Enough is Enough

Remember when I mentioned the tornado hitting Parkersburg? Well, turns out one of the i-net's favorite bloggers is from there. Miss Britt. http://miss-britt.com (my linker isn't working). They have determined it was an EF-5, the biggest one they make. It basically took the town and turned it into toothpicks… 

To add insult to injury, I'm not sure but think they may have gotten some more storms last night. We had thunderstorms 'training' through our area all night long with tornado warnings just a county or two away. A small town to the south had some damage, but they've not determined yet if it was a tornado or straight winds. I was up until about 3:45 a.m. just keeping an eye on things. As it turned out, we've had about 5" of rain over the past two days. The little creek that runs through our back yard? The one who has run bank-full on occasion this spring? The one that has about a 4-5' bank? Yeah…that one. It was out of its bank this morning. Not only out, but flooded the whole other side of the creek – through the timber – and across the road, virtually shutting down any travel south of our house. There is also a lower area south of our house that is higher than the creek, but about a foot or two lower than the land our house sits on. It, too, was flooded. The water was up under our deck to within about 6" of the top of the concrete pilings – pilings that are usually completely dry and are about 4" tall and are near our edge of the creek bank. I have never seen the creek so high since we've lived here.

We drove around looking the fields. Ponds, everywhere. There isn't a field that doesn't have some water standing in it somewhere. The roads either have water running over them, evidence of water that has been over them – in the form of cornstalk debris or gravel roads being washed out.

We saw deer standing out in our field this morning. They, too, probably have been washed out of their normal areas by the flooding.

Thank goodness, today is to be dry. The forecast doesn't sound good, though. Every day for all of next week has a chance of rain. I know there are places like Florida who are so dry and having fires. I wish we  could send some of this your way, truly.

Is it wrong to be so grateful that all we have is some flooding? That perhaps, if it ever dries up, some farmer friends could get their planting done (yes, some aren't even done planting!) – and that Hubs could get the spraying done? Maybe he'll have to replant some places that got washed out. That's a question and a quandry in itself.  I'm worn out from being up all night watching the skies empty. Still? I'm so very grateful that our house is in one piece and we aren't having to face another day of cleaning up from a horrendous event like a tornado. 

Recap

The party actually ended up being nice. Freezing, but nice. I ended up in the house with the MIL, SIL (from out of state), and visiting friends… and both my boys and their spouses came. We had a nice visit, good food, and minimal contact with either the host or hostess. Even the minimal contact was civil, so all was good. We were the last ones to leave and I paid for it the next day by being tired. (Son's race got rained out, so that became a non-issue.)

Saturday I went to my MIL's house and had a lengthy visit with all the out-of-towners. At one point my MIL and SIL left to help return chairs and tables that were borrowed, and the visiting friends and I got a quiet moment. Some enlightenment occurred when the topic of my MIL came up – as this woman has done some traveling with MIL and also sees a different side of her than we do. MIL is generally on her absolutely BEST behavior when she is around this couple and it is frustrating for Hubs and I to see how phoney she can be. Silly me… I should have realized this woman was smart enough to see through the act and although she accepts MIL can be this way, she still is kind enough to tolerate her.

Sunday we made the cemetary run. It was hard. The weather was nice, for the most part. Gloomy and hazy the first half, turning sunny and humid and very warm (almost 90 degrees!) by the end of the day. We kept an eye on the sky, as storms were predicted, but they didn't hit until after we'd gotten home. Youngest daughter went with, as she usually does, and we had some good talks… as we usually do. At one point we were standing next to my mother's gravestone in southern Iowa, having just put out the flowers, when Em made the comment… "How strange to think Martha used to send money every year to  have us put flowers on these stones, and now she's there saying 'hi' in person." It caught me in one of those laughs that borders on a good cry.

