Thursday, June 30, 2016

That Is a Bad Sound

Do you know what this is? Take a good look at it.
It is at the base of the tree outside of our bedroom windows, nestled right in my Impatiens. By the way, this picture was taken a week ago.

It is a bunny nest. Dang it. I will say that this was Mommy Bunny's second choice as a place to whelp the litter. Is whelp the correct term for this? Oh my gosh, I just Googled this and you can call them a litter or a Kindle. Does Amazon know that? There may actually be crosswalks here because I can tell you that my Kindle books do seem to breed like rabbits.

Now that was an interesting digression. Back to the bunnies. Second choice to give birth. Right.

I looked out one day and realized that there was a rabbit sitting in the middle of one of my planter boxes. That made me very unhappy. But I was confused (not an unknown occurrence with me) because she was just sort of sitting in the box. She wasn't eating anything just sitting contemplating her kingdom, which wasn't really surprising because she had parked her furry bunny bahookie right in amongst the jalapeño plants. As we have seen, even the deer don't like those. I did tell you about that didn't I? How the deer tried to eat my newly planted jalapeño plants but succeeded in just pulling them up and then spitting them out on the ground. Well if I didn't tell you then that is what happened. I slammed open the sliding glass door and chased the bunny away and took a look at the damage. She hadn't eaten anything but she had begun to excavate in the box.

Oh now that CAN'T be good.

But she was gone, leaving in her wake one uprooted pepper plant that had already been damaged in the Great Jalapeño Deer Debacle of 2016 so it wasn't a huge loss. I moved the dirt back where it was supposed to be and went on with my day.... And she was back by evening, sitting amongst my pepper plants, contemplating her universe. We had words and I said she couldn't stay and she left in a flurry of bunny huff and I put a big old pot in the middle of her excavations so she couldn't come back. That seemed to fix the issue....or so I thought...until a day or so later when I walked out to the front of Chez Knit to water my impatiens around the tree and found that she had excavated a hole, right at the base of the tree, deep enough to see China. Crap. I did think about just filling the hole in but we had guests coming to visit and it just slid to the back of my mind as slick and quiet as the 10th plague of Egypt from The Ten Commandments. The next time that I checked that hole, it had been carefully covered with grass until you wouldn't even know it was there.

My bunny wrangling window of opportunity had closed and I had missed the round up. Sorry, we watched Open Range recently and I am still in cowboy mode.

I wasn't completely sure that there were babies in there until June 21 when, as I was watering the plants around the supposed bunny obstetrical unit, I mistakenly poured some water over the dried grass and disturbed whatever was in there. I had just finished reading Justin Cronin's third book in his Passage Trilogy, The City of Mirrors, and I had a fleeting thought that when the ground started to move there would be virals pouring out any minute. Did I tell you that I have a vivid imagination.

So, the bunnies are there, although we haven't seen them. I wasn't happy about this blessed bunny event but even I am not heartless enough to invade the nest and get rid of the bunnies. I thought about it for a nano second and realized that I just couldn't do it.

But the raccoon had no such sentiments.

Last night HHBL and I were just settling down to our too short night's sleep after an abortive attempt to see a concert at Blossom Music Center (I will tell you about that fun time another day, after I am less angry). I was just sliding into slumber when:

 HHBL: What was that?  

Me: Whaaaaa. Ididnhearanythingiwassleeping. Zzzzzzzzzzzz

A bit of time passes and then the bed shakes violently and

 HHBL: What was that? Did you hear that? It sounded like something is outside. (Gets up and looks out window). There is something out there. I think it might be the bunnies. There is something on the front step. I think it IS the bunnies.

 Me: Oh for the LOVE! So, we both get out of bed, go to the front door, open said door and go out onto the front step. Even with the light thrown out by the million candle watt street light I can't see what is going on under the tree but it looks like there might have been a change in aspect ratio. I go back to get one of my bazillion flashlights (I am my father's daughter after all) and tramp back out to the front my jammies....with my sleeping mask up on my forehead.
This is the sleep mask, and me doing my pouty Kim Kardashian thing. I look more like a bug but whatever. See how well YOU take a selfie when you can't see what you are doing. I have that thing shoved up on my forehead, my hair in a messy bun on top of my head and I am out on the porch shining a flashlight at the bunnies nest when.......

