new year, new you

So I read about this via MG Ellington and thought I’d give it a whirl:

The New Year, New You Project is an experiment in Magical Radical Transformation. Please see here for how to participate!”

Here is what you’ll do. You’ll write prompts. You’ll explore. You’ll fall down. Sometimes you’ll lay there awhile, finding things under rocks that you never wanted to know. They’ll pull you back, using yarn, glue, cajoling and stern words. You’ll keep sewing yourself into who you’ll want to be and you’ll tell them, sometimes too much, because that’s your way and what’s needed. You’ll find how far you can really fly when you’ve made wings to carry you and be breathless from your accomplishments. Besides your words, you’ll give something made from your hands.

I don’t do ‘resolutions’ as a rule – I think they’re just a system for setting yourself up to fail. But this looks like a good project, and there’s no better time like the present.

I like this part:

You can’t start putting all this awesome new crap into your life and body until you get rid of the old crap. Old crap here is defined as many things such as relationships that are no longer working, old crutches, clutter of the mind and of the house.

and

Just because someone hands you a big rock doesn’t mean you have to carry it. We all have baggage to deal with (such as forgiveness issues and toxicity). What’s weighing you down? Light a candle to your deity(ies) of choice and really do some journaling about it. Explore the issue(s) with a very close friend. Do your best to let go of it, even if you do need to sometimes need to occasionally revisit it.

therapy on monday

Days like today, I really dislike Lextran. The thing is, I have to take two buses to get to CKBH for my therapy sessions. That’s usually no big deal. But the second bus runs only every hour (then every 70 minutes, 80 minutes; it gets kinda ridiculous). So to get to my 1pm appointment today, I had to be on the bus at 11:30am so I could be dropped off at Palomar at 12:30pm.Too, we’ve been under flood advisories and watches since yesterday. It’s been miserable wet out there. I was happy walking to the bus, though. Even though the creeks are flooded, I counted at least twenty ducks down there, some in the water braving the rapids. (Which brings to mind something I was told when I was about thirteen: Beware a duck in a raincoat. Duly noted!)

I got to Palomar in one piece and walked over to the clinic. I was early, for a change, so I got to dawdle in the rain and then take my time signing in and stuff. My blood pressure is still up, but that’s no surprise; the good news is that I’ve not gained any weight since the end of October (doing off that Elavil has been a good thing!). I sat down in my therapist’s office, and she said, “So. You’re here. How’s it going?” I burst out laughing and said, “You got an hour?” We busted out laughing. I told Preston earlier I’m sure the rest of the clinic thought she and I were having a weird party or something for as much as we laughed and carried on while I was back there. We laughed and cackled and carried on – you’d have thought we’d known each other our entire lives. That’s why I like seeing her, for as much as the trip and the clinic itself aggravate the piss out of me; we get on like a house on fire. It’s fantastic.

Then she asked, “How’s the boy?” And I dug all three of my notebooks out of my bag. She said, “Really?” lol I said, “They’re all for different things.” I opened the one I was taking notes in when Thomas was in the hospital this last time, and we talked about that. Then I filled her in on Jane’s behavior, and she asked, “Does Jane always act like this?” And I burst out laughing again, and we talked some more. I thought the poor woman was going to need therapy herself by the time I got finished with all that. Then we talked about NaNoWriMo – and ftr, I’ve not written anything since Saturday. I have brain burn out and have been busy with other things. I’m afraid my word count for this month is going to be 26k, which really, given the trouble I’ve had writing the last two years, isn’t shabby at all, so there’s that.

I told her that it finally struck me yesterday about Thomas’ fistula surgery in the morning. I’ve been spastic about it since I woke up yesterday. OMG, they’re slicing open my child’s artery and slicing open a vein and connecting it to the artery!” :cue spastic flailing and screaming: She said, “But you’re handling every thing really well.” I had to agree. She said she’d have been more worried had I not been spastic.

Then she said, “Well, you seem like you’re doing well. That’s a good thing!” I said, “Yeah, I’m happy.” We talked about my writing some more.

