Monday, September 5, 2011

Week 36 - Black Hills Bound

What a super busy week! I feel like I say that all the time but this week really took the cake. I had a pretty typical Monday of work with knitting afterwards but that was the end of typical for the week.

I had taken Tuesday morning off so I could go to a season extension seminar at a local community farm. While I hoped to learn something, it was more about finishing my annual master gardeners CE’s. I met Lorri and Barb (another Saunders County MG) there and slogged around in mud learning all about hot houses, cold frames and row covers. It was pleasant and my old friend Kristi’s mom was there so we caught up and I finally met a local fiber artist, Rhonda McClure, who lives near Wahoo, keeps sheep and spins, dyes and sells yarn. All in all, it was a nice morning. The three of us went to lunch and then I headed to work, where I just had time to change into work clothes before teaching my ever gripping Online Reconciliation class all afternoon. By the time it was done, I was toasty fried. But I forced myself to swim and then headed home to prep for the cleaning lady and meet my contractor, who was coming to discuss his end of having a whole house fan installed, something I’m considering as my next project. I fell into bed exhausted.

Wednesday morning started with taking Big White Kitty to her new home. A woman across town (which, keep in mind, is only a mile in Wahoo) who I recognized as a one-time waitress at The Wigwam CafĂ© (Wahoo’s only non-ethnic, non-fast food restaurant), wanted her and the only time we could find that worked was 7:15 a.m. The woman had 4 rescue dogs and 2 rescue cats so BWK was a perfect addition. Despite wafts of animal smells, it was clear she would take good care of BWK so I headed to work feeling good about that and hoping I’d get calls on homes for the kittens soon. It was another busy day at work because I was teaching again that afternoon – a full class for Summary Financial Reporting. I know! Such an exciting topic! But the day flew by again.

I had started the day stripping everything soft I could find – afghans, throw rugs, etc. – and putting the first of many loads of laundry in. I’d left a note for the cleaning lady to vacuum everything to death, hoping to nip my flea problem in the bud. Yes, my cats had fleas. I had found some on BWK first, which was my fault because I hadn’t Frontlined her when she started letting herself out the whole in the screen. And when I found them on her, I checked the other cats and they had them too. Now I can’t be sure that I hadn’t missed a month of Frontline but didn’t think I had. Regardless, I was now on a mission. I went to PetSmart after work for pills that you give the cat and all the fleas die almost immediately. Getting enough for all of them cost $70+ but I called it a godsend and went home to dose the cats. It was a blazing hot night so I threw them out for the night and started with the laundry. I also stripped my bed down to the bare mattress and vacuumed every quilted stitch and surface I could reach. By the time the night was done, all the laundry was done and hanging on the line and I was feeling good about my progress. I could only hope the pills were working and the cats were shedding dead fleas all night while I slept.

Thursday was the first day of the month so that meant deans’ reports. Needless to say, the day was gone in a flash and then it was the pool and home to finish cooking. Lorri had picked me up some cannellini beans, which I needed to finish my red sauce. I put that pot back on to simmer, stripped the meat from the bones, added the beans and divvied it into single serving Tupperware to freeze. I also made up three casseroles for Kate and started banana bread. But my dead bananas were too dead so I had to take frozen bananas from the frig and make the bread before work on Friday.

So I started the day baking – 4 loaves for me, work, Kate and to take to Connie’s – and then did my second day of monthly reports. The work week was over in the blink of an eye and I was pretty tired with the only rest ahead the 9 hour drive to Connie’s the next day. But before that, I went food shopping and then to Kate’s (my friend from water aerobics who was just out of the hospital from a hip replacement.) I had arranged to drop off the food I’d made and some I’d picked up for her at the grocery store after work. When I walked in and saw her sink full of dirty dishes, I did those and then made her some jello and pudding, which was not instant and took forever to boil. The I sat with her for a bit and helped her with a knitting question. It was wonderful to see how good she looked with the grimace of pain that I’d seen for the past year gone. She was all smiles and like her old self. But with all the chores and chatting, I didn’t leave her house until after 8:00. I was leaving for South Dakota in less than 12 hours and hadn’t done laundry or packed yet. Sheesh!

I threw laundry in when I got home, called the electrician (who had installed my garage fixtures that day) and went to bed exhausted, figuring I’d be up at 6:00 and could pack then. I set my alarm and got busy Saturday morning, watering plants, packing and getting the cats ready. Since the front that was hovering just north of Wahoo was going to break the heat and humidity, I had opened the windows before I left. I had warned Lorri, who was feeding the cats, that I was leaving the house a wreck so walked out just after 8:00 and headed north.

It was so pea soup muggy that I had had to shower again before getting dressed so the AC in the car felt wonderful. But I had to drive through the front, which meant rain, fog and mist for the first 2 hours. Other than being pulled over for speeding in downtown Columbus, Nebraska (my third warning this month!), the ride was uneventful. I had hoped to wade in Long Pine Creek but the sun was only just coming out when I got there and it was too cold to think of wading so I just ate my leftover frozen pizza in the car and kept driving. I got to Connie’s just after 5:00 (having gained an hour when I hit mountain time) so I was right on schedule. It was great to hug her and we had tea and chatted for hours. Gordy came home with dinner and I got to know him over yummy chicken. I love him! Hanging with him is completely comfortable and we hit it off. We ended the night sitting by a fire in the backyard. What a great end to a nice day.

Gordy had plans to fish with his son on Sunday morning so Connie and I headed west after breakfast to Devil’s Tower in Wyoming. I’d heard about this place for years and was excited to see it. It did not disappoint. Words like majestic and awesome (and the true meaning of that word rather than the overused current use that can apply to a hot dog or pretty blouse) don’t’ do it justice. We walked around the base a bit, took lots of pictures and then headed back. We were picking Gordy up at Lake Pactola and then going to Mt. Rushmore. The ride to the lake was gorgeous, winding through mountain roads with beautiful scenery all around. There was also a stop at The Chubby Chipmunk for the best truffles I’ve ever tasted (and I’ve tasted a few, let me tell you.) We found Gordy and started towards Rushmore. I was underwhelmed. Compared to Devil’s Tower, Rushmore seemed small, contrived and just a bit goofy. Oh well. Cross that off my list. Done!

As the day had progressed, Connie was like an ad for bladder problem drugs. She was stopping at every bathroom we passed. Despite not having drunk much, she was having to pee with more and more frequency. By the time we got to Rushmore, she couldn’t go 10 minutes without a bathroom and it had started hurting. We had planned to go to Sylvan Lake and take the scenic route back but instead we hopped on the interstate and headed to the hospital in Spearfish. By the time we got there, she was doubled over in pain and spent the entire 2 hours we waited in the bathroom. Luckily I had brought my knitting so I sat in the lobby and knitted for the 2.5 hours we were there. She did indeed have a UTI but they dosed her up and by the time Gordy and I got back from a Wally World run (for pro-biotics and cranberry juice for Connie and sweats and a lighted alarm clock for me (I must be able to see the time when I wake up in the wee hours or I’ll spend hours awake wondering what time it is. Just call me goofy!)), she was already looking better. Gordy made us omlettes for dinner (it was 9:00 but we were all starving, not having eaten since the afternoon) and we went to bed early. It was a fun day for me - not so much for Connie – but she was on the mend and hopefully would be better in the morning.

See? Busy week like I said.

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