A-HA – I got back in!!

I’ve been trying ever since my account expired – admittedly, off and on – to regain access to creating these blog posts. I finally found how to do it – it was twice the original cost but it’s been four years (?). I’m very happy I will be able to write again for myself and anyone who wants to read my ramblings.

So, in April, I had to take our Gizmo to a new vet because our local vet retired and shut down the shop. So. I took her to Aquadale Veterinary Services (? I don’t know if that the name but they go by Aquadale). She mostly needed her heartworm medication renewed. With COVID-19 procedures in place, the vet tech and the vet came to get her from me in my car. I told the vet what we needed – a general health check, regular shots, heartworm medication, a flea and tick collar (that baby was EXPENSIVE) and her toenails clipped. Well, I ended up spending more than $400 for her initial visit. Hope we don’t have to do that again!! So, she’s all good now.

Then, three weeks ago, I was at the barn on a Monday because the farrier had rescheduled from the previous Wednesday. Dublin had been slow to come in on Saturday but it’s not totally unlike her. On Monday, it took her more than five minutes after the others had come down – including the two slackers who like to hang out at the round-bale feeder. And when she came in the door, she was moving so stiffly. We checked her out – her chest and lower neck seemed swollen and tight. I went and bought a thermometer – her temp was very normal. So, when the farrier got there, he looked at her. She did what we asked but was very stiff about it. She had all her feet trimmed with no objection as though she was lame. So, I had to call a vet the next morning. I finally found one who would come to Clinton to see her. I got on the schedule for the next day and took some leave to meet with the vet at the barn. The vet, Dr. Anderholm (?sp), took blood and did an exam. She couldn’t figure out what the problem was. The doc gave her some anti-inflammatory pills to give her one daily in an apple. So, went and bought some apples. So, we waited for the bloodwork to come back. When it came back, even though she didn’t have a temperature, she has some kind of infection. So the doc came out and gave her an antibiotic injection. After the weekend, I was to call back with the results. Dublin seemed to get a bit better. So, we had to go pick up another injection and then report back. Dublin was the last in the barn last night but everyone was at the gate waiting to come and she’s not real pushy. But, she won’t stay inside and she is doing much better – her chest and lower neck are still tight but she is not at all painful and has no temperature. I’m happy with that! My bank account isn’t but, it’s all about the animals!!

Tomorrow is David’s birthday. I don’t know what I’m going to get him for his birthday. He wants an ancestry thing. I think I’ll get that for him. Mom got that for Jeff a couple years ago and it was very interesting. David keeps telling everyone he meets that he is “99.44%” (from the Ivory commercials of yesteryear) Irish. Not that I want him to be wrong, I just would like the total numbers. I think it will be very interesting. We are going to West Virginia next weekend for Memorial Day. I had wanted to go last year for our 30th wedding anniversary but, COVID-19 shut down that idea. I’m very excited!! I have an Excel spread sheet of what I want us to take along. Fortunately, we won’t be leaving until after noon on Friday (and returning on Monday), so David’s aide, Molly, can help him get packed. I’m going to see if she can help me, too. We have to take the sit-to-stand machine with us. I will call the hotel tomorrow to see if they’re ready for us. I haven’t slept with David since our family reunion three summers ago (?). I’m excited to have a warm body in bed with me – and it won’t be as hairy as Gizmo!!

So, my ramblings thus far have been very abstract and disconnected. But, I’m getting ready to start something more concrete. We will enjoy a bright, sunny day in our neck of the woods.

SNOW!!

Well, it has started to get colder outside!  Make no mistake – I love winter!!  I love the cold (except I don’t like to be cold) and the snow.  Of course, I don’t like the ice on the roads but I do love to see it on wire fences and bushes and trees.  I love to watch it snow.  And then, we’ve gone out and taken pictures down in Amish country in the past of the snow on the corn bundles.  It is so pretty.

I’m one who, once I put on jeans in the fall, it’s time for it to be cold.  Then, once I put shorts on in the spring, it’s time to begin getting into the garden and all the other summer activities.  And, if a person gets cold, he or she can always add more clothes to be warm – you will continue to sweat in the heat of the summer even if you take off all your clothes!

