Monday, August 25, 2008


Yes, I still have fingers...they're just hiding.

I will spare you the details, but I had a small run-in with a conveyor that has resulted in almost a week off of work, and that nifty little wrap job seen above.

There are no broken bones, and nothing will need to be grafted, but I will have to contend with quite the little (ha! little...ha!) friction burn for the next little bit. According to the doctor, everything is progressing nicely, and I was cleared to go back to work this Monday. With any luck, I'll be able to ditch the gauze and the wrapping on Friday.

In my brief respite, I have learned a few things, primarily that you never really realize how much you use your other hand, until you CAN'T USE YOUR OTHER HAND.

It would have been nice for the staff of the clinic to inform me that I needed to take a whiz quiz (to insure I wasn't intoxicated on the job at the time of injury), before they splinted me and wrapped me up like a mummy. Really. How was I supposed to manage THAT?

The nurse (who also did my x-rays) was very sympathetic. She looked at me and said, "I'm so sorry sweetie. You've had quite the day." Damn near in tears I looked at her and said, "I have gotten my hand bitten by a conveyor. You guys gave me a tetanus shot. I have been wrapped up and x-rayed. I have cramps. And you want me to pee in a cup? Can I just go home?"

As a public service announcement, and this is key, do not assume that just because you are standing in front of the pharmacist, with a hand wrapped up beyond recognition, and have handed them a prescription for Darvocet, that they will have the foresight to give you a non-childproof cap.

Of course, in your fog of pain, you will not realize this until you get home, and by then it is too late. Try as you might, that bugger isn't going to budge. What will result, in a stroke of genius, is that you brace the damn pill bottle against the splint, and place it upside down on the counter, and push down and twist, without dropping the bottle. There will be much cursing, but eventually you will get it open, and by golly, without sending any pills flying.

Ladies, this next part applies to only us, as the boys will never understand. Bras. This is usually a two handed procedure, to put on, and take off. After I was dropped off at my house last Tuesday, I wanted nothing more than to change into my jammies and just sleep. I stopped short when I realized that I could not twist and bend the way I needed to in order to take off my bra. I tried, somewhat half-assed, but gave up at the first twinge of pain in my elbow from trying to contort myself. Lord knows I didn't need anything else injured at that point! I dealt with being poked in the boob by an underwire for the rest of the afternoon and evening.

Joe came up that night to take care of me, and brought me pizza from Dolly's, and also dumped the Motrin 600, Darvocet, and antibiodic into a freezer jam container, because I knew that I could get into that easily. Pizza was not as easily consumed, as I managed to flip it upside down on to the carpet. It was good to curl up with him and just stop moving. He also assisted in the bra situation.


Joe left me sleeping the next morning, and I woke up with a very painful reminder of the previous day's events. It became very clear, very quickly, that cooking was not going to be easy, or quick. You need two hands to cut things, so fruit was out, unless I was chomping into it. Takes two hands to steady a bowl to either crack eggs into, or pour cereal and milk into, so that was out.

*taps nails on counter*

This was not going to be easy. I needed food to take with the antibiodics and the pain meds, so not eating wasn't an option. I finally got myself into some cut up watermelon I had in the fridge, but not before dropping a piece on my bed, which currently has my white sheets on it.

Clarice came up that night to help me out with things like the garbage and cleaning up the kitchen a bit. She also took me to Kroger to buy some food that was a bit more accessible, yet that wasn't going to cause me to gain 50 lbs before this was all over. When we got home, she sliced up a cucumber for me and stuck it in the fridge. (God I love that woman.)

Sherri stopped by with a basket of goodies from her, Melissa, and Stacey. Little chocolates, these divine little snack cakes from Papa Joe's, two cookbooks, a food and wine magazine, and the DVD of Princess Bride. It's good to have girlfriends. :)

By Friday, I was determined to make eggs for breakfast. I needed real food. I'd had leftover pizza, canned ravioli, the entire cucumber Reesey had cut up, one of the little snack cakes, and pretty much whatever I could get my hand on that I could open.

