Sunday, July 22, 2018

Good Medicine

A visit from Deb and Craig yesterday was just what the doctor ordered to cure my bad case of Grumps.  My heart lifted as soon as their truck drove up and I saw their smiling faces.  To put the frosting on it, my personal shoppers brought a lot of stuff from the wish list, including big bags of salt-and-pepper pistachios.  (If you've never tried these, do!  They are addicting.)  Bess Anne was getting low on the treats reserved just for going in the truck.  We're long past the days when she was afraid to take a ride, but she still looks forward to her special treat when we get home (I'm not above bribery).

The Kids had picked the perfect day to come up.  I don't think it got over 85, but it was still more comfortable to sit in the dining room where there is a window A/C and a ceiling fan.  It was so much better than opening the door and welcoming guests to hell.  We sat and talked and snacked on pistachios and I didn't have to pass around the spray bottle once for survival.  Because of the heat, I really don't expect to see the Kids from Mother's Day to Thanksgiving, so this visit was an especial treat.

Because I can't bear to have a dog begging at the table, Bessie has been trained from puppyhood not to sit and stare when we're at the dining room table.  She goes underneath and goes to sleep, usually with her head on someone's foot.  Ralph is another story.  Yesterday he was like a three-year-old child, constantly demanding attention.  He pulled out all the tricks in the book to the point of being obnoxious.  Celeste did her vanishing act until just before the Kids were getting ready to leave.  She came cautiously out into the hall and we were able to coax her into the living room.  I think Clay had conditioned her to accept "strangers" (how many years has it taken?).

I look forward to Deb's Saturday morning phone calls, but how much better to sit and talk face to face.  Gosh, I've missed that.  All too soon it was time for the Kids to leave, but how grand to hear "Love you!" as they drove away.

Putting the girls to bed later, it was as if the sun was celebrating the day, as well.  Not a Grump in sight.  It was a good day.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Grump Grump

Do I wake up at o'dark-thirty every day?  Why, yes, I do (4 a.m. today).  However, I am not a "morning person" per se.  Unlike Steve, whose eyes and mouth opened at the same time, I like to ease into the day quietly.  Feed bowls are filled and treats are distributed, all without speaking.  Ralph has enough exuberance for us all.  If there is such a thing as a "morning cat," that would be him as he races up and down the hall, yelling "brrrp brrrp" as he goes.  Coffee in hand, I sit at the computer and contemplate the topic for the day.  That's the optimum way to start the day.  Obviously, yesterday did not hit that mark and left me tight jawed for the duration.

Mama turkey was at the buffet yesterday, but I could only find six turkletts with her.   Drat.  Tom turkeys are no gentlemen.  Five or six came rushing up when I put down the feed.  Women and children had to step to the rear and wait for leftovers.  It's not my place to interfere, but I didn't like it.

While not as hot, it was more than warm yesterday and only a few desultory chores got done, even though Deb and Craig are coming up this morning.  The vacuum cleaner pooped out again.  I've got a new one on order, but it won't be here for a week.  Since I couldn't sweep the carpet, dusting seemed like an exercise in futility.  I hated to waste a good grump, so it was a good day to pay bills.  It wouldn't show anywhere but my checkbook, but at least I could say something was accomplished.

I waited with bated breath when I turned on the computer this morning, but it fired up without hesitation.  That, plus the anticipation of seeing my Kids, is an omen it's going to be a good day.

Friday, July 20, 2018


Whatever I might have thought about writing today has gone completely from my mind, thanks to TWO hours spent on the phone with tech support while trying to access the server, without which I was dead in the water.  Finally needing the unhelpful help of a supervisor, who completely wiped out my entire computer history in the process, I'm reasonably back in business.  Let's just say I'm in no mood to write about warm fuzzies and tweeting birdies just now.  Whenever working with tech support, I do my darndest to be patient and friendly; after all, I'm asking for their help and need them on my side.  However, as in that famous line from "Cool Hand Luke," what we have here is a failure to communicate.  Aaarrgh!  Okay, that's enough about that.  The "real me" will be back tomorrow, God willing, the creek don't rise, and the server comes up as bidden.  Fingers crossed.

Thursday, July 19, 2018


Yesterday was the hottest day yet and nothing, but nothing, got done.  (It's still over 80 degrees in the house at 5 a.m. this morning.)  I got caught up on a lot of stuff I'd DVRd, including a number of the wonderful PBS Nature programs.  One in particular, a documentary on an orphaned baby elephant, brought back one of the best memories in my life, and that's what I have to share today.

