Friday, December 16, 2011

The Pardoning of Mittens the Rat

First of all, DG changed the rat's name from "Cibo" to Mittens. And here is why...

This morning, he was playing with the rat and talking to it and all and I made a comment about how it would be difficult to find Nike shoes small enough for a rat's feet. They have tiny feet.

DG informed me: "They only wear shoes on their back feet."

Me: "What do they wear on their front feet?"

Without any sarcasm or humor, he said: "Well, mittens, of course."

So there you go. And now you know where the name "Mittens" came from.

During that conversation, he revealed that he gave the rat a pardon. The poor rat has been pardoned from a death sentence of Consumption by Snake. And in telling us about "The Pardon", he made a hand gesture. You may remember, a while ago, he also told us about The Shun. And the hand gesture that goes with "The Pardon" is palm up, hand open, and a downward motion from the elbow- sort of like you've said: "Ta-dah!"

Mittens the Rat has gotten The Pardon from the Disabled Guy.


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Aww, rats! Er, I mean, Rat!

Our son has a pet snake. A really big pet snake. He named him "Raizo" and he's a ball python. I wasn't too thrilled about him getting a snake. He's had many different kinds of lizards, so it isn't like he doesn't know what he's doing. He stays in his cage- the snake, that is- and he hasn't eaten any family members yet, so its all good for now.

For some reason, the snake hasn't been eating lately. It eats live rats. I feel bad about that- and I know, circle of life and all- but till now, the live items being eaten by critters in this house have been crickets and pinkie mice (which are newborn mice viciously taken from their mothers to be used as food! What the hell!). But, Raizo the python eats rats. Live, sentient, furry, and somewhat cute rats. I asked Jase how a feeder rat differs from a pet rat and turns out, that's just luck of the draw for the rat. Lucky rat goes in the display cage for someone to buy as a pet, not-so-lucky rat wishes he had little Nike shoes so he could escape.

When Raizo doesn't eat the rat, Jase puts it into the old gerbil cage in the girls' room. They both live away from home now- Ceej in the dorm at college and Kat has an apartment with her boyfriend- so having a random rat for a day or two isn't such a hassle. Except we've had this rat now for almost two months. Jase has offered it up to Raizo once a week for several weeks. What a hellish existence that must be, don't you think?

DG has been going into the room and talking to the rat and making sure it has food and water. The other day, he decided to clean the cage and in the process of getting the right bedding (Aspen, not cedar), he decided to put it in a bigger cage so it would have more room. It went from a smallish, ten-gallon-sized cage to a twenty-gallon-long with a mesh top and lots of room. There are toys in there for it to play with and the water bottle is now "properly" hung on the side. It took him hours to get this whole thing set up for the rat. He talked to it almost the whole time. He pets it. He hands it treats and it takes them from him. Its a very friendly rat.

So it looks like we have a pet rat now. (Jase has had pet rats before) I asked DG what he was going to name it and he said he couldn't name it or he'd get attached to it. I told him: "You're already attached to it! You just spent more time setting up its home than you ever did getting your cats ready for anything!"

We named it "Cibo" (chee-boh). According to Google Translate, Cibo is Italian for "Food". Cibo's cage has been moved to a part of the house where it will get to interact with humans more often. And I can hear DG when he goes upstairs and walks past the cage. He talks to the rat.

This morning, I said, "Did you notice how small the rat's feet are? Where in the world can it find little Nike shoes that small?"

DG looked at me with squinted eyes. "What?"

I said, "Duh? Rats with the Little Nike Shoes? You know the story."

DG: "Ohhh, yeah. You should go tell the rat that story."

Me: "Shouldn't the rat already know it? Its a rat."

DG: "Yeah, but they still like to hear the story!"

Here is a terrible mobile phone photo of Cibo.

And, because I mentioned him, here is a photo of Raizo.

Friday, December 2, 2011

We've covered this before- The Brain Damage

Part of a stroke is the brain damage- I mean, that's what a stroke is, basically. In DG's case, a blood clot got through the filtering systems of the body (the lungs, the heart) and made its way to his brain and killed many, many brain cells. This, of course, rendered him disabled and if we fast-forward, here we are, on this blog, talking about the Disabled Guy.

Edited to add: This sounds awful, as if I'm being mean to him. But, we were laughing through the whole thing. And the expressions he was making were not one of anguish or anger. He was laughing with me and our son. Like I've said before, if the Disabled Guy isn't laughing, he doesn't realize it and I don't share it. I only share what he's aware of and he knows what I say before I post it.

I'm not even sure, now, how we got on the topic of disability again. I mean, obviously, the topic is always right here- in the room, wherever DG is, but this particular day, I don't recall what led us to discussing the speech and communication disorders DG has and that led him to say: "I'm not disassem- dissss-asssembl- disabsembled. I'm not neither!"

Me: "You're not disabled?"

DG: "No. I'm not."

Me: "Clap."

DG, eyes narrowed: "I don't want to."

Me: "Then say- Rubber baby buggy bumpers."

DG: "What?!"

Me: "Rubber baby buggy bumpers." *no response* "Tikki Tikki Tembo No Sa Rembo Chari Bari Ruchi Pip Peri Pembo."

DG: "What the hell are you saying?"

Me: "Tongue-twisters. Except for the second one, that's a name in a book I read as a kid."

DG: "I can say that, I just choose not to."

Me: "I slit a sheet, a sheet I slit, upon a slitted sheet I sit."

DG: "I.... I sheet- No, I didn't. I what now?"

I repeated it. Slower. I also repeated "rubber baby buggy bumpers", slower. And DG stumbled along, trying to say them. I gotta give him credit, he tried. And then, he asked me to say it again. So I did. Along with "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious."

Jase looked at me and said, "I can't even say that!"

I repeated them again, in rapid succession. DG looked at me, his eyes narrowed, his mouth opened slightly, like he was going to repeat them and he said in a hushed tone: "Shut up."

Another edit- here's the video I did of myself saying the tongue-twisters after a comment on the Facebook group. Enjoy!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

I would like to say this is "adult-themed", but in the end, it so clearly isn't...

The other day, I finally got around to the much-needed washing of our curtains. They've needed it for months, but on my list of things to do, taking down and washing and putting them all back up was never at the top, so I just kept forgetting. But the other day, I finally did it.

We don't have proper "curtains". We have lace sheers hanging in the living room and just valances in the dining room and kitchen. That's because everywhere but the kitchen, we have mini-blinds. They came with the house. We should probably get new ones... because I really don't want to clean those.

Since the whole "TV cabinet blocking the window" incident, I saw no reason- no easy way either- to rehang the lace thing on that window. So, I put it on the window on the stairway landing. We had lace curtains with an attached valance with matching drawback... uh, thingies. Those were originally the outside curtains on the shower we had in our house in Georgia.

So, I put the single panel lace curtain on the window on the landing. Then I took one of those fabric drawback thingies and pulled it to one side, because the cats like sitting on the windowsill. While I was doing that, I was adjusting it and pulling on it to make it hang in a drape-y, swoop-y way.