I told her how I’d been riding my bicycle and taking walks, and we talked about the distances I’d been covering. I told her I’d covered some real distance when Thomas was in the hospital both times. I showed her the picture of the very long hallway that runs along Nicholasville Road in the new hospital and told her I’d measured it with GoogleMaps and that it’s somewhere around 330 feet long. We agreed that’s one impressive hallway! But then we discussed how the weather would impact my getting out and about, I joked, “I could just bus to the hospital.” She said, “No doubt!” I told her about the renovations they’re doing on the clubhouse and the fitness center. She said, “Remind me again where you live?” And I said, “Cheddar’s.” We lost it. Totally. Of course I meant across the street from Cheddar’s. But she has ADHD, too, and knows what an ADHD brain does. The new clubhouse and fitness center are supposed to open Wednesday, if they ever get the keycard reader working right. What’s nice about this is that there are going to be televisions all over the fitness center. I’ll have something to keep my brain occupied, even if it’s just The Weather Channel; I won’t have the excuse to tell Preston, “I don’t like going because I get bored,” any more!

She said she’s very proud of how I’ve handled Jane and Thomas’ being in the hospital and all the stress; she said I’ve developed excellent coping skills over the last two years. I said, “I can’t imagine handling it without medication, and I made it through without the Elavil and had very few migraines. I had some severe headaches, but I killed those with Pepsi and Tylenol.” She said, “But Mari, you’re stable.” I burst out laughing again. I said, “Can you write that down for me? I need that written down so I can take it home and show it to Preston. Then I’m going to hang it on my wall and carry a copy in my bag to show to people.” We died laughing.

After this, we went down my medications list, and I told her I have an appointment to see an internist about my blood pressure at Kentucky Clinic on December 19. She agrees this is a very good plan. She wrote out my prescriptions and told me not to come back until the end of January unless I need her. I thanked her profusely. I always do. I don’t know where or what I’d be without her. I really don’t.

So, I got all signed out and made my appointment for the end of January, told everyone Merry Christmas, and went back outside into the rain. Coming up to the top of the hill on Wellington, I saw the 1:30pm bus go through the light and head toward Man O’War. Now, I can’t run for shit; never have been able to – not enough air, short legs, not enough strength, not enough eyesight. Anyway. I told myself if I walked really fast, I could make it to Arby’s and catch that bus, in my rush forgetting that the bus has a ten minute break there. Regardless I did make it and didn’t have to wait for the next one to trundle around at 2:50pm. At 3pm, I’d already transferred buses and gone to Wal-Mart and had my in at the pharmacy to be filled. I was back out at the bus stop for the next bus I needed at 3:30pm, and I got home a long time before I thought I was going to when I set out this morning. This morning, I was thinking somewhere between 5pm and 6pm. What a relief to get home earlier than expected! And that worked out, too. Preston left work early and was home about the time I got supper ready. We don’t get to eat together on days he works, so this was most excellent!

Passed a tree lot on the way down Harrodsburg on the way home and burst out laughing because I thought of Tayler. When the boys were four and two and a half, I drove to Liberty to pick them up for Christmas, and we stopped at the Danville Wal-Mart to pick up some stuff and do a small bit of extra Christmas shopping. Like I always had, I dumped them into a shopping cart out in the parking lot and pushed them up toward the store. I wanted the general merchandise side, so instead of going in through grocery, we just trundled down the sidewalk. About halfway down, Tayler asked a question, and I said, “What?” Tayler asked, “Are those great big alligators going to eat us, Mommy?” I said, “What alligators, Tayler? We’re at Wal-Mart.” He pointed toward the wall. There were a scad of live Christmas trees bundled up and propped against the wall. I said, “Tayler! Those are Christmas trees!” He said, “Oh.” A few beats later, he said, “So those great big alligators aren’t going to eat us?” lmao

Also, Miss Kitty has taken to stuffing toys beneath the Christmas tree skirt. It’s cracking me up. Well, at least she doesn’t lunge at the tree and jack-rabbit it like Grey Lady did, although Kitty did try to climb the last big tree I had that one time …

