The Attack of the 80 Foot Gallbladder

pic from National Archives

I was enjoying a lovely breakfast of pancakes and bacon at my local Bob Evans when I realized I wasn’t really hungry.  Leaving half my food on the plate, I left and went about my day.  Errands, errands, ooh ice cream, errands, come home & read a book.  Pretty normal day for me (minus the ice cream).

We had a guest in the house; a guest who was like family, but a guest nonetheless.  I started feeling rather wonky around suppertime.  Wonky as in “If I inhale many more food fumes I will hurl.”  I made dinner for Devoted Spouse and our guest and retired to the bedroom to rest.

I thought a nice tv show might get my mind off my queasy tummy.  Turning on the tv, I landed on the Food Channel and promptly ran to the bathroom to hurl.  By that time I was pretty sure something was amiss.  The guest and Devoted Spouse were still enjoying their dinner, grrr.

A little voice told me, change your clothes…put on clean underwear…brush your teeth and do something with your hair.  I think it’s a girl thing.  A stupid girl thing because by that time I was all sweaty and there was no chance of doing anything with my hair.  sigh

At 10:00 that night, I walked into the kitchen all hunched over and looking a lovely shade of grey (no…not Fifty Shades…) to the horror of our guest and managed to scare the puddin’ outta Devoted Spouse.  I announced, “Hospital, now!”  The guest was concerned, Devoted Spouse was very concerned (and looking for car keys) and I was searching for a knife large enough to cut out Freddie Kruger (who I was sure was living in my belly).  It was not pretty.

Almost six days later I had been in two different hospitals, been sedated for a gnarly test involving tubes down one’s throat into the gallbladder (ack ack) and had a virtual munchkin stranger suck out one of my major organs leaving me with four rather painful holes and something disgusting hanging out of me called a drain.  (oh ack squared) (you may hurl now).

So that’s what I did on MY summer vacation kids. Even if you desperately wish to lose weight (I’m down 20 lbs now) I suggest you not try this.  It’s right up there with abscessed teeth…or maybe being run over by a truck.  Yes, the bills are arriving daily.  We’re over $22,000 at present.  Didja miss me?  sigh…

A One-Week Vacation is Not Enough

pic courtesy of beseenforlife.com

Recently spent a week in one of the lower states…the one where all the tropical beaches are.  We didn’t actually make it as far as the beaches.  We stopped a bit north in the agricultural district and met up with a lovely couple hidden behind a massive metal electronic gate to a Ewing-esque estate  (I wanted to exit the car and ride on the gate for awhile but Devoted Spouse nixed that fun idea.)

People in Florida are very welcoming.  We stayed at the home of a couple we had never even met.  And they had only moved into their house that very morning.  Now THAT’S welcoming!  Everywhere we went, people fed us.  We simply kept showing up and looking pitiful and hungry.  Our time was divided among several couples – some old friends; some new.  Everyone was friendly, fun to be around, and informative too.

For example, I learned:  Spanish Moss is lovely to look at (if you’re a Northerner, you’ve seen that stuff that hangs off the trees in the South in movies such as Gone With the Wind), but you shouldn’t grab onto a hank of it coz it may be infested with chiggers.  Y’all remember those little buggers?  I used to get them when I went fishing at my grandma’s pond coz I had to wade through all the deep grass to get to the pond.  Chiggers liked to be the death of me as a kid.  Itchy.  Nasty.  And now my romantic notion of draping some Spanish Moss across my shoulders on a sultry southern night has been dashed to pieces.  Chiggers.  Wretched things.

What else did I learn?  Down there they have these weird grocery stores with names like Publix and Winn-Dixie.   I was hoping to find a Piggly-Wiggly so I could do my impression from Driving Miss Daisy but no such luck.  The Dunkin Donuts there was a mistake.  We stopped in one morning and bought some donuts with our host and hostess and I had to give my dried jelly donut to Devoted Spouse (he doesn’t care if they’re dried and nasty as long as there’s still jelly to be had) and go grab a choc creme-filled which was a tad better.  Come to think of it…we shouldn’t be eating donuts.  We found some other restaurants that were pretty tasty.

