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the 496 mile round trip

Saturday, February 23, 2013
I have had so much good fun amusing myself in recent years, I have put over 100,000 miles on my little Toyo. I don't recall just exactly how many it had when I bought it used in 2009, but it has been a good little pony. (Just looked at the bill of sale: 35225 miles on odometer at time of purchase.)

I went to Decatur on Thursday afternoon, (which is about ninety miles from Columbus), after a few hours of working at Publix: you remember... last week, I worked a full week of forty hours, and this week, I had a great big whopping eight hours on the schedule. But that's ok - more time for me to run up and down the road. My plan was  drive to Greenville on Friday  (nearly 150 miles from Atlanta) and spend the day with my penpal. I know that does not total up to 496, but close enough for the math impaired...

I got up early on Friday, and - this is the part I hate - that dreaded perimeter I-285, twelve or fourteen lanes wide of people who left home ten minutes late and trying to make up for lost time. But I got out on the interestate in the dark and the rain, with three million others, all splashing their way to work, and Me. Making my way out of town on on to SC. Happily tooling along at about 71 m.p.h., when suddenly we all stop, and spend the next hour traveling at 4, or 9 or 13 m.p.h. At one point I asked a semi truck driver if he knew what was going on - but he could not tell me why we were creeping, stopping, creeping again. I finally got to the 'crisis' and saw a big RV, the size of those huge boxy winnebagos in the ditch, nose first. Imagining how it could have happened in the dark, on a raining, slick highway, pulling another box on two wheels: a trailer of all things, and sliding across the pavement with no way to avoid the inevitable. The two hour drive took over three hours to get to Greenville.

We had a good visit, my 89 year old pen pal and I. Talked about nothing all day. I left at four, hoping it would not take for-ever to get back to Decatur on a Friday evening, and was surprised it was such a easy, uneventful drive. But since the weather guy was predicting some really bad rains, I decided to not drive on home in the dark and chance encountering frog-strangling rains, possibly flash flooding. Which meant I had to get up really early this morning to get back to Columbus. Which was not bad at all, once it quit raining, and I got out of Atlanta.

I don't think I am going anyplace at all next week, but there is always working a few hours a couple of days a week at my little Publix jobette, volunteering here and there, doctor's appointments to fill the squares on my calendar and keep me on my toes....

the 497 mile round trip...

Thursday, February 21, 2013
I went to Decatur last Friday (too early) and had to take a nap as soon as I got there.

We walked the dogs, had lunch, puttered around.

I left Decatur about 2:00, headed for TN.

Had to stop for gas, drinks, facilities, got to TN about 5:00.

Had a good weekend with laughs,Eating, horrible movie: don't go see 'Identity Theft', too much to eat, family fun.

Eating with funny people, shooting lesson, eating with in-laws.

Church, Eating with in-laws to (not) celebrate an 8-year-olds birthday, who was pretty cranky and pouty, about what you'd expect from someone who was deprived of a birthday party - though most that age can get equally cranky when they Do have party fun and get overwhelmed by the excess.

Back to Decatur on Sunday afternoon, visit with cousins, Eating.

We seem to do a lot of eating.

Walking the dogs, puttering in the yard, Eating, visit with Auntie, Eating

Back to Columbus on Monday night

at least I hit the target, sorta, somewhat...

When I went up to Chatt-e-nooga last weekend, we had decided that I would take along my weapon.

So you might be asking: What??? and Who??? and Huh???

I have been listening to entirely too much talk about the zombie invasion, mostly from people in the Atlanta area, where the "Walking Dead" is filmed, (and freaks abound). That is apparently a very popular topic of conversation that has not filtered out of the metro area into the sticks here where the bumpkins reside. So, in order to protect myself from the inevitable invasion, I decided it would be a good idea for me to be able to defend myself when they come shuffling up to the door. Especially now that I have been informed that though they are already once dead, a shot to the head will stop them in their tracks.

Therefore: I requested a 'gift' of a handgun, knowing  my aim won't be great, especially early in the morning when I am wandering around trying to remember where I left my glasses - so long arms are not practical (when theun-dead are shuffling incessantly at the door). The story is; about a year ago, actually last January, I sort of, vaguely suggested that I might possibly, remotely be interested in having (and learning how to use) a pistol. Just thinking about the liklihood of maybe going to look at handguns. Mr. Give-Me-That-Problem-and-I-Will-Solve-It called  me the next day and said: "Meet me at the pawnshop." He had talked to the guy who does the firearms training (he often sees at the greasy spoon where guys congregate for big plow-hand breakfast platters). And the guy from public safety recommended the hand-gun cops usually carry.

Remember: I am only pondering the remote possibility of maybe thinking about gun ownership... But Mr. Give-Me-That-etc., had me walking out of the pawnshop with a pistol and two boxes of ammo. I guess I was kinda freaked out. No: I Know I was uneasy with the idea of owning a deadly weapon. So it has been sitting in the closet for a year. Waiting to pounce? Waiting for me to get comfortable with the idea of being a gun-slinger? Waiting for me to figure out how to use it? All of the above? Yes.