Finally, home to pick up a pizza… a hug from Hubs… and settling in to play a little WoW to relax. It wasn't to be. The skies opened up and my i-net went down and I ended up reading a bit, then getting caught up in the news reports of a small town in northern Iowa that was destroyed by a tornado earlier in the evening. Parkersburg residents said the tornado was a mile wide! I guess they aren't sure yet what class of tornado it was, but considering it tossed around semi-trucks and fork-lifts like styrofoam blocks… leveled the high school, and totally obliterated most of the houses, it's probably going to turn out to be a big one. As of last night seven people were dead. They say it just popped up out of nowhere. That's the thing I hate about tornadoes. Hurricanes, you get a lot of warning that they're coming. Tornadoes? Not so much. My heart goes out to those poor people. It pretty well destroyed the town. 

Today is going to be a quiet day, I think. I have tons of laundry to catch up on, some "girlie" things to do (nails, color hair, etc.) and I'm hoping there is a nap in there somewhere. Here's hoping your weekend is going well.

Getting Up on the Wrong Side… Again

I swore I was going to write a happy post. A joyful homage to the planting being done, Eldest daughter starting to recover some memories, and the new racoon we have coming to visit. I'm sorry, Sizzle… but this is one of those long posts.

I just can't do it. There are days that are jinxed. This would be one of them.

It officially started last night. Last night about… oh… nine o'clock, when I climbed into my bed only to have an elusive odor assult me. I know this fragrance. It is the scent of cat pee. Arrgghh. We have five cats, who are generally very clean and well behaved. Unfortunately, we also seem to have one who has issues. They pee on the bed. Usually on Hubs' side… but lately I've noticed they are doing it on my side. I've spoken to the vet about it, but because they don't do it daily… or even weekly… just occasionally, the vet says it isn't medical but psychological. In other words, the cat is literally pissed at us. I'm not sure who…and the vet tells me I could give them this stuff, one at a time, to make their pee turn bright orange, but with the infrequency of the attacks I'd have to give them the stuff daily and then wait to see if it comes out orange when they do it. Not really something I want to experiment with. So, I have a waterproof mattress protector, extra bedding, and a good washing machine. Still? Changing bedding at that hour of the night, for that reason… not fun.

Next I was awakened by the beeping of our bed at 5:22 a.m. We have a sleep number bed (no, I'm not going to link and advertise, although we like it very much). When the power goes out, it beeps. It beeped. About a minute later a huge crash of thunder got me sitting upright, realizing it was getting ready to storm. I jumped out of bed and got the pups outside before the worst hit… but it was thundering and lightening and the wind was howling enough that daughter's dog wouldn't even get off the porch. Good thing she's got a good bladder!

Back to bed, I tried to ignore the weather and tossed and turned awhile until finally giving up and getting out of bed for the day.

Hubs is getting ready to leave and is loading his pockets with all his 'stuff'… you know, wallet, change, pliers… when he exclaims loudly, "What is this on my billfold? Is this CAT PEE?!?!"  Oh-my-frickin'-god. Yes. He had one of those cloth billfolds and someone had pee'd on it. WTF? I love my cats, I do… and he does, too. But c'mon! What the hell are they mad about? Arrgghh. (Dariush's threat to make his cat into chinese food is sounding better and better.)So, luckily, he had another billfold – a nice one – that the kids got him for Christmas or his birthday and he'd not been using it because he thought it was too nice. So he had a backup. Still? Visualize this. I'm washing his money with dishwashing soap and hot water. He's washing his debit card, fuel card, etc. Not something I really wanted to be doing first thing this morning.

Then he leaves. He goes out to see how much rain we got. (Officially, 1.6" – another thing we didn't need.). I see him heading back toward the house and am waiting for him to come in and tell me. Instead, I got… "did you mow over the rain gauge? There are just pieces out there…" Shit. We quickly agreed he was just lucky I mowed.