Here’s another tidbit for you – it’s HOT in Florida in August.  Crap on a crutch, it’s hot.  No, wait.  I take that back.  It was actually hotter here in Ohio while we were in Florida than it was in Florida.  What’s THAT all about?  (Shut up Al Gore and go away; this is my blog dangit)  No, no, wait, wait…what was REALLY hot was the jalapeno I devoured my first night there, while I was daintily dipping my spoon into a bowl of Pho (that’s pronounced “Fah”) which is some type of hot soup from VietNam I think.  Like the smartass I am, I had to eat the stupid pepper and the broth was already hot and of course I broke out in the sweat to end all sweat.  Or as the French would say, La Transpiration….sorry, but it sounds so much nicer in French.  Unfortunately, I didn’t glow…I didn’t glisten,  I didn’t even perspire…I oozed sweat out of every pore in my head until I thought my face was just gonna slide onto the dining room table.  Quite embarrassing.  People must have thought I was insane.  (I’m so good at first impressions you know.)  Funny…they actually let us return.  Imagine.

We did some sightseeing — went to Busch Gardens which was fun but again, it was hot, and I was tired and cranky and we had to leave the following day.  Not a great plan to go to Busch Gardens the day before you leave.  Did some shopping.  The lovely home where we stayed is located in one humongous suburb; the kind that makes Huber Heights OH (“America’s Largest Community of Brick Homes”) look like a hamlet.  There were blocks and blocks of houses then blocks and blocks of strip malls then blocks and blocks of houses, etc.  Strangest city I’ve ever visited – no middle of town at all.  Just houses and strip malls until you get to the next town.  The houses were pretty and the strip malls were full of interesting stores, but it was just different….yeah, that’s the word I want; different.

It took 16 hours driving down and 16 hours driving back – so we only spent about 5 days actually playing tourist.  Yes, I know it would have been quicker to fly — let’s not have to explain me and airplanes again, okay?

The bottom line is our week-long vacation was thoroughly enjoyable.  But I’m pooped.  I knew we should have planned for at least two weeks away, preferably  three; one to drive & unwind, one to enjoy, and one to gear up & drive home.  That would have been ideal.  But I couldn’t stay away from EmmaLou, Golden Destroyer that long.

Maybe if we make a return visit I’ll bring EmmaLou, Golden Destroyer with us — I saw some chickens there with her name on them…sigh…

The Travels of Croney Part I…or How I Made it to SC is Anyone’s Guess

 

On a nice sunny Thursday morning, I left my nest for parts unknown to me.  I was on an adventure to meet up with a blogging buddy, Linda from Fat Cat Crochet and I was so excited.  Because of ongoing back issues, I knew I couldn’t drive the whole 8 or 9 hours from Ohio to South Carolina at one time so I split the trip into two days.  I planned on spending the night somewhere around Knoxville TN.

Getting to Knoxville TN is no big deal from here…it’s pretty much a straight shot down I-75.  What I forgot was what a nightmare driving on south I-75 can be.  It’s under construction.  It’s always under construction.  And people drive like maniacs.

About 20 minutes south of here is a local landmark – some of us used to call it Big Butter Jesus – it is…or was… a 62 foot statue of Jesus with his hands outstretched toward heaven.  It sat in front of a rather large church. Can you say “ostentatious” kids?   See pic below:

It was outside a town called Monroe and Devoted Spouse and I used to drive down that way to get to the  Saturday flea market (Trader’s World) which just happens to be located next to the church.  But then the police kept raiding Trader’s World coz they had so much counterfeit merchandise.  You know there’s a problem when the tee shirt you want to buy says Washington Redshins (vs. Redskins) – the big lightbulb in your head goes off and you know this crap just arrived on the last boat from Taiwan somewhere.  But I’m getting off topic.  Back to Big Butter Jesus.

A few days before I left for my trip a massive lightning bolt struck Jesus and he burned to the ground.  Nothing left but his outstretched limbs which I believe were metal with the body part being fiberglass and styrofoam.  Some folks around here thought it was divine justice thinking God was rather torqued about such a garish display.  The rest of us just felt it was one hell of a lightning rod and rather stupid putting a 62 foot piece of metal in a water pond and expecting  it NOT to be struck by lightning.  I tried to take a pic w/my cell phone camera as I drove by but danged near ran out of my lane so I found a video of  Jesus’ lil accident for you:

Apparently the church is going to rebuild Jesus….whatever. 