Tuesday November 29: eta: Kathy called last night while I was in the process of writing this post, and then I got so involved in the post, I forgot to add what she told me. Anyway. Jane had apparently called her yesterday to rip her another new asshole. She wanted to know why the transplant clinic calls Kathy first before they call anybody else about anything. Kathy said she carefully explained that that’s how Thomas asked for it to be set up on the call sheet. Kathy, him, me. And then after they had called Thomas once first by mistake and he never got back in touch with them, and they called Kathy, we double-checked to make sure that they mark to call Kathy first in the future. Jane asked why they couldn’t just call Thomas. Kathy said, “Because Thomas will admit to anybody that he doesn’t understand half what he’s being told, especially over the telephone, and he never remembers to write that stuff down or to record his appointments.” Well, you know that didn’t sit well with Jane. Kathy said, “Well, if you want them to call you first, then you need to have the clinic change it at Thomas’ next appointment Thursday morning. You have to tell them to change it or they won’t know they’re supposed to call a different number.” I was afraid to ask whether Jane ripped Kathy a new asshole over Kathy and Ralph leaving for Florida this morning instead of coming up here to be with Thomas during surgery.

i saw my therapist on tuesday

This week has gone by so fast. I told myself, “I’ll write this post as soon as I get home from the clinic.” But I was so tired by the time I got home, I didn’t care about the clinic, my blog, or much anything else. Miss Kitty was happy to take a nap with me. And then I kept thinking, “I’ll write it tomorrow.” And now tomorrow is today, which is Saturday. Where did this week go? Oh yeah. I’ve been writing, organizing, and have been reading Meg Cabot’s 1-800-WHERE-R-YOU series straight through (am on book four today; she’s the one who wrote all those Princess Diary books).

I remember thinking as I walked from the bus stop at Arby’s over to the next street to the clinic that I’d been going to that clinic for over a year now, and I’ve been seeing my particular therapist for right at a year. And soon, I’ll be slogging through the snow again to see her. This year really went quick!

One thing I like about my therapist is that when you go into her office, she has your file scattered all across her desk and a nice list of notes. She always adds to that list, every appointment.

The first thing we talked about, of course, was Thomas and how all that had gone. The last time I had seen her, he’d still been in UK Hospital. I told her how all that had turned out, and she was rightly appalled. Then we talked about finding a support group for parents/relatives of transplant recipients. She really couldn’t find anything on Google, so I said I will ask one of the social workers when Thomas goes back to transplant clinic on Monday. And I made myself a note in the notebook I carry in my bag so I don’t forget. Because I’m like that. I’d literally leave my head behind if it weren’t so firmly attached to my neck.

But I had told her everything I’d been feeling, all the stages and how they’d come along and how I’d handled them. She said she was proud of me – I’d done everything right all by myself! I told her I’d tried to get an emergency appointment with her the week after the horrific news had been delivered but that she’d been booked so solid I couldn’t have gotten edged in had it been a true emergency. She said, “My schedule is ridiculous.” No kidding. But she’s so good at what she does! I threaten now and then to switch over to UK Psychiatry because I don’t really care for her clinic, but at the same time, I don’t want to lose her. She’s fantastic.

So then we discussed my medications and how I’m doing on all of those, and she wrote me a handful of new prescriptions. I’m doing well with the Ritalin. Now and then it still makes me a bit jittery, but I really feel like that depends on how I’ve slept the night before. Sometimes I sleep like a log and others I toss and turn – despite everything I take to knock me out.

And we discussed my personal life and my love life and my writing life and how sales of the anthology are going and NaNoWriMo, etc, etc, etc. We talked about all of the Young Adult literature I’ve collected over the Summer and that I’ve read since then and about my latest project – which I must say is coming along nicely, if I do have to say so myself! And I’ll be going back to see her again on the Monday following Thanksgiving. I’ll have my list of stuff to discuss, and she’ll have hers, and we’ll meet somewhere in the middle just like we always do.

my water fountain

I finally broke down and got a tabletop water fountain, or in this case a bookshelftop water fountain (it’s a very short bookshelf). I was running it with tap water until I could get to Kroger for a jug of High Bridge Spring water. Today I cleaned it out and poured in the spring water, and I felt like Bob Ross – What a happy little fountain! So I took a video of it, and I hope the sound comes across in it. Unfortunately I had the front patio door open, and there were kids playing outside.

thomas update – wednesday afternoon

I was there when the doctor came in this afternoon when Thomas’ tests came back. The news, as we expected, wasn’t good.

