Wednesday, June 24, 2009

WHINE, WHINE, WHINE!

Sorry I haven’t written lately. And, no, I haven’t had a bout of swine flu, nor have I been enjoying a sweaty interlude of moral turpitude in Argentina with anyone. I haven’t even been temporarily decommissioned by galloping ennui. Nope, the prosaic truth is too much work and not enough time or energy. Yeah, I know…waah, waah, waah! Everyone has that excuse. Can’t you at least whine about something exciting? Well, I would if I could—but I’ve just been busy. You’ll notice I didn’t say I’ve been accomplishing much; if I can’t be heroic or manly or lazy, I’ll at least be truthful. On the face of it, the impetus behind all this expended energy and shortfall of time is simply a planned cookout tomorrow for family members arriving overnight from South Carolina. No big deal. Except… Sunday was Father’s Day and I spent half the day doing various yard chores and the other half at my daughter’s for a meal and visit. It was dark when I made it back home. Monday I decided—given the state of the world and the increasing need to identify one’s self, citizenship, and attitude toward God, country and apple pie—to go downtown and apply for a replacement Social Security card. My original card was stolen when my Volvo was broken into in 1980. (Yes, I kept my wallet which contained my Social Security card, Driver’s License, etc.—but no cash—in the car’s glovebox. Yes, I do know this was stupid.) To save myself time, I downloaded the proper form from the Government office and filled it out. A couple of additional documents were also required. They could either be mailed in (two weeks turnaround) or delivered in person at a local Social Security office. To apply for a replacement Social Security card, one must show they were born. (Presumably, those who were hatched, conjured, or animated via test tubes and jolts of electric current, are precluded from card ownership—although, an hour spent pushing your way through any sidewalk crowd will convince you the majority of these cardless, happy souls are thriving among us, nevertheless.) Proof of one’s birth essentially comes down to waving a certified copy of your birth certificate in front of the proper authority’s nose. I have several certified copies of my birth certificate; it was locating them that proved the rub and required half the morning and a climb into the attic. The second required document is a valid Driver’s License or other Government-issued photo I.D. (Your birth certificate proves you are born, it doesn’t prove you are you.) Fine, I understood that—but I wasn’t about to mail off my Driver’s License to the Government and pray I got it back in two weeks. I'm dumb, but I ain't plumb dumb. So that item also had to be waved in front of the authorized eye as well. Hence the downtown trip. A bit after noon, necessary documents in hand, I called the local Social Security office—just to make sure I had everything. “You do,” the nice lady on the phone said, “but the office is pretty crowded right now—you might want to wait and come down in the morning.” I confess—it didn’t take another word to talk me out of the trip. Downtown in mid-afternoon on a day when temperatures were again pushing ninety wasn’t my idea of a good time. I decided I'd rather try my luck this Friday. The attic hatch was still open, so I figured I’d rearrange my work room, which included moving several hundred books in boxes into the attic, along with returning the cartons of files and papers I’d pawed through looking for my birth certificates. I then decided I’d clean some things out and make that an additional few cartons of new files and papers. All of this required rearranging the attic to make space to accommodate the storage. Attics are hot when it’s ninety degrees out. Boxes of books and papers are heavy, especially when they must be carried up a stepladder. I quit about dark, showered, and hobbled to the front porch rocker. There I watched bats swoop over the Cottage Pool, sipped an iced coffee…then later hobbled off to bed. That brings us to Tuesday, which was grocery gathering day. Two stores, four hours. Then the unpacking and putting away. After that more cartons up the stepladder and into the attic. In the late afternoon, I mowed the grass. Afterwards, my second shower of the day, a hobble to the front room for supper and a bit of TV, followed by a hobble off to bed. This morning I had to make up a batch of my barbecue sauce, write two articles, do wash. I still have dishes from the sauce making and lunch, the rest of the laundry, supper, house cleaning…and the usual bedtime hobble, which I predict will occur about midnight. See—not much accomplished, though a lot of energy expelled and time wasted. And given the circumstances of my week so far, this is the best posting I can manage. Whine, whine, whine…! (I did take a nice sunset shot a few minutes ago, however.)