Part of the reason I love winter so much is all the holidays!  I love being around family and friends – all my loved ones.  I love eating holiday dinners.  And Granny Smith apples are available – FRESH – on November 1!

I love snow much more than rain.  I understand that rain is necessary for things to grow.  But I’ve always said, “You can’t go out and play in the rain – you CAN go out and play in the snow!!”  And I love to garden – I want to spend more time in my garden next summer.  I don’t do much landscape gardening; I want to grow my own veggies and then learn how to can/freeze/dehydrate and put them up for eating in the winter.

I get very annoyed with those who complain about winter weather when they live here – or even further north.  I always think to myself, “If you don’t like the weather, move south!”  I don’t complain much about the weather here – except when it’s too hot in the summer and when we don’t get any snow even when it’s cold!  Cold with no snow is a total waste!!

And I don’t get too upset about snow on the roads most of the time.  Northeast Ohio has had plenty of practice in taking care of snow-covered roads so driving to Cleveland for the years I did was not a huge problem for me.  I swear, when it snows five flakes in Cleveland on clear ground, it makes most people forget how to drive.  I see a couple dozen cars in ditches on my drive when it snows.  I did slide the backend of my van off the road one night last winter because there had been no salt truck on the hill up to the road to my house.  And at one point, David and I were out and we returned to a snow-covered drive and almost didn’t get up to the ramp to drop him off.  That was kinda scary.  Some nice fellow in a big Dodge Ram pulled me out – otherwise, the deputy was going to cite me!!!  I told him it was the county’s fault that my van was in the ditch because they hadn’t salted the road!  I probably would have fought that, too, because I didn’t feel it was my fault.  I was just minding my own business headed home – possibly from doing barn chores – and all the roads to that point were fine.  Oh well.

I will say, I love a fireplace in the winter – nothing better than sitting by the fire on a cold winter’s night.   I believe tonight I will go in the bedroom and turn on my electric fireplace and sit near it while I watch TV tonight.

So, now, it’s time to go light a fire – either in the wood-burning fireplace or my little electric fireplace – so I can settle in for the night.  It’s very cold with rain/sleet/snow covering the ground and roads.  And I need to get ready to go to Columbus tomorrow afternoon.

Ruth Jean Meade-Haley (1952-2018)

This is going to be a bit of an extemporaneous ramble today.

So, life around here has been a bit quieter this week after the whirlwind that was last weekend.  A week ago Thursday, David got a call from his little sister, Susan, at about 8 a.m.  I could tell that Susan was excited because David kept saying, “Susan, Susan.  Slow down!”  Then, I heard, “Oh no!”  He said his goodbye and then hollered to me that his older sister, Ruth, was being taken to the hospital by squad and they were doing CPR.  He waited a couple minutes and then called the ER to see what was happening.  He talked to them for a couple minutes.  When he hung up, he told me Ruth was gone.  She was the only one in Sandusky who always talked to me no matter what – I will greatly miss her.

So, that was Thursday (October 18, 2018).  We got up early on Friday and drove out to Sandusky so David could help with funeral arrangements.  We stayed late.  After meeting with the funeral director – a friend of the family’s – and the pastor, we went to lunch with David’s Aunt Rhoda (his mother’s sister) and Ruth’s son, Jimmy’s aide, Jackie.   Susan and David’s dad were there, too.  We went to Cracker Barrel and were seated at one of the round tables in the corner by the window – it was frigid in that corner!!  Then, David’s cousins, Richard and Bonnie (his mother’s sister, Vivian’s kids – all David’s age) wanted to meet us for coffee.  So we went down the road to that diner.  Aunt Rhoda didn’t want us to go down there because she said they would try to talk us into having Susan put Jimmy in a facility.

Jimmy is Ruth’s 35-year-old son who is multiply handicapped.  He was born with plenty of problems but, in his home, he was the only one who worked – he works part-time for the county’s board of developmental disabilities as a receptionist.  He loves his job.  He also enjoys bowling in Special Olympics.  He’s a great kid!!

