Sunday, October 19, 2014

Out of Commission

I had all kinds of great plans for working with the horses as soon as the temperatures cooled down. We've had comfortable horseback riding weather for well over a week now, and wouldn't you know it -- Murphy's Law hit me hard.

First, my body failed me.  I've been mostly bed ridden.  Each time I start feeling better, something has to happen to cause a relapse, so I've been in a really depressing cycle of being disabled and oppressed by pain.  I really should have gone to the hospital, but I have so little faith in emergency rooms.  They either move me to a different hospital or send me home without pain killers and tell me to see my own doctor to set up seeing a specialist in two months when the problem will have gone away on its own.  Nothing ever seems to get resolved in emergency rooms from my experience.  So, I just suffered and have been waiting for my body to heal itself.  And I do have an appointment with a specialist, but the timing is crucial, because I have another health problem that interferes with the procedure that specialist needs to perform.

I was right in the middle of several projects when this happened, so there is a lot of unfinished business around the ranch.  I've had a trash bag filled with weeds sitting in the driveway.  There was one little section of weeds I still needed to pull, and in the week I've been down and out, all the weeds I already pulled have come back.  In the backyard, I've been fighting off Jimson weed, but it keeps coming back with a vengeance.  I don't want my horses to get loose and start chowing down on that.  Also, I had planned to have the round pen footing done last week, but that's a job I can only do when I'm feeling strong and healthy, so the round pen is still unusable.  My husband has been handling a lot of stuff, and I feel guilty just lying around doing nothing.  He has had to take manure to the dump and shovel it in and out of the trailer by himself.  It goes so much faster with two people.

I've been trying to ease my way back into my normal routine, and trying to avoid stress, but so much is out of my control.  Our well was still giving us fits.  The last time we ran out of water, my husband found that there was a loose wire that stopped one of the pumps from working.  However, ever since he repaired the wiring, the pump had been making a loud vibration that could be heard all the way inside the house as well as outside.  I kept trying to get the well repairman out, but he repeatedly blew me off because he thought I was an idiot or a hysterical woman or something.  I don't know.  He just kept telling me that sounds and vibrations are normal.

So, my husband called him, and the repairman was perfectly willing to come out until he made the connection that this was the same address from which the crazy lady called about the noise and vibration.  My husband had to do some convincing, but the guy did show up.  As soon as the pump started making a ruckus, he acknowledged that it was dying and the vibration had probably been causing other parts to break as well.  Long story short, he ended up replacing a pump, some floats, some pipes, a gauge and who knows what else.  He even had to replace parts he installed just last year, because they were already going bad.  Hopefully, this time we won't have to deal with running out of water again for many years to come.

We are almost out of hay, and I wasn't able to clean out the pallets to get ready for a new stack, so my husband had to do it.  I haven't called in my order yet because we are trying to get the wooden pallets and the ground in the hay barn to dry out, but I am stressing out that I'll be told that either the hay company has gone out of business or they don't deliver to my area anymore.  That's happened so often lately that I'm beyond being a pessimist.  I'm a fatalist.  If I get past those initial worries, I'm going to have to work out the right number of bales to qualify for hand-delivery and pay to have the bales hand-stacked, because last time they talked me into delivering with a truck that sets the whole block down, and my hay barn wasn't wide enough to accommodate the arms of the machine, so my husband had to re-stack all those bales with rheumatoid arthritis in his spine.  I'm not going to let that happen again.

You may recall that the last time I lost my hay supplier, I lost my farrier at the same time.  Well, this is deja vu all over again.  My new farrier called me up to inform me that she's moving out of state pronto, my horses are due for a trim in two weeks, and I will have to find a new farrier.  Awesome.  At least my previous farrier gave me 8 weeks notice so that I didn't have to piss off the new farrier by giving her no time to work me into her schedule.  It's not her fault.  Something happened out of her control, but I am so fed up with having to hunt down barefoot trimmers that I'm thinking of doing something drastic.  If my health were good enough, I'd just attend Pete Ramey's seminars and learn how to do barefoot trims myself, but as recent months have shown me, I usually only get one healthy week out of each month, and the rest of the time I'm in pain.