Then I realize today is the day. The Day. Remember my brother-in-law? Remember The Boys? Well, the eldest Boy is graduating (by the skin of his teeth) and the party is tonight. Outside. It is only 60-some degrees today. This has turned into another Command Performance. My BIL and SIL have seperated. He's living in an apartment. She's living in their house with The Boys. Because of the graduation party, BIL has been working on the house – doing all kinds of things to it, at his someday-to-be-his-ex-wife's request. I mean, dumping money into it that neither of them really have, to fix up a house that really didn't NEED fixing up, so that they can have a party there and pretend everything is hunky dory. My other SIL from out of town (several states away) has flown in for the party, and other friends from out of town have come in and are all staying at my MIL's house. Tonight, my son who races, is bending over backwards to go to the party even though it's a race night and he is leading in points at the track. He is having a friend take his car to the track, then going up late to race the main event and Hubs is taking him. Guess who'll be left at the party? With a bunch of people who are acting like all is fine and dandy and that shit doesn't stink and what hell on earth can we cause for anyone and everyone. Bitter? Me? I only have two words. Blog fodder.

Finally the last blow to my morning routine. Women, you can relate. I was having a bad hair day. I could NOT get my hair to do what I wanted. I mean, really… it's short. It is always styled the same damn way. Why was it not cooperating? To top it off? The hair spray nozzle was clogged and I got a drizzle of hairspray all down my hand, my arm… oh, for cripes sake!

It's early afternoon. This day had better improve…seriously. Oh, yeah… I have that party tonight. Nevermind. It's just gonna suck. Here's hoping tomorrow is a better day.

Masking

I wrote an extensive paper once for a school project all about the masks we all wear. This came back to me today as I was in my office and overheard one of the drivers chatting with the other guys. He was all smiles and jokes and Mr. Positive. Not five minutes later I overheard him having a conversation on his cell phone that was far from sweetness and light… and it isn't the first time I've seen him do this.

It reminded me of how everyone thought my father was the life of the party. He would laugh and joke and be personable and someone everyone wanted to talk to… but I saw the other side. The mean drunk. The man who would use sarcasm as a double-edged sword, cutting right to the heart of whoever he had taken aim at.

I think of my own life. I've played so many roles that I could get labeled with mulitple personality disorder. At this time in my life I like to think I'm the most honest with myself and open with others that I've ever been. Still? I tend to put on a different face when I'm with my parents, my in-laws, and the public in general. I'm pretty much the way you see me here the rest of the time… and with my husband and kids I am the most genuine of all.

How about you? Do you feel you are a genuine person for the biggest part of your life or are you masking?

Hooky

Not to be confused with nookie or any form of hookers. (Watch the spam spike now!)

I'm playing hooky this afternoon and you can't stop me. The weather is beautiful (finally!). I'm taking eldesst daughter to lunch, then to get some flowers for her window boxes, and helping her plant them.

Yes, I worked in the garden last night after work. Yes, I hurt. No whirlpool last night. I made supper. I cleaned up. I even managed a load of laundry. I'm building up stamina. I'm tough. (Okay, those of you who know me… stop giggling. Now. I mean it.)

I'll try and get some pictures. Truth is, I've been taking them but for some reason my camera isn't talking to my computer anymore and I haven't taken the time to figure it out. Soon. It's on the list. I wish the list would get shorter, but for some reason every time I cross one thing off I think of two more things to put on. Must be that time of year, huh?

Two Steps Forward, One Back

Hubs got back to planting yesterday afternoon. YAY! The forecast is for a week of dry, sunny weather. YAY! If it really stays true, he may actually get done planting. YAY!

Eldest daughter finished her treatments yesterday. YAY! She's started back on a medication regime and will gradually build up to the dosages she will continue taking. Her final dosages should end up being about half what she was on before treatment. YAY! Her memory should start filling in and coming back now that treatments have stopped. YAY!