He’s experiencing two types of rejection – I didn’t retain what they were called, and I tried googling when I got home, but I can’t find them (my Google-fu is weak). So the doctor is giving him an anti-rejection drip along with a steroid. The drip takes eight hours to drip – it has to be injected very slowly. It’s the same drip he had in April 2008. And the doctor said that sometimes when a transplant recipient has had this medication before, the body often builds up antibodies, and the medication won’t work a second time. He said after a couple of days, they’ll take him back down to ultrasound and do another scan and biopsy to see if the medication is doing anything. He also said Thomas’ creatinine had gone up from 6.5 to 7.0 since Monday morning. So it’s steadily increased instead of decreasing. That’s not a good sign by itself. He said if the biopsy comes back negative again, then Thomas will have to go on dialysis. Right now, then, it’s completely up in the air as to when he’ll be getting to go home.

Also, last night when I came in from the hospital, I found packages of his medications in his car – unopened still stapled shut from the pharmacy. I’m taking them with me when we go back to see him here in a few minutes. He’s not going to know I’ve got them, but his medical team will. I mean, we all know he’s not been taking his meds, but here’s hard physical proof that he sat there and lied to his doctor all this time.

So that’s what we know right now. As soon as we know anything else, I’ll post another blog – just be sure to keep a watch out on Twitter and Facebook, too. And thanks for all of your help, prayers, and other support. We appreciate all of you!

I’ve had a lot of people ask if they can help in any way at all. The biggest help right now would be prayers – lots of prayer – and some spare cash. I have Thomas’ car right now – so that means I’ve paid for parking today and will have to every day he’s in the hospital (I found out I can buy a weekly parking pass for unlimited parking/use for $20. I can renew it twice. After that it’s free.). Also, I have to have money to eat on while I’m there (a light lunch ~$8) and money for gas – I know I don’t normally drive, but Kathy said I’m welcome to Thomas’ car (which she bought) while he’s in the hospital. I hate to beg but if anyone is willing to help out with anything, then PayPal me at mari @ mariadkins.com (without the spaces) ~~ and thank you. And, on the sidebar, on the bottom right, there’s a PayPal donations button if that might simplify things for folks.

Gift shop
Located in the hospital lobby on the first floor, the gift shop sells various personal care items, reading materials, candy and gifts. You may also purchase gift baskets, University of Kentucky merchandise, flower arrangements and stuffed toys by phone. Volunteers will deliver the gifts to UK Chandler Hospital, Kentucky Children’s Hospital and Markey Cancer Center patients. The gift shop accepts cash, Visa and MasterCard and can deliver Monday – Friday, 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Call 859-323-5797 for more information.

Hours
Monday – Friday: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Saturday: 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Sunday: 1 – 5 p.m.

eGreetings delivery
You can send an e-mail greeting to a patient at UK Chandler Hospital, Kentucky Children’s Hospital or Markey Cancer Center. The Volunteer Office delivers eGreetings to patient rooms Monday through Friday.

We cannot forward eGreetings received after the patient has been discharged, so they will be safely discarded. If you have questions about eGreetings delivery, please call the Volunteer Office at 859-323-6023 Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

http://ukhealthcare.uky.edu/patient/ecard.htm (you have to have his full name, his hometown, and his room number)

(email me for his personal information!)

at this point i probably need a “lextran” tag

I got up this morning at 6:30am so I could shower and eat and head out to catch the 8am bus downtown. I was supposed to see my therapist at 9:30am, and that bus runs only once every hour. The steering failed on the bus not even a mile from my apartment complex. We were all moaning and groaning – most everyone on the bus was headed either to school or work. I called the clinic and left a message for my therapist, after we knew for sure. Bus broken down, transfer on the way, won’t make it to transit center for connection, won’t be there until after ten. I fully expected someone to call me back, but I should have realized that this was this clinic I was dealing with.