DG asked what I was doing. So I told him that I was "making it sexy".

DG: "Why do you want to do that?"

Me: "I don't want to, but c'mon, its lace, don't you think its sexy pulled to one side like that?"

DG: "You're going to make all the other windows jealous!"

Me: "Why? They're wearing the same outfit!"

DG: "Oh, now they're embarrassed!"

Later, and I mean much later. Like hours later, Jase was walking back up the stairs and in a flat and completely serious voice, DG asked, "Hey, do you think that window is sexy?"

Jase hadn't heard our earlier conversation and yet, he replied, "It is, Dad. Quite. But I don't want to make the other windows jealous by dating just this one."

More time passes. Not a lot of time, but enough for all of us to stop talking about the window. I said, "I need to get a photo for the blog."

DG gasped: "Don't do that! It'll embarrass the window!"

Me: "How will it embarrass the window?"

DG, making a scoffing noise: "Because it doesn't want to find the photo on the internet! How embarrassed would you be if you found a photo of yourself all sexy wearing lace on the internet!?"

Me: "How is the window going to get on the internet?"

DG: "It can see the internet through the windows next door!"

Me: "You don't even know if our neighbor has internet access."

DG: "Our window is showing all her stuff to the world!"

Me: "Our window is a girl?"

DG: "You didn't know? Psssh, man..." and he shook his head.

Last night, I got busy and forgot that I had to write this blog post. I said that, after I shut down my computer and he laughed at me with a loud, mocking laugh. "Now you can't post it!" followed with some "nyeah" sounds.

Me: "I'll just post it tomorrow."

DG: "You can't! It won't be the same!"

You'll notice that there isn't a photo of the sexy window. That's because I didn't want to embarrass her by showing everyone how she wears her lace. You can thank the Disabled Guy for protecting our window's virtue.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Against cooties, duh.

First, before I dive right into the conversation about cooties and "the shot", I want to apologize for going over a month without any kind of update. You see, DG has been just as verbose as usual, but he's been sharing it in short snippets. And if the conversation is only a few lines, I don't feel that it warrants an entire blog post. But, I share the short ones on the Facebook group wall. You see, back when I started that page, it was a "like" or "join now" thing. But FB has changed the way they do groups and you can't just simply "join", you have to request to join then be approved. But, the Official Conversations with the Disabled Guy Group is open and anyone can add anyone else. Even non-admins.

Now, onto the cooties conversation.

As you may know- or not know, I'm not sure how much I've shared- Shawn is visiting again. You might remember Shawn from such blog posts as AUS-SOME! (Yeah, I just said that) and Patty is a Double-NASCAR Widow Today. He's been taking it easy, watching A LOT of movies and TV that he doesn't watch at home because he has a job and let's face it, he's also a gamer. Shockingly enough, he hasn't joined the boy (that'd be the almost-20 year old who lives here and pretends to be my son, but I don't see how that's possible since I'm far too young to have a 20-year-old son or even a 22-year-old daughter who lives in another town with a live-in boyfriend or even that 18-year-old college freshman. What? I am. I swear).

Well, I don't know why, but Shawn decided to leave the TV on the channel showing a marathon of "NCIS". I had it on when I was alone in the room because if I turn off the TV (or radio, whatever electronic noise-maker happens to be on), the dogs can hear and then react loudly to every single outside noise. And by "react loudly", I mean they bark their fool heads off. And they'd have woken up Shawn, who was taking a nap. Hey, vacations are tough, man.

So, in this episode of "NCIS", some dude is talking to Mark Harmon's character while they're in the basement of his house. Harmon tells the guy that there's a bottle of bourbon on his workbench and proceeds to take the only available cup. "Hey, I drink out of my coffee cup, you go upstairs and get a glass... or drink out of the bottle."

DG said, quietly and calmly: "Oh, he's got the cooties now."

Me: "The cooties? Really?"

DG (again, quietly): "Yeah."

Me: "You don't think the bourbon in the bottle will kill any remaining cooties?"

DG: "No."

Me: "What do you think he needs to stave off the cooties?"

DG: "A shot."

This whole time, his voice is quiet and calm, as if he's giving a testimony in a boring court case.

Me: "A cootie shot. When's the last time you had a cootie shot? Were you what? Twelve?"

DG: "No. I was... six. Maybe I was seven. But I had one."

Me: "Well, you're long overdue for another. I don't think they last forever."

DG: "They might."

Me: "You have three kids, I think your cootie shot failed."

DG: "Accidents. All of them."

Me: "You had accidents with your cootie shot?"

DG: "Because of the cootie shot."

Me: "Really? So, what you're saying is that a cootie shot is essentially useless because you're still going to get cootied-up by a girl?"

DG: "Yeah."

A couple of episodes later, someone got touched by one of the female characters. Out of the blue, DG said- calmly and quietly- "Oh, he's got the cooties now."


Friday, September 16, 2011

You'll have to forgive me while I get serious a little.

One of my friends on Facebook- and I count this person as a real friend because we've met in real life then "friended" on Facebook- posted this video of Jill Bolte Taylor. The summary of the video is this: "Jill Bolte Taylor got a research opportunity few brain scientists would wish for: She had a massive stroke, and watched as her brain functions -- motion, speech, self-awareness -- shut down one by one. An astonishing story."

Its about 19ish minutes long, but it is well worth watching. I ended up crying more than once- because I was pissed off at her for making it sound so wonderful and because some of what she said is so true, even for Jerry now. Yes, yes, I know I usually call him the Disabled Guy, but up till that day in 1995, he was Jerry and that's what I'm going to call him right now.

Jerry didn't have any kind of enlightenment or any kind of amazing recovery. He doesn't remember our kids' births. He only knows we're married because he's seen the photos but doesn't remember our wedding, and has very little memory from the few months leading up to the stroke itself and doesn't even remember the two weeks he spent in the ICU in the hospital in Maryland (we lived in Georgia, after the Army, he became an over-the-road trucker).

The only reason I know what happened to him when he had the stroke was because I had to go to the company where he was when he had it to unload his personal belongings from his semi-truck. The guy who was with him told me that they were unloading the trailer together, talking about normal, every day stuff when Jerry staggered, dropped the box he was holding and started to fall. And this guy- who had just met him an hour or two before- caught him and kept him from hitting the metal floor of the trailer. They thought he was maybe diabetic or even a drug addict, they didn't know. And I got a call from the trucking company that no wife ever wants to get. (believe me, when I met that man and spoke with him, I thanked him. By catching him, he saved Jerry from further and serious injury).

I made the trip from Savannah, Georgia to a suburb of DC called Laurel, Maryland in two hours less time than the trucking company told me it would take. When we got there, he was in and out of consciousness, unable to talk, unable to express himself, and he looked absolutely shocked every time I walked into the room.

He has no memory of any of this. He doesn’t remember unloading that truck, he doesn’t remember collapsing or even having that big guy with the weight belt catch him. He doesn’t remember the doctors asking him questions that he obviously could not answer. All he knew was that they needed to call me and I needed to be there. Except he didn’t know he was nine hours away from where we lived at the time and he didn’t know that they HAD called me or that I’d stopped twice along the way to call them and get an update (this was in the day before everyone had a cell phone).