A bit further down I-75 I discovered more construction and all the Ohio police cars in the world with their radar guns blazing.  Fortunately, I was prepared for this (we’ve had some deadly accidents lately and we have been warned NOT to speed in this construction area) so there I was just putzing along at 55 miles an hour going so slowly I was able to fix a snack, tweet, and repair a button that had come off my shirt all at the same time — no, I’m just kidding.  I was one of the few who weren’t pulled over and ticketed that day – yay me.

I made it through Kentucky relatively unscathed – oh I was getting tired so I stopped at the local Welcome Center and saw car after car full of people who were related and perhaps inter-related if you get my drift.  I took off rather quickly and got back on the Interstate.  Somewhere in northern Tenn. I had a slight altercation with a truck driver who was either on something, stupid beyond belief, or just bored enough to want to be a pain in my a$$.  We started playing the chase game; he would go about 80 or 90 miles an hour downhill and ride my bumper then just before he kissed my butt, he’d pull around me, pass, and pull right in front of me and then slow down.  So I’d speed up, pass him, pull around, and slow down.  We played this dangerous and annoying game for about 10 miles, then this dipwad had the audacity to pass me once again and as I looked up at him he flipped me off.  He flipped ME off.  Gah.  Now I know why I don’t have concealed carry coz I would have shot out his tires – every last one of them.  I gunned my car up to 85 (my poor Kia Sportage may never fully recover) got past him and kept on flying down the road until he was but a speck in my rearview mirror.  Thankfully there were no cops around. 

I finally made it to my lovely Holiday Express outside Knoxville and it only took me 5 and 1/2 hours – I was exhausted.  I walked up to the desk to announce my arrival and was met by a lovely lady who, because I am some type of Preferred Bonus member (I have a laminated card and everything) handed me a little white paper bag with my “treats” for being so special.  I took all my crap and my little white bag to my room (which was very clean and nice) and opened my bag expecting something really good.  There was a miniscule plastic bottle of water (warm), a plastic wrapped half dead cookie, and a small bag of potato chips — nothing on my diet.  I said, screw it, and ate both the bag of chips and the cookie.  You only go round once.

After a much needed hot shower I fell into bed.  The next morning I went downstairs to their wonderful continental breakfast.  I saw nothing continental about it except the fact the bananas weren’t grown in the U.S.  I grabbed some yogurt, coffee and said banana and hit the road again.

Fortunately the next 3 hours passed with no problems and I found my bloggy friend’s house easily.  We had a great time for a long weekend and then it was time to head back up north.

Tune in tomorrow and I’ll tell you why one should never trust their GPS…sigh…

 

I’m Back…Didja Miss Me?

 

I made it to South Carolina in one piece….basically.  Although the trip was hard on my back, it was well worth the effort.  I went to visit my bloggy friend Linda from Fat Cat Crochet at her home on a lake.  I couldn’t believe she invited me down – we’ve known each other through blogs, Twitter and FaceBook for about a year – but that doesn’t mean I’m not a deranged psychotic nutcase just waiting to chop them all up and eat them with a side of fava beans….fortunately she took a chance on me and I was so happy to go visit!  Wow -livin on the lake; that’s the life!  We had a blast!  I even got over my life-long major fear of water (as in don’t even fill the bathtub too full-fear) and got in the lake and had the time of my life.

I had so much fun I snagged one of her guest towels as a souvenir — just kidding; I accidentally grabbed it with some stuff I had in the bathroom and it got packed in my suitcase.  Yes, it’s going thru the laundry and will be mailed to her with my deepest apologies for being such a doofus.

Here’s a pic of me and the “other” Linda my first evening there – they took me for a boat ride to a superb restaurant where I pigged out on jambalaya with the type of shrimp one can only obtain in SC – not the OH icky nasty frozen stuff.  Yum Yum!

And no I did not cut my hair – because of boat ride, heat and humidity, hair stayed in ponytail.   I discovered that South Carolina in June and long hair are not a good match.

