All posts by verily sherrilee

Directionally challenged, crafty, reading mother of teenager

Sharing Spaces

I got a credit collection call today asking for “Jane”. When YA was younger and still needed daycare and after-school care, I rented out a room in my house to cover the costs.  Over the years I had a variety of housemates, some great experiences (still friends with Fredrick) and some sad (Dawn passed away a year after she lived here) and some just downright weird.

My first suspicion that Jane was a little on the weird side was the day she moved in. We had agreed on the day; I had told her I would be home about 5. When I arrived home, her car was parked in the driveway and she was asleep in the front seat.  I knocked on the window, she rolled down the window, said she’s be in shortly.  Then she went back to sleep and didn’t come in until 2 hours later.

She wanted to set up a weekly house meeting which I resisted; that’s too formal for my taste. Our dog, Katy Scarlet, didn’t like her.  She was estranged from her adult daughter but wouldn’t tell me why.  She never got a job, although she talked about looking quite a bit.  When she’d been living at the house for about 5 months, she told me she would have to travel to Colorado for something and due to a previous legal problem, she might be arrested and have to spend a couple of months there.  She never went to Colorado.  Then at the 6-month mark, massive numbers of forwarded pieces of mail started showing up for her.  One day I counted 44 of them and this went on for about 3 weeks.  She never explained.  Did I mention the dog didn’t like her?

At the 9-month mark, she made coffee in her little coffee pot and then left about an inch of coffee in the pot for days on end, never cleaning it. I asked her about it a few times and she always said “Oh, sorry, I’ll get to it today” but never did.  When the coffee had completely dried up, she moved the pot to the top of the refrigerator.  At this point I told her that things weren’t working out and that she’s need to find another place.  She didn’t argue.  The day she moved out, I took the ratty coffee pot and set it on top of one of her boxes.  She moved it to the counter.  I carried it out and put it in her car. After that day I never saw her again or even heard from her.

The credit collection calls began about 6 months after she moved out. These calls came from Colorado, Arizona, California and also here in Minnesota.  And the callers asked for her under a variety of names, although they were all a variation on “Jane”. They did slow down and then trickle off but over the years I’ve probably gotten 50 of these calls.  Today’s call was almost exactly 22 years since she moved out.

Tell me about a “colorful” housemate/roommate that you’ve had.

It’s Raining, It’s Pouring – We All Fall Down

It’s raining and thundering right now. The Irish Setter is burrowing into me on the bed, shaking and panting.  The shepherd mix is also on the bed, eyeing the other dog carefully.  As soon as the setter moves, the shepherd jumps up to police the situation.

What did your parents tell you about lighting and thunder when you were a kid?

VS’s Opioid Crisis

I had a tooth pulled on Tuesday – one of the big, two-rooted ones. Along with the gauze and pamphlet about after care, the oral surgeon wrote out a prescription for four Vicodin.  I was a little skeptical but since I’m not known for my stoic-ness where my dental work is concerned, I decided to get the prescription filled, just in case.

As the pharmacist was going through all his required drug implications, I suggested that I was hoping not to use any of the four tablets. He was very serious and said I should probably take one right before bed so that I didn’t wake up at night in pain.  “Stay ahead of the pain” were his exact words.

By bedtime at 9:30, all the Novocaine had worn off and with a few ibuprofen, I was actually doing OK. Remembering the pharmacist’s words, I thought maybe I should try the pain killer for overnight but couldn’t bring myself to take a whole one, so I took a half instead.  I slept really well.

Unfortunately, when I got up I had an upset stomach and was pretty woozy. Clearly I should have slept several more hours as that’s how long it took the drug to work its way out of my system.  I felt a little incapacitated at work and decided that all math and emails needed to be either re-figured or re-read to make sure I wasn’t spreading my idiocy throughout my world.  Even after the wooziness subsided I still felt a little wiped out. All of this from one half of a tablet.  The instructions on the side of the bottle say “1-2 as needed”.  Sheesh, I’d be in a coma if I had taken 2!

When were you woozy last?

 

 

Mother Nature – The Great Equalizer

Thanks to Mother Nature’s prolonged temper tantrum this spring and the bad brakes on Ben’s truck, I ended up getting my bales from Bachman’s this year. I should have made two trips, but I only ever say “I should have made two trips” after I’ve made just one trip and it hasn’t been the best idea.  Case in point – four bales of straw in a teeny little Honda Insight.  It took me 40 minutes and the vacuum to get the car clean afterwards.

As I was conditioning the bales, I was drawn to gardening books. I read Joel Karsten’s latest straw bale gardening book as well as The Potting Shed Papers by Charles Elliott and a fascinating book, written in 1870 by Charles Dudley Warner – My Summer in a Garden.