I’ve already shared with you the very first conversation we had. And I always try to keep this blog light and funny, because some of the stuff he does say is quite funny. But there was nothing he could do about what happened to him. And there’s nothing he can tell me about what happened to him. All we know is that he had a plain, old-fashioned stroke that should have killed him. But it didn’t. He didn’t have any sense of euphoria. All he can remember from that time is fear. And during his recovery, all he can remember is frustration. In that video, Jill Bolte Taylor talks about all the noise and not being able to pick one voice out of all of it. That’s how it still is for him. Too much noise, too many people, and he cannot discern one from another. So, mostly he doesn’t listen. And that's why he'll never go to a ren faire with me and meet my friends. That's why he never went to a parent/teacher conference for the entire time our kids were in school. Too much activity and noise frustrates him and he doesn't enjoy it. He doesn't outwardly show his dislike, he saves it up and then acts out at home like a spoiled child.

He isn’t ever going to recover. This is it. He’s paralyzed on his right side and he’s got speech and communication problems that will never go away. The blood clot wasn’t just pressing on his brain; it destroyed that part of it. He had to re-learn how to walk and talk and feed and dress himself.

Interestingly, Jill Bolte Taylor says it took her about eight years to recover fully. I think it took eight years for him to figure out he could still work with wood. I don’t remember exactly when he started building things again, but I do remember that I was both relieved and tense. Relieved that he found something to do that would occupy him, but tense in that he was working with power tools and is on blood thinners.

And as you all know, he can do amazing things with wood. Linky-link to photos. And another, and there's the deck he built.

Just now, while I was getting the links for his woodworking photos, he just got all goofy about the theatrical trailer for "Star Trek IV, the Voyage Home" (you know, the one with the whales). "Oh, that's AWESOME! I can't wait till it comes out in theaters! Whew!" and then he laughed so hard he had to sit down. Now he's walking around in the kitchen, "I can't believe it. That movie is gonna be so awesome! Just awesome, man!" and then giggling. He walked by me just now with a bag of fun-size candy bars. "I'm gonna go watch 'Star Trek' and go through some Milky Ways!"

I told him he's not allowed to talk to me anymore today. Then he giggled again.

So yeah, I don't think I'll have him watch the video today. He's in a good mood right now and I don't need to dredge up those feelings of frustrations he gets when he's reminded of what he's lost. Instead, I'll let him sit in the living room, covered in Chis (say it out loud), and watch his nerd movies while eating candy.

Friday, August 12, 2011

I'm a piece of dust, Dale, and the truck battery

"Ohhh, you're not a piece of dust! Why would you say that!?"

Don't worry, my self-esteem is fine. No, I'm a piece of dust because that's what DG told me. This morning (that'd be Friday morning to everyone not reading this the very moment I post it), the boy had to go into work and I had to wait till he was done in the bathroom so I could grab my shower. I was laying on my bed, watching the repeat of "The Daily Show" and DG came in to get dressed (he showers at night). He decided, even with me in it, to start making the bed.

"Aw, damn, girl! He's a keeper!" I can hear you saying.

He makes his side of the bed. I was laying at an odd angle, because I just sort of flopped down on the bed and put my feet up on the folded feather bed that I elevate my feet on at night. I was on my phone, trying to reply to someone on Facebook (shut up, don't judge me) and DG starts straightening his side of the bed. While I was laying across it.

He started by moving all the top bedding. Each tug on the blankets I was situated on was followed by: "Wow, these blankets are really heavy!" *tug* "I don't know why I can't move these things!" *tug* "It feels like something is sort of on top of them..."

Then he started to brush the cat hair off his side of the bed. And he reached me. "Wow, this is a huge piece of dust! Whoooo! Look at that!" and he kept brushing me off with his hand. "I can't get it to move!"

Then he shoved my shoulder to the side in an effort to move me off his side of the bed. I wasn't actually on his side, I was just angled in that way. He kept shoving my shoulder and saying- in between shoves: "Big-shove-piece-shove-of--dust!-shove"

Me: "Really? That's how you're going to do this? Shoving me to the side?"

DG: "Did you hear that? I think the piece of dust is talking to me."

Me: "Piece of dust, really?"

DG: "I think this house is haunted. I hear a voice but its just me and a piece of dust."

He then straightened the top blankets over me (covering my face and my hands with the phone in them). "My bed is so lumpy! Who knew a piece of dust could be so lumpy!"

There you go... A piece of dust.

Later in the afternoon, I had to go to my parents' house. I had to sew some of our ren faire skirts (nothing fancy, just a straight line on one end and straight line on the other). He started texting me. About "Dale".

You're wondering to yourself: "Who the hell is Dale?"

This... this is Dale.

Apparently, Dale here is stealing all our birdseed. You see, we're old now and there's a state law that requires at least two bird feeders to be visible in your yard. We have three.

This is the text conversation.

DG: *blank picture message*

Me: "I didn't get a photo."

DG: "How about now?" *no picture*

Me: "Still no pic. No worries, I'll see it later."

DG: *finally sends the above photo*

Immediately following sends: "Look what I caught."

Me: "lol, okay then."

DG: "What do you think of that? I'm thinking I need to talk to Dale about all the food he ate, what do you think?"

Me: "Yeah, charge him!"

And he resent the photo with this: "How much should I charge? Keep in mind, he's sly, not to say he's so damn cute."

Me: "I dunno."

DG: "Ok. I'll ask him the next time I see him."

There was about a ten minute delay.

DG: "Dale said he's not going to pay nothing because he doesn't have a job. He's also been talking to his bird friends."

Me: "His bird friends? Woody? Big? Donald? Jay? Blue?"

DG: "His bird friend Robin said we got the best food in a two block area."

Me: "I'll take their word for it."

Then he ended up coming over to my parents' house because of the sofa he built that he had to rebuild. He'd put the frame in my dad's garage. My dad wanted it gone.

Well, last Sunday at the faire, my truck decided to not start. I turned the key and got that scarily-too-familiar "click-click-click" sound. Crap... I waited a few minutes, trying to contemplate whether I should go back into the faire and ask for help or text my friend who works at the faire to come out and help... and I turned the key again. Cranked just fine. But on Monday... battery died. I had to jump-start it a few times this week. And over at my parents' house this afternoon, again.

My dad said that the battery was dead, time for a new battery. Great. It was 430 in the afternoon. I said to DG: "I guess I'm going to have to drive your truck to faire this weekend."

DG looked at me and slowly hissed out: "Nooooooooo..."

We ended up at Wal-Mart to get the new battery. When I go places that require a lot of walking, I like to wear proper shoes. I have foot pain (various bone spurs, tendinitis, and so on). But I didn't plan on going anywhere. At all. I was wearing my ugly man-sandals. I was uncomfortable and tired and I just wanted to be here, typing up the two stories above this one. But, I had to go with him because he can't recall details and he doesn't like driving my truck.

At Wal-Mart, he decided to go through the $5 CD bin.

