Monday, April 9, 2012

...just a glitch after all

I took this picture on March 22...

after a week with a couple of good rains, the grass you see under the cherry tree was taller and the wild onions were sending up white blossoms on long stalks, giving my still dormant Bermuda grass lawn, a "wilderness" look.

Not to mention the asparagus fern looping up in the middle of the lawn and after the storms, there were leaves from the silk oak, which drops its leaves in the late spring, everywhere along with assorted storm debris.

I was dealing with allergy complications from the oak pollen and hadn't yet gotten around to unearthing my lawn mower from the garage and attempting the first mow of the season, when on 3/28, I arrived home to find a notice similar to this one...

taped to my door.

It said that I had until 4/10 to correct the problem, [remove weeds, cut lawn, etc.]
or the city of Mudville would "abate" the situation and bill me.

Since it was after their office had closed when I arrived home, I couldn't call. The next day, I figured out that Friday, the next day, would be my only chance to cut the lawn for days as storms were expected. So, I donned a mask against the pollen and spent about 2 hours digging out the mower, adding oil & gas, getting it started mowing the lawn and getting as much water grass out the beds as I could. Then I used the mower[it mulches...]as a blower to clean off the sidewalks & driveways. I cut back some overgrown foliage, pulled some weeds, then I collapsed.

Later, I called the officer who left the note. Of course, it was Friday, one of the, "every other Fridays" that they are closed, [cost-cutting...]. So I left a message. When I didn't hear back after the week-end, I called again, leaving another message that I had done what was requested. Later, that same day, the mailman brought me a 2nd copy of the violation by registered mail, ramping-up my concern. Finally, I got a call from the officer and after I explained what I had done, he said that he would come by on the next day, Wednesday, to have a look and,"...hopefully, close the case".

I was out all that day and when I got home, was a bit disappointed that he had not left me a note with problems or a notice of compliance. There was no phone message either, but Holy Week was about to consume my schedule, so I didn't think about it anymore.

That is, until Friday when I got a 3rd copy of the violation in the mail. There were NO notations on it regarding either something that remained to be corrected or that I had complied with the violation. Just a 3rd copy of the original document, so I called the officer. His voice mail message indicated that he would be out of the office until 4/16. Unfortunately, my deadline was 4/10, so I called the main office number. They were closed for the week-end.

So I had a choice. I could trust God to "keep" me, leaving the disposition to Him, or I could fret all weekend, ruining my focus for all that needed to be done at the church and robbing me of all my Easter joy.

I chose to trust God...
but that only meant that the enemy continued to try everything he could to get me back to worrying about what to do, what to say and chewing on it like Molly gnaws at a bone...

After the Good Friday service, I visited briefly with a dear brother who pointed out that I had see God provide for me,"very recently..." and that the third notice was, "probably just a paperwork glitch..." I realized that he was saying what I needed to hear, so I redoubled my efforts to ignore all the temptations to pick my burden back up, and I left it there with God.

If I found myself poking at it, I dropped it immediately and stepped away.

Finally, this morning arrived. The time that I could reach someone by phone to try to straighten this out before tomorrow's compliance deadline. I called the number, endured the useless menu, dialed "O", was told I'd be transferred and then my call was dropped.

I laughed out loud and dialed again. This time I dialed "O" before the useless menu.

Finally, someone answered. I told my story and gave her my case number.
After looking my case up, she said, "The officer has closed this case, can I help you with anything else ?" Smiling broadly, I said no thanks, thanked her for her help and hung-up.

Then I gave thanks to God for being faithful, for helping me to trust Him and for sending a dear brother to give me words of comfort and hope. It had NOT occurred to me that it might just be a "glitch" or poor communication.

So today as I went to the church office to pay my mortgage online, [that "little voice" had reminded me that I had been distracted from doing it a few days before when I had been paying bills & balancing my accounts,] I have had an extra dose of Easter Joy.

God is good and faithful... now if only the Giants would start playing better baseball...

Alleluia! Christ is risen!

The Lord is risen, indeed!