We didn’t go back on Saturday but we skipped church on Sunday to make the trip out there.  It’s more than 200 miles roundtrip.  A bunch of David’s family from West Virginia came in on Saturday and we spent Sunday with them.  Uncle Melvin and Aunt Murial Meade are absolutely the sweetest people.  Aunt Murial works with challenged people down in West Virginia.  We talked about group homes for challenged individuals.  I do think I would be good for Jimmy if he wanted to do it.  Susan took care of her mom through her battle with Alzheimer’s Disease and now, she’s taking care of her dad in his supposed early stages of Alzheimer’s.  She’s been splitting time between her dad during the day and Jimmy at night because Ruth has been in a rehabilitation facility because she fell and broke her left femur in three places.  So now, everything is on Susan’s plate.  And Susan has her own issues – mentally and physically.  Lots of prayers for her.

I finally got the rest of the story as to what actually happened.  Apparently on Wednesday evening, Ruth was having chest pains and difficulty breathing.  She asked to go to the hospital and was told they would have to contact the house doctor first.  So, they apparently contacted the doctor who said he would come in.  Then, apparently, the aides did a bed check at about 10 p.m. and saw Ruth lying in her bed with her eyes closed (duh) and figured she was sleeping.  Then, a couple hours after Ruth had asked, the doctor showed up.  A while later he went down to Ruth’s room and found her unconscious and unresponsive.  They tried to rouse her.  Then, the doctor finally said they needed to start CPR.  Reportedly, they worked on her for a while (maybe more than two hours) and then the doctor told them to call the squad.  The squad came and took Ruth, doing CPR, to the hospital where officials told David they worked on her for about 45 minutes before pronouncing her dead.  The rehab facility really screwed up!

Mom and Alan came to the funeral on Monday.  They had a hoot meeting the West Virginia family.  Jimmy served as the greeter at the door so he chatted with everyone.  It was a very trying day.  We did get home at a reasonable hour.  I will truly miss Ruth Jean Meade-Haley.

Lynn’s Birthday

Well, my younger sister, Lynn, celebrated her 53rd birthday in Heaven this year – and will from now on.  It was a bittersweet holiday – I always thought it was cool that the whole country had the day off for her birthday weekend!  I miss my sister.  I did wish her a happy birthday on Facebook.

As kids, we weren’t the best friends.  She and Jeffrey were closer because they were closer in age.  As the oldest child/grandchild, I was more privileged than Jeff and Lynn.  I had my own bedroom and they shared a room for a very long time.  Then, Lynn and I took over the master bedroom in our little house on Zeletta Drive.  When we moved, again, we shared a bedroom.  We had our share of squabbles – one even involved a thrown shoe that hit its mark!  (Of course, I’m not proud of that – though, usually I can’t hit the side of a barn standing next to it!!)

But we did have good times, too!  One night, as we were going to bed, I noticed Lynn’s mattress was not up against the wall.  She was in the bathroom.  So, I told Jeff and he came and got into the space.  When she laid down, Jeff put his arm over her!!  She SCREAMED!!  It was so funny!!  She would be getting ready, curling her hair, in the bathroom and I would walk by and slap my hand on the door – she screamed!!  (In case you can’t tell, I love scaring people!)  Her big brown eyes – like Mom’s – were great!!

As we got older, we became closer.  We didn’t fight or anything.  I was so shocked when she asked me to be her maid of honor at her and Joey’s wedding in 1987.  I figured she’d ask her friend Kelly Kovacs in return for being Kelly’s maid of honor.  So I was very excited.  And then, I think I caught the bouquet, too!!  Then, I wasn’t home when she and Joey came to tell me they were expecting.  I was kinda jealous of her through her pregnancy because she was the center of attention.  But, when she had James Joseph “Jake” Wise, I went to the hospital at lunchtime and got to be the first (besides Lynn and Joey) to hold him.   Even before Mom and Lil, Joey’s mom.  I did a lot of babysitting which was great.  I would always have to take a nap afterwards because it mentally exhausted me.  But it was so fun.