Okay now for the water thing — I’ll show you a picture of me floating in the lake – it’s not pretty but I’m still proud of me for doing it. So no snarky comments about the old broad in the bathing suit or I’ll sic EmmaLou on ya.

That’s Linda’s hubby out there with me supervising the crazy broad who’s afraid of water.  snort.  Later we switched places and I got the chair with the neckrest on it – they about never got me outta there. 

Okay enough of this.  Stick around – next post I’ll let you know some of the shenanigans that happened while I was on the road.  I always get the interesting hotels….sigh…

This Ain’t No Bull

big bull

Devoted Spouse and I have been looking for a quick getaway – just a couple of days of rest, relaxation and maybe looking at some local sights within a few hours of home.  Since my disastrous driving (1,000 road  miles) trip recently, I don’t want to be in a car for more than 3 or 4 hours so that severely limits where we can go.  Plus I’m hampered by a physical therapy schedule and, of course, school starts on the 24th of August.  So if we’re to get out of Dodge for a day or three, we need to find something somewhat local.

On our coffee table in the family room sits a small book entitled, “Ohio Road Trips by Neil Zurcher” and it documents day trips and some a bit longer all over the state of Ohio and tells you the hot spots and fun things to do.  There are parks, museums, animal features, strange and odd things such as haunted places, and, naturally, tons of historical goodies.

I started perusing the book and found quite a few places north of us in Amish country that we could easily travel to and back with no problems, providing we could find a place to stay this last minute – Amish country is so full of tourists at this time of year this may turn into simply a day trip.

What truly caught my eye was the number of Ohio festivals mainly during the spring, summer and fall of the year.  One in particular jumped off the page — it takes place in a town in northwest Ohio called Tiro.  It’s named The Tiro Testicle Festival.  Yes, I said the Tiro Testical Festival.

Apparently this is not a large town – just a wide spot on the road with a few businesses but every April thousands of folks come here to join in this festival celebrating bull’s testicles.  Yes, that part of a bull some may know as “mountain oysters” or “prairie oysters” and are touted as a yummy delicacy.  The book tells the story that the owner of the local tavern was given a “box of the delicacies” back in the 1990s.  He fried them up and served them to his customers (I certainly hope he gave them fair warning of what they were about to consume.)  It seemed to be a rousing success and has now turned into an annual event.  Every April almost a half-ton of bull gonads are now cooked and served to the crowds.  This festival doesn’t have a parade (hell, the poor bulls would just limp anyway), nor do they crown a queen (who wants to put on their resume someday the fact they held the Testicle Queen title in 2005?).  So, there isn’t much to do at this festival.  To quote from the book, “We drink beer and eat testicles.”  That’s it.

I have nothing further to add.  I think the above pretty much speaks for itself.  All I can think is darnitall, it’s not April.

How Can I Need a Vacation When I Just Had a Vacation??

Stress-ZebraStripes

An actress made a rather astute observation about her life.  I feel as if she took the words right out of my mouth.   She said, “A Buddhist friend told me that if you’re feeling stressed, get rid of the stuff you don’t need and finish the things you’ve started.  So I finished the ice cream and the vodka in the freezer and I’m feeling lots less stress.”

How can one person be stressed when she’s on vacation supposedly having a relaxing time and yet when she returns home several days later she’s more of a nutcase than when she left?  The nutcase in question would be me.  You see, we did go on vacation.  We went away for a few days out to the country to a lovely cottage (if only it were mine).  From the pic below you can see it’s surrounded by forest and it’s all by itself – nice and private, big and chocked full of luxury.

PICT0022

So what was the problem?  The very first evening we arrived, I hurt my foot – hurt it to the extent I couldn’t walk, just hobble.  Oh, we enjoyed a fire in the amazing back fire pit and we roasted marshmallows and drank cold Rolling Rock beer.  But my foot hurt.  Dammit.  This is vacation.

Devoted Spouse enjoying great outdoors

Devoted Spouse enjoying great outdoors

I tolerated the foot injury, knowing full well it was my own fault.  I put it out of my mind (and put it on an ice pack), watched Devoted Spouse grill some Omaha Steaks, and determined to enjoy the peace and quiet of this woodsy vacation.  Dinner was good – there was some excellent Pinot Noir wine involved which also helped quiet the pain in the foot.  Ahhhhh.

