Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Day Two After Rosie

Terry took Rosie's cage outside Monday evening and hosed it off. We let it dry overnight and I carried it to the trailer Tuesday morning. The sofa table the cage sat on remains in the corner of the living room it has occupied for some time now. Pictures now occupy the space where Rosie's cage sat and the corner is very empty.

I find myself walking over to the table and realizing that I can't stick my head in the cage and waggle my face at Rosie as I used to do from time to time. She would chirp and sit there looking at me as if to way who the hell stuck this gigantic head in my house. Get it out, get it out.

Terry came home Monday evening with some food purchases from Country Mart. She said that one of the things she always did at Country Mart was pick up a sale paper. We don't do our "big" shopping at Country Mart, it is a store near where Terry works and she picks up odds and ends there because it is convenient. However, the sale paper was printed on paper that when unfolded happen to fit into the bottom of Rosie's cage without having to be folded, cut or altered in any way. Now the need for the sale paper is no more.

I have several pictures on my camera of Rosie the night before she died. She was so cute on Terry's lap. Little did we know. I haven't had the courage to download them yet. I will one of these days when time blunts the emotion.

I will keep turning over in my mind for some time the idea that we should have done something more. Our attitude with our pets over the years has been we will provide a loving home, and reasonable care, but they are after all a pet. When I first came to Arkansas I was adopted by a black cat I called "Bitcher." My deal with the cat was I would pet it, I would provide food and shelter and lavish affection on it, but that was all. His health was his business. After several years he left, I don't know if he died in the woods, or moved on to greener pastures. I searched for him, but not diligently. If he wanted to come home he knew where I was. I guess that sums up the attitude Terry and I have for our pets.

They become little family members. We spend time with them and treat them with love and affection. We are rewarded with love and affection. However, I cannot imagine me paying a lot of money for cancer treatment, Mattie and Blondie died of Cancer. I have paid for sewing up of lacerations, ear infections, neutering, and other normal care visits. I did pay for two surgical procedures on Mattie to stem the invasion of cancer, but eventually let her go naturally.

So I guess when the problem is beyond our comprehension we don't take the extra step a person might if it were a son or a daughter, or human family member. But for the time our pets are with us, they live the good life.

Monday, July 28, 2008

What So Different Today?

Nothing. Rosie, our Cockateil passed away yesterday. This morning I got up at 4:45 AM as usual, made fresh ground coffee, and brought the carafe upstairs so my wife Terry, and I could enjoy some morning coffee. We got up, Terry to the shower to get ready for work, me to go out and take my 1 hour morning walk. On my walk I met Terry's Dad at work in the garden, our son Geoff was standing there visiting with him. I stopped and passed some time, Geoff and I got into a discussion about Bret Favre and his situation at Green Bay. I bid everyone good morning and resumed my walk. The sky was blue, the sun bright, and the day had promise.

Rosie is dead! Yet a neighbor got out and went to work, I usually see him/her leave. The neighbors dogs were barking at some event over on 22nd Street. I ran into one of the many box turtles on our property and bid it good morning. I walked by Rosie's grave along my path and said I hoped she was at peace and forgave me if I hurt her in any way.

I came home, sat with a cup of coffee visiting with my wife and her father who now came over to see if we wanted more tomatoes. Terry's father left, Terry left to go to work, I showered and got dressed and am ready to leave for West Memphis for a meeting with the four other schools that make up the ADTEC consortium.

So what is different about today? Rosie's cage is still covered. There is no beeping going on, no calling to the Blue Jays, and no Rosie. I miss her.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Scary Night Outcome

I'm OK. The body sent a message however, quit loading up on junk.

Scary Night

It is late. The clock says 12:20 AM. I am sitting here trying to occupy my thoughts with things other than the stomach ache I am experiencing. It is similar to the hurt I had several weeks ago when I encountered a small bowel obstruction. There is a difference, this time, I keep telling myself. First I am passing some gas and burping. I did not do that when I had the obstruction. I was locked up tighter than a drum. It also seems to be easing, last time it did not. I think I ate too much junk today. I love mixed nuts and must have had about 6 to 8 oz. of them. Plus some soda, plus some cookies, plus a bunch of junk I know better than to eat. Now I'm sitting here trying to get comfortable and relax cause I do not want to go through another experience like I did about a month ago.

The real question is what will I do? My body is rebelling against all the oil, fat and crap I've eaten. How many times before a lesson is learned? I do have confidence that I can adjust. I've done it before, I'll have to do it again. In the meantime, I hope this isn't a bowel obstruction.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Morning Walk July 25, 2008

This morning I shortened my walk some 20 minutes. However I observed some interesting things on my brief journey.

We have a pair of hawks roosting in a neighbor's yard. They prey on other birds, which is a source of consternation for Terry and a source of interest for me. The last couple of days what appear to be the parents have been found in nearby trees calling. I can't help but wonder if they aren't trying to get the young out of the nest.