One time, our horses were across the street from everyone’s house (the Wises, the Lesters and the Meades).  My cousin, William Alex “Wills” Shahmouradian, lived with his dog, Homer E. “Homey” Dog, across the street from the barn.  Lynn had come over with Jake in a wagon to see what we were doing – that put her in great peril as she was SO allergic to the horses.  Wills and Homey came over, too.  We thought it would be interesting to see if Homey could pull Jake in the wagon.  It went fine for a minute.  Then, Homey noticed the wagon following him and he must have thought it was out to get him!!  So, he took off at a dead run.  He was headed in Lynn’s and my direction – with Wills hot on their trail.  I managed to step between Homey and the wagon and either stopped Homey or grabbed Jake out of the wagon.  We untied Homey from the wagon.  We all went down to Lynn’s house.  Lynn put the wagon in the garage and we probably went out into the yard to play with Jake and talk.  Wills let Homey go with his leash still hooked to his collar.  Well, Homey wandered into the garage and somehow managed to get the leash hooked to the wagon and, again, he took off!  We stopped him again!.

Then, Lynn was pregnant with Nate and, in the winter, Jake had his two cousins, Adam and Justin, over to play.  In the evening, we stopped at Lynn’s house and asked the boys if they wanted to help us take the horses back to the barn.  They were into it.  So, we took them to our house and got the horses.  We put two boys on one of the horses and one on the other.  We walked back over to the barn, fed and watered the horses and put them to bed for the night.  We dropped the kids back at Lynn’s house.  I guess that night, she ended up at the emergency room with an asthma attack.  The doctor put her on a controlled substance – I don’t remember what it was, I just remember thinking, “Should a fairly pregnant woman be taking such a drug?  What will be the effects of it on the baby?”

A couple years later, she and Joey had bought my Aunt Judy and Uncle Fred’s candy-apple red Lincoln.  It was a beautiful car – the first one I was ever in with heated seats.  I would occasionally ride to work with Lynn since we both worked at the Brecksville campus of the Cleveland Louis Stokes Veterans Affairs Medical Center.  I didn’t ride with her one wintery morning.  She called me when she got to work and said it was a good thing that I wasn’t with her.  I asked why and she said I would have been electrocuted!!!  She had apparently had a little bit of difficulty near the Ohio 21/Clinton Road intersection and spun the car.  She was afraid that I may have peed my pants when she did that!!  That was funny – we laughed.  We always called each other whenever something funny happened – I miss that.

One night, when Nate was still in a car seat, we all went to dinner at the Ponderosa in Barberton.  Well, David and I had a pickup truck; Lynn and Mom were in the front seat of her Lincoln with Joey behind Mom and Jake and Nate beside him.  So, we were driving up Ohio 21 and got stopped at the traffic light at Edwards Road.  I was reading something and looked up when we stopped.  I started chuckling to myself thinking about going up and scaring everyone in Lynn’s car.  We drove up to the next light at Eastern Road and got stopped again.  Now I was chuckling out loud.  David asked what I was laughing at and I told him what I was thinking.  So, we drove on and got off on Wooster Road into Barberton.  We got through the first light at Johnson Road and got stopped at the light at Johnsons Corners (Cleveland Massillon Road/old Ohio 21).  I started to jump out but David yelled, “No! No!  Cop!  Cop!”  So, I resituated myself and we drove through the light and down past Durbin Magic Freeze and around on Hudson Run Road to the railroad tracks.  There was a train going by and I jumped out of the truck.  I couldn’t hardly get to the car without collapsing in hysterics!!  But I got to the back door and slapped my hands on the window next to Joey’s head.  I heard Lynn scream.  David said he was surprised everyone didn’t have whiplash from turning their heads so quickly!!  I nearly collapsed.  The train cleared the crossing and they drove on as I just laughed and laughed.  David stopped and I crawled back into the truck.  I was still laughing hysterically when we got in the restaurant.  Nate thought that was funny – he and Jake were still laughing.  Joey wasn’t pleased but Lynn and Mom weren’t mad.  I still roll with laughter every time I tell that story!

