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mark's meanderings

12-08-08 - Apparently, we had a run in our town on bed pans.

My father-in-law has a medical appointment tomorrow that required everything out of his system.  He had quite a regimen of pills and liquids (two liters?!) to help enforce this, pushed on him by my mother-in-law and my wife.  This, to a man who doesn't drink water, just coffee.  Lots of coffee.  At least 2 pots a day.  Of course, they have been rather watered-down, lately.

He's having a hard time moving around now, so I figured a bed pan was a more expedient answer than trying to help him maneuver down the hall from his chair to the first bathroom, or from bed to the other bathroom.  I saw in my mind one of those old metal miniature life-preservers crossed with a horse-shoe-type fixtures.  Maybe I remember it from a M*A*S*H* rerun, I don't know.

So, off I go, to the city.  Crescent City, that is, 9 miles south of us, here in rural Fort Dick.  I head to Pacific Drug, the local pharmacy and Hallmark Greeting Card store.  I like to shop local when I can, choosing the smaller, local store over the bigger, national organizations.  It's also closest to us.  But as I pull up, it looks rather empty, signs on the window:  Closed.  All prescriptions have been transferred to the Walgreen's.  Oh yeah, the new Walgreen's we watched being built up the street.  Diane was able to figure out what it was during construction based on the tell-tale front entrance design.

Well, I remember there was a quaint pharmacy called the Medicine Shoppe, located further south in downtown Crescent City.  So, I drive downtown, retracing my path, as I had actually stopped here first to see if a case for the 12 string guitar I ordered has come in at our local used book and music store, the Bookcomber (No, but one is on it's way that may fit.  A twelve string has a longer neck, requiring an odd-sized case).

I find the store, pull into the parking lot, the very empty parking lot, and see that they too, are closed for business, permanently.  I guess if I had been reading the local paper, I may have caught this news and saved me some driving.  Oh well, I tried, now back to the north, to the Wal-Mart.  As my parents' prescriptions are filled there, I have become quite accustomed to the stocking locations, even if I don't normally frequent the store for my own purchases.

I looked by the pharmacy section, over by the personal hygiene products, as that is where I suspected they were kept.  No bed pans.  I started out for house wares (maybe by toilet items?  Diapers?  I don't know, it's not a section I normally frequent).  I find a stock clerk, ask her where they might be.  "Over by the Pharmacy."  Okay, I was right the first time.  I head back over there, and just as I was getting to the location, my phone rang.  Business!

I helped a client check his antivirus and update it, then finished the call and resumed my search.  Ah-hah!  Here are toilet extensions.  Walker braces.  They even have a male urinal, but that is just not going to do the trick.  I give up, and head back south again, for the new Walgreen's.

Nice new parking lot, it was easy to ease my 65 Ford F100 into the parking spot.  I always back in, a trick I picked up from a UPS driver some time back.  "Always back in when you get there, so you do it on your schedule, when it is less likely others are maneuvering around you."  I didn't quite follow the logic, but it sure makes leaving easier, when I am fed up with shopping around others and maybe no longer paying quite as much attention as I should to those around me because some clerk was having a bad day and thought they should share.  Not as frequent an occurrence up here, I am happy to say :)

I head in, look around, can't find bed pans, and once again ask for directions.  Another stocking clerk accompanies me to the place where they SHOULD be, and we discover they aren't.  I ask for recommendations on where else to shop and she admits to only having moved here less than a year ago, so she doesn't have a clue.  "But the folks at the Pharmacy have been here a long time - They should know."  Well, I know what those pharmacy lines are usually like, so I head out.

I wander further south, over towards the bigger markets, hoping with no small amount of pessimism that a Safeway would carry a big enough line of personal hygiene products that I will find my target.  Sanitary napkins, check.  Adult diapers, check.  Bed pans, nope.

Wait!  There's a Rite-Aid across the street!  I walk over (I have already driven far more than I thought I would have to, I can save a little gas here) and head in.  No messing around this time, I go straight for a clerk and ask for directions.  She walks me over, and low and behold, a bed pan!  The last one too!  The packaging's a bit dusty, the pan itself is plastic, but I'll take it!