My photography instructor created a class at my request, and now I can't even attend it because I can't trust my body to behave itself and stay out of trouble for five hours straight in order for me to sit through this class each week and simply be able to stand up and walk around on field trips.  Instead, I'll be taking an hour long Tai Chi class taught by a nurse each week in hopes of getting back into better shape.  It's a bit of a Catch 22, because every time I start an exercise regimen to beat my health problems, the exercise triggers the health problems, and then I can't exercise.  But at least the Tai Chi class costs a lot less than the photography class, so it won't be too much of a loss if I can't attend a few sessions.

October 15th came and the population exploded overnight.  Now we get to experience the joy of too many people and not enough space.  We tried to eat out in restaurants as much as possible during the summer since we could get right in to a table and be served without having to stand in lines.  Now we get to battle to change lanes, battle for parking spots and battle for access to products and services.  All of that is par for the course if you live in a city, but I haven't lived in a city in over 25 years, so it's difficult for me to adapt to the sudden changes.

I actually stocked up on canned goods and food with a long shelf life in part because I wanted to cut back on the number of times we have to do grocery shopping alongside hundreds of retired couples in Bermuda shorts on scooters blocking aisles, and in part to avoid having to catch viruses and infections from the wall-to-wall people in the supermarket.  I'm so tired of sniffling cashiers wiping their noses and then touching my food and coughing all over it.  I wish we could go back to the days when a nice, clean cut young man in an apron and Buddy Holly glasses delivered groceries right to our back door.

The other day my husband and I were driving down an off ramp from the freeway and we had a green light to make a left turn.  As we approached the intersection, we noticed that the cross traffic coming from our left was not slowing down.  My husband slammed on the brakes at the green light, and this Roto-Rooter van came blasting through the red light while the driver next to him saw the red light at the last minute and slammed on his brakes.  He had just been subconsciously doing the same speed as the Roto-Rooter driver, not paying attention to the lights until it was almost too late.  Anyway, the Roto-Rooter driver had his phone in his mouth and was fiddling with something in his hands.  I don't even know if he had a clue that he nearly killed us.  

All the neighbors have been coming out of hibernation.  There's this one retired guy who we call "The Mad Pruner", because he's obsessive about pruning every bush and tree in sight... and I mean every single one, whether it is on his property or not.  He walks right into other people's backyards and trims their landscaping without permission.  Only when he gets caught does he ask for permission.  We noticed last year that one of our favorite flowering bushes got snipped as soon as it started blooming, and I've always suspected that neighbor.

Anyway, I spotted him out in the public land last week trimming trees on the trail head with a long, orange pruning stick.  That's illegal.  But the trail was getting overgrown and I was tired of being scratched by thorns as I rode my horses through there, so I decided to say nothing.  He can pay the fine if he gets caught, and I can reap the benefit of his ignorance.

Right now he's on a jag in which he wants to put wire around the bases of trees that line the cliff in our backyard so that "we" don't have to look at our neighbors behind us.  I guess he's tired of looking at their pile of junk vehicles.  I'm mainly tired of hearing the engines of those junk vehicles revving, but I guess they ruin his view of the mountains.  I support him in helping the bushes and trees grow there, but I'm afraid that if we give him an inch, he'll take a mile.  I need my privacy and don't want to run into him every time I walk out into my backyard.  It's already happened a couple of times.  He says he never goes near our horses, but he doesn't understand that trespassing is offensive and disrespectful, even if he has good intentions.