Then, there was the time we went with our friend, Joe Allen, to lunch at Burger King.  Lynn was stealing a tray so she could take back food for everyone in her office.  They had the pop machine out for customers to fill their own drinks.  Lynn had gone up and refilled her drink while we were still eating.  So, as we got up, she had drank about an inch out of her cup.  She asked me to fill it while she and Joe walked out to my car.  I got to the machine and saw all the selections (about eight) and proceeded to put a squirt of everything in the cup.  I didn’t have a lid so, because it was so full, I had to concentrate so I wouldn’t spill it on my way out to the car.  I handed it to her and she took a sip.  When she spit it out and yelled at me, I remembered what I had done and nearly collapsed in the parking lot behind my car!!  So funny!!

I have a few other stories – mostly just as funny.  But I need to save them for another post.  Love you, Lynn, and I truly miss you!  Hope you had a good birthday in Heaven.  You were able to celebrate with Big Joe Wise – who shared your big day – and Dad – whose birthday is a week later –  and Wills and Larry (Purdy – our youngest cousin on Mom’s side – Aunt Judy and Uncle Fred’s son and University of Michigan graduate X2).  The three youngest of the Lawrence T. and Jean Purdy grandchildren have passed and the three oldest are left to carry on without them.  I miss them all.

Hurricane Katrina

Back in 2005, David and I were going to The Chapel weekly.  It was a nondenominational church to which I wasn’t opposed – I liked the pastor, Newt Larson, when he did advertisements for The Chapel on television.  I would never have joined a nondenominational church – I would never have joined a church which wasn’t a Roman Catholic church but, if David wanted to go to church and didn’t really want to attend Mass, I could go with him to a nondenominational church.  (As an aside, I don’t care for non-Catholic churches because there’s too much yelling from the pulpit – I have never heard a priest yell, even when I wrecked his brand new car!!  That’s a story for another time.)

So, in August, Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast.  At about Christmastime, they announced they would be taking groups down to the Gulf Coast to help with rebuilding an area down there.  I knew I could never donate enough money to make a difference down there so I decided I wanted to volunteer.  I submitted my application.  David wouldn’t be able to go because he didn’t have any vacation available from his work as an armed security guard on contract to the federal government.   We weren’t actual members of the church so I was questioned fairly thoroughly by one of my brother’s best friends at Manchester, Todd McKinney (he has since gone on to become a judge in Barberton).  He was in charge of getting information on me to see if I was eligible to go.  He recommended for me to be allowed to go with a group.  I chose Presidents Day week because I was off on Monday for Presidents Day and I had Friday off as my compressed day off.  So, I only took 27 hours of annual leave and spent a week in Pass Christian, Mississippi.

Pass Christian was “ground zero” for where Katrina came ashore.  When we arrived at the airport in Biloxi – I think – our leader, Sandy, who, with her husband, Fred, were the project managers, drove us around showing us the devastation.  We drove along the beach where there had been a boardwalk – it had been blown away.  Across the street from the beach at one point, there had been a Wal-Mart store.  At that time, the buildings were painted blue over gray.  Well, what was left standing was the I-beams holding up the blue part of the exterior.  In the vegetation around the store was all the merchandise which had been in the store.  It was a mess.

Then, we went into a marina.  There, in that huge marina, they stored boats hanging five tall.  In the boat storage buildings, the bottom two to four boats  in the stack were gone along with the siding on the buildings.  Then, we saw the Bay St. Louis bridge – it looked like dominoes in the water and every other one was leaning on the next one.  It was incredible.

We were hosted by a church down there.  It was not too terribly damaged by Katrina.  The pews were not attached to the floor and the men turned two pews together to make their beds.  The women slept in the dining hall.  The week I was there, there were people from a church in the heartland, Kansas maybe.  They had scouted the area and, in the course of the week, they built a house for a family.  They brought it down partially built – the walls were ready to put up with all the wiring and plumbing ready to go.

