Dirt Under My Fingernails

Summer is finally here in central Maine.   Traditionally, Maine gardeners in my neck of the woods plant their gardens over Memorial Day weekend.  For many, it’s a tradition. It’s like putting on the storm windows after the Skowhegan Fair (mid-August.)   It’s like putting your snow tires on November 1st.  Or taking them off on May 1st because that’s the law.  Damn it, there might be another late spring storm!  I’ve seen it snow in May.  Yeah, it was may years ago and it only dusted the ground, but it happened!  Sorry, I got sidetracked there a little bit, but suffice it to say; I was late getting the plants in.

Yup, planting over Memorial Day weekend is a tradition for sure.   There would have been some serious tsking going on if my father had been a tsker.  He wasn’t, but all I could imagine was the look of disappointment on his face.  He would have planted his veggie seeds indoors in March so they would be ready for the proper weekend.  I hadn’t even bought pregrown plants!   I was really late.

Now in my defense, it was a very cold and rainy spring.  People who planted their gardens in mid-late May grumbled about their plants’ suffering.  I didn’t grumble because I didn’t have any plants to suffer.  I was smart!  I didn’t have to cover any of them up because there could be a late frost.  Nope, no late frost, it was me who was late!

As the season progressed and Memorial Day passed, it got warmer and I started to get the itch.  All gardeners get it.  I was itching to get my hands in the soil.  I must plant something!  Then I didn’t.  I was beyond late.

I don’t know exactly why I didn’t plant. In spite of the itch, I had a big case of apathy going on.  And you know what that meant?  I know, I don’t even have to say it.

Then I finally did it!  I went to the greenhouse and bought a few plants.  Yup, I was awesome.  I bought those plants with gusto.  There was no stopping me in the buying-plants department.  I was all over it.  I know the greenhouse people looked at me and wondered why I was there so late in the season picking over what was left.  I saw their stupid judgy faces. They know me there, and they know I’m better than this.  I didn’t care, I went on my plant-buying spree and no one was going to stop me!

That was a week ago.  The plants were wilting in the sunroom so I watered them.  They looked pitiful sitting there in their dinky little six-packs.  But I left them there.  The apathy continued.  Till something awesome happened.

We have a gal named Wendy who comes to clean, landscape, dog-sit, you name it.  Wendy came today.  Now Wendy isn’t like an ordinary employee who has always has set tasks.  When she comes, she never knows exactly what she’ll be doing, and neither do I.  It’s kind of a free-for-all.  She sees something that needs doing and she does it.  I might have a suggestion or two, but Wendy’s got it handled.

When I got up I realized that Wendy was weeding the garden beds.  It was like she’d read my apathetic mind.  I shouldn’t have been surprised because this mind-reading thing is something she’s good at, at least when it comes to me.  This ability should scare her because reading my mind can be like a rollercoaster on acid, but we’re both very lucky because she’s unflappable.  No acid-tripping carnival ride was going to flap her, no siree!

There she was, bent over some unsuspecting dandelions.  Those weeds didn’t have a chance.  She got every weed, every root, every tiny bit of offensive green.  I think she sifted the soil for errant seeds.  Those beds were pristine!  I almost cried.

The only things she left were the onions and cilantro that reseeded from last year.  Hey, look at my cilantro and onions!  They look awesome!  As I was making that fantastic proclamation, Wendy rolled her eyes.

Fine. FINE!  I went and got my sad little plants.  I planted them except for those I suddenly decided needed to be planted in the bed she was still weeding.  SHE was holding me up!   Damn Wendy!

Apparently, I missed the grass-clipping altercation.  Just as Wendy was finishing the beds Bill came by with the lawn mower and blew grass clippings onto the beds and my new plants.  I think there were words.  I think Wendy won.  I was assured it will never happen again.

I still have to get those last plants that Wendy prevented me from planting in the ground, but I still felt really proud of myself.  So what if it took Wendy’s eye roll to set me in motion?  I have dirt under my fingernails and my cilantro and onions look awesome!

Not a Squirrel! Update

You all wanted to have an update on my non-squirrel problem.  The good news is that Mr. Chipmunk has not reappeared to my knowledge.  The bad news is that I was almost outed by ME!

Let me just begin by saying that Bill is a Troglodyte when it comes to computers.  This is not news to him.  We’ve always called him “One Button Bill” because he couldn’t operate anything that had more than one button.