I got out in the yard yesterday afternoon and started doing some long-needed work. I weeded the back garden border, that consists mainly of hostas and shade plants, and cleared the vegetable garden. I was going to rototill the veggie garden, but couldn't get the tiller started and although Hubs offered to help me I hated to drag him from his work to help me with mine. (Yes, dear, Only Child Syndrome strikes again! Must.Do.Myself.) So, I ended up digging it up by hand (with tools, of course) and getting the tomatoes,  green peppers and flowering kale in place. I also went to the old house and robbed some Lambs Ears to plant at the new house before son killed off the patch. They've done a bunch of re-doing of the old flower beds, reducing them to a more managable size for him and his wife. That works for me, as they aren't my gardens anymore. However, the Lambs Ears that were there were transplanted from my mother's garden long ago, so wanted to have a few to save. Also grabbed a couple of ferns that were my Hubs' grandmothers'… again, something passed down. Seems there have been gardeners in our families for a long time and it is fun to see my newest daughter-in-law getting the gardening bug! The bad news (as you knew there had to be) was that by evening I could barely move. I rarely use the whirlpool tub, but I certainly got in it last night and had a good soak, then headed right to bed. Hubs was sweet enough to fix me supper and served it to me in bed, without even a slight "I told you so!"

I have three flats of flowers left to plant. *sigh*

On My Soapbox (Again)

Just a quick inventory of what has happened in the past two days in our (farming) world:

There is another chance of rain today, tonight and tomorrow. With luck, it appears it may just miss us or we'll get a slight amount. We need none. We need some warmth, sunshine, and dryness. The forecast is cool, cloudy, and damp.

Three terragators got stuck in the fields at work (this video shows what they look like when you watch it long enough. It's hard to imagine something with such big tires getting stuck!).

Two work pickups got stuck checking to see if the fields were dry enough to go into.

One semi-truck full of farm chemical got stuck and it took four hours for them to get it out.

Dry fertilizer prices went up 30%. In one day. A ton of one of the products is now over $1,000 a ton. Most fields need two or three different products applied to make the crop.

Diesel fuel prices went up 30 cents overnight. Filling a tractor one time can cost over $800. Filling up the semi-trucks to get that crop from the field to market is over $1,000. One. Time. They get filled several times over the course of a season.

I swear, it's getting insane.

More Random Thoughts *Updated*

  • Mother's Day turned out to be wonderful. Thank you, thank you, thank you to my wonderful kids… one in particular busted her butt to make it a good day. All my kids came over about 10 a.m. (allowing me sleeping-in time) and proceeded to make a terrific breakfast of waffles, omlettes, juice, bacon, toast, fresh strawberries… what can I say but YUM! Then they cleaned up! Bonus! After that, my Hubs went with me to my parents and we had a nice visit with them. Not too long, not too short. From there we drove right back to town and went to my mother-in-laws' house where Em (see link above) proceeded to deliver a nice, easy supper of some deli chicken and fixin's. That was an idea she and I came up with the night before to solve a couple of problems. One, that MIL hasn't been involved in the group of people who 'need to know' about my eldest daughter and all she's been going through. It isn't that we necessarily want to exclude MIL, but her tendency is to share with my brother-in-law who shares with the entire county, so not a good idea. The chemistry just changes when she's there, too. My kids can be pretty free with what they say and with 'grandma' around they tend to rein it in a bit. The second good thing about going to her house was we could eat, clean up, visit a little, and split. No having her sitting on the couch until 10 o'clock (when we want to go to bed at 9!). So, all in all it was a wonderful day.
  • Eldest daughter may possibly be getting her last treatment today. Keep your fingers crossed. Last week they said they thought Wednesday would be the last one, then they changed their minds to another couple. She's getting more and more forgetful and more and more irritated by it, so hope it is over soon and she can start really getting the pieces back where they belong – as well as she can. It seems to have helped with the depression, but at this point her personality is so dampened that it is hard to tell what's going on. The prayers can still continue… and I still appreciate them.
  • Thank you everyone for your thoughts about my aunt. It really means a lot to have all your support. I think it's really gonna hit me in a couple of weeks when I make the annual cemetary run.
  • Blogging has been pretty sporadic, and I apologize. It's still too wet to plant – but maybe they'll get back in the fields tomorrow (hope!hope!) but I've still been working more lately with some other areas of the state that didn't get the 3" we did and are able to plant. I seem to tire more easily since the surgery, too, but think it's just due to the same old pain in my shoulders keeping me from sleeping that well. I can't seem to find any pain relief and have temporarily stopped physical therapy until planting season is over. I'm still doing my exersises at home, so I won't slip backwards – just haven't the time to get in to let the professional tork on me.
  • Hope all is going well with you!