Also, it appears as if the real estate agent who is selling the house next door will be having open houses every weekend until it sells.  It's been a zoo next door each weekend for the past three weeks with all kinds of characters coming and going.  Most drive loud diesel trucks and motorcycles.  The previous neighbors owned smart cars, so we never heard them coming and going from the inside of our house.  Now I am realizing what a luxury that was.

Anyway, these open house events are turning our peaceful neighborhood into a public attraction.  Of all the houses my family has sold over the years, we have never once had a real estate agent agree to set up an open house.  That's money out of their pockets.  So, I wonder what kind of pressure my previous neighbors have been putting on their agent to sell it.  The owners still need to come way down on their price if they want any hope of selling, but I suspect they are trying to catch the snowbird wave before making the drop.  I'm hoping I'll win the lottery so that I can just buy the place and stop the insanity.

I've been having fits trying to publish my novel.  I followed all the guidelines, but there is something wrong with the conversion tools.  They placed a bunch of unwanted hyperlinks at the beginning of my novel, removed some apostrophes where they were needed in order to be grammatically correct, added some spaces where I had it left justified on purpose, and made all the quotes come out in a different font from the rest of the manuscript.  So, my novel keeps getting rejected for distribution.  Each time I attempt to clear the formatting and start over, it just creates more problems.

I'm considering abandoning the project and either hiring someone else to do it, or going the traditional route of wasting years of my life trying to find a literary agent and/or publisher to put it into print.  At this point, I'm just too overwhelmed by everything going on around here to concentrate on all the issues caused by faulty software.  It makes me angry that I can spend ten years of my life writing, editing, and perfecting a book manuscript, only to have some conversion tools make me look like a total amateur when I hit the PUBLISH button.  I think it's safe to say that I can never go back into the job market as a software engineer.  I don't have the patience for it anymore.  I might find one too many bugs and go postal.

I guess I can sum it all up by saying that the hobbies I love most in this world, namely horseback riding and writing, are getting to be more trouble than they are worth.  If the problems could spread themselves out, I wouldn't feel this way.  But apparently it is my karma to get walloped all at once, usually when I am sick and in pain, so I'm considering putting my hobbies up on a shelf and calling them a thing of the past, just so that I can get some worry-free rest.  I'm hoping things are just bad right now and will get better, so that I don't have to give up.  If I could find a doctor who can actually help me without humiliating me, that would be a great start.  It's too bad bodies aren't like cars and you can just trade in the old, broken down ones for a new ones.


How Sam Sees It said...

If you need any help, please let me know. I know what it's like to be out of commission. There is stuff you just can't do, and stuff that friends can do for you. I hope you feel better soon. :)

Cheryl Ann said...

Nuzz, I know how you feel. I was looking forward to this weekend, but I was fighting a cold and woke up with a sore throat yesterday. There went my weekend...sigh...

I drank LOTS of herbal tea, took 2 two-hour naps, slept 8 hours last night and the sore throat is gone. Oh, and I put some lemon essential oil in my tea!

I, too, have to be careful, because I know before Christmas I'll come down with bronchitis again...sigh...

Sending you a (((BIG HUG)))...
Cheryl Ann

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Thank you.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

I was right. The latest hay company I've been buying hay from is all out, even though when I asked them if they ever run out, they said never. Their mailbox is full of requests for hay, and I just happened to get the right person on the line after a couple of calls, and he finagled a few low quality bales for me to tie me over until I could find hay somewhere else. Oh well. It looks like I'm back to buying at feed stores that have overblown prices and stacking the hay myself.

Venom said...

Nuz - I think we all feel overwhelmed sometimes, and I know that I personally have felt like maybe I'm getting too old or whatever to 'do' horses anymore.
they are one of the purest and most absolute JOYS of my life and I always feel better for having pushed past the gloom long enough to get out to the barn and halter somebody.
Take heart, play with your horses, live your life as much as you can even on the bad days. One day, far into the future I hope, we may not be able to do it any longer, and then how we will MISS IT. You'll never be sorry for having ridden too much.