34 comments:

KGMom said...

First, I want to say--lovely lovely sunset photo. I am very partial to sunset photos.

On the whining--whine on. Gotta say, your replacement SS card story resonated. I too had a wallet stolen (in a train station in Madrid, when a gypsy woman lifted it!) and I had my SS card in the wallet. Recounted here.

So I trundled to our local gov. office, and got a replacement. The extra wrinkle for me was my card was in my "maiden" name (I hate that term), and now I have a married name (a condition we women go through...)--so I had to prove that I was born, and married.
Sigh.

I did it, and got a new card.
Enjoy your family gathering.

Teri and the cats of Furrydance said...

Wow, sounds a lot like my week! A fun read and I felt tired after reading it, too!

Sydney said...

Oh I beg to differ. This list sounds quite productive... especially the lugging of all those books since the attic was open anyway, and doing some sorting of the boxes you'd looked through (or boxes that were near), which you could have easily not done, especially on such a hot day.

I liked hearing about it, and now want to know what articles you wrote. Are you a professional writer? A writer on the side? Do tell.

I've been gone from writing much as well, though I always post on my animal blog -- they have been under researched and hastily written though. I am looking forward to summer where I can write with better quality.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

KGMom…

Re. the sunset photo…I'm a sucker for them, too. Just up the road from the cottage, there's this lone fenceline with a little hump along the west edge where a lot of nice maples and hickories used to grow. I guess they're going to build something major there on this patch of land this fall. Anyway, they came along and girdled all the trees last year—hence the lack of leaves and most of their smaller branches.

Usually I don't even like to look that way when I pass. I hated to see them kill the trees that way, then leave them standing dead and ugly, so they can just push them over and bury 'em afterwards with the heavy equipment. It seems such a waste.

But I had to go get gas for the pickup, and had my camera with me. The trees are on the way to the gas station. I got to looking at the sunset, and happened to see how pretty it was behind these murdered trees.

I guess this will be their last portrait; I'm glad it was a nice one.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Teri…

More fun writing than living, I assure you. But not an unusual week around here sometimes. Sometimes they just start off a mess and keep going downhill…

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Sydney…

Well, you're right in that I probably wouldn't have moved the books and stuff into the attic at this time if I hadn't been up there already, had the ladder in place, and a half-day already wasted. But it probably wasn't the BEST time.

And I haven't truly accomplished much work for the week. Really.

I wrote a column on July and another on nature and gardening (heirloom tomatoes, in part.) I am a writer by trade—angling, nature, outdoor adventure, travel, folklore; fiction. No big deal. I'm congenitally useless for meaningful employment.

I've been trying to keep up with your animal posts…and have enjoyed the ones I read.

Rowan said...

That sunset shot was worth waiting for Scribe, it's absolutely beautiful. Sounds to me as though you have every reason to whine, all the jobs you mention are the kind that take a couple of seconds to write down but a long time to actually do - and in those temperatures? I think you've earned a long cold drink and an afternoon just sitting in that rocker watching the river - with maybe a camera close at hand:)

Bernie said...

Beautiful sunset picture! You have a keen sense of humor and it came pouring out of you in this post.
I'm still smiling. Sounds like you had a productive week so far...why are you hobbling? Enjoy your company my friend, and have a great weekend....:-) Bernie

Wanda said...

After a full night of restful sleep...following you this morning on your quest to replace your card and the resulting exhausting chores you did in and around your smothering attic...has left me feeling as if I need to hobble back to my kitchen for a second cup of morning coffee...

Your writing really draws one in
for the experience along with you!

The Weaver of Grass said...

Scribe - it has made me tired just reading this! But I bet you feel really good that you have reorganised large parts of your life (well you will feel good when you have washed up those dishes!)

Jayne said...