SHITBALLS! (oops, sorry but that is what I said) Something runs out from beside the porch and I think briefly about changing my undies when I get back inside. I had time to register that it was a raccoon and it had something in it's mouth before it was across the street and into the woods.

 Oh dear.

But, after checking and moving some of the bunny camouflage around we determined that there was still life in the bunny abode. I covered everything back up and went back inside, climbed into bed, settled the eye mask back in place and started to slide into dreamland when....

I heard the bunnies screaming. 

That is really the only way I can describe the sound, bunnies screaming. We leaped from our place of not very resting and rushed back outside, eye mask on forehead, to see the raccoon dashing back across the street and into the woods. I couldn't see if he had anything in his mouth, I didn't really want to know, but it didn't look like the nest had been disturbed too much. My guess is that he stuck his little raccoony hands down in there and went fishing for bunnies. But the problem was, we were not inclined to continue with the whole Jack in the box, up and out the door thing for the whole night every time Mr. Raccoon came back to the bunny fishing hole. And I was willing to "let nature take it's course", so to speak. I am not going to kill a nest of bunnies but nor am I going to prevent Mr. Raccoon from bunny fishing. If that upsets you, well, you can come and fill in the gigantic hole that she dug and then hope that she didn't damage the tree and that Ma Bunny and the Bunnalettes don't eat any of my flowers.

We went back inside and I closed the window. I just didn't want to hear what went on. In the morning the nest was still there although it looked a bit on the disturbed side but I could tell that she was still in there. But this afternoon, when I got back from work...... No bunnies. Elvbunny and the Bunnalettes have left the building. Or at least I hope that is what happened. I am hoping that she moved her kindle of bunnies down the road a bit, or at least into the neighbors undergrowth. And she had better stay out of my flowers. I may not want to kill a nest of baby bunnies 

But I have always wanted to try rabbit.  

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

We Are the Champions

I don't even know how to start this post. The emotions are too raw, too new. A Cleveland sports team has won a championship for the first time in 52 YEARS. We are all so full of joy and emotions that we just don't know what to do with ourselves.

Other than this of course...

This was me, trying to record the moment that the clock had ticked down and we all realized that it was really going to happen. The Cavs were going to come back from a 3-1 game deficit and beat the Golden State Warriors, on their home court, to win the NBA Championship. I was trying to get a video and at the same time keep my phone from being drenched by the showers of beer that were raining down. The screaming that you hear just might be me.

I was not born in the city of my heart. I was born two states to the west, in the suburbs of Chicago, home of Da Bears, Da Bulls, Da Cubbies, Da Sox, and Da Black Hawks. Yes, I was born there. I was raised there. But my heart is not there. My heart is here, in the best place to live EVER, Cleveland. I am married to a life long Clevelander, a man who, depending on the season, bleeds Wine and Gold (Cavs), Red White and Blue (Indians) or Orange and Brown (Browns).

When the Cavs beat Golden State (or as my daughter of the heart Ahren calls them, the F***ing Yellow Bridges) in Game 6, HHBL and I looked at each other and said, "We have to be a part of Game 7 in whatever way we can!" We could not secure tickets to the Watch Party at The Q (Quicken Loans arena but who wants to say THAT all the time) but we did go downtown, walk all around seeing all of the people and just soaking everything in. Then we had dinner at an Ohio City brewpub, Market Garden, where the Hellamango IPA is stellar, and watched the game with a packed crowd of other Clevelanders. This was not an experience that you could have by yourself. It was a shared experience of the heart with all who have waited so long for this. The odds were against us. Golden State had the best season record. They hadn't lost three games in a row all season, let alone three games at home. No team has EVER come back from a 3-1 deficit in the NBA finals. Many would argue that Golden State has the better team. They certainly have the better bench.

