So I guess I’ve had a month. I know, I know, what about the LAST SIX months and my blogging drought? It’s been an eventful six months, but really, the past six weeks are what I’m going to blog about today.
Everybody has stuff happen here and there. It’s just been a while since I’ve had things stack up quite like this (outside of the ol’ lung thing of 2014 through 2016 – ha!). I get that everyone has troubles, that stuff happens, but it’s been a long, long time, maybe never, that I had a Series of Unfortunate Events like I’ve had in the past six weeks. In that time I’ve seen my car mechanic (twice), a well and pump technician, the veterinarian (twice, for three different animals), a plumber, an electrician, and an appliance repair person. All the while, my work load (the paying gig, that is) was going nuts,(busy with deadline after deadline). I also had numerous calls and texts to the well/pump fella, multiple calls to the two vets I’m working with, and, I won’t lie, a few tears here and there. So, as of this week, I am hopeful, and trust completely, that this mensus horribilus is over!
I thought the car problems were bad, starting at the end of April (engine suddenly losing acceleration – not power – as I was driving down the freeway – wee!, and again then on a back road, and then the check engine light coming on) but that was only $700 or so between diagnosis and fix (she’s still not 100%, but at least dependable again). The well problem, cropping up about a week later, could have been easily 10 or 20 TIME$ that amount to fix. But with the help of some awesome coaching by the well guy (who came out and inspected for an initial potential diagnosis) I narrowed it down to a serious leak in the pipe from the pump to the house. When I finally discovered it – directly under the bathtub, which resides on an alcove of sorts on the outside of my foundation: who knew? – I thought for sure I had a spring under the house! Enter the call to the plumber. But despite the stress of searching for the source of the problem, crawling under the house to dig up the pipe/s, and then waiting 4 1/2 days without water for the plumber’s schedule to open up, I got lucky. That was hard to keep in mind when I was going outside, ahem, with the dogs, or heating water for an old fashioned wash up in the tub (using bottled water). It was camping at home, and if it weren’t for the animals I would have skipped out and stayed with a friend.
And of course both of these pale in comparison to the animals being unwell, and especially the dogs, my other heart(s). The lambing issues were unusual and, for me, new. I’ll detail these in another post – it was a crazy two or three weeks! Daisy cropped up with a weird fungal infection on her face and it took a little time to figure it out. The cure was a gnarly antifungal drug the vet prescribed (and I reluctantly agreed to). But before I could give her more than one dose, she presented with a weird abscess (best guess) in her face/upper jaw. She was unable to open her mouth all the way, and the area around her left eye was swollen and she was squinting. Another trip to the vet (we walked the two miles because the car wouldn’t start) and the cure for the abscess was a round of clindamycin. It took four days before I could definitively say the medication was working, so I asked the vet for a second week of the drug, just to really kick it. The great side effect benefit was that it cleared up the fungal infection too. Yay! No need for the antifungal I didn’t want to give her. How lucky is that?
Along the way with this major stuff is the not so major stuff (concert ticket problems to resolve with Ticketmaster; the cat escaped out the door one rainy evening and killed a hummingbird at my feeder – I cried and cried and cried over that tiny body, whose death I caused; a couple days later I accidentally stepped on a banana slug and killed it – I didn’t cry, but I felt so bad about that), and of course the good things too. The concert tickets worked out and the show was FANTASTIC (U2 The Joshua Tree tour) – providing a much needed break (and, amazingly, that night was also a break in the near-constant rain we had before and after). AND, because of where the lighting and sound tent was located on the floor, they moved us to new seating. My $90 seats (which I was really pleased with) suddenly became $400 seats. WOW! Add to this the realizations about my own strengths, and then the truly blessed things – gifts you don’t even realize at first. Like a well/pump guy who generously shared his time and knowledge with me (via text and phone), over two weeks, and never once getting tired of my latest “what dis?” ignorant question, pointing me in the right direction again and again and coaching me through the digging and discovery. It’s “funny” because I originally called a different well guy (I was running out of water in the house and I didn’t know why) – one that I’d used before – and they were so backed up with work that they referred me to the one I ended up calling. And, it turns out, truly a blessing in disguise – he was WAY more helpful than the original would have been. I got really really lucky. The electrician that I called was the same, coming out on a Friday evening on the start of a holiday weekend. I was fully prepared to spend the three day weekend without water, but he came out and tested everything. It turned out (as I discovered the next morning) that this was a false alarm on my part; there was no electrical or mechanical issue, but I was so ramped up with worry about what the well and tank were doing that I thought I was seeing something that wasn’t actually happening – embarrassing but true, and a $176 lesson.
But through all of this, I learned a lot about my little house, about how things work here, and about my own toughness and determination, about my ability to cope (sometimes not so well, frankly; other times, amazingly resilient) and what I can accomplish on my own. No car? No problem – I’ll walk, or take the bus. No water? No problem, I’ll make do with bottled water and camping at home. Lambing problems? I can handle that with the help of a vet or two (and I have to say, large animal vets are the BEST), a knowledgeable sheep community, who, when I reached out to them, were willing to help me troubleshoot and recommended care for my unwell newborn lambs. Well or pipe problems? Call for expert help, and roll your sleeves up to help yourself along the way. The well guy – Dave is his name, of Ralph’s Pump and Well – told me that I likely saved myself $1,000 by doing all the diagnostic legwork and digging myself. I couldn’t have done it without him, and told him so (and owe him a beer), but it was worth the hard work to save that money and also to learn not only how things work around here, but what I can do, and a little more of what I’m made of. Plus, it was good to have something to do besides wring my hands and wait for “rescue” by someone else. Action is always good, just as stillness can be good (I needed the latter when my brain tried to spin worry out of control).
All is well now, my leaking pipe is fixed, my car is running, Daisy’s fungal infection cleared up (and without giving her the $80 worth of gnarly systemic medicine for 12 weeks – I really could have used that $80, but very, very happy I didn’t end up putting her on that drug), the three weak lambs all toughed it out, fighting to live as I fought to save them. Sheep are such tough critters! And the washer is now “fixed” – no small feat, considering the juxtaposition of the hoses and lack of access thereto (the washer itself was fine, but with all the water problems, grit had filled the hoses to the machine) — so I can do a two-week backlog of laundry. Clean sheets and blankets galore!
And thank my lucky stars, remembering that upon us all little rain must fall. This one brings back a few memories, too. Take a listen…ahhh.
But let’s talk LAMBS! See next post for lambdimonium!