He could have been writing last week and he had a way of looking at gardening and nature that resonated for me. Here’s one bit I really liked:

“I am more and more impressed, as the summer goes on, with the inequality of man’s fight with Nature; especially in a civilized state. In savagery, it does not so much matter; for one does not take a square hold, and put out his strength, but rather accommodates himself to the situation, and takes what he can get, without raising any dust, or putting himself into everlasting opposition. But the minute he begins to clear spot larger than he needs to sleep in for a night, and to try to have his own way in the least, Nature is at once up, and vigilant, and contests him at every step with all her ingenuity and unwearied vigor.”

Who are you doing battle with these days?

Learning the Hard Way

Today’s post comes to us from Steve.

It is always interesting, after the fact, to remember the decisions you made that caused some bad thing to happen. Looking back, you can see the errors. But at the time, you were doing things that made sense.

One of the staple foods I have in my kitchen cabinets is honey. I grew up eating peanut butter and honey sandwiches. In the poverty of my first year of graduate school, I sometimes had peanut butter and honey sandwiches three times a day. I couldn’t afford anything else.

But honey has a nasty habit of crystallizing. The honey gets dull and solid until it will no longer come out of a squeeze dispenser. That just happened to me. But I had an inspiration for melting the crystallized goo back into liquid honey. I popped my honey dispenser in the microwave and nuked it for just 20 seconds. The photo shows what happened. The dispenser will never be the same, and I had to mop up honey from all over the microwave.

That’s one dumb stunt I’ll never do again, for I learned that lesson the hard way.

In the summer of 1970 my erstwife (let’s call her Carol in this story) and I lived along the Saint Croix River. We discovered a wonderful fishing hole north of us, just upstream of Osceola, Wisconsin. Night after night we’d go upriver to our fishing spot at the foot of an island and—quite literally—catch fish until our arms got tired.

Then Carol got busy, and I began fishing alone. The canoe wasn’t stable without a person in the front end, so I found a large boulder that I called “Carol.” I put the rock in the front of the canoe to keep everything steady while I fished. The rock worked so well that I safely walked around the canoe standing up, which is not something the experts recommend.

One afternoon in September I enjoyed what I knew would be my last evening of fishing for that season. Grad school and work were about to start up, so I’d not fish there again until next year. I canoed back downstream to the Osceola bridge where my car was parked. I realized I no longer needed my boulder. With the canoe close to shore, I walked to the front of the canoe, grabbed “Carol” (the rock) and chucked her overboard.

In cartoons when Wile E. Coyote has just made a fatal error there is a terrifying pause. Time stops as he processes what he has done and what is going to happen to him. The cartoon is absolutely true to life. On the river I had my Wile E. Coyote moment. For several seconds I contemplated the fact that I was standing upright in an unstabilized canoe. Then the thing spun like a birling log under a lumberjack. I went sailing, my fishing rod flew even further, and soon we were both in the river. I survived. The fishing rod was never seen again.

And I never walked upright in a canoe again. Well, you don’t forget a lesson you learn the hard way.

What have you learned the hard way?

Head, Shoulders, Knees & Toes

Today’s post comes to us from Crystal Bay.

At 74, I’ve been experiencing increasing physical weakness. A year ago, my three kids did a one-by-one intervention on me to get me to move and gain some physical strength for my upcoming trip to Africa. I still can’t believe that my first trip away from Minnesota was to Africa! It’d been years since I’d even walk to my mailbox. I’d pick it up when I drove past it a couple of times a week. They were very adamant that my excursion to Africa would deplete me because I was so physically weak. Finally, I took them seriously.

I agreed with them even though they’d tried for years to get me to do something – anything- to gain physical strength. Finally, between them and my upcoming Africa trip, I joined a gym and began working out five days a week. I started doing what’s called “TRX”, a class of around a dozen or more mostly older people which involves using long straps with handles. Each day, we work out every muscle group for about 45 minutes. We talk the whole time which makes it a guaranteed daily social experience. Going to a gym solo would never work for me. Hell, I won’t go to a restaurant or a movie by myself! For me, everything has to be a social experience. What fun would it be to go to a movie without someone with whom to share it afterwards? Or go to a restaurant without chatting while eating?
I am stronger now and have some sinewy muscles. One day, I took a picture to text to my kids, but the pictures showed sagging skin beneath my new biceps so I deleted them. Still, I can’t deny that I have more strength and stamina now than I have in years. This class has people from 20 to 96 and is so doable. Most of all, I enjoy the camaraderie of people I’ve come to know.
These daily classes also get me out of the cottage and away from my obsessive opinion posting. Truth be told, until this daily routine, my lifestyle would be perfect for a nursing home resident (a thought I’ve had many times). I still go when I don’t feel like it after a whole year. My kids are very pleased. And, in a small way, I’m proud of myself.
Describe your favorite fantasy fitness regimen!