We just wanted it more.

Two days later and we are still looking at each other and saying, "They did it! They really did it!" 

 We are the champions. Whether they win again, and believe me, I would love that. This victory will always be the sweetest.


Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Hello Darkness My Old Friend.

In a recurring theme that just seems to keep coming up and coming up, which I guess is the basic definition of recurring.

Growing old is not for the faint of heart. 

Case in point. I used to be able to sleep, any time and any where, without a care in the world. Heck, I perfected the art of the continual nap in the car through boring countryside on innumerable family car trips. I don't even remember most of Cape Cod other than my nap. Some people just have skills. I have slept through thunderstorms while flying in a little plane. I was tired, we had just spent the day at Disney World. It seemed like the right idea at the time. If we were going to go down I would rather have been sleeping when it happened.

Sleep is a beautiful thing. But in the last few years sleep has been a bit more of a difficulty. Specifically sleep has been an issue at times since we moved to Chez Knit. The reason for this is multi-headed, like the Hydra from Jason and the Argonauts, and just as nasty (another movie reference just for YOU LaurenLeap). 

When our little neighborhood was planned, long before we moved there, someone had the bright idea to put in street lights with million candle wattage light bulbs in them. 

"Hey! We sit at the top of the hill. Let's make sure that EVERYONE in town can see where we live. AND we can contribute to light pollution. Who needs to see the stars!" 

There is one of those monstrously bright street lamps situated just outside our bedroom window, shining oh so brightly. It didn't take HHBL and I much time to realize that this street light was going to be an issue for us in the sleeping department. At OCK we left the shades up at night. Neighbors weren't all that close and there was very little light from outside, just our small driveway light at the end of a long driveway. Our bedroom was blessedly dark. In fact, I would cover up my bedside clock at night to cut down on the ambient brightness, just to make it extra dark. 

Dark is good if you are sleeping, or Dracula, or the virals from Justin Cronin's "The Passage" trilogy. 

Just as an aside, you MUST read these books. Don't be intimidated by the fact that each of them is about as long as the Oxford English Dictionary and cover 1000 years, but not chronologically and have a boat load of characters that might or might not be killed off at times and vampires, and descriptions of the wet sound of people being, shall we say, dismembered. The last in the trilogy came out at the end of May and I re-read the first two books before powering my way through "The City of Mirrors." 2111 pages read in the space of two weeks. I might have been a bit obsessed. They are brilliant. READ. THEM. Your PSA for the day is that these books have adult themes in them and are not suited for younger viewers.

Where was I? Oh yes, darkness. 

So, there are the street lights of perpetual brightness (SLPB). There is also the fact that if we keep the blind up in our bedroom the light from the SLPB shines right onto HHBL's pillow and therefore right on his face. The SLPB also makes our room pretty darn bright. Also, even though we lower all of the blinds in the living room, there is still light that shines through the windows on each side of the front door, thereby lighting up the living room and thereby bringing light into our bedroom which happens to sit right off of the living room.  I can hear you saying, "Why not just keep the bedroom door closed at night?" Well, that would make sense except that it then messes up the air flow and makes the room hotter at night which ALSO messes with our sleep. This is why I sewed that light killing curtain last year. It blocks most of the light that makes it through the shade. But in order to have the window open and get a bit of breeze in the summer, you have to pull the curtain aside, thus negating it's light murdering effect. And we won't even talk about what I had to do to block the light coming from the half moon window above the bedroom window. Like I said, many headed Hydra. 

And then, about 18 months ago, HHBL's sister and our niece stayed overnight with us as they were making the obligatory college tour. My sis-in-law has sleeping issues too, and I happened to notice the eye mask that she uses. Actually, when I first saw it my brain thought, "That is a REALLY oddly constructed bra!" Thank goodness I didn't actually say that.