As I stand in line to pay for it (no bag please.  NO BAG PLEASE.) I start to wonder:  Now that we are limited to what is effectively only three medical supply stores, all of them large chains, are our ailments' needs being filled now dependent on the supply-chain-timings of these corporations?

I consider heading back for Pepto-Bismol and Nyquil, but I remember that not only do we have some of each at home, but those I CAN get at my local grocery store.  I have not yet been asked about multiple-bottle purchases of Nyquil, even though I vaguely remember hearing that this may occur, as the bottles of green and red are a source material for cooking up meth, or some such nonsense.  Or was that Sudafed?  At least I've got aspirin.  Two big bottles.  Just what I need.


8-14-08 - The chicken palace is in place and occupied!  I finished the roosting rack and the wire frame floor panel yesterday, hauled it over on a hand truck, and maneuvered it into the existing chicken pen.  Five fence posts and part of a roll of 5' chicken wire and we have a pen within a pen, ladies and gentlemen!  I brought the petrified creatures out this morning, leaving them in their cage in the new pen with the door open, and after the first hour, they started venturing out, returning to the cage quickly.  By the end of the day, they were all over the pen, avoiding the cage, and the palace, as well.  Diane had to catch them one by one and put them inside.  I played Carlton, your doorman.

My mom would be proud.  Not 30 minutes later I was in the upstairs hallway, dismantling the cardboard pads and paper the cage had been on, and had the vacuum running back and forth.  I didn't remember that the hallway was that wide :)

Next project: Clearing out the old woodshed for the two cords of firewood we ordered.  Hopefully there will also be enough room left over to move some of my wood working tools into the front of the old woodshed, freeing up the storage shed I built for Christmas storage boxes, sports equipment, and a lot of other stuff that normally goes into the attic or garage.  Of course, if I stall long enough, I won't have to put the Christmas stuff up...


8-12-8 - I am on my way out to finish the new chicken coup.  We have been raising 5 chicks, who reach nine weeks of age tomorrow, Wednesday August 13th.  They are about 10-11 inches tall, and too big for the cage we have them in.  And that cage is in the hallway, outside of our bedroom door.  They do not seem to sleep for very long.  And did I mention that Diane is allergic to down?  So, off I go.

Okay, well, diverted - Surprise!  Dad wanted the peas picked, so now the peas are picked.  Most went to the chickens, since they had been on the vine too long.  But some came in to be shelled.  I did find the fence posts I will need for tomorrow.  I figure we can fence in one corner of the existing chicken pen for the new guys.  The smaller coup will go in there, and they can get to know the older chickens through the fence, first.  Hopefully this will avoid any territorial killing by the existing hens/rooster.  Although I don't expect much from that rooster - He is lame of one foot, so he pretty much just flops his way back and forth.  Once the chicks are integrated, we may get another rooster (assuming all of the chicks are female and no surprise roosters pop up).

Most of the resources Diane and I have been able to find talk about killing off the previous flock (chicken soup, anyone?) so that the existing pen can be sterilized to keep diseases from being passed on.  But both my father-in-law Tom and Brenda, our "farmer's daughter" neighbor across the street just gradually mix the new flock in with the old one.  So we'll see.

Now that the older hens are getting fresh water regularly, they have started laying again.  3 fresh eggs a day - My dad (Greg) would be in heaven, since I seem to recall he eats 3 or 4 eggs every morning.

I've also buried 3 of the 4 rats that were living in the henhouse.  I had closed off one side of the hen house (the sitting side) and I laid out poison bait up in the rafters where the rats would run across every time I stepped into the coup.  One more to go.  If I do not find the body in the next 3 days, I will pick up the poison anyway.  No sense tempting fate.

I am surprisingly blasť about killing them.  I guess since they were threatening creatures I cared about, I can see them as just larger mosquitoes, fleas, etc.  The spiders, however, I still attempt to carry outside and let them go free :)

But I am still not willing to kill a chicken for food, yet.