Oh my... I was feeling your discomfort up there in the attic with it being 90 degrees. Bleh. Glad you found proof of your birth and I'll pray for no line at the SS office on Friday. Enjoy your company!

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Rowan…

Well, you certainly understand about the writing being quicker than the doing. Not to mention easier.

Luckily, the attic is fairly well vented. The temperature probably wasn't more than 10 degrees higher up there. But my writing room still looks like a tornado swept through—and there's no hope of getting it cleaned up before the company arrives and the day begins. So my good intentions have backfired.

I'm glad the sunset shot came out…and silly as it sounds, glad for the sake of those doomed trees.

Re. rocking chair—maybe tomorrow after the SS office.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Bernie…

Well, I'm hobbling because the boxes I have my books packed away in—most of 'em, anyway—are too big. Which, when full, means too heavy, say in the 75—100 pound range. But you can't stack book boxes unless they're solidly full.

Lugging them down the hall from the study is bad enough, but heaving them one step at a time up the ladder—and then into the attic, is the spine killer. A few hours of that and I'm near crippled because of a variety of old injuries; and the morning after such a day, I have to stagger, hobble, lurch, and whine to high heaven for several hours until things loosen up and I can walk without too much pain.

Abusing your body for decades does not come without a price. I've been thrown off bulls and horses, fallen off everything from cliffs to rooftops and out of trees, played football, wrecked motorcycles and bicycles.

A few years ago I stepped out of my mother's house one January morning to get the paper. The front porch and steps were covered in clear ice and I wasn't paying attention. I slipped at the edge of the steps. My feet literally went higher than my head. I fell out and down, missing all the concrete steps, but landing flat of my back on the sidewalk six feet below. The impact was so hard that it knocked my breath out in a way that has never happened before and for perhaps two minutes I lay there, unable to move, unable to will my lungs and diaphragm muscles to work and allow me to breathe. I thought for sure I was just going to suffocate, to die flat of my back on the sidewalk on a bright winter morning with a foot of snow on the ground and the temperature at maybe 10 below. A stupid, ignominious death—embarrassing after all I've done, all the risks I've taken and gotten away with.

Finally, air seemed to sort of trickle into my chest—enough to keep me from losing consciousness. After a while I could actually breathe. After a greater while, I tried rolling onto my side, then crawled to the steps and managed to sort of slither upright. Somewhat later, I hobbled out to to the front gate and mailbox for the paper (a point of honor) and retrieved one of my shoes from under the pickup parked beyond the gate; the shoe had come off my foot as I slipped, and apparently zoomed 40 feet along the ice-covered sidewalk, slipped under the gate, and lodged under the truck beyond.

Later that morning I had my future son-in-law take me to a doctor who sent me on to an x-ray facility, where I spent the day having one x-ray after another taken. Neither I, nor apparently the doctors, could believe I hadn't broken anything. But the doctors were quite impressed with my old injuries—some dating back years. Several of them told me there was no good medical reason why I ought to be upright and walking, given all the chips, healed fractures, etc. already suffered to my spine, hips, and so on. I told them I just didn't have a choice—either proceed with life, in pain or not, or dig a hole and crawl in.

My daughter and future SIL had to go back to college in Florida. It took me several days of staying at a friend's house to survive that incident. I couldn't get myself out of bed without help, or get dressed, or tie my shoes. And frankly, I've never been able to overcome entirely the effects of that injury.

So that's why I occasionally hobble…and I'm sure that's way more information than you wanted to hear. Sorry.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Wanda…

Glad you enjoyed the piece. I figure if you can't laugh and make fun of yourself, you don't have the right to laugh and make fun of others. And life is just too funny and fun to not laugh and tease.

Now, speaking of hobbling off for coffee…

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Weaver…

Well, I'll feel good when I've cleaned up all the mess from my reorganizing attempt. It looks worse now than before.