As a thank you for letting them invade our upstairs for 24 hours, this arrived in the mail.

Look! It's a strapless eye bra. I told her thank you and how excited I was...which I was, cuz, EYE BRA! I tried wearing it at night for a couple of days but, just like wearing ear plugs, it takes some getting used to and I just didn't want to try that hard. So.....I stuck it in the drawer of my bedside table and basically forgot that it was there.

Sorry Laura!!!

But about a month ago I discovered it, languishing in the back of the drawer and a thought occurred to me. I said to myself, "Self, lets give this thing another try. You just didn't give it enough effort last time and summer is coming up when you want to have the window open and the bedroom door open and, be an adult and wear that eye bra!"

Mother of all that is holy and good! This thing is magical. It fastens with adjustable velcro in the back but even when tightened is totally comfortable. The bra effect means that the mask doesn't push up against your eye lashes, your eyes are happy and bathed in darkness. It took a couple of days to get used to wearing it and not to want to rip it off of my face but once the eye bra and I came to an understanding we are now firmly in love.

This is NOT a paid advertisement (oh how I wish), it is just me saying that if you have trouble sleeping because the light is bothering you, you need one of these eye bras. You will find the link below. And if Bucky wants to send me one then I would gratefully except the "Brambly" version.

Then my eyes will look just like Kim Kardashian's tatas, only without the whole sex tape fiasco (was it REALLY a fiasco or a carefully orchestrated PR move, hmmmm) and I will not, VERY THANKFULLY, be married to Kanye West.

The Bucky Eye Bra (really called the Bucky Eye Mask, I just like my name better)

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Is That Compatible With Life?

Getting old is a bitch. I am just saying.

Sorry! I actually started the post with profanity. Oops. But what I said is true, and if you are anywhere south of 45 years old, you have no idea.

So, for a while I had suspected that there might be a teeny tiny issue with my blood pressure. I mean, back when I was in my low 40's there was an occasion or two when it was a bit on the higher side but still within "normal" range. But when have I ever actually been normal. Come on! I am the kid that would have had a liverwurst and mayo with sweet pickles sandwich for breakfast, every day, if I could have. I never do anything the normal or easy way. What is the fun in THAT! But, there was this little naggy voice in the back of my head that kept saying, "You REALLY should have that checked out you know because, well, grandad had that FIRST heart attack at age 44......" 

I try studiously to ignore the voices in my head because sometimes they tell me to do things like buy sock yarn when I know darn well that I currently have 92 skeins (the ACTUAL number because I just counted) of sock yarn already in the stash. No, I don't have a problem. Why do you suggest that thing? 

Where was I? I was dazzled by the sock yarn and I got distracted. Oh yes, blood pressure.

SO, I hadn't been to the doctor since 2009 for a while. Life intrudes on these things and I didn't have a primary care physician, just the OB/GYN and since I didn't have any of those internal lady parts any longer (thank goodness, we just didn't get along) I didn't even see her all that often. PLUS, we had changed from University Hospital system to the Cleveland Clinic system (yeah for being in an area with not one but two fabulous hospital systems) and I hadn't even gone through the process of trying to figure out a doctor to see. HHBL had been urging me to see a doctor just because, you know, mammogram and colonoscopy (YUCK!) and weird lump on my arm (that turns out to be a lipoma that I have named Fred) and FINALLY I got around to making an appoint with Dr. B, who I will only be seeing once because immediately after seeing me she announced that she had taken a position with a group of doctors in Florida.

Was it something I said?

So, I went to see Dr. B in December. And while I was there they of course took my blood pressure. was a bit on the elevated side. Not quite incompatible with life mind you but close. It made the nurse and the doctor pause for a minute or two and take my BP again. It had come down a bit but was still no where in acceptable range.

Dr. B - You should have that looked at. Do you have a PCP (Primary Car Physician, not Phencyclidine, otherwise known as Angel Dust)?

Me - Ummmm, no. I am meaning to find one.

Dr. B - You might want to get that BP checked out.

