A Little Thing

A bowl of water was in the tree’s shade, probably there for animals. A yellow jacket thrashed about in it.

Bending down, he put a finger into the water beside the yellow jacket.

Grabbing his finger, it ran up out of the water as he pulled his finger free of the water.  The yellow jacket sprang into the air, buzzed by his head for a second, and then flew away.

The encounter was a little thing taking less than five seconds of his life, but it felt so good.


And Again, and Again, and Again

He talks to his wife across the house,

demanding answers that she doesn’t give.

She doesn’t hear him, and he gets mad,

again, and again, and again.

He trips on the cat in the dark,

and curses the cat for not learning.

He goes the same way, every time,

again, and again, and again.

He leaves the lights on and the water running,

and complains about the waste,

and argues about whodunit,

again, and again, and again.

He sleeps the same times,

and does the same things,

eats the same food,

and complains the same ways.

Goes to the same places,

listens to the same tunes,

watches the same tube,

and hears the same news.

Then he complains that nothing changes?

Again, and again, and again.


Five Times Too Many

It’s a sad situation; a neighbor ran over their cat while parking, the fifth time in my life that a friend or neighbor ran over their cat. 

This victim was a cat, but it can happen with children, dogs, and other animals and people. The situation begins with a routine, complacency, and an assumption: “He/she is always there. I expected them to move. They always did.” That assumption is a killer.

His name was Buddy. He was a small, elderly black cat. Probably weighed seven pounds, but had the voice of a lion. He was sweet, trotting over to me for a treat and a scratch when I came out to do yard work or go check the mail.

I wasn’t present when Buddy met his demise. The woman’s three elementary school-age girls were.

The temp was in the nineties. Maybe Buddy was hot or ill, or deeply asleep. Like each of the other four situations, Buddy didn’t move as he usually does.

Such accidents and deaths can be avoided. Don’t assume. Get the visuals. Take the time to confirm the cat’s location. Confirm that he moved.

It’s already happened five times too many to my friends and neighbors during my lifetime. Please learn from Buddy.

At Your Disposal

Well, I finally did it. I pulled the plug. It was time.

My garbage disposal was a decent enough Badger 5. Not pricey, it was a half power workhouse. It had some issues. First, it’d been a leak from the sink flange. I fixed that, twice, vowing the second time, NEVER MORE! Meanwhile, god forbid a lemon seed or popcorn kernel were dropped into it. Either would immediately jammed it, calling out the need for the hex key to unjam it. Lemon and veggies would often rumble around for a few days before finally succumbing to the blades and disappearing.

Then, though, the seals began leaking. After assessing it and confirming it was the seals, I put a bucket under it. I’d monitor and empty the bucket as required.

There’s no-how for you.

Sorry, I mean ‘know-how’, of course.

Finally, though, a day came when the disposal didn’t want to work any more. It made humming sounds but the cogs weren’t jammed. It just didn’t want to play any longer. A new one was required.

That took me into search land, the perfect occupation who tends to overthink stuff. Size, price, horsepower, noise, reputation, issues…over and over I read, compared, and studied. It came down to Waste King and Insinkerator. Love those names, gotta say. They could easily be pro wrestlers or transformers. The Waste King won. I ordered it Wednesday, and it was waiting at the door when I came home from the hospital Friday.

Perfect! The next day, after I came back from writing and walking, I set aside time to tackle the garbage disposal. Getting the old one out was harsh duty. Like a loyal soldier, it didn’t want to leave its post. I’d mentioned that it’d experience some leaking issues. Those led to some rusting issues, which trickled into removal issues. That bear took a sweaty hour to remove it.

Installing the Waste King, though, was a peach. Fifteen minutes, and boom, done. I’m not a handyman, so you know it was a well-engineered product if I installed it in fifteen minutes. Running it for the first time, its volume disappointed me. It’s a one h/p brute, though, and anything put into is liquefied in seconds.

Did I make the right choice? Probably as good as any of them. We’ll see, right.

Meanwhile, anyone need a used garbage disposal? It has no miles on it at all.

Off the Cuff

I’m writing about me again. I know, it’s my favorite subject, innit?

My surgery scheduled for last Friday didn’t go off. My blood pressure was 231/131 during the prep. “Too high,” they decreed. “Let’s wait and check again.”

I was checked on the left and right sides several more times. Everything was documented. The BP didn’t go down. No surgery with that level, it was decided.

It was depressing. I hadn’t eaten for ten hours plus, and I was all naked and everything. Instead, I was referred to a nurse practitioner for treatment. NORVASC was prescribed. I began taking it that night.

Meanwhile, my wife and I started a three-day green-smoothie fast. We’ve done it several times, usually to help her cope with complications, inflammation, or pain arising from her RA. This time, it was for both of us.

