Tag Archives: car

Riding on Cardboard

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It starts with one thing. One bit of neglect. It balloons from there.

Last weekend, I took the dogs for a nice ride down to Fox Lake so they could have a swim, and then to the woods so I could pick blackberries. When we ride in the car, I put the windows down. Darla gets the passenger seat; Rosa sits on my lap. We notice squirrels and chipmunks. Sometimes I sing. We had a good day.

Last weekend, for some unknown reason, I neglected to close the car windows when we got home. I don’t understand it; that’s not like me at all. I close the windows to keep out rain or snow or ice, but also flies, mosquitoes, chipmunks, snakes, raccoons…with a house in the woods, an open window is not a good idea.

So, that was the first thing.

Then, I forgot I hadn’t closed the windows. Maybe I never even realized I had left them open. In any case, when the rain started, I did not go running out to close them. It rained all night…and for a good portion of the next day.

In the afternoon of the following day, I had to run to town to do an interview. I had endured the accusatory looks and sad eyes of my dogs. I had given them each their treat, a scratch behind the ears, a pat on the head and the instructions, “Take good care of things!” I grabbed my bag, my notebook and camera, and skittered out the door.

There was my car, windows down. The door were wet; the grooved handles were filled with water. The seats were soaked. I couldn’t go back inside for towels or plastic. That would involve – after a joyous tail-wagging greeting – going through the entire sad eyes, treat, scratch, pat and “Take good care of things,” again. I didn’t have time!

In the back seat I had a cardboard box filled with canning jars that I’d been forgetting to bring to Aunt Katie. I took the jars out, flattened the box, and used it to cover my seat. On to the appointment, no problem. Since then, when the sun was out, I would deliberately leave the windows down to help dry things out. Honestly, the upholstery is soaked through!

Yesterday morning, without a thought, I loaded the trash and recyclables into the car, in hopes that I’d have time on my lunch hour to deliver them to the transfer station. I didn’t. When I got in the car to go home, I had about two hundred houseflies sharing the front seat with me! They had easily wandered in through the open windows, lured by the scent of my garbage. Ugh!

So, windows down…back seat full of trash…canning jars rolling around on the floor…my arms waving to shoo the insects outside…while sliding around on a flattened cardboard box…that was my only protection from the wet seat…I wrenched my back. I had to practically crawl from my damp, bug-infested car when I got home!

I spent last night alternating between hot compresses and ice packs. This morning I’m moving slowly, but thankful to be moving at all, and thinking about the importance of every little decision I make.

 

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What Next?

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I was starting to catch up. I was feeling pretty good about it, too. A little chagrined that it took so many weeks into summer to catch up on winter’s bills, but pleased nonetheless.

The hours at the hardware store have been expanded, to take advantage of summer’s business. That gives me some over-time. There have been a few days where I worked 10 hours. Working longer hours makes it even more difficult to find time to cover events I should be covering for the news-magazine. It’s even harder to come home and sit right down to write when I’m tired from my other job.Still, I was counting the money.

I have been whittling away at my long list of hardware store charges. You know, dog food, detergent, a candy bar to help get through the afternoon slump…it all adds up. The charges tend to pile up over the winter, too, when money is tight and hours are few. I’d finally be able to pay it off! I would be able to pay my winter tax bill…just in time for the summer tax bills to come out. I would pay off winter’s propane bill, before I had to turn on the heat this fall. Hurrah!

I took today off – arranged in advance – to participate in a garden tour. I scheduled myself for Monday to make up for it. Monday, my back went out, so I ended up off work that day, too. It’s not going to be such a big paycheck after all.

Sunday, coming down the hill to Fox Lake, Rosa Parks twisted her leg. She’s been hobbling around on three legs ever since. It doesn’t seem to be getting any better. I’ll have to get her in to the vet. I’m terribly afraid that it’s that tendon in the knee, that will not repair itself and that requires surgery to fix it. My old dog, Maggie, had to have each of her knees done; Clover, after slipping on ice, had one. Now maybe Rosa Parks.

Last night, driving home late after attending a concert, I found I had no headlights. Someone waved at me, enthusiastically, from the sidewalk as I drove through town. I thought they were just appreciating the cool jazz playing on my car radio. By the time I made it out of town and away from the street lamps, I recognized the problem. I messed with a few buttons and switches to no avail.

No lights. At least the King’s Highway is fairly open, and the sky was still pretty light at 10PM. Paid Een Ogg’s Road, though, is bordered with trees. Luckily, it’s a straight road. Fox Lake Road not only has a dense canopy of trees down the entire length, but it’s narrow and very curvy, too. I found the blinkers still worked, and gave off enough light to make my [slow, strobe-y] way home. So, add the car to the list of necessary expenses.

What next?

Things to Do

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I’m leaving the island tomorrow morning, to take my aunt to several medical appointments over the next two days.

The wind is blowing a gale, and I’m worried about a bumpy flight.If the rain continues, it will be an uncomfortable trip, in and out of planes, cars and doctor’s offices.

Rosa Parks has to be dropped off at the boarder’s at 8:30 tomorrow morning. She doesn’t know it yet. She is starting to get suspicious, though, about how freely I stop whatever I’m doing to give her attention this afternoon. By the time I get the suitcases out, she’ll be hanging her head and giving me the sad eye.

After getting the little dog settled in, I have to rush to the airport – where Aunt Katie will be waiting with my ticket – unload my luggage, park the car across the road in the lot, and run back across to get on the nine o’clock flight.

Things won’t be much easier when we get to the other side: I’ll run to get the mainland car from the lot, load up our luggage, pick up Aunt Katie from the terminal building, and be off. We have one stop in Charlevoix, first, to pick up oxygen tanks for her overnight stay, then on to Petoskey to make her first appointment. I haven’t been to any of the Petoskey offices with her before, so will be depending on Aunt Katie for directions. I can’t remember if there is another appointment tomorrow, or if both of the others are the next day. In between appointments, there is some shopping to do.

My plan is  – after all of that is taken care of – to get Aunt Katie safely back on the plane to come home, day after tomorrow, and to head downstate. I am meeting my daughter, in order for her to help me get a better understanding of the design software I use for the Beacon. I’m concerned that it will be too much work and not enough visit…or vise versa.

All of that worry is playing around on the outskirts of my mind, while the main focus of my present state of near hysteria is the whole mountain of stuff I have to get done before I can leave!

I have to pack what I need to wear, which involves trying to predict the weather and washing and drying at least one load of clothes. I need to remember medicine, vitamins, a few personal hygiene necessities, and make-up.

I have to pack for Rosa Parks: one zip lock bag with her special food, another with her treats, written instructions for dispensing each, her special dish, harness and leash.

I need to be able to work, which means unhooking this computer and packing it up with all it’s cords and surge protectors. I have to bring my big notebook, and my small one, past issues of the Beacon, and my address book for contacts.

I need to water the plants.  There are a couple things that are close to the edge in the refrigerator; they need to be dumped into the compost bucket. The compost bucket needs to be emptied into the bin outside, then rinsed out. I should finish off the macaroni and cheese left over from last night so that I can clean that dish.

I have to get this post written and say right out, I’m not sure where we’ll be staying tomorrow night, or if there will be internet access there. If you don’t here from me for a day or two, don’t be concerned: I’ll catch up as soon as I can.

Oh…well, there…I can check one item off my list. I feel better already!