Me - Will do!

Then I went to see the general surgeon about the weird lump on my arm and after they took my BP the nurse suggested that they could just send me upstairs afterwards to have someone look at that number cuz, "Oh my gosh girl are you not having a head ache with that number?" I declined. I had places to go and I was feeling fine.

I continued to put it off. I had that lovely colonoscopy, so much fun, and what I didn't tell you about the experience was that my BP was elevated before the actual event. And not by just a bit. Before they wheeled me back I was blowing BP's in the range of 175/100. Not enough to blow the lid off of my head but enough to have them not do the colonoscopy if it didn't come down, which is did, after they gave me the Fentanyl. They suggested that I should see a PCP for that number. I said I would, but I put it off some more because I was feeling fine.

Only really, I wasn't feeling fine. And I was monitoring my BP at home and I was getting numbers that were very scary. And I don't scare easily.

So finally I found Dr. M. Who took one look at my BP, after they couldn't get it to go lower than 165/99, even after sitting in a dark room for 5 minutes, and told me, "You will need to start on some medication."

Ummmmmmm. I can get on board with that.

So, for the last 4 months we have striven mightily to get this thing under control. The first medication was doing an OK job, not great but OK, but I couldn't stand the side effect. A cough, all day and all night. So the current medication that I am on is doing OK but not great (I see a pattern here). And now I get to take a second medication, Lasix, which just means that I get to pee ALL THE TIME. In the relative scheme of things this isn't the worst thing in the world, having to take BP medication for the rest of my life so that I don't stroke out at some point. But the thing that I have had the hardest time with is feeling like a failure for something that I really have no control over. I have done all that Dr. M, in her quiet little voice, has told me to do. I have cut WAAAAAAY down on the amount of caffeine that I drink. I watch my salt intake (don't tell her about the Hawaiian pizza we had last night that had ham and bacon on it), and I am trying to manage my stress as best I can at the moment.

It just still feels like a failure on my part.

I am whining, I know, but really I am just tired of this whole BP issue.  

Excuse me but......I have to go pee.....again. 

Friday, June 10, 2016

This Too Shall Pass....

But maybe not down the toilet. 

You knew it was bound to happen. We haven't had one of these stories in a while. If you don't want to hear about toilets overflowing, profanity of the rankest kind and nakedness, then this post might not be for you.

You have been warned. 

HHBL and I recently visited the Sunshine state, where it is very sunny and very hot and very humid. It does SUCH lovely things for my hair. Just call me The Bride of Frankenstein. But this is not about my folically challenged head. We are actually here to celebrate Parental Unit Mimi's 80th birthday celebration (see prior post). But before traipsing to her abode HHBL and I spent several days visiting Pilot Man and The Chef, who also live in FL. We spent time hanging on the boat, hanging in the pool and doing 70 mph on the SeaDoo. I am not a person who likes to do 70 mph unless I am surrounded by a large metal vehicle. But this, this 70 mph on a vehicle that skims over the water without protection of any kind was more fun that anyone should legally have on a Saturday afternoon. 

But I have digressed a bit. 

Let's go back to that Sunday afternoon. The Indianapolis 500 was done. HHBL was taking a walk. The Chef was running some errands. Pilot Man was doing that thing that he does to earn bread for the table. And me? Well, I was floating like a big water bug in the pool. That is one of my favorite things to do, just float in a pool with my arms outstretched, sort of like William Holden after Gloria Swanson murdered him in Sunset Boulevard, only face up and not dead. I did that for a while and then I decided that I would finally take a shower.  I needed a nice hot shower. And I needed to wash my hair. I gathered up my supplies, wandered into the bathroom, turned on the shower to get the hot water going and turned to notice that there was some toilet paper that was floating at the top of the bowl. I decided to flush the toilet, which I proceeded to do, turning after that act and preparing to get into the shower. And that turned out to be a very bad idea, the whole, "That toilet paper offends me and I will make it go away" action caused a chain of events that did nothing to make my day better. I had the shower curtain pulled back and was about to step into the lovely stream of warm water, and I turned my head to the right, and....