One day I was trying to get Bill to do something computer oriented and he got exasperated.  He finally shouted!  Oh, maybe “shouting” is a bit strong.  He finally proclaimed?  Yup, that’s better!  He finally proclaimed: “You know how some people are high tech?  You know how some people are low tech?  I’M NO TECH!!!”  Yeah, it was probably closer to shouting now that I think about it.

Anyhow, I’ve been after Bill for years to start a Facebook account so he could reconnect with old friends and become part of this century.  So tonight he’s looking over my shoulder while I was doing my normal scroll and the stupid chipmunk came up!  I had forgotten that I send my posts to Facebook and Twitter because people kept asking when a new one was coming out.

So there I was, with Bill looking at my wall and seeing Mr. Chipmunk, and do you know what he said?  “Not a Squirrel!? Oh I’ve read that post, keep going!”  How could he look a chipmunk right in front of him and not realize it?  It took everything I had not to laugh. He thought it was the original squirrel post.  He’s still sitting over there doing something else and I want to snicker sooo badly.  I will admit that I have turned my head away from him a few times so that I could indulge in a big ol’ smirk!

There may be no more updates if little Chippy was only a transient ‘munk.  But if anything else happens, I’ll keep you all up to speed!

 

Not a Squirrel!

Recently I wrote a post about my squirrel problem.  You can see it here if you want to take a look:  Squirrel!

 

A quick recap:

We caught squirrels.

We relocated squirrels

Husband happy.

Me, a little bit sad.

 

 

Yeah, that’s about it in a nutshell.  Yeah, I had to go there, didn’t I?  Ok, you’re pretty much up to speed except for the relocation details and my view of the squirrels’ thoughts on Bill.

Today I went outside and as I turned back to the house, there he was.  Was he a red squirrel like the others?  I thought so at first but the no…this new creature was a chipmunk.  Oh damn, no!

Alvin

I have a chipmunk, and not the Alvin kind.  That’s not fair to say really, I didn’t hear him speak.  He might very well be the Alvin kind.  Time will tell….or it might not.  It all depends on how long he’s here.

I looked at him.  He looked at me.  Like using a good shampoo, I repeated this as necessary,  So did he.  It was a woman/chipmunk staredown!  While this went on, many things were going through my mind:

Bill was going to be very unhappy that my birdseed attracted another rodent.

But he’s so cute!

I love my birds and it’s not fair that I can’t feed them without “someone” coming to eat the seed.

His cuteness could not be denied!

I wonder how many chipmunks there are?

I bet they are all cute.

Damn it!  We’re going to have to get the trap out again.

Man, he’s cute!

Could I hide the fact that a chipmunk was sitting on the step like he owned the place?

Because, you know, he’s so freaking cute!

 

I took a step toward him and he scurried up the lilac bush RIGHT NEXT TO THE BIRDSEED!  That feeder is right outside the kitchen window.  This was going to be trouble.

Even if I decide to “forget” that I saw him, the cats or dogs will probably out him.  They all have highly attuned Squirel-dar, and I imagine that their chipmunk-dar would be just as accurate.

I must refrain from looking out that window.  I can’t arouse suspicion.  But I can’t help myself because of the cuteness and all.

What to do, what to do?  I haven’t decided yet, but I’ll keep you posted!

My Puppy Has Acne-The Remix

I had mentioned in an earlier post that my Great Dane puppy, Walter, has acne.  He’s a teenager and it’s not unusual for Danes to have canine acne.

My vet is probably tired of hearing about Walter’s facial flaws.  From the time he was a small puppy, he’s had a bump here or there.  YES!  He was small once!  Just because he’s headed toward 120 lbs at age 10 months does not mean he wasn’t little once…for about a minute.

The first time Walter had a problem was around his eyelashes.  I was scared to death that something really bad was happening to him.  The vet put him on antibiotics and all was well.  Till a few weeks later.  This time it was on his snout and chin.  There were a lot of them.  And they weren’t just bumps anymore.  They looked just like cystic acne.  It was awful.  I didn’t want people to look at Walter and say “Oh, but he has such a nice personality.”

I was desperate.  I asked the vet what he suggested as a topical to help with this.  He suggested Stridex.  I love my vet.  He will suggest things you can buy over the counter even when he has special vet products he could sell at a profit.

Off I went to buy Stridex.  I won’t lie and say that I didn’t feel weird going up to the counter with a jar of Stridex pads.  Those who know me will vouch for the fact that I’ll put a swath of purple in my salt and pepper hair from time to time.  I’m sure the cashier took one look at the Stridex, one look at my hair, and decided that this 56-year-old woman had delusions of adolescence.  I didn’t care.  My puppy had pimples of gigantic proportions and he needed this.