...ah spring, AH-CHOO !! (2012)

On March 22, I had several stalks of iris about to bloom,

the creeper was leafing-out,

and the weeping cherry was in full bloom.Of course, they were not the only flora in seasonal mode...

the oak tree in my back yard was blooming. It takes a perfect combination of rain and wind to prevent this blooming season from making me miserable for weeks, if it stays sunny and the blooms can have their full time on the tree, allowing the pollen to cover everything.

This is not a small problem for me because this is not a small tree anymore.

The leaves and branches seem almost yellow from the blooms, which as they dry up and fall off about 2 to 3 weeks later, cover everything with brittle, spent blossoms that pile up all over the place. If there are windy storms with soaking rains at just the right time, the pollen is washed off the blossoms quickly, so the spent ones are not so deadly, allergy-wise, even in their piles of dried, crunchy blooms.

If left to their own happy plans,[no storms to wash or blow away the pollen], I get a couple of weeks of this, along with horrible sneezing, asthma attacks and if I'm not proactive, a nasty upper-respiratory congestion.

This year, thank the Lord, we had the perfect series of cool cloudy days, retarding the blooming and release of pollen, beginning almost the day after these shots were taken. Then we had windy rain, on and off for several days, washing away the nasty stuff.

The allergy season will continue into May, but then I should be able to back-off the asthma medications a bit. I haven't said much about the horrible asthma attack I had on February 11, sending me to Urgent Care on February 12, my Dr. on February 28, then to an Immediate Care on 3/28 with spiking blood pressure, back on 3/29 with a bad reaction to the HBP meds, back on 4/1 for a BP check which showed it the highest yet and finally back to my Dr. of 30 years on 4/6. He took my BP, it was 35 pts lower than on 4/1, so we removed all decongestants from my regime, he gave me a steroidal nasal spray, HBP meds that seem to not "bother" me and a non-statin cholesterol med that has to be OKed by the HMO. Since I'm allergic to statins, that shouldn't be a problem.

I have an appointment with my "new" pcp doctor on Thurday. My long-time Dr. is not in the HMO system, so I hope that the new doctor will work-out.

Perhaps someday soon, I'll have the time to explain my health insurance issues. Of course, this assumes that soon, everything will work through the mega state employees service that manages my health insurance.

Friday, April 6, 2012 easy, sweet Lacy

Monday, I got up, took the dog out and fed the starving horde of kitties. While I was in the bathroom, Lace came in and meowed one, LOUD, extremely distressed cry. I picked her up. Both nostrils were closed with dried mucus, which I removed. I took her into the bedroom to give her some antibiotic drops that the vet said to use for colds.

When I put down after the drops, I noticed that her diaphragm was heaving, besides the fact that she just lay there, not running away as she always did when I gave her those drops.

I put her into a carrier, threw on my clothes and we rushed to the vet.

The vet was on his biannual 2 week visit to Argentina, but fortunately, he had gotten a very nice lady to take his patients while he was gone, unlike other times when he had a retired vet sitting in who needed to stay in retirement.

She examined Lacy and told me that she'd need an x-ray to confirm, but she was sure that her chest was full of fluid, which probably meant cancer. Lacy was 13 and had been getting steroid shots for years due to the lesions in her mouth, which had also come back. The vet took the x-ray and the test confirmed the worst. They gave her a sedative, then as I held her, she slipped away, no longer struggling for each breath.

Then I had a couple of problems to deal with. I was not able to bury her. The last kitty grave I dug, still had my elbows and back messed-up and I had to be directing the choir on Thursday, Friday, Saturday night and Easter Sunday. A normal service would make me stiff for a day or so. All these services involved a lot of standing, as well as rehearsing. The high blood pressure issues had me off my usual Excedrin, as it has caffeine and was creating problems. So I bit the bullet and asked them to have her cremated. There are no budget packages there, $240. Added to the cost of the visit, x-ray and euthanasia, that meant I owe them $320... which I'll have to pay in installments.

I know I made the only choice. I physically couldn't bury her and I couldn't just "throw her body away".

When her ashes are ready, I'll scatter them in the garden, so her remains will be with the others who've gone before her.

I can't remember the last time that I had only 6 kitties...