Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A Kick in the Pants

It's that time of year again... National Blog Writing Month, or as the "in crowd" calls it NaBloWriMo. A bunch of us crazies have pledged to write a blog post every day in the month of October. I did it last year, and it was a challenge, but also a lot of fun. I got to read and love a few new blogs, and I picked up a new reader or two myself.

I think this is the kick in the pants I need because you may have noticed that I've been rather absent from blog world lately. I'll take one more day off to gather my thoughts and seek inspiration in the mundane moments of every day life. Then stand back and watch the posts roll in like waves on the North Shore of Oahu.

Wanna join me? C'mon, you know you do. Don't be scared. If it doesn't work out, nothing bad will happen... bad luck will not befall you. If you succeed, what do you get? The personal satisfaction of accomplishing a goal. Just pop over to NaBloWriMo and leave a comment that you want to join. See you on the blog roll, baby!

Monday, September 14, 2009

An Unwelcome Passenger

I think the smell is starting to dissipate, or is it only wishful thinking? It is getting a little cold to ride in the car with the windows down, and I can only hold my breath for so long. I should probably back up a bit.

In July, I noticed a smell in my car, particularly when the air conditioner was running. I knew what it was because my mom had the same smell several years ago. It's a mix of gamy, earthy and incontinence. I was pretty sure a mouse was living somewhere in my car. My mom's mouse was in the engine, so I popped the hood and had a look around, but I didn't see anything that looked remotely mouse related. A few days later I found some paper napkins in my glove compartment had been chewed and there were a few mouse poops stuck to my lint roller. At that point, I had a thorough look through the interior of the car, but saw nothing amiss.

Fast forward to the end of August. My clothes dryer was broken and awaiting service. Every time I hung laundry on the line... without fail... didn't matter how sunny it was... didn't matter what the forecast was, it would rain before it was dry. I gave in and took a basket of wet laundry to the laundromat to dry it. I popped it in the dryer, fed it quarters and headed to the school for 45 minutes to prepare for some volunteer work I do there.

Once my work and drying time was up, I walked out of the school to my car and saw I had a flat tire. I called Sweetie, who was working at home, with this multiple choice quiz...

a. Did he want to come change my tire?
b. Should I call AAA?
c. Did he want to come down with the compressor to blow it up and change it at home?

He chose, d. None of the above. He would come down with the compressor, but I would change the tire. While that sounds reasonable now, I wasn't in a reasonable mood then, and he did fail to mention that he would help me. While I waited the 15 minutes for him to drive to the school, my mood deteriorated, as did the weather. It was sunny and cloudless when I called him. It gradually got gray, then black and the wind started to blow. As he pulled in, random, giant rain splats were hitting the pavement. By the time, we hooked up the compressor, the skies had opened up. I was madder than a wet hen, and when the tire was inflated, I looked like one too.

I hurried to the laundromat and grabbed the clothes from the dryer which had long since stopped. I noticed that one of my nice Garnet Hill, monogrammed white bath sheets was missing. It had been stolen from the dryer. My town is not a hot bed of crime. Nothing happens here. People who do drugs, do them quietly in their homes; nobody robs, kills or assaults, but there was a bath towel burglar running amok. They're lucky I didn't catch them in the act or I might have bludgeoned them with my box of Bounce. I could have used a towel about then as I was standing there dripping over my dry clothes. And why couldn't they have stolen one of the faded, worn JC Penney towels? But I digress...

I rushed home before my tire deflated, and started my lesson in tire changing. When I got the spare tire out of the back, there it was... the beginnings of a mouse nest and lots of little mouse leavings. I cleaned everything up and put a box of mouse poison where the starter nest had been. It wasn't long before the smell changed. This time, it was clearly decomposition. It was my hope that the unwelcome inhabitant would leave the car before his or her demise, but I wasn't so lucky. So far, my searches have not turned up a body, and I will probably have to wait until it's nothing but dust before the smell disappears completely. Has anyone else had an experience with mice in their car? Misery does love company.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Hit Me With Your Best Shot

I haven't blogged in many moons... well, four phases of the moon to be exact. I thought I'd spare you all my negativity because frankly, it wasn't such a great summer... particularly the last month. It was difficult for me to find humor in all that life was throwing at me, and since I write to entertain or inform you rather than garner your sympathy, I thought I would stay away until I had an attitude adjustment. I'm better now, so I'll spend less time taking quizzes and tending my farm on Facebook and a little more time writing and reading blogs.

I celebrated my improved mood with a flu shot yesterday, and it made me feel really good to take some control over my health. The last time I had the flu was in February 1997. Sweetie and I got it at the same time. I like to joke that we didn't get out of bed all of Valentine's weekend, and we shared a bottle of red (it was Robitussin). We were so sick that we took our temperatures and whoever had the lowest had to go make food. Food was tea and toast or Lipton soup and crackers. It was almost a month before we felt completely better. After that, we've both had a flu shot every year, and Pipsqueak gets them too. I'm thrilled to say that we've been flu-free.

I hear a lot of people say, "I'm not getting a flu shot. I got it last winter, and I was the sickest I've ever been. I got ______ (fill in the blank with pneumonia, bronchitis or any other viral or bacterial comeuppance)." People, the flu shot doesn't make you sick! It won't give you that stuff; it doesn't even prevent that stuff. It does not lower your immunity. It gives you a very good chance at preventing the flu, or if you do get the flu, it will lessen the severity. It would be like saying, "I'm not wearing my seat belt anymore, because last time I did I was in an accident and got seriously injured." It does take 30 days from the injection until you're fully protected, so you could still get the flu in that time. If you do get a non-flu virus, it has nothing to do with the shot. You were just unfortunate to be in close contact with someone with an upper-respiratory infection, and you caught it.

This year, just to heighten the confusion and panic, we have swine flu. (I'm sorry, but I'm not going to call it H1N1. I mean no disrespect to pigs, and I continue to eat them. I love me some bacon, but it's swine flu for me.) So there's a lot of worry over the rush to create a vaccine. Will it be safe? Will it cause Guillain-Barre in some people like the swine flu vaccine of the 70s? Will there be enough for everyone that wants it? Let's be calm and take a deep breath. This vaccine wasn't rushed anymore than any seasonal flu vaccine. The seasonal ones are based on whatever is going around in the winter for the southern hemisphere (our summer). It takes about four months to create a vaccine. Swine flu reared its head at the end of April and really got a foothold in May. Four months have now passed, and the vaccine is now being tested. It should be available in mid-October. It's not clear that there will be enough for everyone that wants it, but the CDC is recommending it for those age 6 months -24 years, particularly school age children, pregnant women and those people with underlying health conditions. If it's available to me, even though I don't fall under any of those categories, I will get it.
I'm not a medical expert; I don't even play one on tv. The information I have I got is from experience, the CDC and the WHO. If you have questions, go there and read. I'd rather hear that you're not getting the flu shot because you're afraid of needles rather than because you're mis- or uninformed.

You might buy a lottery ticket because you'd like a chance at several million dollars. You go on a date because you'd like a chance at love. Why not get a flu shot because you'd like the chance at not being sick in bed for days

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