Coffee heat rising

Gaaah! One Thing After Another

Is there an explanation for the one thing after another phenomenon? Clearly, it’s very common. So common that we have a variety of folk terms for it: never rains but it pours…damned if you do, damned if you don’t…Houston, we have a problem…out of the frying pan, into the fire…all part of life’s rich pageant…

Argh! With pageants like this, who needs Mardi Gras?

In the background, we have, as we all recall, the lamp fiasco, the driver’s license nuisance, the raccoon/coatimundi question, the foisting of the raccoon nest upon the Yard Dudes of the Century (more about which, sooner or later), income tax prep, the busted deadbolt, and similar bidness as usual. And in the further background (please, God! Make it as far in the background as possible), the endless series of visits to the Mayo’s ER.

To begin at the ending — or at the latest, because you just know this will not be the end of the infinite cosmic jest — last night as I was flying around getting ready to go to choir, I peered in the mirror to paint myself and saw…WTF?  Some kind of ZIT in my eye????????

Yes. It looks like a little blister or pustule on the white of an eye. It doesn’t hurt. But it’s bloodshot around the damn thing, and it looks potentially ominous. Whaaaa? Infection? Injury? Allergic reaction? Some new fiasco incident upon the dental implant (right below it) that refuses to heal up?

Call the Mayo’s night line. Wait and wait and wait and wait  and wait and wait x 10²²… Paint face, paint face, paint face, comb hair, comb hair, comb hair, pull on clothes, pull on clothes… Finally a nurse gets on the line.

She listens to the sad story, asks a few questions, opines that it’s nothing to get hysterical about (but of course she does so in far more professional-sounding terms), and advises me to douse it with some artificial tears and call back if it doesn’t get better.

Ohhh god. It’s time to leave for choir practice, which won’t end until after 9, when everyplace in reach will be closed.

FLY out the door and, astonishing luck being on my side, zip into the Albertson’s parking lot without a traffic jam and without undue driver nuttiness. See with pleasure that Albertson’s has posted an armed guard in the parking lot, THANK you verymuch (this is a store that I do not enter after dark, not on a bet…not under ordinary circumstances). Race in the door, find a not-very-distracted pharmacist, ask where the “artificial tears” are (whatever those are), and am swiftly directed to the product. Not only that, but she agrees to take my money, so I don’t have to stand in line interminably at a check-out register.

Fly back out, dodge the damn light-rail tracks, circle back through the ‘Hood, and fly down Main Drag East to the Cult HQ, where I arrive just in time for choir practice. Just. Barely.

Two & a half hours later, apply this gunk to the affected eyeball. It’s soothing. But does nothing to clear the bloodshot look. Condition unchanged this morning.

I have receptionist duty at the church this afternoon — which happens to be where this missal originates, right this minute — but before I get out of the house I have GOT to finish the latest Chinese mathematician’s paper, proofread the damn thing, generate visible edits from my copy, and disgorge a statement.

This takes several hours.

Now I’m running late to get ready for the front-office gig.

Send off the edited copy and bill, fly to the back of the house, and start painting my face. The eye thing looks…certainly no better, possibly worse. I’ve looked it up on the Hypochondriac’s Treasure Chest and now believe it to be something called a pingueculum. Apparently it’s not considered very serious, at least not at this stage…but sometimes it does need to be treated with surgery. Godlmighty…here we go again!

Not only that, but there are tumors that can look suspiciously like that. gaaaaaaaa! c -a-a-a-n-c -e-r!!!!

So after I’ve sent off the client’s work, while I’m getting dressed to come down here to the HQ, I get on the phone to the Mayo again, by way of asking: does this thing actually need to be seen by…you know…a DOCTOR? A person with the letters “M.D.” after their name?

My beloved ophthalmologist passed away a long time ago. The guy who took his place was a raving fruitcake. The guy who took that one’s place, a study in overkill. I’ve been getting my eye exams and glasses prescriptions at Costco, whose contract staff do the job with one whole of a helluva lot less hassle and expense.

So I call the Mayo while painting, combing, and clothes-throwing on. And wait and wait and wait and wait  and wait and wait x 10²²… 

Just as their nurse picks up the phone, it’s BARK-BARK-BARK-BARK-BARK-BARK-BARK-BARK-BARK-BARK-BING BONG!

ooohhh shee-utt! NOW what?? I’m half-dressed and it’s almost time to go out the door.

Run to the front of the house: it’s SDXB…sur-PRI-I-I-ISE!ˆ

He wants to socialize, just having come away from coffee with one of his oldest cronies. Ruby is having a yap-fest. The nurse is on the phone. I dodge down the hall trying to find enough quiet to explain the issue and ask: is this something that should be seen by a doctor?

“Not yet,” says she. If it hasn’t gotten better in about two weeks, call back and make an appointment.


Then…yes: The raccoon/coatimundi/Creature from the Black Lagoon issue…

Ah, I see I haven’t blogged about this one. How could I have let such a juicy story lapse?

So a few days ago, I stumble out into the back yard behind the dawg and find these weird pawprints. Something with very long, strong claws has been digging at the surface of quarter-minus top-dressing in the backyard. Quarter-minus, for the uninitiated, is finely crushed granite. After you lay it down and it gets wet and dries out a few times, it packs down to form a practically weed-proof surface. Unlike gravel, it’s comfortable enough for you and your dog to walk around on barefoot. Also unlike gravel, it looks a lot like the surface of the Sonoran desert. And it doesn’t make your yard look like it belongs in Sun City, home of the green-gravel lawn.

