Excavation Report – 12/21/14

I used to post these excavation reports on Facebook after a long day of working in the garden/yard. But lately, I have a hate/hate relationship with Facebook, so haven’t been spending much energy there.

You see, we live in a house of which we are only the second owners; the house was built in 1928, I don’t know how long, or if, the Callaway family owned it prior to that. Every time we go to plant something of any significant depth, especially if it’s on the ‘back hill’ or right up close to the house, we find all kinds of treasures. Sadly, few of them have been worth keeping and those that have, typically end up in my crapft closet (that is not a typo). Continue reading

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(No) Changes

It has been a looooong time (19 months??) since I posted and a lot has happened. Some things of interest, others less so. In any case, I’ve had the hankering to write again lately (really for a loooong time, but haven’t had the energy, time and all those other pesky things involved). So, the question is, so I start where I left off and fill in some of the blanks in between? Or start from today? Your thoughts welcome (if there is still anyone out there…).

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Life in the Fast Lane

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About a year ago, my beloved and I were headed to a friends house in Stone Mountain. We were going to help them pack up their house and prepare for their move to Los Angeles. This was not a happy day for me and I was not excited about going. Little did I know all that the day held in store.

We were pulling on to I-20 at Flat Shoals, when a tiny dog ran across the busy intersection. We were in the left turn lane, but stopped traffic while we watched for a frantic owner to come after their pet. It never happened. The little dog (at the time, I thought it was a Chihuahua or a puppy) started down the on-ramp. I covered my eyes and began screaming at the blue van who passed us to slow the f*** down. It turned out that the van had seen it and was also concerned. The dog picked up speed and was soon merging into real traffic on the interstate. We took off after it, playing a harrowing game of speeding up and slowing down and trying to block six lanes of traffic while sending desperate waves to thoughts to the dog to get off the road. That little things was fast; she kept going, eventually making her way to the HOV lane.

At one point, the dog slowed way down and began to circle back. Me and a passenger from the blue van jumped out of our vehicles in an effort to coax her to us. But, no. She took off again – and so did our rides!! The girl (I never did catch her name) was wearing slippers, it was clear that this was not on her agenda this morning either. We made our way down the shoulder (which on the HOV side, is not very wide), alternately running and walking as fast as we could. Lucky for me, not only was this girl not wearing appropriate footwear, she didn’t seem any more able/inclined to run very far very fast.

Thankfully, our two-car rescue team had grown to about six vehicles. Except for the occasional jerk weaving in and out of lanes at a high rate of speed, traffic had slowed considerably behind us. We could see up ahead that the rescue squad had stopped. There was also a police car with lights on the other side of the median (I later learned that this was unrelated, but at the time I was so relieved) and it seemed like something had happened – either the dog had been caught or had left the roadway or something awful had happened. After walking/running/gasping for about a mile (let me be clear, I can walk a mile with no problem, but running, not so much) we caught up to Lori who had pulled over to wait. The other girl’s ride had left entirely. We loaded up and Lori told us the story.

The dog had finally slowed down considerably and when the vehicles circled her, she’d hidden under one of them. She bit and snarled at everyone who tried to reach for her, but she was done running. Finally, a guy just reached in and grabbed her, she immediately sank her tiny teeth into his arm, but he didn’t let go. I have no idea who this guy is, but he is my hero. Because everyone else was in an open vehicle with no way to contain this scared, pissed off pup, she was eventually deposited into the bed of Lori’s pick up (which has a cap).

After eventually catching up with “Slippers'” ride, we headed to Church Street Animal Hospital where Lori has taken her pets for years. We wanted to have her scanned for a microchip, etc. It took nearly 45 minutes and one bitten vet tech to get her scanned – no chip. They confirmed that she is a Min-Pin, a miniature pinscher and was not yet a year old .

The vet was not equipped to foster her, so we agreed to take her home.

To be continued….

Carpooling… it’s not all bad

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I don’t mean to give carpooling a bad rap. It is really nice to be chauffeured a few days a week (or to have someone to talk to if you are the one chauffeuring). And, I’ve made some great friends this way.

