went shopping in our stored boxes and I ended up with six pair of almost new jeans that used to be Ev's, we found a whole box of books we wanted to read (culled from various and sundry of the 70+ boxes of books down there), I found about a dozen old cassette tapes I want to listen to again, and today I think I'll climb up in the storage loft and look through those boxes.
It's amazing how much stuff you pack up thinking you want, love or need it, and then a couple of years goes by without it and you open the boxes and say, "What the hell were we thinking?? We could have jettisoned this crap 1500 miles ago and had room to bring our furniture!"
Ooooooh, and the annual library book sale is this weekend! Wooohoooooo!!! Fifty cent books!
Maybe ducks tomorrow ...
Tuesday, April 08, 2008
The nursery is ready and we're now in the "pacing in the waiting room" stage of duck parenthood.
Doesn't this look comfy? If you were a duckling, wouldn't you be anxious to get here and start eating and drinking and pooping all over the place?
We've done everything we can do to over-prepare for their arrival ... we've got the vitamins in the water, the poultry crumbles in the feeder, the heat lamp and tripod adjusted to achieve the perfect toasty duckling temperature of 97 degrees, and now all we can do is smell the warm pine bedding under their soft cotton blankie and check the caller ID repeatedly to see if we missed a call from the US Postal Service.
Maybe tomorrow ... (sigh)
Ev and I have the rest of the week and the weekend off, so they should hurry up and get here! They're missing out on all this excellent imprinting and spoiling!
Sunday, April 06, 2008
So a couple of weeks ago we decided not to move. Although we were excited about the house, we were not excited about the postage stamp yard, which wouldn't be duck/dog/alpaca friendly. We'd been sort of clinging to the hope that the half-burned derelict house next door would be torn down and we could buy the property, but when we found out the the owners planned to keep it and fix it up someday (even though they had yet to begin in the previous two years)...we decided to continue shopping.
What we really want is 5-10 acres, with room to have a pond and some pasture and some yard. We're comfortable where we are so we have time to keep looking, but while we're looking, we've bought baby ducks. And now I'm checking into a pond for the ducks to splash around in, and that's got me looking at pumps and filters and aquatic plants and koi and flow rate and landscaping and all sorts of other stuff to decorate in and around an ornamental pond.
The ducks will be here sometime this week. Lori's cleaned out one of the sheds for them to get out of the weather, they've got heat lamps, baby duck food, and straw to snuggle up in. We're all ready to be duck parents. I'm taking a few days off to work on a fenced in area for them to be outside, safe from predators. And soon...a pond. And maybe a fountain. And a gazebo. But that's it. I swear.
Guess who needs grandchildren?