I walked into the clinic around 10:15, I guess it was. My therapist just happened to be in the waiting room calling another patient into the back. She looked startled to see me. I said, “Didn’t you get my message?” She looked even more confused. She went on; she didn’t have time to sort it out. I went up to the window and told the receptionist what had happened. Again, I asked, “Didn’t you get my message? I called at 8:10am and left a message with your answering service.” I might as well been talking to the wall.

My therapist’s schedule for today was booked solid, and she didn’t have an opening until September 30th. I’ve not seen her since the beginning of July. I swear if she wasn’t so wonderful and hadn’t helped me so much, I’d just switch over to UK Psychiatry. Am thinking about it anyway, once I’m sure I have medical financial aid again. I get so stressed out every time I go to this particular clinic. They’re so poorly organized it’s pathetic. The people out front don’t know what the therapists are doing and none of them know what administration is doing and vice versa.

I had to run to Wal-Mart real quick on the way home – as much as one can run to Wal-Mart real quick when one is dependent on the bus. But I managed to get off one bus, run in, get what I needed, and run back out in time to get the next bus. This bus was heading downtown, but as hot as it was, I didn’t care.

I ended up not getting home until around 2pm. I dropped off the rent check at the office, came in and told Preston I loved him, told the cat I was laying down, and went back to bed. I didn’t resurface again until after 6 o’clock.

And I’m still tired and still aggravated.

In other news, I have the laundry sorted and ready to go, so I can get up and go straight to the laundry room in the morning.

Writers lead such glamorous lives! What fun!

and that’s when the dog bit me

or: “What Happened When I went to Harlan for the Poke Sallet Festival”

I picked up my rental car on Wednesday afternoon. When I got there, they didn’t have the car I reserved, and I almost cried. I thought to myself, If I don’t get to go this time, I’m just giving up and never trying again. This is ridiculous – you know, as if something was trying to keep me from going back again for whatever reason. But before I could complete the thought, the clerk said, “Let me call New Circle and see what they have.” They had a white HHR with XM Radio. I almost panicked, then he said the magic words. “Free upgrade and free XM.” I almost fainted. My system can’t live at that speed! I hated to give that car back Monday afternoon. It handled like it was on rails, got great gas mileage (I spent $40 on gas on a 500 mile trip), it was comfortable, and I lost the XM signal in only two places in Harlan County. I was surprised; I didn’t think I’d have signal down there at all (and had taken my mp3 player just in case), but I lost it for like three car-lengths in Baxter and about two car-lengths in Mollus. I would spend the extra $5 a day, if I had it, to rent an HHR again.

I swear it took me all day Thursday to get to Harlan County. I got up at 6, took Miss Kitty Thing into Banfield at 7, and then sat and waited. I forgot that when you get the cat’s teeth cleaned, the cat has to undergo sedation, and then you have to wait for the cat to wake up and be semi-normal before you can pick it up and take it home. I didn’t get her picked up until 4, didn’t get home until 4:30, and then didn’t get on I-75 South until 5:05. At least it wasn’t Friday so the traffic wasn’t that bad – but it was bad enough. Thankfully, I know the back way around and didn’t have to sit in the Clay’s Ferry Bridge construction traffic along with everyone else.

My original plan had me leaving Lexington between 10 and 11 Thursday morning. I thought I’d stop in Woodbine and spend a couple of hours with Bill before I went on into Harlan around supper time. I didn’t cross the Harlan County line until right at 8. That’s partly because I spent probably half an hour in Corbin when I got there. I thought since I needed to eat, I would go to the Rootbeer Stand and pig out, then head southeast. The place was packed elbow to asshole, so I drove around the high school to take pictures. I took one picture. Apparently there was some kind of ballet recital or dance team something or other going on there. I didn’t want to attract a ton of attention, so I went on.