Walter did NOT think he needed this.  Walter is usually unflappable.  There is nothing that will stop him.  You can make loud noises, spray water in his face, put bitter apple on things and he is unfazed.  Stridex fazed him.  I tried to dab a little on his cheek and he bolted.  When he’d calmed down and returned I merely reached for the jar and he was gone.  The good thing was that I knew how to get his attention if he was doing something he shouldn’t.  The bad thing was that his acne progressed.

Another round of antibiotics and his skin cleared, as if by magic.  But the “cure” only lasted 2-3 weeks.  I hated the thought of antibiotics again in such a short period of time, but it looked just so painful that I had no choice.  Again it cleared.

Three weeks later and it returned.  Another desperate call to the vet.  His latest recommendation is a chemical called chlorhexidine.  It has antibiotic, antiseptic, antifungal…oh let’s just say it has all the “antis” covered.  I read the reviews, I saw good reports, I read that the odor wasn’t bad.

Great!  I got online and checked out my options.  There was a great price for a gallon of the stuff.  Awesome!  That should last me at least a little while, even if I had to chase him and lost some along the way.  As long as I could get the smell of it past him, I might have a chance.

The gallon of chlorhexidine arrived.  It was blue like Windex.  Oh no, it smelled like Windex.  Was this stuff Windex?  A little Googling and I found out that people use this stuff instead of Windex because it has such great properties and is safe for animals.  All of that was well and good, but could I get it past Walter’s sniffer?

I went back to the jug to read the warnings.  I wasn’t worried.  They use it to clean medical areas.  Doctors use this stuff on patients about to go into surgery.  Dentists use it for mouth washes.  If it worked, it didn’t seem to have any side effects that would be a problem.

I read the instructions.  Wait!  There are instructions?  Why yes there are.  Right there on the side of the jug, they were plain to see.  Mix one ounce per gallon of water.  One ounce per GALLON of water!!?

At 64 ounces per gallon, that meant I had enough to make 4,096 GALLONS of chlorhexidine at the proper concentration!!!   The good news is that once it is diluted properly, the smell is barely there.  Walter did not run away.  Walter let me cuddle his chin with my wet hand and was as happy as can be.

Keep your fingers crossed that this will work for Walter.  Even if it doesn’t,  I’ll still have enough to wash and disinfect every surface in this house, and the barn, and the garden shed, and the cars…repeatedly.  Even after that, I’ll have enough to wash a friggin’ herd of horses…from tip to tail!

Milestone

Astoundingly, I now have two hundred followers.  I’m not sure how this happened, but I am ever so pleased there are that many of you out there who have fallen for my cunning plan…er I mean…um…

Seriously though, I wanted to take a moment to thank everyone who took the time to hit the “follow” button on my blog, and especially those who read and comment on my silly posts.

I never realized what a wonderful community the blogging world could be.  You have been so supportive and gracious.  I just wanted to tell you how much you mean to me.   💕❤️💕❤️ ❤️💕❤️💕❤️

Soap Opera

I was watching a soap opera the other day and I got sucked in.

Beautifully dressed, there were two side-by-side, totally in love as they went about their day.  They were obviously inseparable and completely unaware of their surroundings.  It was a nice scene until the story took a dark turn.  I was sitting on the edge of my seat wondering what would happen next.

She was dressed in black and it was quite clear that she intended to kill. The attempted murder was thwarted at the last minute.  Going for one hapless soul after another, she was obviously a serial killer.   Surprisingly, her efforts were stymied at each turn.  I was trying to figure out if the intended victims had anything in common when I realized that the tide had turned.

Little did she know that camouflaged in brown, another assassin was hiding in the bushes waiting for his chance.  Others went by, going about their normal business with no clue about the impending doom.  Who would die?  My bet was that she would prevail.  Her luck had to turn.

The scene shifted and two wee ones were fighting over a cookie.  All was lost as the cookie was broken and dropped in the scuffle.  I was trying to figure out if this was a flashback when suddenly….

The phone rang and I had to leave my seat next to the aquarium.  The soap opera behind the glass would continue and  I’d never know which fish won in the end.

 

 

The Entertainer Blogger Award

Oh my goodness!  Thank you so much for nominating me for this, Silas!  You are too kind.  For those of you who haven’t checked out Silas’ blog, please do.  The title is hilarious:  The Diary of a Weird Teen Boy   I think he is perfectly normal, but I’m weird so that just goes to show.  🙂  The best thing is that he’s entertaining!