I placed the bowl on my counter, removed two eggs from the carton and set about trying to figure out how I was going to do this. I do not doubt the purpose of the stupid splint they had me in, but good god, could that thing get any more in the way? I braced the bowl against the splint, and kinda sorta successfully cracked the two eggs into the bowl.


Now to scramble them. I did an okay job, and managed to only get egg on the counter and not the rest of me. I will not lie when I tell you that it was the best scrambled eggs and toast I've tasted in a long time.

As I was cleaning up the mess, I had made, I grabbed for my canister of Clorox wipes from under the counter. Anyone who has ever used this wonderful product, knows that getting them to stay in the little holder in the cap is damn near impossible, a similar situation with baby wipes, and good luck getting them off the roll.

I tried and I tried to get these little buggers out, and when I finally grasped one, with the canister between my knees, I now was fighting to rip one off. I only needed one, maybe two, and here I was, suddenly waving around a string of about 47 of them, and flinging Clorox wipe juice about my kitchen.

Finally, FINALLY!, I get two of them to come off. I then spend the next minute and half jamming the other 45 back into the canister, slamming the lid shut, throwing it under my kitchen sink, and slamming the cabinet door.


It's been a long couple of days. I have to say, I knew I was going to be okay when I was sitting in the exam room at the clinic, checking out the wound on my hand, and thought, "You know...I could get some really awesome shots of my blood vessels and veins right now if I had a macro lens."

As of Monday, I have been de-splinted, so I have more mobility, and can type with two hands again! I've also graduated to using one piece of gauze under all the wrapping, and not two. I've worked out the bra scenario successfully, without losing an eye, and tonight I managed to wash and condition my hair using both hands (even though it hurt like an SOB to do so).

So progress is being made.

While I do hurt, I am annoyed, and I feel like a bit of a dumbass, I also know that I am very lucky that this isn't worse. To doc says that everything is on track, and I should have little to no scarring.

My coworkers have been absolutely fabulous about all this, and have been extremely supportive and caring. Now that they know that I'm going to be okay, I'm starting to take a bit of razzing on the whole situation.

Yesterday, I was informed, and assured, that my next project will not have any conveyors, so all my appendages should be safe, but that they're going to keep an eye on me...just in case.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Yager Road

For every family, there's one place that is the symbol of home. A place where you all gather to share laughter, tears, old memories, and to make new ones. A place that is steeped in traditions and history of generations that have come and gone.

For my family, that would be the farm on Yager Road. It has been in our family since the 20's, and has been a source of wheat, corn, soy beans, and for a while, oil. I couldn't tell you how to get there if I tried. It's like a beacon, you just know where to go to find it.

Above and beyond that, the farm is family.

Every year, since sometime in the 40's, the family has gathered on or around July 4th to celebrate the holiday, but also as a family reunion, and there is always a theme. The Farm has served as the back drop for a reenactment of the crossing of the Delaware in 1976, a hoedown complete with square dancing, various Olympic events, parades, and political conventions.

There is much food, much laughter, much silliness, and occasionally costumes. You talk, you catch up, you are reminded of what's really important.

Uncle Johnny, who's 94, sits over there talking about the woes of health care and medicine costs to anyone who will listen. There is much discussion going on about Becky's upcoming wedding, and who is making the trek to Pennsylvania. Uncle Dave has started up the tractor and is pulling it around to get ready for the hayride. Over a little bit farther, there's a pickup baseball game going on. A group of the younger girls have gathered in one of the trees to talk quietly about whatever it is that 10 year old girls talk quietly about. The little boys are running, chasing, and tackling. Margie is setting up the games for the kids, just as she has for at least the last 20 years.

And then there's Josie. Sweet little Josephine Marie.