Now, I’m not very sentimental about Corbin. I never have been. I couldn’t wait to get out of the place after high school – although I went back to have my boys there but left promptly after Tayler was born. I stopped and took one picture downtown. Otherwise, basically cried from one end of downtown to the other. Even though I’ve been back there several times over the last ten years, nothing was the same. Everything was different. Shop names, business names. I didn’t recognize much of anything except for the huge bank where the Hippodrome used to be, Hardee’s on its usual corner, and the Moonbow Coffee House (which is new, but I had a signing there two years ago). And now instead of going down Main to Center and going through the railroad underpass and turning onto Laurel to get to Masters, they’ve taken out a chunk of mountain and built a bridge over the railroad (and made Main Street one way north and Kentucky Avenue one way south). I recognized very little on Masters, as well. East Ward is no longer a school. Vankirk’s Funeral Home is still there and still looks exactly the same. Even almost everything at Trademart Center was rearranged and different.

I ended up picking up dinner at Arby’s and eating while I drove toward Harlan County. In Pineville I managed to get a picture of Chained Rock and part of Pine Mountain. But I didn’t get a picture of The Narrows. I always try, but it’s a short distance through to the light at the Highway 119 turn off – and busy. I’m probably going to have to stop at the Marathon at some point, run out into the middle of the road, snap my picture, and run back, all while praying I don’t get flattened by car, RV, or coal truck.

I passed some dude from out of state doing 30mph around Varilla. The entire way around the curve, I was thinking, Come on, boys, you can do this at 60 both ways if you know the road. Either they were overly cautious or they didn’t know the road or both. Of course, if you fuck up driving west around the curve, if you fly off the road, you land right through the Missionary Baptist Church. I’m sure they’ll take great care of you. (“Lord, be with us as we commit car, body, and soul…”) I generally fly through Bell and Harlan Counties (when the roads are dry), but I know the roads and could likely drive them in my sleep. We won’t test that, though.

The rock slide in Coldiron had been cleaned up – it got repaired not long after I was there in February. But I could see places where it had already started falling again. But the way Highway 119 is cut through Harlan County, I’m surprised the entire road hasn’t been covered county line to county line at one point or another. There are places where I swear the rocks defy gravity. If I hadn’t been so tired and in such a hurry just to get home, I would have stopped and taken pictures of a few of them on the way in – and on the way out, I was an hour late, so I didn’t stop then, either. Maybe next time.

The sign telling you where Dayhoit is was missing. Or if it was there, I just didn’t see it. While I was pondering this, I drove right by the Loyall turn off, which is right around the corner. So I said, Self, this is kismet. Hie thee straight to yon Dairy Hut and purchase thine ownself a peanut butter milkshake. And I did. After I drove around downtown to familiarize myself with where I needed to be at the tourism building the next morning – which I already knew, but still. As hot as it was Thursday (albeit much cooler than it had been the day before), I wasn’t surprised to find Dairy Hut jam packed with people. I cleaned out what garbage I had in the car and went inside and up to the counter, also jam packed with people – customers and staff. One of the staff asked, “Have you been waited on?” And I said, “No, but I want the biggest peanut butter milkshake you can make me!” She said, “Are you sure?” And I laughed and said, “Of course. I drove down from Lexington just for a Dairy Hut peanut butter milkshake!” And everyone laughed. While she was away making my drink (dessert?), the woman beside me and I waxed poetic upon the wonderfulness that is the Dairy Hut peanut butter milkshake.

I had to carry this thing with both hands, y’all. I’m fairly certain it was in a 32oz cup if not a 40oz (what’s the largest to go cup you can get?). I would pay $10 for one of their milkshakes (I did pay $4.29 for it, no joke). I drank it so fast that I got brain freeze by the time I got back around to Dressen, and by the time I got back to Baxter, the whole thing was gone.