"I'm looking for that one guy."


Me: "Which guy?"

DG: "The guy who sings that song. You know that guy?"

Me: "OH! Yeah, that guy."

DG: "You're mocking me, aren't you?"

Me: "OH! No! Not at all."

He never did find that one guy. But he did get "Afterburner" by ZZTop, which made me feel old. And my mad-movie-identification skills helped some people out. The woman didn't believe me when I said, "I just need the movie plot and maybe one of the actors' names."

This is what she said: "A kid witnesses a murder and there was a black car."

Me: "Was it set in the 40s or 50s? Because that's Road to Perdition with Tom Hanks."

No, it isn't that one, she tells me.

Me: "Then it was The Client with Susan Sarandon"

Boom. I win again.

Oh, his excuse for not letting me drive his truck?

It might get dirty because he just washed and waxed it yesterday.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Don't you DARE say "Time-traveler" because that's not what it is!

I've said it before and I'm gonna say it again- I go to the renaissance faire. I dress up, I talk with a fake accent, I drink from a tankard (water and Gatorade because I don't drink alcohol; I'm the one who has to drive home). So does our 18 year old daughter. Except for the driving part, because she rides with me.

Last weekend was another excellent time at the faire. Saturday was "Day of Wrong" where you're "allowed" to wear anachronistic items with your period garb. I didn't exactly participate, because I'm old and fat and pretty much had no ideas on what I could do. I did wear my shiny red Doc Martens instead of the black Docs that I usually wear (I bought them specifically because they looked like ren faire shoes).

Ceej, on the other hand, looked fabulous, mixing modern clothing with ren faire garb and adding modern accessories (sunglasses and MP3 player). This is her before the gates opened (yes, we get there before opening and stay till closing. Stop laughing, you're a nerd too. Everyone is a nerd for something. DG is a nerd for NASCAR).

Ceej on the "Day of Wrong"

And Ceej with our lovely friend, Loki (we love him, he's so cool). He's a merchant at the faire, so he's not allowed to dress for the Day of Wrong.

Ceej and Loki on the Day of Wrong

And, Ceej after the last joust of the day-

Ceej after the final joust on the Day of Wrong

Also on the Day of Wrong, we found this woman...

Now, I'm not saying Xena, Warrior Princess is "wrong". But you know, she's not exactly what you'd expect to see at a Renaissance Faire. And this is the story that followed when I showed DG this photo:

Jase: "What was Xena doing at a ren faire?"

Me: "I don't know. I guess she was there for the Day of Wrong or something." (there was brief discussion on whether or not Xena was from the renaissance time period or not).

DG: "Maybe she was one- those people- she was a person who traveled back into the future to come from the past."

Me: "You mean Xena's a time traveler?"

DG: "Not that. No. But she goes through time. From her time to another time."

Me: "A time traveler."

DG: "That's not it. She has a machine... and she can move through time..."

Me: "A time machine?"

DG: "Not that. But she goes through time-"

Me: "A time traveler with a time machine."

DG: "That's not what it is!"

Jase: "Dad, is she hoping that with each leap, it will be the leap home?"

DG: "Don't be ridiculous!"

Me: "So, she's a time traveler with a time machine?"

DG: "No! Its wizard-y. A wizard did it. He put a CURSE ON HER!" (and he widened his eyes as far as he could). "SHE'S CURSED!"

Me: "Let me get this straight... Xena is a person who travels from one time period to another, but she's not a time traveler and she does so in a machine that was cursed upon her by a wizard?"

DG: "He's a wizard like Merlin, except he's way worse."

Me: "How is he 'way worse' than Merlin?"

DG: "Merlin was just awful! So anyone worse than him would be more awfuler."


Me: "Okay, there we have it, Xena is a time traveler in a time machine given to her by a horribly untalented wizard. Anything else?"

DG: *thinking for a moment* "Nope. That's it."

And he walked away.

And, because this is my favorite photo from this weekend, I'm sharing it here even though it has nothing to do with the story.

175 of 365/2- Sir Amadeo, the Red Count of Manchua!

(the caption from the photo on Flickr):

Oh, that's right. He loves me. Okay, maybe "love" is too strong a word. He enjoys vexing me. I told him, after the Joust to the Death, that I got a great shot of his killing of Sir Gregory. A few moments later, he was signing a pennant for a kid and I called out: "Sir Amadeo!" he replied and I said, "Will you be in my 365-days-self-portrait-project photo with me?" And he said, "Absolutely."

He came over, I said, "Self-portrait, I have to be in the photo and I have to take the photo" (it isn't a hard concept, obviously). So, we stepped up and this is what he did. He actually licked my sweaty cheek.

I said, "I have jouster's spit on me!"

He said, "I can do more than that!" and embraced me long enough to rub his sweaty, dirty cheek all over my cheek.

And he got blood on the boobshelf.

So, today, along with buckets of rain (which was fun and awesome, seriously), I got Sir Amadeo's spit, sweat, tilt yard dirt, AND his death blood (he's recovered nicely).

I have one person left- Sir Gregory, who keeps avoiding the 365-days photo. After this, I showed Gregory his death photo and then he and Amadeo got into an extremely hilarious and childish kicking match- seriously, kicking at each other's armored shins. Amadeo declared: "the next time we joust, it will be FOR REAL!". I had to threaten to separate them.

I love these guys so much.

You just never know what will set off a little story. Oh, speaking of stories- Ceej and I have told the story of the Rats with Little Nike shoes at the faire. In our ren faire voices. Its hilarious.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Disabled Guy is going to have a conversation with the mouse...

Spoiler alert- he never did catch the damn thing. But, here's the almost-nine-minute long video of the discussion about the mouse. There are special appearances by Ceej, several of the dogs, including Gregg the girl dog with a boy name.

Enjoy the weirdness that is our family.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Doodle Dance, without the Dance, special guest appearance- Bruno

There was talk in the Facebook group about the Disabled Guy and his "Doodle Dance". He said he'd do it, got up, did it, but stopped when I picked up the camera. I posted this in the Facebook group, but I know some of you aren't in that group.

What follows is the discussion. Please ignore the loud TV in the background, I have no clue why it is so loud.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Apparently, I'm a nerd and DG is wearing underwear

It's no secret. I go to the renaissance faire. I even dress up. So does my 18 year old daughter. We both have season passes. Most of you reading this already know that fact. Some might not believe it. So, here's some photographic evidence from an awesome photographer named Tom George Davison. That's his work. You should go see it.

Quite obviously, that's me on the left and our daughter on the right. Well, today is Saturday and I'm not at faire. Sadly, I'm missing today. Ceej, the daughter, is at her college right now for "preview days". She's double-checking some things, meeting her roommate (who she has been talking to for a couple weeks now) and other college kid stuff. I could go without her- and I have- but I also had to drive her to her college on Wednesday. It happens to be about the same distance away as the faire (90 minutes, give or take) and with gas prices the way they are, I can only make that trip twice.