What ARE these? think I

Welp, the locals have spotted both coatimundis and raccoons in the ‘Hood. Our resident gadget enthusiast has set up cameras in his backyard and captured images of a coati cavorting around out there. Other neighbors have caught pictures of raccoons visiting their yards.

A raccoon, I could do without. They make a big mess and can be destructive. A coati, however…ohhh yeah! A pet coati is exactly what the Funny Farm needs. They eat bugs. That scratching behavior reflects an attempt to scruffle up some slugs and such.

However, the foot seems not to be shaped quite like a coati’s. Ultimately we conclude it’s probably a raccoon.

And where do raccoons like to nest? In woodpiles, that’s where. And what do we have in the backyard? Uh huh…

Shortly after I moved in here — 16 freakin’ years ago, for hevvinsake! — SDXB decided to move to Sun City.

SDXB just loved his fireplace. He was very, very fond of sitting in front of a roaring fire. This, apparently, is characteristic of Michiganders and Minnesotans. 😀  To supply his habit, he used to scavenge for firewood hither, thither, and yon. Understand, as a Master Cheapskate our SDXB would never in a million years pay for firewood. Whenever someone would chop down a tree, the remains would be stacked by the curb or in an alley for the trash pickup guys to haul off, once every four months. So he would grab this miscellaneous stuff off the side of the road, whenever he found it.

When the quarrel with Tony the Romanian Landlord erupted — Tony was living in the place right next-door to SDXB — SDXB decided to flee to Sun City.

I was not goin’, though SDXB tried to persuade me to sell the place and move out to Mausoleum West. Even though the judge wouldn’t let us leave the courtroom. Even though my terrorized lawyers begged me not to return to the house and to vacate the place right this goddamn minute. I ain’t a-scared of no Romanian mafiosi!

Reluctant to leave his priceless collection of dead wood behind, he toted it over here and stacked it neatly in my backyard.

And there it has sat, for lo! these 16 years. I tried it a couple times in this house’s fireplace and decided I really, truly HATED the stink it poured into the entire house, and that I really, truly do NOT want to spend my time cleaning out a fireplace. So…I’m pretty sure that’s where both Rattie and the Raccoon have dwelt, on various occasions.

It’s too heavy for me to move en masse, and besides, I don’t have a pickup. But after Rocky the Raccoon arrived on the scene, I figured I was just gonna have to get rid of the rodent habitat.

So my latest plan was to slip the stuff into the alley garbage bins, one piece a week, from now until the end of eternity. This had many practical disadvantages, not the least of which is that it’s illegal. Soo…I was at a bit of a loss as to how to dump it. Stacking it in the alley for the bulk trash guys was not very practical: I don’t have the physical strength to haul that many partially split logs, and I don’t wanna, and if you put the stuff out there before The Time to put out bulk pick-up you’ll get a fine, and…did I say I don’t wanna?

Yesterday, however, I finally prevailed upon the redoubtable Gerardo to remove the stack of rotting, termite-ridden firewood so generously deposited in my backyard lo! these many years ago.

The trick was to ask one of his barely English-speaking cousins to do the job before the boss showed up on the scene. So his guy Tony agreed to do it, in his sweet naïveté. By the time Gerardo arrived on the scene, it was tooo late to wiggle out. 😀

He asked for the usual 50 bucks to haul the debris to the dump (which is a long, LONG drive from here). I gave him 80.

Good riddance to that mess!!

Back to this morning: SDXB hangs around telling me about his buddy’s (very trying) recent Troubles of Old Age (and of landlordship… Mothers, don’t let your children grow up to be landlords!) while I’m pulling on clothes, wrangling the dog, rassling up the things I need to bring with me to the church.

Finally get him out the door, splash some of the drops onto the suspect eyeball, grab the keys and the credit card, and shoot out the door.

At least for a change no aspiring burglars were lurking around the house trying to suss out the easiest way to get in. That’s something. I guess.

Later — tonight, tomorrow, whenever, as long as it’s LATER — I’ve got to get on the phone to the Apple Support gurus and put them up to helping me figure out how to fix the Mail program.

Apple computers have a feature that computer geeks apparently think is passing Kewl but that normal people find aggravating, annoying, and infuriating: you can set it so that when you change windows or switch to different programs, instead of just going “clickola” over to the page you crave, it does this goddamn “slide-show” thing! Like a slide on a slide projector slimpsing over to the next picture to view. It’s time-consuming, it’s irritating, and it screws iup the menu in the bar at the top of the screen. I hate it, hate it, HATE it.

The computer, therefore, is set not to do that.

But apparently there’s some accursed keyboard command that will switch it on, within a given program. And apparently as my hot little fingers were jetting across the keyboard, I unknowingly hit that command, in typo mode. Suddenly, MacMail starts with the car sick-making slide-show mode.

Now I cannot for the life of me find out what that command is, nor can I find, on the Web or anywhere else, how to undo the damn command.

Soooo…there’s another time-sucking hassle waiting to be coped with.

See what I mean? Never a dull fukkin’ moment!