That was when I noticed the waterfall and the river. You know how it is, when you see something that isn't supposed to be there, you pause for a nano second as your brain processes the fact that there is water pouring out from under the toilet lid and making a river on your sister-in-law's pristine floors.

Folks, let me paint a picture for you, I am naked as a jaybird, there is a river of toilet water that is making it's way across the floor and under furniture. And I cannot find any towels to staunch the flow. In fact, the first thing I tried to do, while all nakee, was try to get the dang toilet to stop vomiting up it's contents.

Well, really the first thing that I did was say,


Sorry, I used a series of bad words. It might happen again during this story. I make no promises.

After my little verbal out burst my little gray brain cells started to kick in. I got the water to stop, I wrapped a towel around my ampleness and then I went looking for other towels to sop up the water, hoping against hope that I could get this all cleaned up and the towels in the washer and my shower done and hair dried before anyone got back. A girl can dream can't she? It was a vain hope but still a hope. The problem was, this wasn't my house and I didn't know where any other towels were except for the HHBL's bath towel, which I used, the beach towel that I had used getting out of the pool, which I also threw down on the floor, and the towel wrapped around me, which I left in place so as not to scare the neighbors. 

That was not enough towels.

And then The Chef arrived home. Imagine the look on her face when I greeted her, in my towel, and explained that I needed more towels and a plunger. They just recently moved and evidently Pilot Man had divested them of many of the shop towels. And she didn't know where the other ones were or if they had even been unpacked yet. Also, the plunger wasn't where it was supposed to be. So she got me a bucket and I started sopping up water and squeezing out the water into a bucket, all while wearing my bath towel, with my hair slowly drying and becoming more Rosanna RosannaDanna like by the second. When I had the bucket partially filled I walked it out of the house, past the pool and dumped it in the bushes, all the time hoping that the neighbors next door or across the canal wouldn't see me and that I wouldn't have an epic wardrobe malfunction.

Finally The Chef found the "plumbers snake" and by that time HHBL was back. The floor was almost mopped up by that time and they started work on getting the toilet unplugged and.......

That produced and ever BIGGER tsunami of water that flowed out of the bowl, onto the floor, under the bathroom chest and started to make it's way out into the hall.

Oh ShitBalls indeed!

We hadn't found any miraculous pile of towels in the intervening moments, we just had the towels from the closet, the bath towel and the one beach towel so it was back to sopping up water, squeezing it into the bucket and hauling it outside. Over and over and over again.

On one of my trips out to the bush to dump water I encountered the young egret, "Little Bill" who shows up daily for a tasty morsel of turkey or salmon. He looked at my quizzically as if to ask where his snack was.

Not today kid!

And finally, after an HOUR of mopping up and squeezing out and some tension between HHBL and myself over a misunderstanding of words, and me standing around in my bathtowel, and a thorough cleaning of the toilet, the floor, the tub and any surface that had been touched by the water......

I was finally able to take a shower and do my hair.

I had a REALLY big glass of wine that night.


Wednesday, June 1, 2016

An 80th Birthday Deserves a Party

Today is Parental Unit Mimi's birthday. And a momentous birthday it is. It is her 80th. On this day in 1936, Lucile Hoefflin Pringle and Glenn Lauren Pringle welcomed their first child, a daughter.  An 80th birthday deserves a party. Months ago Pilot Man, The Chef, HHBL and I started planning. There were invitations to be sent, through the mail, through the Internet, fliers in mailboxes. We covered all the bases. Food was ordered. Wine was bought. 
She looks pretty darn good for starting on her fifth score of years. 
We filled her condo with friends and neighbors. We all drank slush punch...and some of us might have added some red wine to that slush punch. I am not naming names on this but I can tell you that Sluch Punch with red wine added is pretty fine indeed.
Cartoon Girl might even have been there for the festivities. I am beat. It was a pretty great party.