Here are the rules:

  • Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  • Add these rules to your post.
  • Answer all the questions below.
  • Display the award picture in your post.
  • Nominate 12 other bloggers who are funny, inspiring and most important of all ENTERTAINING!

 

WHY DID YOU START A BLOG IN THE FIRST PLACE?

I am trying to regain some semblance of normalcy after three years of fighting epilepsy, depression, and cancer.  Because of epilepsy, there are many things I can’t do.  I can’t work, I can’t drive, I can’t process anything mathematical, my cognitive skills are shot, but I have retained my word skills.  My psychologist says verbal/word skills are the last things to go with brain trauma, so I’m thankful I’ve retained them, at least for now.  I can’t always talk when I am having my seizures, but when I’m having a good day or hour, I can write.  I was looking for an artistic outlet, but I had a hard time dealing with typical art-related tools and Bill suggested that I could be creative by writing.  I figured I’d look into blogging and never looked back.

 

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE BOOK?

Anything by Tom Robbins.

 

WHAT DO YOU DISLIKE THE MOST?

Dishonesty

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE FOOD AT THE MALL?

At the mall?  Hmmm,  I don’t eat at the mall, but they have Starbucks so I get iced coffee there.

 

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE PAST TIME?
Enjoying my pets, hanging out with Bill and blogging (of course!)  Psssst, don’t tell Bill the order in which I listed those!
NOMINATIONS: 
As always, participate only if you want to.
Some of the most entertaining blogs out there are:
The Robin’s Nest
My Life, I Swear
Growing Self
Joeyfully Stated
There are more, I know, but start with these four and you won’t be disappointed.

A Son’s Revenge

Bill has a cousin who lives in New York City.  Andy is a college professor and quite the character!  We don’t see him often, but we do see him when there is a significant family get-together.

On Aunt Ida’s 80th birthday the entire family gathered at Goose Rocks Beach on the coast of Maine.  We stayed in this awesome inn and had a great time the first night reminiscing with the family.

The next morning we awoke to the sound of bagpipes.  It was an eerie sound coming from the beach.  Eerie, but beautiful.  Come to find out it was cousin Andy playing the pipes!  It was a unique and wonderful way to start the day.

Being relatively new to the family, I was curious how Andy had chosen the bagpipes out of all of the instruments he could have played.  Come to find out, Bill’s Uncle Joe had insisted that his son take up an instrument.  Bill comes from a musical family: his father played trumpet in a local band, his brother plays drums with local artists and every one of his aunts and uncles played one instrument or another.  Uncle Joe wasn’t about to have his son break the tradition.

Andy wasn’t having any of it.  His father suggested one instrument after another and Andy remained steadfast.  He wasn’t about to play an instrument just because his father wanted him to.  Uncle Joe told Andy he had to play an instrument and that was that!  So one day Andy brought home his bagpipes.  He figured if he was going to forced into playing something then his father was going to suffer the consequences.  There are few things in this world more annoying than hearing the first sounds from a new bagpipe player, especially in a small New York apartment!

In the end, it worked out rather well.  Come to find out, Andy liked the bagpipes and became a proficient player.  He plays every year in the New York City St. Patrick’s Day parade.

One Lovely Blog Award

Huge thanks to Silas at The Diary of One Weird Teen for nominating me.  If you haven’t checked out his blog, please do so.  He’s got a great sense of humor and his posts just make me smile.  Whether he’s hating his old school uniform or trying to make it through a shopping trip with braces falling apart, he makes it funny.  He has also rescued six dogs in addition to his own beloved Noddy.  No wonder I love him!  So go check him out and tell him mainepaperpusher sent ya!

rules-one-lovely-blog-award

  • Thank the person who nominated you and link their blog
  • Add the One Lovely Blog Award to your post
  • Share 7 things about yourself
  • Pass this on to as many people as you like (max 15)
  • Include this set of rules
  • Inform your nominees

 

Seven things about me:

Let me up front here.  I am lazy so rather than write these wonderful wordy descriptions of my facts, I’m going to send you off to posts so you can check out the ones that interest you.  Shameless, I know…

99% of anyone who has ever met me, either in real person, or online, knows how much I love animals.  To prove this fact, I will tell you that I currently have a cat on one shoulder and a Great Dane head on the opposite thigh.  Did I mention that it’s 85F in here?  I love animals!  If you want to know more about my pets, just scroll through the blog, a disproportionate amount of my writing is about them.  This is so well-known that I won’t even count this as a fact.