Oh, that's something- she would have driven herself, except last week, some golfer sliced a ball and smashed her windshield. Sadly, we only have liability on that car and we can't get it fixed right now. (Hopefully we can next week). Public golf courses are not liable for damage caused by the golfers. We would have to take it up with the golfer himself, but we have no idea who that was. A new windshield will cost us about $275, installed. That's cheaper than I thought it would be. We're hoping that when the house refinancing goes through, we'll have some extra cash leftover to get the windshield fixed. (the refinancing is a whole other issue that is more rant than entertaining).

So, I'm stuck here while she's off at her college and my friends are enjoying the faire without me. My older daughter (who lives in the same town where Ceej will be in college) is with her now and sent me a text. "Her roommate and her family are nice. Her mom really likes to talk. lol". I read that to the Disabled Guy. He gave me a knowing, slightly mocking look.

He said: "Oh. Wow. Yeah. Nerd."

Me: "What?"

DG: "You're a nerd. NERD!"

Me: "What does that have to do with her roommate's mom?"

DG: "Because you're a nerd and you like to talk to people. NERD!"

Me: "How does me talking have anything to do with being a nerd?"

DG: "You're a nerd and you talk to anyone."

Me: "Nerds are usually antisocial."


I know he was trying to make the connection between my going to the ren faire (where I've been known to talk myself hoarse) and my enjoyment of talking to strangers. Which I do. A lot. I had a conversation the other day at the grocery store with a woman from Tennessee who said she didn't know about the ren faire.

He kept calling me a nerd. Loudly.

Then he said, "I think I'm going to wear underwear today."

Me: "And that means what to me?"

He stood there, at the edge of the bed (I was getting ready to blow-dry my hair) and said, "I'm rounding them up. Puttin' them in a corral. Where they'll be safe. SAFE!" (he used the same loud voice for "safe" as he did for "nerd").

Me: "Putting what in the corral? What the hell are you talking about?"

He turned toward me and said, "Take a look... they're going away. Oooh-doo-doo-dooo-dooodle!" He did what I refer to as "the doodle dance" and said, "One last time! They're going AH-WAAAY-HAAAAY!"

He finally pulled up his underwear (green boxer briefs, just so you know) and declared: "My ass is HUGE!"

Me: "You weighed yourself last night and said you lost 20 pounds." (he did, actually).

DG: "It came back. It was jealous. Green with ENVY! Like my drawers! GREEN!"

I shook my head and asked: "What the hell are you going on about now?"

DG: "You're a nerd!"

Me: "You're telling me that you're going to 'put them in the corral' and 'them' means your junk and 'corral' means underwear. And I'm the nerd?"


So there you go. I'm a nerd, he's wearing green boxer briefs and our daughter's college roommate's mother likes to talk. Also, I'm missing today at the faire. I'm not really all that happy about that. The faire thing, the rest of it is cool with me.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Wrong words, Extra words, Words!

The whole point to the "Conversations" thing is that I'm sharing the humor with you. Sometimes, DG's disability makes him say the goofiest shit. Sometimes he's so funny, we drag it out by asking followup questions ("Rats with little Nike shoes") and sometimes, he just randomly inserts words that make no sense to the situation. That's all part of his disability. And, I only post the conversations and videos that he approves of. I would never make fun of him unless he was in on the joke.

Sometimes his disability makes him say the absolute wrong words- like the time the kids were running around and making noise (they were much younger). He was trying to get them to sit down and watch a movie. So, instead of coming out as a stern: "Sit down and be quiet!", in the same stern-father voice, he declared there was a steering wheel in the coffee table. We didn't have a coffee table at the time.

And sometimes, the disability makes him say extra words that eventually get to the point, when anyone else would have simply gotten to the point. ("You know that guy...")

Years ago, I had a Rottweiler puppy. He was the greatest dog in the world. I read several Rottie books before I brought him home, because I never owned a dog like that before. His name was Kodiak. I still miss him. I shouldn't have worried about training him. That dog was so brilliantly smart that he balanced my checkbook when he was just four months old. (that might not be a true story). So, I trained him with simple, one-word commands. "Sit", "stay", "down", "up"... easy.

Then came the time to train the disabled guy. Sit became: "Sit down". Stay became: "Stay there". "Lay down", "get up"... Luckily, the dog was killer smart and figured it out pretty quickly. But, even with simple one-word commands, the disabled guy's brain just added on extra words.

Today, he's outside fixing a bird feeder. Its a round one, with a plastic tube and a rounded wood-shingled topper on it. Well, it has seen better days. The bottom was almost completely rotted off. So he cut up some scrap wood and made a new round bottom for it. Except now he can't get the top to thread the cable back through. He asked me for help. While were standing there, trying to cram that cable back through the opening that was now half-blocked with rotting wood from the rounded topper, I asked why couldn't he just make a new topper that wasn't all rotted.

With what, he wondered. I threw around suggestions- how about that broken plastic plant pot? Take that bottom thing off, run that cable through, bam, done! No? Then how about you make a roof like on that other birdhouse, run the cable through, bam, done! That other bird feeder is rectangle-shaped and has a straight peaked roof. Can't do it, he says. Its round, that's rectangle. So, I said, you made this (the round bottom), make another one, drill two holes in it for the cable to feed through into the bird feeder frame below and bam, done!

DG: "Huh... that might actually work."

Me: "I know. Tell me I'm smart."

DG: "You're smart."

Me: "Tell me I'm inventive."

DG: "You're so inventive."

Me: "Tell me I'm pretty."

DG: "You're pretty enough." and there was a split second where he paused and then burst out laughing.

Me: "You couldn't say that again if you tried."

DG: "No, I can't!"

At least I didn't have to traipse through a maze of words to figure out what he was saying.

Friday, June 24, 2011

A walking tour of the new deck, sort of...

I figured I'd take my camera out with me and do a little walk-around on the new deck, so you all could see it in all its glory. Gypsy decided that she absolutely had to be outside with me because apparently, something might happen in her absence. So, you get to see her walking around, barking at nothing (because she thought I was talking to people and not a camera). You get to hear my nasally, wheezy, doped-up on Vicodin voice.

All that's left is for him to add some fencing around the bottom, to protect the Chihuahuas from absently running off the end and some of the patio stuff (an Adirondack chair and bench, the patio table, and the other porch swing).

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Deck is finished and a pre-blog story about construction and the Disabled Guy

So, the deck is done.

But first... the pre-blog story...

When we first moved into this house, it had a three-season porch on the back of the house. It was added on to the house decades after it was built. There was a door at the end and one would have to walk all the way into the porch to get into the house through the kitchen. Because of the whackadoo who built this place, there was no room for our fridge in the kitchen. And since the disabled guy lives here, we put our laundry appliances on this enclosed porch instead of down the narrow and harrowing basement steps.

Eventually, somewhere between the shelves and clothes dresser he built, DG decided to cover all but two of the windows (the walls were all windows) and put a wall up in that porch. He'd have to turn a window on the house into a doorway, but that was his plan.

If you've followed this whole deckscapade (see what I did there?), you know that DG uses vise grips and other clamp-like things to hold stuff in place. Well, back then, he didn't have as many of those things as he has now (which is dozens). So, he used to hammer a scrap piece of wood and use that for his bracing/holder/whatnot and then he'd just fix the hole it left after he was done. No problem.