Actually, and I know this sounds goofy, I don't mind washing dishes. I like the fact that I know how clean they are, and that things look so much better when the sink is cleared, the counter wiped and dried, and everything is neat again. Makes me feel efficient and at home.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Jayne…

Thank you for your sympathetic discomfort—and prayer support. I'd invite you to share the meal, too, if you weren't so far off. In fact, I'd invite every reader of this blog because I always appreciate all the kind words I receive in these comments.

I think I got lucky on finding the birth certificates. They were actually in the top of the first box I opened. It could easily have gone the other way, though, and I'd be making a trip down to Vital Records, spending $25 or whatever it is they now charge, before my Social Security office trip. That would have made for a peachy day…

Richard said...

You sure got a lot more done then I did and I'm not complaining.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Richard…

I like a good whine now and then. I'm an excellent whiner, too, adapt and creative, capable of working my whine into all manner of conversation. It's sort of an emotional laxative. I even whine to Moon the dog.

Then my daughter usually calls and says, "You wanna a little cheese, maybe some crackers, with that whine, Dad?"

At which point I chuckle, look around at all I have, including the fact that I can still look around at anything, and put my whine away for another day. Besides, you can't whine all the time and be effective; people just expect it and make allowances. A true whiner wants his whining to be heard, not overlooked.

So I'll quit whining for now and come back to it when I have new whine-worthy material.

Wanda said...

Me again...your comments to everyone are just as interesting as your posts...especially the one to my dear friend Bernie...you certainly do have reasons from all those injuries to hobble a little...I spent last spring recuperating from a 8 ft. fall around Christmas...broke my ankle in 3 places...that was enough for me...being veeerrryyy careful since...Take care.

Gail said...

Hi Grizz-

Days like you describes that zap energy are hard to manage, huh? You came through okay, I think. :-)

I LOVE the sunset photo.

2 questions:

1- When are you going to visit me at my blog?

2 What do I have to do to get listed on your blog?

Love to you
Gail
peace and wonder

Gail said...

Hi again-

I guess "the ask and ye shall receive" is true!! :-)

thanks Grizz-

love you
Gail

The Solitary Walker said...

Your daughter was quite right - trade that whine for some wine, and chill out... please! You're making me feel quite exhausted.

Catching up on your posts... Fabulous as always... Haven't been commenting so much of late as I've had so little time to fit everything in... Working at the moment (temporarily I hope) 12 hours a day, 6 days a week... Now that's a whine, for sure...

Your whine riff was (almost) worthy of Montaigne.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Wanda…

I have as much fun answering comments most of the time, as I do posting—although I enjoy both. I'm never quite comfortable about writing much of the personal stuff, however. Not because I care to hold back or be secretive; I'm pretty much a know me, know my secrets kind of guy. Nothing to hid worth hiding…so I don't bother.

But when it comes to talking about my writing—not the process, but the business—I feel like it's bragging. I don't blog to brag, or impress even myself with prose and pix. I know how good I am…and how good I'm not, if that makes sense. It's just something I've done/do. The sales were always secondary.

In a way, I feel much the same about health issues. I want to be truthful and courteous and open with folks; but as much as I'm poking fun at myself and whining…it's really not to play on anyone's sympathy. I've been beat up and banged up and laid up, on and off, all my life. It's my personal status quo. But on the whole, life has been so very, very good to me. I've been blessed beyond measure. The glass has always been way more than half full…and I've always received way more than I deserved.

I know you must have has a bad time of it around the Holidays with that serious ankle break. I'm glad you're okay.

Falls are dangerous and painful…and sometimes worse. I have a hard time making myself slow down, or watch more carefully. There's a part of me that's always ignored danger and capability and pain, and now age…not to mention the effects of certain medications and/or medical issues. I'm trying to learn and accept, but I'm still working on it. In the meantime, I'll write about it and whine now and then…but please don't take me any more seriously than I take myself.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Gail…

Yup, made it through today fine—so far. Just wanted to take a few minutes and answer comments.