This morning as I came up the Eastern lot line of the 2311 property I had a view of the two adults sitting side by side in a pine tree that sits almost over the garden on the property. It was fairly early and they sat there quietly looking over their world.

Along the gravel entry road to the same property if found a Common Whitetail Dragonfly fluttering by the side of the road. I had a feeling that its brief life was ending as the fluttering seemed futile and did not get the little insect airborne. I stooped to get a good look and was struck by the delicate nature of its wings. It had double wings and resembled a bi-plane with wings one in front of the other instead of on top of each other like a true bi-plane. It was a pretty creature.

I stopped and visited with my wife's father who had pulled in to work in his garden plot on our property. His Dr.'s visit yesterday went well and he seemed encouraged by the effort that will be made on his behalf. We observed one of the adult hawks sitting on a pine limb some 40 feet above us. We talked about the absence of rain and how rain cells seem to dissipate once they high the Delta land coming in from the West or Northwest.

The solitude of my walk was interrupted and time was getting on so while I enjoyed to interludes I decided I was hungry and should fix breakfast. It is time to get on with the day.


Saturday, July 19, 2008

Why Does Time Have to Fly By?

I am addled. Just before I went on a super nostalgic trip back to my home territory I was reminded again of our vulnerability. I encountered a small bowel obstruction. I have not been that sick since I stopped drinking. The weekend before my expected trek to the North was tough. I felt like hell, I encountered abdominal cramps, gas pains became sharp and made me wonder if I was going to have another obstruction episode. I could not go to the bathroom. A few days went by and I became more and more nervous and strongly entertained the thought of staying in Arkansas.

I had talked with my sister up north and she suggested I drive to my daughter's home in Valparaiso, IN and then we could follow one another up north from there. At least I would have someone along the way to help me should I encounter trouble. The problem was the first jump was 500 miles with no family members should I need help.

I wasn't really worried about needing help, I can drive myself to an emergency room. It was the thought of the hassle that made me hesitant. Sunday came, no bowel action, passing gas means no blockage, so there was no blockage but nothing else. Sunday night, bloated feeling, but no action. Monday morning, a little action, not much. So I asked my wife's opinion.

Now this woman is worried about me traveling such a distance alone. She is very uncomfortable making this trek and we decided some time ago that I would go alone. It would've been very easy for her to advise that I stay home, that I was still on shaky ground. Instead she told me that if the worst possible scene played out I'd end up in some strange hospital, but I'd be OK. If I made it to my daughter's, Kristi is an RN and works in a Med/Surg ward so she would be more than capable to handle the situation. However, her advice was, if I did not go, with so much activity planned I would hate my self for the missed opportunity.

She left for work at 8:00 AM Monday morning, kissed me good bye, said have a good trip, and I packed my car and left for Valparaiso about 10:00 AM. I arrived in Valparaiso about 6:30 PM and started my grand adventure.

Now, I'm back home. Two weeks have passed, I saw tons of people, ate great dinners, snacks and all manner of things including two old fashioned S'Mores over a camp fire on a northern Michigan inland lake. I saw incredible sunsets over Lake Superior, wonderful vistas of the Straits of Mackinac Bridge, the vast Cherry orchards of the Traverse City area laden with ripe cherries. I saw old friends, walked on the high school football field I first played on 51 years ago. Saw neighbors I haven't seen in over 50 years. I saw a family that for a year was intertwined with my family as though they were part of our clan. Their mother was diagnosed with TB and my mother cared for their kids when the father went to work. I sat on the lawn of the city's Bayshore Park over looking the grandeur of Lake Superior listening to a local group play songs that had your toes tapping and your heart singing. I wondered why couldn't it always be thus.

However I was ready to come home. My wife, the animals, my stuff, and the property Terry and I have invested our time in call strongly to my heart. Now it seems I was gone hours. Days sped by, events occurred, I tried to slow them down. I took pictures so I can sit back and recall the scenes, the people, the events. But it all happened so fast. In two more days I'll have been back in Arkansas a week. I am glad to be home, but saddened by how fast time went.

I will not see some of those people ever again. We all looked pretty much the same, just older. I may never see those kids that I shared a year with some 46 years ago. I had not seen them until this summer and their mother now resides in Green Bay, so our paths may never cross again. I will see my childhood friend again, you can bank on that. I should see my sister and her husband again, but while I was there my brother-in-law had a heart procedure that while successful tends to mark the passage of time. My sister's breathing is getting more labored as each year passes and her asthma takes its toll. My cousins are aging. One is in her late 60's and lives in California, will our paths cross again? That is the devilment of growing old. The memories are strong and precious, they define me. Yet the years are closing in and I feel vulnerable with the past surgery and this damnable blockage. I try real hard to keep my mind on the here and now and take each day on its own merits. I still lament the passage of time and the writing of the late stages of my chapters. Right now it is bittersweet. I kid my daughter about 13 more visits and my granddaughter will graduate from high school. I wish we were closer in distance.

However time passes the reality is we've made our lives as best we could. We've loved and wished and realized things that are wonderful and meaningful. I just wish time didn't have to fly by so fast.