A quick bit of background about me- for those who don't know... I have pain issues (I bitch about them liberally on my fibro blog). Back in those days, my pain problems were limited to Carpal Tunnel syndrome and I would randomly lose the strength in my hand grip. When I worked nights as a security guard (aka: uniformed receptionist that walked a pre-determined route twice a night), I was in charge of a rather large switchboard. During the day, the office lady wore a headset because she fielded thousands of calls. We didn't get that many, so our switchboard had the handset. But, being that it was a switchboard, we didn't have to literally hang it up. We had to hit the "disconnect" button and we could set the handset down on the desk. Well, my carpal tunnel problems- I was known to be in mid-disconnect and I'd lose my grip on the handset and it would scuttle across the desk and off the end. All because of my hands.

So, DG gets all up on this little stepladder to try and drill a block of wood in place. But he can't do it. He gets me to come out there and hands me the drill. He tells me to use the drill to drive this long screw into the block of wood and into the wall behind it. He'd hold the block of wood in place for me.

I held the drill in both hands, poised over the Phillips-head screw. I said, "Do you really think this is a good idea?"

He replied something like: "It has to be done, might as well be you."

I actually did put the drillbit into the screw, but I stopped before pulling the trigger. No, I said. I wasn't comfortable doing it. What if I lost my grip on the heavy drill and dropped it, breaking it? Or what if the drill started spinning and I lost control of it and it slipped off and hit the disabled guy's hand? He's on blood thinners. If you've ever tried to stop someone from bleeding while they're on blood thinners, you'd know that's not all fun and games. Even if it isn't serious. And I told him so. "You take the drill and I'll hold the block of wood." He said fine and we switched places.

Now, another factoid about me- I'm short. I'm actually perfectly average for a woman (five foot, four and a half inches). DG is around five-ten. And he was standing on a stepladder. I'm standing on my tiptoes, arm stretched as far as it can go and I'm holding onto the block of wood. I can't look up because I'm pressed against the wall (between the stepladder and the wall, actually). DG is behind me, getting ready to drill the long screw into the block of wood.

"Hey," I recall saying, "Don't drill into my fingers. I can't see what you're doing to move out of the way."

He replied, "I won't." And we both chuckled.

The drill fired up. I could feel the block of wood vibrating with the impact. Now, this all happened fairly simultaneously.

DG said: "Oh shit!"

The wood made a strange sound (of the drill smacking into it and skipping off it).

And I felt a searing pain in my index finger.

Then I let out a shriek.

That's right. The disabled guy jammed a Phillips head drillbit, which was spinning under the force of a power drill, into the tip of my index finger. I had a flat wart on my finger too, right on the smushy pad- when they fingerprinted me for the security guard job, it looked like a smudged snowflake.

Blood gushed from my finger and I let out the appropriate amount of swear words and I did that automatic "hand shake" one does when they hurt their finger. Blood arced up against the wall and onto the ceiling. I was swearing, crying and laughing. DG was apologizing and laughing.

And we discovered a new and rather effective way to remove simple warts.

Why did I bore you with all this?

Because today, he finished the deck. And it is glorious. He's just got to put fencing along the bottom so our over-excited Chihuahuas don't run right off the edge. I know, that was a tad redundant- "over-excited" and "Chihuahuas".

I was outside with the dogs and didn't take my camera, so there are mobile phone photos of the completed deck. If you're in the Facebook group, you've seen these photos.

The deck!

The opposite corner

The other end...

Then, it poured down rain for about an hour. The sun came out and he went outside to put one of the porch swings together. He said he'd need my help, but I had just gotten home from the store. About a half hour later, he came in to tell me he was ready. When I got outside, the entire A-frame was already put together. It turns out that he can use those clamps and such to hold the frame up while he was able to put everything together. So, all I had to do was help him move it to where we wanted it and then put the bench on the frame.

He of the gimpy leg, me of the "wide-spread pain"- we lifted the frame and shuffled along a few feet to put into place. Then we took the bench and lifted it up. That's right, him with one arm, me with my "grip losing" hands lifted up the solid wood bench. Now, if you've seen his photos or the videos, you know his arm is fairly muscular and strong. There isn't much he can't do, even with only one arm.

I was holding the bench with one hand and I lifted it up so I could slip the chain-link over the hook thingy (it isn't a hook, I don't know what its real name is). Just as I got the link up, DG lost his grip on his chain. He didn't drop it, but it slipped. I didn't drop my end either, because I'd just gotten the link up over the hook thingy, but it did drop a bit. My left hand was suddenly and searingly painfully twisted into the chain. (it splits into a Y). I let out a string of swear words and lifted up the bench. I got my hand loose, still swearing, and shook it (no blood!). Then I quickly lifted the chain up over the hook thingy for DG so he could let go of his end.

I immediately iced my hand. Currently, there are three odd-shaped bruises forming. The part that caught the chain-tangle is that smushy, fleshy bit in between the thumb and index finger. You know, right where the utensil sits when you eat. Or the spine of a book while you read. Or the key chain when you pick up your car keys. And in my case, where the mouse for my computer rests against my hand when I'm mousing on the computer.

If the bruises darken to a lovely shade of black and/or blue, I'll take photos.

People want to be our friend... only because we're #7

DG doesn't spend much time online. Even when he did, it was mostly playing online games or reading NASCAR stuff I searched for him. So, when I come across a funny video or an article, I'll show him, or read the pertinent parts out loud. When it comes to article-reading though, I have to translate English into Disabled Guy Stroke-English, which means mostly changing words like "pertinent" to "important".

I was reading this article from and of course, started reading parts of it out loud to him. When I was done, I said, "We're on that list. People want to be our friend because we drive pickup trucks."

DG: "Why?"

Me: "Because, like the article said- everyone has to move sometime..."

He replied: "Ah..." and I figured that was that. But moments later, he said, "How do they know we drive pickup trucks?"

Me: "Who?"

DG: "Those people."

Me: "What people?"

DG: "The ones who wrote the article."

Me: "They don't. I said it. The article-writer has no idea who we are."

DG: "Oh. So he doesn't read your blog?"

Me: "Its your blog and no, probably not."

DG: "Then why would he want to be our friend?"

Me: *sigh* "He doesn't want to be our friend. Number seven on the list of 'friends people need' is the guy with a pickup truck. And that's us. We're guys who drive pickup trucks." (he drives a full-size Chevy Silverado shortbed. I drive a mid-size four-door Chevy Colorado. Plus, he has a utility trailer).

It took him a few moments to process this and then he said, "Fine. I don't want to be his friend either."

In deck-related news, last night at almost 9 PM (it was still light out), I went outside to check on him. He was almost done. He had three railing posts left to put in (then the railings). I asked if he was going to stay out and finish since he was so close. Nope. He was coming in right after he attached the railing to the posts.