I pulled up in front of the house, took a picture, and sent it out with a “Now, I’m home!”, to which Preston replied that no, I wasn’t. Art turned Tasha, their Yorkie, out to meet me on the driveway. She remembered me from last time and wanted to play. She kept looking up at me and grinning and sneezing. A sneeze is her way of saying, “Yes.” Art asked what had taken me so long, and I said, “Well, you see, there was this fairy that met me in Dayhoit, and I don’t know what happened.” I held up my empty cup from Dairy Hut and jiggled it. “But next thing I knew, I had a Dairy Hut peanut butter milkshake in my hand!” Art and Jan laughed. We didn’t get to visit very long until I had to go to bed. I was just too tired to sit up very long.

Friday was good on the convention hall floor. I sold seven books. Which, to be honest, I thought if I went to Harlan and sold two books, I’d be happy (and make back my booth fee). And I laughed so hard all day. The day was good. My first sale, a man managed to draw blood with one of my bookmarks. I offered to dip my thumb in the blood and thumb print the book beside my signature. We laughed. One guy came by my table and said, “You know what the real Harlan County horror is?” I said, “What’s that?” He said, “Being stuck in this county with $4 gallon gas. There’s no way out!” I ached I laughed so hard – and Jan, who was on the opposite end of the hall selling cookbooks for The Relay for Life, heard me. Where my table was, I could look up through the windows and see straight onto a funnel cake cart. I starved to death all day. Funnel cakes are required summertime food, but I made myself behave. At one point, Jan watched my table for me while I walked across downtown (a whopping two blocks, let me tell you!) for some one dollar bills. I got sunburned because I didn’t have on any sunscreen (it’s almost useless on me, anyway) and because of the beta blocker I take for my blood pressure and migraines. It had turned into a nice tan by the time I got up Saturday, though, and I’m not someone who tans. After we couldn’t stand sitting any longer, Art came and picked Jan up, and we drove out to Dairy Hut (duh) for supper.

Saturday was slow, but it was so damned hot. I don’t know how the people who were outside working stood it. I couldn’t have, that’s for sure. Even though I was inside in the air conditioning, I still wore my hair in a ponytail and wished I’d worn shorts – I was in jeans and comfortable, but going outside at all was miserable. Art came in at lunchtime and gave me $10 to get a funnel cake. So of course I trotted off like a good girl and fetched myself a funnel cake. These were delicious. They had just a sprinkle of cinnamon mixed in with their powdered sugar. I died of delicious. With Art at my table all day, knowing everybody like he does, I sold another eight books. For a total of fifteen sold for the weekend.

After we I finished up at the convention center, I went upstairs and left some business cards and bookmarks on the information desk with all the other stuff. Then I drove out to the mall to run into JewelCraft and got there just in time; they were closing for the night. But I collected what they owed me and left them with six more books. They asked me to a signing on July 10th. It’s tempting, but renting a car over the weekend is so expensive, and I want to have as much cash on hand as possible when I go to Louisville the 22nd. I met Art and Jan at Ken & Paul’s for supper. Jan and I went to claim ‘our table’, but a family was already sitting there, so we took a booth. They left not long after, though, and we moved so we could be more comfortable and have more room. I told myself, Don’t order dessert. Don’t order dessert. So what did I do? I ordered dessert. The waitress came back to the table with my hot fudge cake and told Art the price, and looked at me and said, “Unless it’s your birthday. Then, it’s free.” I said, “Sure. I’ll turn 42 again right now for free cake.” It took them a good fifteen minutes to put my cake together, though. They were putting fresh cakes together when I placed my order. I kept making jokes about someone having to go out to shoot my fresh, wild, hot fudge.

Back at the house, I brought in the box with what books I had left, took one out for Bill, paid for it, and put it in my backpack, and gave the rest to Jan. She was going to buy one or two for gifts and take the rest out to the hospital to put in the Gift Shop. We sat up talking until almost midnight – until the three of us just couldn’t go any further.

