First, I went to the cabin in NY. It is kinda primitive, essentially a shed. There's no heat, unless you are one of those silly people who thinks you can heat an uninsulated cabin with a fireplace. There is also - gasp - no internet, at least no hi-speed internet, unless I drive into town. And, in August, with gas at $4/gallon, I didn't feel like driving anywhere very often. A couple of friends from Texas came to visit me and we did drive into the city, and over to Woodstock, where I spent way too much money on a really cool silk jacket. Almost all my clothes come from thrift stores (I shopped several times at the Salvation Army store in Kingston) except shoes and things like really cool black silk jackets with faux fur lining the cuffs and collar.
On my way back to Texas - mind you, I drive to and from NY, so I'll have a car while I'm there - I stopped to visit my sister in Ohio. It was sort of a surprise visit and we had great fun calling the folks and talking to them since they didn't know I was going to visit Pam. Hell, Pam didn't know I was going to visit Pam. My cell phone would not work at Pam's house, so we talked on her phone. Stupidly, I left my cell phone in the living room... Stupidly because Pam and Jed arise early enough in the morning to leave the house at 6:15 am! I am NOT awake at that hour, so they told me just to lock the door behind me. I rose, showered, dressed, made a cup of coffee, packed and left, locking the door behind me. Of course, I'd left the cell phone in the living room. I couldn't call Pam to ask if there was a key hidden somewhere, 'cos, well, my cell phone was in the living room. I remembered that the window was open in the room I slept in, so I figured I'd just go around the house to the window and slip it open, pop in and retrieve the phone. I just didn't reckon on the house being completely surrounded by huge bushes in an impenetrable thicket. It had rained, so as I tried to slip along between the wall of the house and the bushes, I got completely soaked and covered in wet, decaying pine needles. Sure enough, the window was open, but I couldn't get the screen out, so had to go back to my car, get my trusty Opinel French Fruit Knife (#4), wend my way back to the window, and slip out the screen. Ahh, one more problem, even though I was wearing 3 1/2" heels, I was not tall enough to jump into the window. Once again, I slipped back between the house and the bushes, to the garage, where I found a bucket, a sturdy bucket, which I carried back to the window, climbed in, retrieved my phone, climbed out, closed the window, put in the screen, grabbed the bucket and wound my way around the house one last time... I put the bucket back and looked at myself in my car window. I was covered with wet pine needles, and had dirt and muck all over me. But I had my cell phone. And no one had called the police, so I drove off and called my sister and told her how easy it was to break into her house.
Back in Austin, I proceeded to cut off my fingers on my left hand with a table saw. Wait, wait, I'm making that much more dramatic that it really was. I actually just ran the fingers lightly over the whirling blade when a piece of wood backed up as I was ripping it. It hurt like a melonfarmer. I couldn't believe I'd done what I'd done, but I had enough sense to run into the bathroom and put my fingers under cold running water. I managed to reach my Vicodin with my right hand and promptly took one. Twenty minutes later the bleeding was manageable. I could bend the fingers, so I knew I hadn't severed a tendon or a bone. To celebrate that fact and to try and overcome the pretty horrendous pain, I took another Vicodin, and fell sound asleep. When I woke up, I soaked my fingers in warm salt water, changed the bandages, took more Vicodin and went back to sleep. I think I did that for two days. Then I decided that, despite the salt water soakings, my index finger was getting infected, so I called my doctor's office. When you tell them you've run your hand through a table saw, they'll see you right away. They just want to see what kind of a person would be silly enough NOT to go to an emergency room, I think. Anyway, I ended up going to a plastic surgeon who told me that my fingers were going to be horribly deformed. For that he charged me $166. Actually, my fingers are going to be fine, I think, and my index finger is kind of cutely deformed. But they hurt like cold fire when they get cold.
Let's see. Oh yeah, ten days after that I taught my first fall class in bookbinding. It went ok. I'd quit taking the Vicodin, 'cos I just can't teach on the stuff. I was feeling pretty perky and chipper. I got home from class and realized I was out of wet cat food. So I walked to the grocery store five blocks away, talking on my cell phone to my Dad the whole way. I had my wallet and a nice 'shopping' bag I'd gotten in Guate this summer. I put the cans in the bag with my wallet and left the store. A car followed me out of the lot, turned onto the street I turned onto and parked and turned its lights out. (It was 9:45 pm.) I saw the cars lights go on and then WHAM!, something hit me really, really hard on the back of the head. It hit me so hard that I just sort of flew to the ground. I didn't even put my hands out (a good thing, considering) to break my fall. And then some melonfarmer was wresting my bag off my shoulder, and I was telling Dad that I had to get off the phone, I was being mugged. I sat up and yelled "You're only getting four cans of cat food," at the young man who was running to the car that had pulled up alongside us. And then I remembered my wallet and thot "Shit." I called 911, and four police cars came. They wanted to take me to the emergency room, but I didn't want to go. I knew I didn't have a concussion, and I just wasn't in the mood... The police had those big flashlights and they found my hat and glasses, and bluetooth earpiece... And my wallet! Apparently when the guy jumped in the car, my wallet fell out of the bag. Everything was there. The police offered to take me home, but I told them I had to go back to the store and buy four more cans of cat food, so, bless them, they took me to the store and waited, and then took me home.
So, have you been in the back of a police car recently? I hadn't. They're all molded plastic, from the back of the driver's seat to the back of the back seat, with a plexiglass divider in the middle. I think this should be an option - the 'travel' option - for all family cars. You can just hose it out if there are any accidents, and the kids can see each other but not touch each other. Fabulous!
Ahh, and now it's tree lot time. I run a tree lot for a charity at Christmas. We sell somewehere between 2,500 and 2,700 trees and all the profits benefit youth charity. The lot is staffed by volunteers and part of my job is to 'organize' them and their schedule. It's like herding cats. However it's really fun because I get to pretend I'm a lumberjack for three weeks and play with trees and chain saws! Vrrrooom! Vroom! The only problem this year is that it's been pretty cold here in Texas, which is good for tree sales but really bad for my fingers. It will be over next week, actually, if we don't run out of trees first. We turn the lot over to a Boy Scout troop for a week and in return they set up and tear down the lot for us. So, on Wednesday, the tree lot is theirs and I begin my frantic cookie baking project.
A future Tree Lot Chairman
And that's it.