For example, Laura. She and I knew each other, both from a past job and from the current one, and while we were certainly friendly, it was carpooling that made us into friends. We got to know each other in a way that we may not have otherwise.

After dumping Rick, my next RideMatch was Scott. We first met at Chipolte in Gwinnett (Have you seen this commercial? It makes me cry. It also makes me a fan of Chipolte. I no longer eat meat, for many of the reasons highlighted in this commercial, but when I did, it was this philosophy that made me love them even then. Plus, I think this is a wonderful rendition of a great Coldplay song.)

Scott also lives in the ‘hood and worked near where I was working at the time. It was a little more inconvenient as his workplace was a few miles from mine, but it worked out. He also has a super-sweet golden retriever who we would often drop off or pick up from daycare. He’s a huge pottery collector/admirer and my beloved is a wonderful potter. We also became good friends and are still in touch. After about a year of carpooling, he got another job, closer to home.

My most recent carpool partner was Gheri. Gheri was working in the mailroom at my office when I learned that he’d been taking transit. Leaving his home every day before 6:30 in order to get to the office sometime at or around 8:30. Yuck. He lives right downtown so it was right on my way to work. His Bahamian accent makes just listening to him fun; he also loves to cook, he’s a writer and just a really nice guy. (I feel like I’m writing personal ads here :-))

Gheri ran into some health issues and had to quit his job and I’ve been driving solo since. Still, I have good memories of it. It’s surprising how easy it is to find people who are willing to work flexible hours (either to accommodate your work schedule, or in my case, your inability to leave the house on time) and who are good, fun, interesting people. Yes, taking the first step is scary and not every story is a fairy tale, but I encourage you to explore your options, whether you are commuting 5 miles or 50.

Have a great week!

 

Asleep at the Wheel

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It’s true, I had to ease my way into car-pooling. I’m not a morning person, so committing to someone that I will be ready at a particular time is a stretch for me. But, after Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and others in 2005, gas prices started sky-rocketing and soon they were above $2! (I know, I wish!).

My first carpool partner was easy; I was living in Decatur at the time and I had a friend and co-worker living several miles away but on my path to work. I drove to her house each day and we’d take turns driving from there. She was also not very punctual in the morning and actually welcomed those (many) times that I was late.We hopped on 285 at Lawrenceville Highway and it was easy-peasy from there.

After moving to EAV, it was no longer feasible to carpool with Laura, so I started looking for someone new. And, thanks to Ride Share, I found Rick* (*names have been changed to protect the innocent). Rick lives less than a mile from me and, at the time, worked about 1/2 a mile from me.

It was perfect! A match made in heaven! Working in Gwinnett Co., I was a little worried about coming out to a carpool partner. I know I (pre) judge harshly, but I worried about the red neck attitudes I might encounter in strangers. After all, Rick is an accountant, a football fan, from the rural south, etc. But, not to worry – Rick is gay too. What luck!

At first, it was really great, I was getting to work on time (Rick was obnoxiously punctual, at least in the morning. Not necessarily in the evenings when it was time to GO!), saving on gas and potentially making friends with someone in the neighborhood. The first day Rick drove, he informed me that I was not to speak to him while he was merging onto the freeway. Ok. No problem.

I quickly learned that this meant I was not to speak to him as he merged onto the freeway, or as he doggedly made his way, as quickly as possible across the 6 lanes of traffic to the HOV lane. Um, we have about 3 miles to make it from the far right to the far left lane. What, I ask, is the hurry?? But, I politely ignored it, chalking it up as a quirk. He never said anything about my driving (I’m a good driver, so what could he say?), so I kept my mouth shut.

As we became more comfortable around each other, we began to share more of ourselves and each other. I would take him with me when I was on chicken-sitting duty for A&J (it was on the way home), he invited me to tour his home and meet his partner. Soon, we were swapping stories about work, about our lives outside of work, about our partners and friends. This was all well and good until the day Rick decided to share with me his allergy issues. Which involved details about his daily nasal clearing routine. Ok. I’m an advocate of natural health and net pots, but I DO NOT need to know the details about your schnoz shoveling. Red flag.