I  went to apply for a license to carry (concealed weapon) in south GA, and was told I hd to apply in the county of residence. So finally got around to doing that back in the fall. Took my application, photo ID, requsite money order (no checks or cash) to the Probate Judge to apply, then to the marshall's office for fingerprinting.And just last week, it came in the mail.

I took it with me when I went to visit in TN, and we went out into the woods (private property, family owned) to 'give it a shot'. I did, aiming at the round white plastic lid of a five gallon bucket, and hit it several times. I think the clip holds nine - and I might have hit four. So, in essence, I am even more dangerous than the average shooter - occasionally hitting what I am aiming for, and often hitting things I did not mean to put a slug in. There were those amongst us who wanted the 'shotgun' experience, but I declined - so my shoulder will not be aching for a week from the kick. It was pretty interesting, as well as a little scarey.

I know that the only way I will develop any skill with my aiming is to practice - and get a laser to improve my aim. I am sure that practice will help me be more comfortable, with ownership and use, as I am 'way out of my 'zone' right now. And will also make it easier to load. Thinking if I am going to own it, I should make the effort to learn how to carefully, safely, cautiously use it.

plodding along

Tuesday, February 12, 2013
For a person who only works part-time, this has already been an excessive week: and it's only Tuesday. Due to the 'everybody loves everybody' holiday coming up on Thursday, it will be unusually long for me. I often have work weeks when I might be scheduled for ten hours, but this one gives me the 'opportunity' to work a full forty hour week. And after working two eight-hour days already, it's pretty obvious to the tired feetses: that the era of full time retail work is history.

It will be nice, when the paycheck comes, and I can enjoy the benefits of having put in all that time, but it's also a lesson in exhaustion. Today will be the day the huge load of freight comes from the warehouse: cartons and cartons and cartons of plants, with blooming hyacinths, daffodils and tulips, azaleas, cyclamen. And buckets and buckets and buckets of dozens of wrapped and ready bunches of  roses for 'cash and carry' ($19.99). And a pallet stacked two or three high with boxes of mixed cut flower bouquets. I hope I can remember all that stuff the physical therapist told me to do to be 'kind' to my back when the boss is hurrying me to get it all from the stock room and displayed out on the sales floor. And it would be really nice if the 'master plan' that is only in his head will be revealed before I put it all in the wrong place and spend the day tomorrow rearranging it.

It this point, not quite half-way through the week that seems to swamp us every year, no matter how prepared we try to get - I am feeling like the Little Engine That Could. Trying to constantly keep the 'I think I can' mantra in the forefront of my mind... along with the knowledge that I am nearly half-way to the finish line. So, with the attitude that the glass is half full, here comes day three of five. I think I Can, I think I can...

possibly the first day of accidental spring

Friday, February 8, 2013
I did a wee bit of yard work today. I had good intentions for getting my wheel barrow out and picking up some sticks and limbs that have fallen over the months of winter winds. And I did get the barrow out, but never got around to filling it. Maybe that will happen tomorrow, before it starts raining again in a couple of days and turns the barrow into a portable pond.

I planted some stuff: a mum plant that was a rescue. I'd cut the fading blooms off a week ago, and brought it home. I will be surprised when it blooms, as I don't remember what color it was. And some bulbs I dug up last spring, left lying in the dark on a sheet of newspaper, expecting to sell. I recently  noticed them sprouting green leaves, wanting to grow so much I felt compelled to plant them, put them back in the dark damp earth  again. And some agapanthus corms I brought back from south GA about a year ago, that had been sitting around in a bucket, waiting for a decision about where to plant them. Decision made, hole dug, Lily of the Nile in the ground, in that front bed I invented last spring/summer. Along with several clumps of surprise lilly bulbs and  the mums that will be colorful in the fall.

The salvia I transplanted into that bed has not quit blooming: even in the coldest weather, there have been little bright red blooms on the ends of the tender stems. And a lavendar lantana in a pot that I keep moving around, from one side of the house to the other, trying to decide where it wants to settle in.

I have lots of rescued hyacinth bulbs that have started blooming: white, pink a deep rosy color, and a deep blue that looks nearly purple. The hugely overgrown bushes of forsythia are beginning to have a few yellow blooms. Also random clumps of the tiny white bell shaped blooms of the snow drops that came from south GA nearly thirty years ago.

really misplaced as a sub. teacher...

On the first day that I had work as a sub. teacher for this year, it was all irony. If it had not be so thoroughly unlikely, it would be laughable. A job that had been on the calendar since back before Thanksgiving, when I got the request from an elementary school admin. assistant who was trying to book sub. workers for teachers to go to a training/workshop.