Update: Daughter has to have one more treatment on Wednesday (tomorrow). Then they'll start trying to level her out with some medication. They're hoping she'll be pretty good by the end of the month. Her husband is going to be home with her (as he has been) until then. Here's hoping things get a bit more calm by then!

Goodbye, You’ll Be Missed

Friday I got a phone call at work on my cell phone. The caller said, "Hi. This is Mike." That was all it took and my heart fell.

A quick background on family dynamics. I am an only child. My biological mom died when I was three and my dad remarried when I was five. My biological mom's dad died six months after she did and my widowed grandmother lived right next door to us at that time. When my mom was sick and in the hospital (polio, iron lung, the whole nine yards) I was sent to live with my dad's parents. They were very cool. One of the best times of my life. After I was back with my dad, after the remarriage, I spent a lot of time with my grandmother next door (my biological mom's mom… still following along?). She was a terrific lady, too, and I loved spending time with her.

My biological mom had a younger sister, Martha. She was her only sibling. Martha had married and moved from Iowa to Southern Calilfornia before I even really was aware she existed. She came back once to visit when I was about five and brought her two boys, one which is just a few months younger than I am and one who is a couple of years younger. The one that's near my age? Yeah. That's Mike.

The phone call was Mike telling me his mom had died. They weren't sure if it was Tuesday or Wednesday, as the boys had both spoken to her on Monday, but Wednesday afternoon Mike couldn't get her to answer her house or cell phone and she never returned his call. On Thursday they had someone go check on her and found her. She apparently had been sitting in a chair, gotten up, and collapsed. No autopsy to be conducted. She's had some mini-strokes over the past couple of years, so they're thinking that probably was it, but we'll never know for sure.

It hit me hard. Although I've only seen her about five times throughout my life… either when I've gone out there (my grandmother ended up moving to California, also, when I was about eight and she flew me out for a visit when I was in junior high and again in high school) or when she's come back to Iowa to visit, or in one case, to bury my grandmother. Each time it has felt as though no time has passed. I always felt so connected to her… and to my cousin. Not so much the younger one, but to Mike. I remember going out when I was in junior high that first time and the first thing we both noticed was our eyes were exactly the same. That's such a weird feeling to see someone who looks just like you, when you've always felt different from everyone around you. I remember going to Disneyland and having people ask us many times if we were twins! Bizarre. My aunt constantly was in amazement that although my mother died when I was so young, I somehow had her mannerisms! She said I looked just like her, too.

I always admired my Aunt Martha. She was divorced and managed to stay friends with her ex, her ex-inlaws, and raised two boys by herself. She was a strong, independent, no-bullshit kind of woman in a world that hadn't quite gotten to true acceptance of that until many years after she did it. She had a huge laugh, a quick wit, and a ready smile… but was genuinely warm and loving. Although she wasn't good a communicating, only a quick note at Christmas and again around Memorial Day as she always sent some money for me to get flowers for the cemetary for her family buried here (her mom, dad and sister, my mom)… I was just thinking that her annual note would be coming any day now. This phone call was not what I expected. I always had it in the back of my mind that I hoped to get out to see her again once more. Again, just goes to prove if you love someone you shouldn't put off telling them how you feel. It can all change in a second. 

I love you, Martha. You'll be missed.