603: Work, and more work

I go to work every day, even when I am ill, because it is harder to do all the preparation work beforehand than it’s worth it to be out sick, especially when I am actually sick. I have stopped going to the doctor and dentist on school holidays, though. Usually, if school is out, the doctors and dentists are also closed, anyway, and occasionally I NEED a day off when I actually am not sick – that is worth doing the prep work for.

Lately, I have been finishing my straight eight, and donning working clothes to put in another shift remodeling our newest purchase: a new-to-us, but not new house. We have gutted the kitchen in preparation for the installation of new cabinets, counter tops, trim, and appliances, and have installed the new flooring and painted. The new ceiling and lighting fixtures, and the floor molding, go in after the cabinets are installed.


Lately, we have been on our knees…not praying exactly, unless you count praying that this piece of flooring will install properly in line with the others already laid. It is a good time for reflection on the vicissitudes of life, when you are on your knees, praying or not. I heard once that being on your knees is the most powerful position you can assume – and I assume they were thinking of prayer. I do tend towards a less than pristine mindset, and being on your knees is good for lots of various things, including prayer. Nonetheless.

I think the next few days I will work on painting. I can do that standing up. I’ve been on my knees dealing with those stubborn flooring planks a little too much lately.


362: Getting older beats the alternative.


There is very little that is attractive about getting older – visually, anyway. Perky breasts, taunt abdominals, smooth skin and slimness have gradually given way to…..well…..let’s just not go there. Some of you may have just eaten.

Plus, my short-term memory is not what it used to be, either. It was never really great, but lately I must actually have a place for everything and everything in its place not for neatness sake…but for self-defense.

And the assorted aches and pains are Indian……gradually creeping up on me. Here’s the very worst part of all…..

No, no, not the sex. My partner is as old as me, so we have aged together, and he’s not a whole lot prettier than I am, so neither of us has had to resort to bagging yet – that part is fine. Really. OK, don’t believe me.

The worst part of all? It is the FOOD. I’m pretty sure you are scratching your head and thinking….food? What on Earth? Yeah, it is the FOOD. Here is the real story about getting old. When you are young, back in the dark ages, for me, you eat whatever tasted good and whatever your parents force you to eat for your own good, plus whatever you were stupid enough to load on your own plate. See, I am a preacher’s daughter. That means, for those of you not so blessed, that I attended LOTS and LOTS of pot-luck dinners. LOTS. What I learned is that some pots are lucky, and some are toxic waste. However, if it looked good and you put it on your plate, you were obligated to eat it, because somebody brought it, and they have relatives. So, I learned to be wary, and to put small tastes of stuff on my plate, and then return for seconds if it was actually good: you could not trust what it looked like. Those chocolate chip cookies actually might be raisins, you just don’t know. It paid to be careful.

The hard part about growing old is that your tastes change a little, but not nearly enough. When you are young, spinach and broccoli and other veggies get better with age (yours, not theirs), but still – what happens to oldsters is just not fair. When you are young, you can eat junk with little worry, because your metabolism and your youth combine to allow you to sin in this area with relative impunity. Not so as you mature. Over time, the sinning you did as a youngster catches up with you. You stop growing up and grow out….and, as my husband said, I don’t fit my clothes anymore.

I had never heard it put that way before. It is a simple switch in emphasis, but a profound paradigm shift to say I don’t fit my clothes, rather than MY CLOTHES DON’T FIT ME. See, before, it was the clothes’ fault, plain and simple. This new way of putting it, put the blame squarely where it belonged, and where I did not want it: on ME. Meh.

Plus, when you mature, there are other health concerns that the doctor points out to you when he tells you to ‘avoid’ certain food items – what he means is you can’t have that anymore. Usually, THAT is whatever tastes good. You are allowed to have anything you don’t like, and the more you don’t like it, the better it is for you. THAT is what is monstrously unfair.

If we were gonna have to eat like this, why not just never let us ever eat anything that tastes good, so we won’t mind it so much when we have to give it up? Sheesh.

Still – you have to admit, getting old beats the alternative………………………….

243: Downtime

Drat, darn, poopy-do, shoot, shirts and shoes, firetruck, mother-father.

The neurosurgeon I saw in Fez who told me I have a mildly herniated disc in my back has assigned me another week off of work, medicating and resting to let it heal. You would think this would be cause for celebration, two weeks off from work in a row, but….no. I thought this would be a dream come true – no work for two weeks! Ha. Just like most of my OTHER fantasies (at least the ones I have actually had the chance to try out in real life, that is), this one sucks big time in the reality, too.

I tried to meekly ask if I could go into work if I promised on my word of honor (yeah, right) that I would only SIT and not walk around or lift things. He stared at me for a minute, wheels turning (letting me know exactly how much he thought that promise was worth), and asked me if I wanted surgery on my back. Shut me up pretty thoroughly. So, here I sit.  Medicated fore and aft. Literally. I did not know some anti-inflammatory medications came in suppositories – and I had just as soon have continued for quite some time, not knowing this interesting fact. Well. Live and learn.

Plus, my usually cheerful, accommodating, laid-back, easy-going husband has a sinus infection/earache he contracted over this past weekend. Like I said, usually his disposition is sunny and mild. When he is sick, however (thank GOD not often) or when he takes the prescription pain-killer Lortabs (for some reason), he morphs into Attila the Hun. Truly. Nothing anyone says in inoffensive, and he can let nothing slide by without some sarcastic, ugly remark. It helps a little bit knowing he is sick and temporarily not himself – a little. I dosed him with the cat’s Amoxil, gave him anti-mucus and anti-histamine meds, and sent him to bed, before I killed him. Before you freak that I gave my husband animal medicine, here in Morocco, the Amoxil they prescribe for the cat to take after her hernia repair abdominal surgery is the same stuff they give to humans – I will have to get her another bottle to finish out her eight day’s worth to be sure her incision does not get infected, but at least I had some in the house when husband finally confessed the sinus infection/earache. I’ll have to get him another bottle, too, but at least he is dosed for today, and the pharmacy is open this afternoon.