He ran out of the screw-in post anchors. Three posts short!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Disabled Guy doesn't want to hear about our logic

If you're in the group on Facebook, I already posted this there. But, I figured I should post it here for those of you who aren't in the group or on Facebook or even my parents. I know my parents aren't on Facebook.

I had some time to kill before I started dinner (which is cooking as I type this), so I went outside to discuss the deck with DG. I suggested he move his tools from one end of the deck to the other, where it was closer to his work area. Luckily, he was in a good mood and even went on with the video after I went back inside to get my camera.


Friday, June 10, 2011

The Disabled Guy... HE KNOWS HE'S DISABLED!

I'm a fairly active member over on the Regretsy website. And the regular readers here know that the lovely woman who runs the site helped us when we needed to raise money to send our daughter to New York City with the high school orchestra.

Also, I've been on the Internet now for approximately eight years, give or take a few months. I have called the spouse "The disabled guy" for pretty much that entire time. Now, I don't expect someone to automatically know all this stuff. I mean, if you didn't know me, it wouldn't make much sense, right? But, if you lurk for more than ten minutes anywhere that I'm a regular participant, then you'd know who I am and that I call him "the disabled guy". Big shocker- he knows he's disabled!

Regretsy is "NSFW" (not safe for work) because of the swearing that is not only common, but encouraged. (also, sometimes the day's featured items are mature in content). Today's first post was about a dress that is designed to look like a urinal.

This is a screen cap of my comment-

I thought I'd get a few pity "thumbs up" because when you're a regular, some people just like what you say, even if it sucks. But, an hour or so later, I went back and discovered some replies to my comment. The first one had been "hidden due to low comment rating".

And then some others got involved...

And then I came back and left these two comments (we have a 1000 character limit on comments).

Why did I tell you all this? Why did I make you read all that crap? Because, after all that, I went outside and did a video with the Disabled Guy. This video also shows him working on the deck. MONTHS AGO someone asked me how he does woodworking with only the use of one hand and I said he uses clamps and vise grips. Once in a while, he'll ask for help. In fact, just the other day, he had to get me to come outside and help him move a huge board that had some other boards attached to it. It was one of the support beams for the deck and it was too long for him to maneuver by himself. So I helped. Took me all of forty-five seconds and he was back to work.

But enough of this typing and reading crap. You came for the video. And here it is... since it he was speaking quietly, I added the captions so you could "hear" what he was saying. He was also talking quietly on purpose because I was doing the video.


EDITED TO ADD: The Regretsian who originally asked if the disabled thing was relevant is okay and says she's (I'm assuming "she" because of the "Krissy" part of the name) started reading the blog. So, heeeey! Welcome. I hope you enjoy the insanity that is the Disabled Guy.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Disabled guy, holey gloves, hummingbird

Today we received the letter with the results of that doctor visit we had a few weeks ago. Don't you like how I say "we"? Well, I figure that I deserve some acknowledgement because I'm putting up with the bullshit too. Back to the letter.

I stepped outside onto what was left of the deck (he's tearing up the part near the door, which means I don't get to leave the house- unless I go out the other door, but don't tell anyone about that). With great flourish, I opened the envelope. He grabbed the deck for support, his eyes wide with expectation...


The Disabled Guy... STILL DISABLED!

I KNOW! I was shocked that he hasn't miraculously and suddenly recovered the use of the half of his body that was paralyzed by a stroke that happened sixteen years ago. So was he.

He said, "I saw a hummingbird." and before I could answer, he said, "It was over there, then over there, and then it went by my truck and then... *poof* it went away."

I asked, "What was it doing?"

He replied, "Humming." Then he asked me for a bottle of water.

I said, "You're awfully bossy for a guy who can't get into the house." Then I stepped inside and closed the door.

He merely looked at me, eyes narrowed. "Fine. I don't need your stinkin' water."

I brought back a bottle of water for him because I'm just that nice. I even opened it so he wouldn't have to take off his work glove to do it himself. Then I waited, because he tends to just guzzle the whole bottle. When he was done, I took the bottle and shook out the last remaining drops of water on him.

He exclaimed: "HEY! Stop it!" then he looked down at his arm, where the water hit him and said, "Great, now I have a clean spot."

I replied, "It won't last long."

His jaw dropped, "What's that mean!? Bah! Go back inside." And he waved his gloved hand at me. There are large holes in his glove. "My glove has holes in it. It's a holy glove!" and he laughed, very pleased with himself.

I said: "Oh, you're very clever today."

DG: "I am, I know. My holy glove..." and he waved his hand again, "Begone!"

So now apparently, it isn't just "holy", it is also magic.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

"That thing. You know, that thing you do. You go to it..."

"You went last week. That thing. You know that thing... right?"

DG wanted to know: "Why didn't you go to that thing?"

Me: "What thing?"

DG: "That thing. You know, that thing you do. You go to it. You went last week. That thing, you know that thing... right?"

I didn't go anywhere last week. I had an assumption of what he was talking about though, but I wanted to be sure. And since I didn't answer right away, he added: "You know that thing. You dress up for it."

Ah, that thing. My assumption was correct. He was talking about the renaissance faire. So I said, "That was two weeks ago and it was just the small faire." He didn't reply so I continued: "Janesville has a small two-day faire in May. The big faire doesn't start till July 9th." (Bristol)

DG: "Why didn't you go?"

Me: "It hasn't started yet."

DG: "But you have that thing." (I saved up my loose change for six months and made a couple sales in my etsy shop and got myself a season pass- which is the thing he's referring to here).

Me: "I know, but the faire isn't open to the public till July 9th."

DG: "And how long does that last?"

Me: "Every weekend from July 9th to Labor Day. And I plan on going every single day."

DG: "How are you going to do that?"

Me: "Because it's every weekend. Why can't I go every day?"

DG: "Oh. The weekend. Okay."

Then I went on with my photo editing and he went back to his NASCAR (being Saturday, it isn't actual NASCAR, it's Busch. But it isn't even called that anymore. They changed the name a few years ago, but for descriptive purposes in our house, it's still NASCAR and Busch).

A few minutes later he asked: "If it only happens on the weekend, what do those people do all week?"

Me: "What people?"

DG: "The ones you know. Those people... with the pictures." (I have photos on the wall by my desk- people I call friends. One of them, I've known for eight years now- even before I started going to faire. He flies up once a year now for a weekend at Bristol).

Me: "That depends on the people. Some of them are from the area, they have jobs during the week. Some of them travel from faire-to-faire. It depends really. Some of them are touring, but they're also from the area, so I assume they go home now and then. But most of the jousters are from really far away. I have no idea what they do... plus, they have horses they have to take care of, so it isn't like they can just fly home."

DG: "How would they get the horse on the plane?"

Me: "I guess they put them in a carry-on."

DG: "Don't be ridiculous. A horse would need a carrier in the bottom of the plane. Sheesh, woman."

Me: "The guys with the horses have a hard time flying because they also carry swords."

DG: "As long as they don't carry nail files, I guess they're okay."

Then he let it go for a few minutes. Then he asked: "What kind of day job does someone from there have?"