The Kids' dad and I took the family down to the San Diego Zoo for the day.  We had just the three then, and I was heavily pregnant with the fourth.  The San Diego Zoo is huge!  We must have walked miles going up and down the many paths, marveling at the exotic animals and, in the afternoon, I couldn't take another step.  Their dad took the three and went on, and I sat down alone at the rear of the elephant enclosure, the backside of the barn.  It was a surprise when the barn door slid open and the caretaker came walking out with a baby elephant to take a stroll in their yard.  What a treat!  But the best was yet to come.  The man noticed me and my rather obvious condition, seemed to make up his mind, and motioned me over to the fence.  Of course I went.  We made some small talk, and then he opened a small gate and invited me in to pet the baby.  Oh wow!  The baby sniffed or felt me all over with its trunk, and I must have gotten its approval because the man told me to put my hand in the baby's mouth.  Really?!  I will never, ever forget the sensation of that little elephant sucking on my fingers with its trunk wrapped around my shoulders.  It was pure magic.  I was sorry the Kids weren't there, but, of course, if they had been, it never would have happened.  It was my moment in time, mine alone.

We're supposed to be in a cooling trend, starting today.  I sure hope so.  We're getting a lot of smoke from the Ferguson fire down by Yosemite and the air quality is very poor.  Like it or not, I've got to get something done today to get ready for Deb and Craig's visit.  Or not.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Two, Please

Either Dang-It is getting weary or I may be winning one for a change.  Either way, yesterday morning he'd pushed only a token amount of dirt out of the tunnel and had not bothered to knock the lid off the chow barrel.  It might be just a lull in the skirmish, but I'll take it!

Try as I might to avoid the subject, the topic of the day is the heat.  When it's up to 90 in the house, it's hard to think of much else.  It's hard to think, period.  I went through two spray bottles of water in a day.  Each spritz evaporated as soon as it hit my skin, but it was momentary relief.  Bess Anne was a bit luckier in that regard.  She suffers from the heat as much as I, and I could hear her panting from across the room.  She went willingly with me out to her pool, but had to wait while I added cold water because I would have had a boiled hot dog if I'd put her in without testing it first.  When it was ready, she needed no coaxing to step in and I soaked her completely.  Once again, she gave just a token shake before heading back into the house.  Breathing normally, she fell immediately fell asleep.  Later in the day, she asked to go out and do it again and I was happy to comply.

Close to sundown, I loaded the trash and Bessie into the truck, turned on the A/C, and drove slowly down to the big road.  I left the motor running for Bess while I hauled the barrel from Cam's driveway, down our dirt road, and across the street.  If I hadn't had to get back to put the girls to bed, we might have taken a bit of a ride just to cool off.  It was nice while it lasted.

Puffy white clouds on the horizon often make me think of smoke signals.  Whoever was "sky talking" yesterday was using Morse code with just those unusual dashes.  Hmmm.

Sometimes on a hot day I'll run water from the hose over the back of my neck while I'm replenishing the goat trough after putting the girls to bed.  Yesterday I quite literally soaked my head and, like Bessie, went back into the house dripping wet.  It was the best I'd felt all day.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

More Of The Same

"La-de-da-de-dee.  La-de-da-de-dah.  And the heat goes on."  (Apologies to Sonny and Cher.)

I'm in a seemingly unending battle with a ground squirrel down in Missy's room.  Dang-It had burrowed up in the corner by the door, leaving an opening bigger than a saucer and a mound of dirt at the side.  Every morning I push the dirt back in the hole, and the next morning we do it all over again.  Every. Single. Morning.  This squirrel has been sent to plague me.  I'm on the second coffee can in which to keep Missy's cat food because Dang-It has chewed holes in the lids.  I started hiding the can buried in the goat chow barrel, but Dang-It has figured a way to knock the lid off the barrel to get to the goodies.  I've been pretty much a live-and-let-live person, but that could change.

Speaking of killing (did I say that out loud?), there have been a couple of Black Widow spiders in the milking room.  Those little beasties are hard to kill, fast as greased lightning they are, darting back into dark, unreachable crevices.  However, they create unmistakable white puffball egg sacs suspended out in the open.  I have no compunction in squooshing that sac, knowing I'm wiping out a generation (200-900) of spiders.  Ha HA!

Larry has joined a just-for-fun baseball team called the Poi Dogs.  Yesterday he sent me this photo.  Didn't I say he is having fun?

Best of all, Deb called and said she and Craig are going to make a hit-and-run visit on Saturday, coming up and then leaving early in the day to beat the heat.  My cup runneth over.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Half Baked

I may be half baked now, but given the prediction is for mid to high 90s for the next ten days or so here, I expect to be fully done by then.  'Nuff said.

Heat notwithstanding, it's been a grand week, a piecemeal family reunion of sorts.  It started with that great call from Dave, and then I got my Saturday morning catch-up call from Deb, followed by Clay's surprise visit.  Just when I was thinking it couldn't get much better, Larry called from Hawaii yesterday.  He's still paddle-boarding with giant sea turtles and having the time of his life.  As much as I miss him, knowing my Kid is happy is worth the world.

Holding out as long as I could, I didn't go to the store until late afternoon.  I wished I could have taken Bessie Anne with me so she could enjoy the A/C, too, but no way would I leave her in the truck while I went in the store and unfortunately dogs are not permitted inside.  Why is it we silly humans feel it necessary to burden ourselves like pack mules to bring as many, if not all, the bags of groceries in the house in one trip?  I know I'm not the only one who does this.  If I was sweating when I left the house, I was dripping when I got everything inside.

It was a long day.