I helped a couple days on a modular home that was on tall piers.  Amazingly, it didn’t move when the water came from the river behind it.  Since I was living at home in a modular, I was interested to see that this home had a gas fireplace in it.  I was also interested to see that the windows were single-paned!!  We don’t see that here in the north but I don’t think they ever have snow down there.  I was there in February and found a sweatshirt was enough to keep me warm.  The water had come into the house up about two to three feet.  We helped put back up drywall and paint the interior.  I heard a story about an older husband and wife who chose to ride out the storm in their home and they made it through.  But, after the hurricane that had blown things down into the roads, the thunderstorms came.  Lightning hit their house, set it on fire and it burned down because the fire department couldn’t get to the house because of the debris in the roadways.  I also met a 10- or 12-year-old boy whose dad was the town vet.  The boy said people weren’t taking their animals to his dad because there were “free clinics” for the animals in the wake of Katrina.

The people were so sweet down there.  On our last night, the neighbors made us a Cajun feast!  Jambalaya and gumbo among other things.  So good!!  I had a great time and learned a lot.  I would do that again because, like I said, I don’t have enough money to donate that would make a difference.

My first blog post! Woohoo!

Thanks for joining me!  I’m Laura and I’ve always wanted to have a blog and am excited to begin this process.  As a writer, I enjoy sharing stories.  What I write here will mostly be funny stories not necessarily meant to teach anything, just meant to entertain – because I like to write about the funny things that happen.  I’ve been writing about them on Facebook but they get lost; here, I can post them and they will be saved.

I am here in Amish country in northeast Ohio.  It’s July 4, 2018, and it’s about 90 degrees with matching humidity.  The house we rent is a typical ranch-style house with baseboard radiant (oil-fired hot water) heat; so we have no air conditioning.  Right now, all the fans are pushing the hot air around.  But we can get by.

I’ve been a horseperson all my life.  Mom and Dad leased a pony for me when I was 3-years-old.  Her name was Adelia and she was a Shetland pony who was gray with a silver mane and tail.  I fell off her twice in the short time we had her.  One of the horses at the barn bit my shoulder – I remember having Dad lift me up at night to see the bite mark.

Then, for my eighth Christmas, Mom and Dad bought me a horse.  Sampson was a big sorrel tobiano MorganXTennessee Walker cross.  But when Mom bought him, he was underweight and the young woman who had him had taught him to rear.  Once he gained back his weight and with his little trick, he was a little much for a 9-year-old!  We ended up trading him with the old horseman who ran the barn, Mr. Roscoe Starcher, for a quarter-type pony named Danny Boy.  He came from a riding academy, was a little underweight, had a saddle sore on his back and his mane and tail had been butchered with clippers or scissors!  Mom didn’t want anything to do with Danny but Mr. Starcher finally talked her into letting me test ride him; he had told Mom Danny would make me a great pony.  Mom told Mr. Starcher no money would change hands if I decided I wanted Danny.  Danny stood next to Sampson in tie stalls ($25 per month back in 1971).    When I got done riding, he asked if I wanted to trade.  I thought it over and finally said, “Yes.”  Mr. Starcher then asked if I would be willing to sweeten the deal by $100; I, again, thought about it and said, “I guess so.”  He just laughed and laughed!!  Mom was startled and said, “NO!”  Mr. Starcher kept Sampson around for a month or two  to make sure I was happy with the trade.  Then he took Sampson to the “sale”.  Well, as a child I was warned about the horses that go through the sale – lameness/illness covered up, temperament issues, etc. – and mostly the buyers were there to buy horses for slaughter.  A couple weeks after Sampson went to the sale, Mr. Starcher came out after dinner and told me they had had “Sampson” burgers for dinner!!!  I was horrified – it’s amusing now since we don’t knowingly eat horsemeat in the U.S.

It turns out Danny WAS a great pony for me.  I learned so much from Danny and Mr. Starcher.  There are plenty of stories from my days with horses – I can’t cover them all in one post because it’s early in the day and I need to go do some things.

Until next time …

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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