Now, to answer your questions…

1. I'll try and catch up on your posts tomorrow or Saturday (I may end up being out of the house all day tomorrow with SS office vist, and several errands which are 35 miles north of here and 25 miles south of here, respectively; a lot of running around, in other words. But fear not, I'll visit. (I think you've only done one posting since my last visit, however, so I've not been too bad.)

2. You are listed on my "Blogs I Read & Enjoy" and have been since before the two-part format change. There you are, in lovely orange all capitals print: KNOW YOUR "IT'S" I added you and several others I'd somehow overlooked at the same time. Should have done so sooner, for sure. But you're there, and have been for a little while, and are entitled to a free swat should I ever appear and hover long enough in range.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Gail…

Nope. You don't get out of it THAT easy. You just missed your listing (Ha!) and wrote before you looked. It was already there, honest.

Oh, and that free swat…

Well, never mind. I was too slow. But I did it before you asked. (Ha, again!)

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Solitary…

I kinda figured you were caught up in life for a while. I missed you, and missed those wonderful posts on your blog, but you've done a bang-up job with your walk from your childhood home.

Visit/comment as you can. You're always welcome. (And I take the near-Montaigne comparison as high praise!)

Yes, my daughter is usually right about much of what she says to me. Although…she can pull off a world-class whine herself when the mood and moment arises. The apple doesn't fall all that far from the tree in many such regards.

Bernie said...

Oh Griz, I was teasing and you were seriously hurt. I'm sorry my friend and hope that lifting all those heavy boxes hasn't left you too stiff and sore now. You did more work than 10 people and you can hobble all you want.....:-)
Take care, Bernie

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Bernie…

Please tease all you want; I surely will.

I'm NOT seriously hurt re. the hobbling…well, I mean my back hurts, but it always hurts after I lift a lot of heavy stuff, or sit too long, or do a lot of things. A hurting back is more or less normal, as is hobbling and gimping and grunting and groaning and tottering along early and late in the day when I'm either stiff from not yet having moved around much, or stiff from having moved around a lot during the day.

You said nothing wrong; I took no offense. I want you and everyone else to always feel free to tease and poke fun and say anything you want here. I laugh and poke fun at myself all the time. Life is too short and silly to take it seriously.

And I didn't even come close to doing more work than ten people…or even one half-good laborer. Just to set the record straight.

Gail said...

Hi Grizz-

Oh gosh - I did see that you have my blog listed AFTER I asked you "what I had to do to get noted"? oops!!
SO that free swat is from you to me, for sure. :-)

Hope all goes well at the SS office - hmmmmmmmmm.

Love to you

Gail
peace.....

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Gail…

Sorry to be slow in getting this posted. I've literally been on the road and running around—with two stops by the cottage in-between, neither lasting more than 15 minutes…just long enough for me to take Moon the dog out—since just before 7:00 a.m. until almost 7:30 p.m.

We'll figure out who sways who when the time comes. And SS office will require another visit.

Take care…

Mad Aunt Bernard said...

The sunset shot is beautifully peaceful, sort of a reward for your stresses? And, if you can't whine amongst friends then what's the world coming to?
Good to have you back!

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Mad Aunt B…

Indeed! Friends are friends precisely because you can whine and wail and cower and pitch fits in front of them and they don't run immediately for the door…including blogland's figurative doors.

If your friends can't see you as a fool and embarrassment and still manage to appreciate or at least out up with you, who will?

And I'm glad to be back and glad you liked the sunset shot. Though tomorrow is shaping up as another long, long day.

giggles said...

I'm glad to know that you are human......!

Went on a birding hike on Saturday with the kiddies and a guide.... Indigo bunting!!! A first for me.... Apparently they are fairly common....guess I've not been paying attention for long, long time......

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Giggles…

I am human—often a rather sorry example—but decidedly human.

Indigo buntings are pretty common here, too…and always uncommonly pretty. But they are small and you must look for them in the right place, so give yourself a break—there are a lot of birds I've "discovered" over the years that were there all along, common as could be, and I just didn't know how or where or when to look for them.

See…that makes you human, too. :-)