Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Down Time

I’m staying home today. My legs have jumped all over the place throughout most of the night for the past 3 nights. I’m exhausted to the point where I don’t give a rip about much of anything that should be important. I feel hung over, and my sinuses are acting up. I decided I’d call in today and just lay low. Maybe I’ll lie down and take a nap later in the day. It’s going to be a long wait until January 16th for that sleep clinic appointment.

Weird

We’ve had such bizarre weather lately that you really have to wonder about the veracity of the claims of global warming. One day we’ll be in the 60s or 70s, the next we’ll be in the 40s or 30s. This morning, at 6:30 it was 70 degrees, tying the record high for the date in 1928. However, that was to be our high for the day as right now (9:40 AM) it is down to 50 and expected to drop still more, into the lower 40s. Later tonight, sometime after midnight, it’s supposed to snow. From 70 degrees to snow, all in a 24 hour period. How’s THAT for “If you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes?”

There are still trees and shrubs with leaves on them – one of our dappled willows out front is still very leafy. The mums are still beautifully colored and the grass is still green. We’ve had frost that has killed off all of the annuals and most of the perennials, but still winter seems unable to get a firm hold.

We’ve had tremendous winds and storms recently, too. In the past week, we’ve had at least 4 or 5 days with high wind advisories – wind gusts up to 50 mph. We had a couple of thunderstorms that spawned tornado advisories, one bringing lima bean sized hail. We currently have 22 mph winds and our windmill out front is just whirling away. The clouds are racing across the sky like something you’d see in one of those horror films. There’s no sun, and the skies are just as gray and dismal as they can be.

Put down the crack pipe

When I started in my current job eleven years ago, there was a woman who worked for me (we’ll call her Wilma for the sake of privacy). Wilma had three small kids at home, and one son from a previous marriage that was just entering college. She was going through a divorce – proceedings that eventually lasted the better part of 10 years. During the time she worked with me, she met another man who eventually began to live with her. She worked for me for about three years, maybe four, before she moved to a different position with a higher pay rating. It was a huge promotion for her, and a tremendous opportunity.

Wilma’s life revolved around her three young kids. At the time I began working there, they were 3, 5 and 6. She was very active with them, participating in girl scouting activities with the two girls, and sports with the boy. She worked her ass off to make a decent life for them with what limited resources she earned on her own and received from her deadbeat ex. She was a good mom.

A year or so after she left my department I saw her and was amazed at how good she looked. She’d clearly “upgraded” her wardrobe to reflect the higher level of her position and the type of job she had, and she’d lost a considerable amount of weight. She looked GREAT!

I last saw/chatted with her maybe a year ago. She still looked really good and told me she’d finally dumped that dead weight (boyfriend), had moved from the old marital home and was now living closer to work. The kids were great and everything seemed good.

Two weeks ago, I heard that Wilma was missing. Yes, outright missing. Nobody at work had seen nor heard from her in almost 2 weeks. Rumor had it that her disappearance revolved around drugs somehow. I was stunned at the news of her disappearance, but adamantly refused to believe that Wilma would involve herself (and by proxy her kids) in drugs. I’d have believed alcoholism or that she’d gone home with some guy she just met and something bad happened, but not drugs. Wilma’s three kids were living in three separate environments. The oldest (17 and pregnant) with her father, the middle one (16) with his half brother (the oldest one from the previous marriage, who is now 30) and the youngest (14) with Wilma’s elderly parents.

That Friday, she was finally located – in a crack house on the lakefront. She apparently wasn’t ready to come home yet.

I’m stunned. Just……..stunned.

Wilma has 30 years in the civil service system, and is 50 years old (turned 50 last month). She had 5 years to go before she was eligible for full retirement and, given her years of service, it would have been a very handsome retirement package. Now, it’s all in jeopardy – her family, her job, her future. And, if she doesn’t seek help, she could well end up living under the aqueduct with the rest of the forgotten souls of the street.

Old

Lisa’s cat (Tigga) is almost 16 years old now. She’s overweight (I’ve often referred to her as the walking coffee table, or even “Jabba the Hut”), having once tipped the scales at 23 lbs. We got her down to 18 lbs. about a year ago and I suspect she’s put a little bit of weight back on, but for the most part, I’m optimistic that she’s not gained it all back. But lately the poor thing lurches when she walks, and needs a stool to get up on her favorite spot on the couch. Over the weekend, she huddled under the computer table, not seeming right at all. With the constant change in weather recently, I know *I* hurt here and there, in my bad knee and my two bad fingers, so it stands to reason that this old girl might have some discomfort, too. So, I did some research online and found that baby aspirin is appropriate to give a cat – 5 mg. for each pound of body weight. It turns out that baby aspirin is 81 mg. of buffered aspirin and, when you consider that she weighs just a bit more than 16 pounds, it was a good dosage. So, we went to PetCo on Saturday and picked up a product called “Joint Plus” that contains Glucosamine, Chondroitin, Manganese, vitamin C and vitamin E. This product supports healthy hip and joint function and, based on my experience with Glucosamine products, it also is a bit of an anti-inflammatory as well. Next we went to Kmart and picked up some St. Joseph’s Aspirin for children.

We were pleased, but not all that surprised, that Tigga took the Joint Plus without any fuss. It’s supposedly tuna flavored, and she sees it as a treat. So, just for giggles, I put the orange flavored, chewable baby aspirin down for her. She sniffed, gave me a look like “You don’t really think I’m going to take this alone, do you?” So I put down two treats for her, on either side of the aspirin, and she did her Hoover imitation, vacuuming up everything there. This is how she takes that aspirin now – what a hoot!

BUT, she’s moving better, she actually RAN to the food dish this morning, her eyes seem brighter, and she’s been a bit frisky/feisty in the past couple of days. We’ll discontinue the aspirin today and see how she does with the just the Joint Plus. But we’re very pleased with the results so far. She’ll stay on the initial double dose for 6 weeks, then she’ll be reduced to a single dose each day for maintenance. I was beginning to fear that we were going to have that “quality of life” conversation – something Lisa just can’t bear to have. For now, it looks like we dodged that bullet.

Broncos

How about those Denver Broncos? 7-2 on the season so far following a sound defeat of division rivals Oakland Raiders. It’s no secret that Lisa is a Raiders fan, so you can imagine the good natured tension in the house this past Sunday.

Early in the season, Jake Plummer’s stats were anemic, unimpressive, and laughable. Now, he’s become a quarterback with legitimate standing in the NFL, ranked 7th overall with a 93.5 rating on the season, and only 3 picks. Now if he can just stay healthy. The Broncos take on the 2-7 Jets this weekend at Invesco Field.

Peyton Manning (another favorite) is still undefeated this season. They’ll match up against the Cincinnati Bengals this weekend, on the road, and don’t let yourself think that this will be a cake walk. This years Bengals team is HOT and HUNGRY to be the team that ruins Indie’s unbeaten record. I think we can easily say that this will be the game of the week.

Thought for the day

One is forever throwing away substance for shadows.--Jennie Jerome Churchill

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