We got up Sunday morning; Art went out and brought back breakfast from Dairy Queen like he had the last three mornings. We had coffee and talked a bit, then decided we were tired, and went back to bed. I didn’t mean to, but I slept (I even dreamed!) until 11:30. I had told Bill I’d be in Woodbine by noon. Whoops. I left the house around 12:30, and Jan promised not to watch me leave – it’s bad luck. Neither one of us promised not to cry; it’s futile, anyway, because we always do. I stopped at the county line to take pictures of the Air Mail box and the “Welcome to Harlan” marker that’s set in a base of Harlan County coal. In Barbourville (you have to pronounce it right – “bar-vull”) to use the restroom and to call Bill to let him know I was definitely on my way. I was almost there by then. He asked me where I was, and I told him, and he said, “Driving and talking on a cell phone. Don’t do that.” I told him to stfu; that’s one thing I refuse to do. We guessed it would take me about fifteen minutes to get from McDonald’s to the new little cut off on the Corbin bypass. We timed it right because we pulled up to the corner at the same time. He turned around in front of me and led me out to his house in Wilton.

And that’s when the dog bit me.

We pulled up into the driveway and parked and hugged, and he shut the gate and yelled at Matthew to let the dog out into the yard. Before anybody knew what happened, Blackjack had jumped up on me and bit my arm twice. The first bite was the worst, but I hadn’t even realized he’d gotten me until it was all over and Bill was sending the dog back inside and making sure I was okay. Lucky for me, Blackjack’s canines are blunted, so he neither broke my arm nor ripped meat from the bone. It sure felt like he had, though, and still does! Now Blackjack ended up being a really sweet dog, and in his own way, he really did try to apologize for hurting me – and Bill didn’t stop apologizing the entire time I was there! (He probably still is, and I just can’t hear him from this far away) We treated the wounds with Neosporin, so I wasn’t too concerned. I figured, I have medical financial aid with UK Healthcare until the end of this month, and if it looked too bad, I could take myself to the ER when I got back to Lexington. As it turns out, my arm is black and blue from the wrist to the elbow. I look like an assault victim, and I guess in a way, I am.

We had a great visit. I just wish we had more time. I could have spent the night, but I had so much to do on Monday and was so tired that I just wanted to get back to Lexington and crash. Bill and Blackjack went into Corbin to pick up pizza, and while he was gone, Matthew and I found out we both like Seether, Breaking Benjamin, and Three Days Grace. He found out I’d seen them all in concert and laughed and said, “You suck,” just like Tayler always does. I gave him my external drive so he could rip my music off, but I’m not sure if he ever got it to work or not. We both also like Pantera, Megadeth, and Staind. Bill gave me a cd full of family pictures, and I swear I look like Nannie and Bertie. We didn’t talk about half what we should have. There just wasn’t time. It would take a month of sitting and talking to completely catch up, I’m afraid. And then a month after that to fill in all the gaps. It makes me mad that they were in Winchester until right around the time Thomas moved in in 2009 – and I didn’t start seriously searching until the beginning of this year. I can’t let it piss me off too much, though, because there’s nothing anybody can do about it.

And that’s about it, really. I got back into Lexington around 9:30, went to the bank and Kroger, and unloaded the car, came in, piddled around a bit to calm myself back down, and went to bed. I’ve not gone to bed that early on a Sunday evening in a very long time.

[june 13 eta: I totally forgot to blog this part! I was busy selling books, and this little boy yelled, “Mom! Mari Adkins!” And his mother looked at the table and at me and burst out laughing. She said, “I’m Mary Adkins, but with a Y.” I laughed and said, “My legal name is Mary with a Y.” We laughed and laughed. Then I got up and went around the table and asked if I could give her a hug. I’d never met another Mary Adkins before. We hugged, and she told me that Adkins is her married name, and I told her it didn’t matter. I should have gotten a picture!]

[pictures follow]

in case of zombie apocalypse … (round two)

Let’s revisit this one, shall we?

Look to your left. What’s the first thing you see that could be used as a weapon in case of imminent zombie apocalypse?

Since my desk is right next to a window, I’m thanking the gods it’s two stories off the ground! (unless the zombies get creative, that is) In that case, I have a floor lamp (the post could make a great spear, I’m sure), a back scratcher, a radio, and a coffee table …

I’m so screwed!