One of the newest members of the next generation, she is my cousin Pam's daughter, experiencing her first 4th of July on the farm, in all her 8 month old glory. I watch as she's passed from family member to family member, the smiles, the cooing, the close talking to this little wonder. I watch the way Uncle Dale takes her, his first grandchild, and laughs with her. I watch as Pam takes her and walks with her in the grass, the same way our parents did with us almost 30 years ago.

This little one has no idea the history that surrounds her as she walks across the lawn with her tentative little steps.

Aunt Eleanor & Sweetie, at the farm, sometime in the 40's

I started writing this at the end of July, and shortly after I started it, my grandma, Sweetie, passed away. Many of my memories of the farm involve Sweetie, and the 4th of July picnics. The stories she would tell from when my mom and her brothers were little, and the times that were had then.

It was only fitting that after all the hubub of Sweetie's funeral, the family gathered at the farm to decompress and As we made that turn onto the dirt of Yager Road, and saw the familiar silos, and the crops, and essentially the same landscape I've remembered my entire life, there was a sense that something was missing. It was still family, it was still home, it was still familiar, but there was that small element that was missing.

That afternoon, as it often happens, the women gathered in the kitchen, with the food (and the wine), munching, having chit chat, and sharing family gossip. The men circled themselves in the garage, talking cars, farm equipment, and politics, all the while trying to solve the problems of the world.

There was much laughter and few tears. It was the perfect afternoon. There was a small rain shower, just long enough to send everyone running for cover, and I truly believe it was Sweetie's way of letting us know she was there.

It was a time to sit back, take it all in, and remember what is truly important in life, and to remember Sweetie, reminisce, and just take a deep breath. It is not lost on me at all that in order for us to do that, we came back to the farm.

It is our ground, it is our sanctuary, it is our home.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Gardens and Broken Dirt

"I understand your want to grow your own stuff and all, but do you really need 80 pounds of pea gravel and 2 more cubic feet of dirt?" Joe asked, as we stood next to the bags of garden soil at Home Depot. I was on a mission to finish planting in the planter boxes that Dad had helped me build for the patio, and this mission was being impeded.

I just looked at him.

"I don't know if the Cougar is going to be able to handle the weight. You could have mentioned something about this and I would have brought the truck."

He stopped suddenly, mid lift, and I immediately thought that perhaps he'd injured himself. After the great lawn mower lifting incident of 2007 that resulted in a pinched nerve or two in my back, I had reason to wonder.

"I broke the dirt," he said.

"You broke the dirt?"

"I broke the dirt."

"How do you break dirt?"

He pushed the flatbed cart back to expose a small pile of dirt on the ground, and a large hole in the seam in the bag.

"You broke the dirt."

"I did."

We burst into a fit of giggles. "Shhhh," he said, "They're going to see us and know I broke the dirt!" He hurriedly scooted the bag off the flatbed, selected a new one, and lifted it on there and started pushing the cart away, leaving the pile of dirt.

We got the dirt, unbroken this time, and the bags of pea gravel, and hauled them back to my house. Indeed, the Cougar was sitting a bit lower.

What resulted was this:

A new home for my two little tomato plants, 8 pepper plants, and 4 garlic plants. Yes, I realize that the cage for the one tomato plant is very large. It has big expectations. I have 3 very green, tiny, tomatoes hanging off that plant. I keep trying to coax them into turning red, but it's not working. I'm pretty sure my peppers are toast, and I really didn't realize that garlic was really that high maintenance of something to grow.

As you can also see, I'm having a small explosion of opal basil, Italian oregano, and chives in my herb garden. I also have parsley and thyme in there too.

That night, as we were unloading the rocks and the dirt from the Cougar to the patio, in very fast fading light, I asked Joe, "When you said earlier that you understand my need to grow my own you really understand my need to grow my own stuff?"

He looked at me and said, "I haven't got a freakin' clue."

I smiled, "Yeah...that's what I thought."