Towards bed time I hobbled into the dressing area to make myself ready for bed.  As I was removing my tee shirt I noticed something – something which freaked me out twenty thousand times more than the injured foot; in fact, I forgot all about the fact my foot hurt.  There at my collarbone was a TICK.  Oh sweet merciful heavens, there was a TICK and thankfully he was still crawling around on me; he hadn’t dug his little Lyme Disease infested head into my body at that point.  I picked him off, threw him in the sink and stood there watching him try and crawl back toward my flesh.  I grabbed some toilet paper, picked him up, flushed him down the toilet and then just for good measure, flushed the toilet enough to make the water meter spin so fast and hard it would change the axis of the earth.  That sucker was gone!  Fun vacation so far…

Thankfully, the next day instead of wearing flip flops (which caused the problem) I suited up in my best arch support running shoes and we were off for a day of shopping antique stores and photo opportunities.  Now, you don’t know this about me, but I have a thing for old barns. Yeah, strange, huh?  I like barns that look like they’re about to fall down and if there are barnyard animals included, well, all the better.  Devoted Spouse helped me locate my favorite barn which I had taken a shot of last fall when the colors were rich reds and orange.  Now everything was green and I wanted another shot.

PICT0024

Of course I found some of my favorite types, too, some even equipped with a cow!

PICT0016

this is actually on concrete and terra cotta stilts!

this is actually on concrete and terra cotta stilts!

PICT0028

PICT0009

So the pictures combined with some excellent finds at an antique shop more than made up for the hurt foot.  The quiet romantic time spent with Devoted Spouse helped, too.  Why am I still stressed?

Well, here I sit Thursday morning  with an icepack on my back, one on my hip, and one wrapped around my foot — I have a mammogram scheduled at 10:00 (ouch) this morning.   It’s now about 7:30 a.m. and I haven’t finished this blog, let alone gotten showered and dressed – and the installer for the new range/oven should be arriving between 9:00 and noon.  I’m hoping I’m at the doctor’s getting my boobs smashed to smithereens while the installer is here at the house with Devoted Spouse and that when I come back home, hopefully with bruised boobs intact, there will be a lovely new range/oven installed in my kitchen with no collateral damage and Devoted Spouse standing there with a smile on his face.

Good Lawd I need another vacation.  Or maybe we just need to move to the country.  I actually found a house I think we could afford:

okay so it needs a little work...

okay so it needs a little work...

stressreduction

I’m Goin’ to Disney World

its-a-small-world

The other day I was feeling so poorly I remarked to Devoted Spouse, “When I get better can we take a trip?”  He agreed (he probably thought I’d like to go fishing or to one of the Indiana casinos).  I hollered out, “Yay, we’re goin’ to Disney World!”  He looked at me with the look that says, “oh yeah, she’s been hitting the meds hard.”

For some reason, I just want to go to Disney World.  I’m not a big fan of Mickey Mouse and the rest of the Disney outfit, but I have fond memories of going to Disney World many years ago.  How many?  Well, the park wasn’t quite finished; that’s how long ago it was!  I do remember having a heckuva good time on various rides and being impressed with all the latest technology they used.  Just imagine how much better (and expensive) it’s gotten in all these years.

The only downside to my last visit was a ride called It’s a Small World.  I’m sure ya’ll know the one I’m talking about.  You get in a boat and ride through this collection of a hundred gazillion dolls and they’re all singing this gawdawful song It’s a Small World over and over and over.  The day my girlfriend and I were there, we got about halfway through the ride and something went wrong.  The boats stopped but the dolls wouldn’t shut up.  We sat there stranded for about a half hour until I wanted to just get in the water, wade over to the nearest doll and rip her little head off — anything to get them to stop singing that  song!

My friend Paula is a Disney freak – and I mean that in a nice way!  She and her husband are life-long fans of Disney and go there often.  I think they would both like to work in the park some day.  I’m thinking she can give me lots of good information on things to do in that area, the best times to go, and what attractions to see.

I’m skipping the dolls, though.