I’m a vegetarian and have been for over 40 years.  If you want background, here it is:  Zero Pounders

Even though my blog is entitled “Everyone Else Has the Best Titles,” and my given name is Linda, online I am known as mainepaperpusher (no caps, all one word.)  It’s weird, I know, but I think it goes back to my love of e.e.cummings.  He was a big believer in the “no caps” lifestyle.

I’m definitely a night owl.  Actually, if you truly want to know how much of one I am, check out this post:  I’m a Morning Porcupine  I’m up till almost dawn much of the time.  Don’t ask me why.  It just is.  But when I wake up…well, let’s just say it isn’t pretty!

I’m married to Bill, my long-suffering husband.  He’s put up with me for over 30 years I’m and still alive.  All I ask is that you don’t provide him with any weapons.  I even make him use those rounded edged scissors like the elementary kids use.  I figure if he finally realizes that he wants to kill me, a pair of those will only give me a big bruise.  You cant be too careful.  You can learn more about him here:  The Rice Racist and here  I’m Married to a Fruitbat

I love the heat and I’m leery of people who love the cold.  If you want to know how leery, this will tell you:  Murderous Thoughts in Springtime

I love my old Saab convertible named Penny.  If you want to hear a very weird but true car story, go here:  “Pennys” From Heaven

I live in Cornville, Maine and, yes you can laugh.  I still do after more than 30 years.  My dear friend Mohamad Al Karbi asked me to write about it on his blog and if you want to know more about this tiny town, check it out here:  The Town at the End of the Universe  While you are there, be sure to check out his other posts.  He has one of the best blogs out there!

Nominations:

EVERYONE!  Yup, every single last one of you silly people who read my crazy meanderings is invited to share some meanderings of your own!  Feel free to skip it if it’s not up your alley or you just have something better to do.  Actually, if you have something better to do, would you share it with me?  I need a good list of some-things-better to do!

Squirrel!

I like to feed the birds.  Like everything else I do, I enjoyed doing it to the extreme.  I had bird feeders all over the place.  The birds were very happy.  Then the red squirrel arrived.

I think squirrels are absolutely adorable.  Logically, I realize they are nothing more than rats with fuzzy tails.  But I can’t help it, I like squirrels.  I got a kick out of our squirrel’s antics as he hung from feeders and scurried up the lilac.  Bill was less amused than I.

Bill is very practical.  He knew that squirrel was trouble.  I blithely kept feeding the birds and therefore, the squirrel.  Then we heard a noise in the wall.  This wasn’t good.  It meant Bill was right!  It’s never good when Bill is right because it usually means I’m wrong.  It was decided that we had to get rid of the squirrel, MY squirrel.  Ok, I’d become attached, I’ll admit it.  I was sad, but I knew it was the right thing to do.

Our possible plans for squirrel eradication were many.  We could poison him.  NO WAY! We could figure out a way to let the cats or dogs scare him off.  No!  Finally, it was decided that we would trap the little bugger and relocate him.  It had to be done no matter how much I’d miss the little guy.

I acquired a Havahart trap and set it up.  The next morning our little squirrel had been trapped.  Bill prepared to take him elsewhere.  It was the middle of winter and I was worried.  I kept giving Bill “suggestions.”  Take him into town where he’ll have a better chance to find shelter!  Put him near a house that has bird feeders so he’ll have something to eat.  I wasn’t above the treachery of transferring my problem squirrel to some other person with a bird feeder.  It was bad, I admit it, but it was cold and I liked my little squirrel.

Bill returned from his trip to town.  He was jubilant!  Not only did he get rid of the offending squirrel, but he also fulfilled all of my requirements.  He let the squirrel go near the town salt shed which was always open so the squirrel would have shelter.  It was near a few houses and some of them had bird feeders!  I made my peace with the situation till the next day.  There was my squirrel eating and frolicking just as before.  We obviously had another squirrel.  I tried to hide my smirk and I would like to think I succeeded, but I’m not sure.

I set the trap again and sure enough, a second squirrel!  Bill made his trek into town.  He was quite happy to tell me that now the first squirrel would have a family member to keep him company.  This scenario happened seven times.  SEVEN!  I couldn’t believe that we had seven squirrels.  Each time Bill took them to the very same place.  Each time he felt vindicated.

In spite of his justifiable concern that the squirrels were trouble, I like to imagine that there is a large family of squirrels in town who will tell their grandchildren about the very nice lady in the country who generously fed them sunflower seeds.  I also like to imagine that they curse the big meanie who took them from their comfy rural home. Vindication is one thing.  Proving me wrong is quite another!