The extreme punctuality began to annoy me. The weird circuitous routes that he insisted were shortcuts, really began to piss me off. I began looking for excuses to not carpool. Or to turn up the radio volume to prevent conversation.

Then, he began falling asleep. At the wheel. We both often napped (as passengers) to and fro work. But, this was always on a sunny day, on I-20. I-20!!! Going 60+ mph!

I tend to be overly polite, worried about hurting feelings, embarrassing someone, to a fault. So, at first, I ignored it. He really was just nodding off and would jerk to almost instantly with barely a swerve. But, then it really began to bother me. Why was I not saying anything to someone who was putting my life in danger?? Someone I didn’t even particularly like? So, I offered to drive more often. Or, drive his car if he felt sleepy. He refused, insisting that he just hadn’t been sleeping well.

It didn’t stop. I learned to watch him closely out of the corner of my eye (watching him directly would have been rude, you know?) and as soon as his chin started to drop, I’d start a conversation. Or, yell, “Hey” or something. Frankly, I’m surprised he didn’t have a heart attack.

Finally, I was done. I would arrive home so tense and angry and scared and annoyed, my shoulders were like rocks (but not in a good, working out, kind of way). It was time. It was past time.

The next time he dropped me at home, I said that I didn’t want to carpool anymore. It was awful. He protested, insisting that I could drive if I wanted. That he was trying SO HARD to not fall asleep. I was done. I didn’t apologize, or acquiesce. I held firm. I think he cried a little. Honestly, it felt like we were breaking up. But, I’ve never looked back.

What is it, that makes us (ok, me) put up with whatever (our lives being threatened, our boundaries being pushed, our esteem being chipped at), no matter the cost? It has been a few years now, and I’ve graduated to better carpool partners. But, I’ve also graduated to honoring myself better. Not putting up with that which hurts me. I am sorry that Rick felt humiliated or whatever, but I am proud that I put me (though it took a while) and my safety first. And, I look back on those moments as learning lessons.

Invisibility Cloak

Standing in a crowded room, I would never scream or swear at someone nearly bumping into me. I wouldn’t bite my nails, twirl my hair, scratch my odd itch. I wouldn’t have a spirited conversation with myself or flip off the person cutting into the buffet line. I wouldn’t burst into song, fumble for my phone, or scrawl on my notepad the random thought or phrase that popped into my head (well I might do that).

I have a friend who tells a story of a parking lot encounter. She was driving through a shopping center, in a hurry to get somewhere. Cutting across an empty swath, another driver, also disobeying the painted lines and suggestive signs, startled her. They both reached an intersection at the same time. Both stopped, then started, then stopped. There was honking and yelling and wild gesticulating. Exasperated, my friend glared in anger at the offender. Suddenly, the other driver dropped her head into her hands; a moment later, her face rose up, open with laughter. “What are we doing?” she mouthed. Shocked and suddenly awakened to what was happening, my friend began to laugh too. What were they doing? What was worth all that drama?

What is it about our cars that makes us feel invisible/invincible? Would we act like that if we could see ourselves? Would we flip that person off, scream at them if we knew, really knew, they could see us? What if they were a future boss? Or your doctor? Or that their mother just died? Would we?

Sneaking around

So, my beloved and I have several dogs (we’re not hoarders or anything, but we probably have a few more dogs than the average Joe). Walking them all at once is an impossibility; and, walking them all individually every day doesn’t happen. But we do try to give each of them individualized attention and exercise as often as possible and we have a fenced yard where they run and play and tumble and sunbathe when they aren’t relaxing in a sunbeam on their luxurious indoor beds.

One of our boys, Blue, is getting on in years (almost 15). I read a story recently about a guy who, upon learning that his dog was suffering a terminal condition, gave his dog a “perfect day”. He took the day off work, gave his pal hamburger for breakfast, they  played fetch, went for a hike and a swim. They just spent the entire day doing all of the dogs favorite things.