Actually the second of two sub. days, the first one I accepted and completed back in the fall, and the second day was on Thursday. What makes it so outlandishly amusing is that I was responsible for the computer lab. The position was assigned and accepted on the assumption that I would be 'assisting', not knowing that what would really occur is that I accidently got tagged as 'it' when I walked in the front door of the school. Even though I had made a note that the day would have something to do with technology, it sounded like I'd just be there to help out.... Fortunately, every class that came in, from first grade kids completing reading assignments by taking tests on their books, to fourth graders working on research projects, the groups were accompanied by teachers or para. pros who kept everyone on task. When the inevitable problems arose, there was some one available to resolve the issues - and that someone was definitely not me.

bursitis, I guess...

Sunday, February 3, 2013
There has been some on-going weirdness here. Some weeks ago, probably about three months, I started having some strange pains in my  left hip that gradually decided to travel downhill and occupy my knee joint as well - but only on the left side. To add even greater oddity to this - it only occurred when I was lying flat on my back: meaning when I would go to bed at night.

Needless to say, when something this out-of-the-blue unlikely occurs, we tend to immediately self-diagnose with a Worst Case Scenario.  The good news is that the only time I found it  necessary to devote any time to fretting over some obscure, unfathomable terminal disease was in the wee hours of the night, when turning over in my sleep would cause the ache to be so acute I would wake up with a major case of Dread.

I went to the chiropractor, (on-going for a couple of years) for my monthly visit, and described the problem, back at the end of December. She said: 'sounds like bursitis'. I said: 'what's that?' and 'sounds like some thing only grandmother's have?' Then I remembered a recurring problem with the bursa in an elbow that happened around here a couple of years ago. It sorta occurred spontaneously, and resolved itself incrementally, without much attention. I'd wondered, and hoped that the diagnosis for my strangely aching hip would eventually just fade away in the same manner. But alas....

So I decided to call the Orthopedic clinic at a local hospital and try to get an appointment. I phoned last Monday, optimistically thinking that I might be able to see a specialist by mid-March, and was told I could come in the following afternoon. I was not quite ready for such a rapid response - but took the appt. and went to see the young bone guy. He looked at x-rays and said: 'Bursitis'. Gave me a HolyCowOhMyGosh injection of cortisone in my hip and said come back in three weeks. It felt better by bed time, and I think I might be cured.

He said that it would probably help with the knee pain as well, as it was likely something that was caused or influenced by the problem in the hip, and resolving the upper joint pain would ease the knee too. How do they do that? I looked at that x-ray image of both hips - and honestly could not see anything at all different in left and right. How do they know? I guess that's why they make the big money?

I have even surprised myself: with the fact that I have yet to google up bursitis... if you know anything at all about it - you know more than I do. Guess it's time to crank up the google...(I just looked - saved you the time to go over there and come back here...)

So what it actually is, according to Dr. Google is an inflammation of the little cushion-y thing that keeps the bones in the joint from grinding upon each other. Sounds like a necessary, valuable, important job to me, so I am thankful for all my bursa, and hope that the HolyCow injection I got is long-lasting and 101% effective.

the 498 mile round trip...

It would appear to be pretty crazy. Jumping in the car and driving in circles. But when you want to see someone, and you don't plan to make it permanent. Not invited to actually move in with that particular individual, realistically the only way to get where you want to be and back home again: making a U-turn once you get there and are done with the visiting part.

Plus if you factor in the likelihood that I made up the part about four-hundred-ninety-eight miles, it doesn't really seem to be such a tedious experience. Especially when the travel occurs over several days as opposed to the occasional bouts of insanity that cause me to drive that distance in twenty-four hours or less. So I went up to Decatur on Thursday after working a (why even bother?) measly three hours in the morning. And puttered around, spent the night, to get up on Friday a.m. and drive to South Carolina.

I went to visit my pen-pal in Greenville. I could not recall when I was last there, but he said that it had been the end of October, right before his extended family all went to Florida for a week. They were at DisneyWorld, and he was sick by the time they got back home. Probably some wee little bug one picks up by holding onto the same hand-rail, or bathroom door latch as someone else. But since he qualifies as 'elderly' (do not tell him that!), most any little odd virus can be debilitating. He ended up in the hospital for a week, then on to rehab, and now has lots of attention from Home Health workers, Meals on Wheels delivery folks, therapists, rehab. team, visiting nurses, etc trying to fatten him up again. Actually looks/acts pretty spry for a man who will be ninety in March.

We spent the day just talking, eating several times, and walking around the block in the sunshine. Nothing of any importance: just a pleasant day with a dear friend. Being together.

It is crazy to think that I can just jump in the car and drive back to Decatur on a Friday afternoon without getting snarled in traffic. Totally misplaced optimism to believe I can just whiz on into town without inching along through traffic at eleven m.p.h. - but it was remarkably uneventful. And spent another night in Decatur before leaving there at the crack of dawn to get back to town and go to work on Saturday.

It really was about 498 miles: It was 290 from Decatur to Greenville and back (where I found places advertising gas for $3.19/gal.) and another 100'ish x2 for the part from the house to Atlanta - so if there was any fudging done, it won't be the kind of chocolate that keeps me from going to sleep at night...