6-11-08 - Blogs require a lot of work.  Well, not really - They just require discipline.  Life can keep one busy...  Our CSA had its first delivery yesterday.  We were lucky enough to be accepted as the drop-off site for Fort Dick, so we are getting to meet a bunch of local people - Every one seems so nice!  I mowed the lawn in two sessions with the gasoline mower we bought from a lady in Klamath.  The battery can no longer be resurrected in the Sears mower/tractor.  Nice little unit - 2 cylinders, 16 HP, and my father-in-law has bought many attachments.  He has a lawn sweep with catcher, a trailer for hauling more stuff, a dirt tiller...  I had to confiscate and hide the old 4 Amp battery charger he has.  He kept taking the battery apart because the tractor wouldn't start, and in attempting to charge the battery, I think it actually ruined its storage ability.  I bought a new one from George's Automotive & Diesel Electric, our local car repair/supply, but it still would not turn over without a jumper cable.  Even that activity was sluggish and not fast enough to start.  It is now on our charger, a nice little 2-10-30 Amp Craftsman unit that we have kept in good condition.

I moved dad's Nissan truck back to its original location in self-defense.  I was told several times in a loud forceful voice that I was about to get my ass kicked off the property.  Dad's Alzheimer's disease leaves him with little patience for change.  I would take him to task over his surliness, but it won't help, since he forgets everything in 5 minutes or less.  Instead it would just escalate, possibly ending up with him in jail, as per the Sherriff.

We have a new stove now, too.  Diane had been hearing strange noises, a cross between pops and knocking, coming from the kitchen area.  A couple of days ago I was in the kitchen, and I leaned back against the old stove.  A loud pop and a flash of light led me to believe that all was not well with the electrical connection.  In Diane's words:  Our stove blew up.  When the electrician (Jack of High-Voltage Electric) took the old 220 power receptacle off, we found arcing marks on two of the terminals - scary!  We now have a nice, new receptacle, and a nice, new Frigidaire glass-top stove with convection oven.  It looks nice, but I can already see my OC-ness is going to be challenged keeping that sucker clean and shiny.

Time to call Charter cable and see if they have a replacement cable box. We miss our BBC America, and the old box was determined by Charter tech support as to be "non-programmable."  I also need to get a starter website together for one of our clients, ChimneyKraft.  I also want to clean up the one I threw together for Ocean Air Farms, our CSA.


12-5-07 - My arms are tired!  Hauling tar paper and hauling 4x8 sheets of 3/4 plywood is no easy job for someone who normally types for a living.  Yeah, I know, complain, complain, and I love it! :)


11-25-07 - Worked on the storage shed.  Two walls up!  I also put in a PVC shower head contraption, since I got tired of holding the wand in my hand.  I also added a shut-off valve.  The shower is in an old bathtub that has a separate valve for hot and cold.  As the washers are no longer keeping water at bay, the cold handle is VERY COLD and the hot handle is TOO HOT to touch.  We are on a well, so I have been leery about wasting water, since the well has run dry twice while we have been here.  I also used too much hose when I fashioned the first hookup to the handheld wand, which means temperature adjustments take three minutes to get right.  Add to this the shutting off for each wash, rinse and repeat cycle, and you've got quite a bit of time standing around cold waiting for the water to get to the right setting.  But no more!


11-23-07 - Day after Thanksgiving, and one of our beloved cats died.  Gani is with us only in spirit now.  We cried off and on all day, and for the next couple of them.  She was our sweetest girl.


11-22-07 - Good Thanksgiving.  Almost thought Helen was not going to join us, but she was there at the end.  Tom kept heading back outside, so we postponed the actual sitting down time to later in the day.  Diane made a really good whipped sweet potato pie, lots of eggs and half and half.  She picked th3e turkey, so it was a decent size, 12 pounds.  I picked it last time and we had to wait while the 26 pounder I brought home slowly cooked.  We used Alton Brown's brine recipe - very tasty!

I am a late adopter.  It shows in my dress, too.