Inspired by this, and knowing that my own special boy (Blue is named Blue, because a dog like him only comes along once in a blue moon) won’t be with us much longer, we decided to consciously give all of our babies more perfect moments instead of saving them all up for one single, final day.

Perfect moments differ for each dog. Dori LOVES to play in the sprinkler (but, rain, she’s allergic to. Ditto baths. And you have not seen a cold shoulder until you have taken this dog to a lake or tried to entice her into the kiddie pool), so one of her perfect moments (once it warms up a bit) might involve a half-hour sprinkler session, even if there is a drought. She does disdain like no other, but she’s pretty good at joy too.

Blue can’t walk very far any more. So his special moments are tamer, an extra long neck scratch, for example. Last weekend, it was a nice, cool but sunny day, so we decided to give him a ride in the car.

Here comes the complicated part. getting a single dog out of the house, when there are four others who riot at the jingle of a leash, is tricky.  I live in fear that one of them is going to come flying through a window in a fit of jealousy , or that every mirror in the house will shatter at the outraged shriek of one left behind.

Planning well in advance, while the dogs were playing in the backyard, Lori snuck a leash out to the front porch. No one was the wiser. An hour later, when we were ready to go, we just left Blue in the back yard while we wrangled everyone else back in; at his age, Blue is kind of a loner, and often spends time away from the others even indoors so they didn’t even realize he wasn’t in. Then, we locked up like normal and while I was quietly urging Blue through the back gate, Lori was tiptoeing around to the front porch to retrieve his leash. Not a peep was heard from within the house.

Blue had a great time lounging in the back seat and occasionally teetering to his feet to enjoy the passing view. We even took him to a local watering hole for some time on the patio. His smile was big and we all returned home happy. And, still, the other dogs had no idea that they had been jilted.

It occurred to us later – are we insane? Are our dogs that unmanageable? Does anyone else have to take such extreme measures just to get out of their own house? Or, is it just us?

Blue

Going My Way?

So, you might wonder why I don’t carpool. In fact, I’m totally open to this option (Going my way? Shoot me an e-mail!) and I’ve done it before.

Rideshare or the Clean Air Campaign (depending on where you live/work) both have carpool matching programs. Unfortunately, at the present time, there is apparently no one in the metro Atlanta area who has a commute similar to mine. Sounds unlikely, don’t you think?

If you haven’t already, you should (at least) sign up with the Clean Air Campaign. They have weekly drawings for gift cards to help with gas costs. Your registration, even if you’re not carpooling or telecommuting will help the organizations get grant money to fund future “clean air” programs (and probably stupid things like HOT lanes – more on that later).

Seriously – if you are in the EAV area and headed towards L’ville, and are interested in carpooling, even occasionally, let me know.

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Aging

So, today…

 

This happened:

I’ve been both dreading and waiting (mainly because I was obsessed with getting a photo of the change. However – much to my disappointment – this isn’t nearly as exciting, or as photogenic, as it was back when odometers were analog. Now, you don’t get the dramatic roll as each 9 slowly transitions into a zero. Now, all you get is, *blink* and it’s done. It’s over.) for this to happen.

I love my little car. Sure, she has her quirks. The driver’s side window screeches terribly as it “rolls” up;  (A fact I forget every single time so it scares me nearly to death every single time); the cassette player (Yes, a cassette player. Too young to know what that is? Google it. Then, get off my lawn!!) no longer works;the light that tells me whether or not my headlamps are on, doesn’t work; radio stations must be  sought out manually; etc.

But, I love her. And, she’s paid for. She’s given me very little trouble in the years I’ve known her; (knocking frantically on wood) we’ve taken good care of each other, and I think she’s cute.

But, this feels like a milestone, like we might be on the downhill ride now. Hopefully not. I’m not ready, emotionally or financially.

What do you think? Do you love your quirky old car? Or do you replace your car every two, four, five years?