Weird, I felt fine. The NP listened to my lungs and heart and various arteries last Friday and found nothing to upset them. I don’t have any issues. I generally walk eight to ten miles a day. As my wife put it to the medical staff, “He’s very active.” I’d quit smoking ten years ago and I’d never been a heavy smoker. BP issues don’t run in the family. Honestly, though, my weight is higher than I desire. I’d slowly been creeping up toward the mid 190s, and I ‘ve developed a wheat/beer belly that bugs me. It’d be nice to rid myself of that adornment.

Two days later, I wondered if there was any change to my BP with the smoothies fast and meds.  Needing data, I bought a monitoring cuff on Tuesday and started tracking my BP. Naturally a spread sheet was employed.

Date Time Sys Dia HR Comments
15-Aug 8:27 119 78 68 After being up ninety minutes
14-Aug 22:01 125 59 65 Before NORVASC
14-Aug 7:47 149 71 75 After being up forty-five minutes
13-Aug 23:20 137 70 63 1 HR after NORVASC taken
13-Aug 19:27 149 68 69 First reading
Average 145 70 69

I was surprised by how much my BP had dropped in such a short time, especially this morning’s reading, 119/78. Makes me wonder if my high BP prior to surgery was due to white coat syndrome.

I don’t know. Some blood work is scheduled for next week to see if a root cause can be ferreted out. Meanwhile, I question the purchased cuff’s accuracy or if I’m using it wrong. We also tested my wife, though, as a baseline. With an ongoing chronic condition, she sees a doctor and has her BP checked every other month. She knows her usual BP range. The cuff’s BP had a result that she expected. We tested it twice. Both were in her normal range. I remain dubious.

I’ll probably go to the drug store later and use their cuff and compare it to my results. I’ll probably post about it later.

I am my favorite subject.

The Leather Jacket Dream

Last night’s dreams were a crowded, cluttered mess of happenings and objects. They began with a leather jacket.

Someone gave me a black leather jacket as a gift. I was taken back. The gift wasn’t expected. Its style was not the style that I prefer (yeah, aren’t I the fashion plate (snort, right!)). It wasn’t the highest quality (indeed). But it was a gift. I was drilled by parents and wife to be gracious about accepting gifts. Don’t mock or deride them, but accept with gratitude.

Smiling, I accepted the jacket and began wearing it. The fit was better than expected, and I looked good. Within a few minutes, I find myself surprised that I genuinely liked the jacket. Going back to the one who’d given it to me, I thanked them with more enthusiasm.

You know what? I never saw anything of the person giving me the jacket. If I did, it’s wiped from memory.

Shifting in the way that my dreams frequently do — without a true transition — I found me and my wife in a new place. Guess what? Yeah, I was back in the military. I amused me in my dream that I was dreaming about the military again because it’s such a recurring pattern in my dreams. I also told myself in my dream, go with it. See where it goes.

My wife and I were sharing a large apartment with two other families. None of them were in the military. We each had a bedroom with a bathroom. The place was bedlam. My uniform was wrinkled, so I needed to press it but had to find the iron and board. A hundred things were going on, with people unpacking, sorting stuff, strewing it around, and also dressing and leaving for appointments.

With my uniform pressed, I went to shower. The largest bathroom had towels, toiletries and clothing strewn everywhere. It appalled me. I thought, even if they have so little regard for others ability to use the facilities, have they no sense of order and tidiness?

I considered tidying the bathroom but returned to my bedroom and discovered a clean but small bathroom. The problem with it was that windows allowed anyone to look in and watch me from multiple places. I discussed this with my wife. She thought only one vantage allowed others to look in, so I could shift and stay hidden. I pointed out an entire set of other windows where people could see me. But, I decided, screw them. Let them look if they wanted.

I showered and shaved without issue. Then I heard noises outside. Green towel wrapped around my waist, I went out to investigate. Somehow, I became disoriented and began wandering. Then I lost my towel.

Again, amusement struck me in my dream. We’re employing that cliché? Mais qui, bien sûr. Okay.

Now, I’m naked but still wet, and outside. Fortunately, this was the young version of me, when I was slender and fit.

Buses were arriving. Uniformed airmen were piling out. I kept walking around, trying to figure out where the hell my place was.

I wasn’t embarrassed. I knew what stripes I had, and the authority and respect they command. I’d learned how to wear them, and I was metaphorically wearing them while walking naked back to my place. Go ahead, I mentally encouraged the crowds and lines of airmen that I passed. Say something. I dare you. None did.

Without fanfare, I found my way and returned to my place, entered, and began dressing, which is where the dream ended.



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