So, three of us (at last count) are sick and getting better (I hope). I thought that being at home would be such a treat. the hours are all double-length. My grades are all caught up, my week’s worth of lesson plans are all turned in (complete with student handouts and all handouts are also posted to the class Web site) and I have already made jewelry from the beading supplies. I guess I could try some sewing. I got some nice fabric in Malaysia that will make a couple of killer dresses…..and one of my students found a Web site that lets me watch free movies online (Warm Bodies, Bladerunner, Barbarella for starters) so it is not as bad as it could be. I read a few books besides the ones I needed to read for school, and that was actually pretty nice.

I guess I will survive. Be careful what you fantasize for – you might get it.

191: Killed by a cold…

One of these days, I am going to delay going to the clinic for just one more day so I can finish the piled-up work, just one more day too many, and the cold will turn into virulent raging pneumonia, and it will kill me deader than a doornail. Doornails are pretty dead. It seems that E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G else comes before me, and that just sucks, and I only have my own stupid self to blame for it. Why do I do this stupid stuff time after time after time? Will the whole world grind to a screeching halt if I take an hour to go see the doc for some meds to knock out this infection, before it knocks out me? Of course not. So, why in the he….ck is this the third day in a row, and I still have not gone?

It is not like I have a terminal fear of doctors, because even though I might not have the UTmost respect for the profession, and I am darn sure that they are correct when they claim to be PRACTICING medicine, I still am convinced that they are an excellent way to keep from dying from something stupid and silly….like a stuffed-up sinus infection and a bronchial, tubercular-sounding cough. So what gives?

Is anybody on Earth going to be even a little bit grateful that I have worked like a dog to complete my report cards for this grading trimester? Our assistant director commented that I had more cards to fill out than any other teacher on staff. I am not sure about that, but I am glad, glad, glad to be finally done with the very last one, even though many students won’t be happy about it. I do tend to tell the truth. Don’t let ANYbody tell you that you will be appreciated for telling the truth. EVERYbody would rather you tell a polite lie. ESPECIALLY on a report card. At least this grading period, no students offered me bribes for better grades. Darn it.

I could use the extra cash to pay for the doctor.

151: Doctors

Doctors have a conspiracy going. If you go to one, pretty soon, you are going to need another one. They have this system in common with lawyers. I went forty years of my life and did not need a lawyer, but as soon as I consulted the first one, I have needed one on retainer ever since, I have to consult them so often. Sheesh!!

The thing with doctors that I suspect is that when you go to see one for a particular problem, that what they do to fix that problem causes a host of other problems so that you have to go see another one to get this other, new problem taken care of, and then what HE does causes new problems that require other doctors, so that by the time you are fifty years old, all you do is travel to various doctors.

Think about it – how many people do you know who see more and more doctors the older they get – huh? Makes sense, doesn’t it?? I think the thing to do is avoid going to one for a long as you possibly can. That’s the trick.

11: Fur and finances

EVERYTHING costs money, dad gum it, ding dong dag nab it. It would be really nice if some of the things in life did not come with a price tag, but, there it is.  Even my adoring fur children cost me money. First, for food and kitty litter. Kitty food is NOT cheap. And they might enjoy occasional treats and snacks of people food, but they know what is REAL kitty kibble, and woe betide the cat mom who lets the kibble run out. Definite parent failure. And they are not shy about getting vocal about it – MEOW, mom, where is the kibble??? And let’s not even DISCUSS the kitty litter – that is just nasty. And usually when somebody really needs to go number two, is when I am at the sink (which is right over the kitty potty) trying to get ready for work. WHY?? It will make your eyes water, it is so bad. And it does not help much to hold your nose!

Then, there are the doctor visits. Kitten shots, neutering or spaying, those are not cheap, either. And a yearly checkup and rabies booster shot, not to mention any other problems in-between. Money, money, money. The cats would rather I forget about the vet visits, but I am a careful kitty mom, and I know they might not like it, but I want to keep them healthy. So, vet visits, too!

Finally comes the damages. You would think a cat that sleeps twenty hours out of twenty-four, every day, could not POSSIBLY get into trouble during the four measly hours they are awake. You would be wrong. I have found cats sitting on top of the referigerator. Gazing calmly down at me, wondering what I am upset about. I have found them sitting on the top shelf of my clothes closet – having OBVIOUSLY used my nice, clean clothes as a claw ladder to climb up there, gazing placidly down at me, wondering what all the fuss is about. I have even lost one of them for hours, only to open a cupboard door and here comes a lazy, stretching, fresh-from-a-nice-quiet-nap kitty (who thoroughly explored the contents of the cupboard before falling asleep in there, of course).

And things that go missing! Whenever you move a piece of furniture when cleaning in the apartment, you will find (pushed to full kitty arm length) any number of hidden treasures: pens, pencils, markers, small packages of formerly important things (medicines, too), paper clips, coins, laundry tokens, bottle lids and caps, q-tips, rubber bands, tubes of lipstick, acorns, peanuts, paper clips, keys, hair clips, various dried-beyond-recognition things (grapes, etc.) and, possibly, one or two actual kitty toys.

All in all, a fur child is not quite as expensive as a real child, but they are not cheap, by any means. It is a good thing I love all of them dearly!