So I told him of the few I knew. A few work in offices. There is one I know who is a student. One of the jousting knights does amazing leather work. Some don't have other jobs, their touring job is their job. He wasn't satisfied. He keeps pondering what they do during the week. I even told him there are rehearsals and training (especially with the acrobats and jousters).

He seems to be calm now. I want him to go to the faire with me just one time. NASCAR has bi-weeks now and then and I think he should go with me at least once. I'd love for him to see some of the shows (Barely Balanced, especially) and see the joust. Meet some of my friends. And, you'd think the ren faire cleavage would be enough to convince him to go. But he's been holding out. Maybe his sudden interest in my friends is the start... maybe he'll go.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Manwich and Meatloaf

For those who don't know, the Disabled Guy almost died. It was in September 2009, which was before I started this blog. It was about six months after my total-knee replacement surgery and if you've never had one, well, they're a bitch to recover from. People recover at different rates and it's a hugely major surgery. At this point, I was walking without a cane, but I had to be careful about how I walked (where I put my feet and such) and I was also slow to stand up- that's important to this little story.

For that do know, you've also read the story in the local newspaper.

So, I had gone to the VA hospital for a regular doctor appointment. That meant, not only was I tired from the hour's drive there and back, I had to traipse all over the damn hospital, because that's how they do things there. DG cooked dinner that night- which I appreciated. He made meatloaf, which none of us appreciated. We're not fans of meatloaf, but it's cheap and easy. The kids really disliked meatloaf and they would always complain about having it. But hey, they don't pay the bills, right?

For some reason, DG had gone to McDonald's that day for lunch, but didn't think it was worth telling us. And when I asked him what he'd had for lunch, he replied: "Soda." *pause* "Cakes and... stuff." I finally got it out of him that he'd gone to McDonald's and we all teased him about "soda. Cakes and stuff." While we were eating dinner, we were still joking, like we tend to do, and laughing about stuff.

DG made a comment, took a forkful of food, and then started to laugh.

About a half-second later, he started to choke. If you've only witnessed choking in the TV/movie sense, let me tell you, it is nothing at all like that. At all. He went from fine, laughing to no sound and purple in a matter of seconds. I know how to do the Heimlich. I used to be certified in the whole CPR stuff when I worked as a security guard (I was a shift supervisor, so I was apparently required to be CPR certified). But you just don't forget it because your card expires, but I digress.

I was sitting right next to DG when this happened. Jase was next to him, but on end of the table. (Jase was 17 then, just so you know). We simultaneously realized that he was choking. I started to stand up, but I wasn't standing up very fast. I had my hand on the back of my chair and I was half-standing and I said: "Jason..." and he was already on his feet.

I still remember what I was trying to say. I was going to say: "Jason, do the Heimlich. I can't." (or "I can't get up"). But, I said, "Jason" and he was already moving. Jase stood behind him, grabbed him and did it, three times. The third time, up came everything.

Yeah, by the way, that's something they don't tell you when they teach this- the person getting the Heimlich almost always will throw up. Everything.

Well, quite obviously, we have not made meatloaf for dinner since. Not once in nearly two years. Not that we're complaining.

Onto the Manwich part of the title. The very second blog post I did here was about Hamburger Sams.

Today is Friday. My youngest daughter works as a hostess in a dinner club and she leaves for work at 330 PM. Jase had his first day at his new job (Gander Mountain!) and I didn't know what time he'd be home. And my oldest daughter is coming home for the weekend (she lives an hour and a half away). So, I decided to make Manwich/Sloppy Joes for dinner and put it in the crock pot so it would be ready to eat any time, for anyone.

I walked downstairs and said to DG: "I'm making Manwich for dinner tonight."

He looked up, a horrified expression on his face. "Why?!"

I glanced around and looked back at him. "Why what?"

His eyes narrowed and he asked: "What did you say?"

I replied: "Manwich... you know... sloppy Joes."

He exclaimed, "Oh! Okay, yeah. Okay."

I had to ask: "What the hell did you think I said?"

"Meatloaf!" and he shuddered. "Uuggh!"

I should have just said Hamburger Sams.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Deck update- Deckdate?

In the most recent "Squirrel Protection Agency" post, I shared photos of the deck's progress. The Disabled Guy had a few days of not working because of rain. And a few just because he "didn't feel like it". Mostly, I think it was because he got a sunburn and he felt like crap for a few days after.

But he's made some progress.

From Ground Level-

The new deck is coming along

Someone once asked me how he does things with only one hand. He uses clamps and such and some of those clamps are visible in this photo.

The new deck...

The other part of the deck, the part that used to be the "lower deck". I hope he finishes soon. I'm getting tired of walking the long way around the whole mess just to take the dogs out.

The new deck.

In case you don't remember the mess and you don't want to click the link to the Squirrel story, here's a photo of that-

I have to come out of the house over by where you can see the red stuff through the railings (that's my truck), then down the steps there, then around the trailer and then through/around that mess of boards and swing frame. I'd rather just walk over to the other side of the deck and open the gate. But with all that crap between me and the rest of the yard, I can't see the dogs. I have to go all the way into the yard with them.

And if you don't think that's something to complain about, then you don't read my fibro blog.
Disabled guy sighting!

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Disabled Guy and paper underpants

Last month sometime, we got a packet of forms from the State of Wisconsin. That makes it a bit convenient since we live in Wisconsin. The forms were long and a little complicated. I told DG about it, since we'd have to do them together (some of it required knowing how he felt at that particular moment and such). Then we sort of forgot. A week later, we got a reminder letter, gently nudging us to send the forms back.

Instead, I called the number they included so I could ask some questions before we dove into the ridiculous mess. I dialed the number, then at the prompt, the extension. Then I got the voicemail message of the person who sent the letter, stating the typical "can't take your call because I'm on another line or away from my desk"... I left the appropriate message with both our land line and my mobile numbers. Nothing. They never called back.

A week later, they sent another packet of papers, this one stating we had a doctor appointment- and when I say "we", obviously I mean him- for May 20th. I had to fill out a form saying that DG would go to that appointment. I sent that form back. Days later, I got another form telling me that I had accepted the appointment and that I should return this form to them upon completion of said appointment and they'd send us a check for $11.68. Then the doctor's office sent us a bunch of paperwork that I had to fill out.

All so we could see if the Disabled Guy was still disabled.

A quick run-down: April 13, 1995 a 28-year-old man suffered a massive stroke. The result of said stroke left him paralyzed on his right side. He has no use of his right hand or arm, eventually he started to walk, but with a significant limp. He also had to re-learn how to speak and even now, 16 years later, still has trouble with that part. Within six months of the stroke, he was approved for SSI (Supplemental Security Income) and a couple months later, he was approved for SSD (Social Security Disability). He has never had to go to a doctor appointment to determine his disability that wasn't related to the veteran's hospital. So, he's been receiving disability on a monthly basis, since late 1995. And now, in 2011, they decide he needs an exam by a doctor that is not his own, to determine if he's disabled.

The doctor, after explanation as to why we were even there, asked, "Why are you even here?" then after I said I didn't know, he shrugged and said, "Oh well..."

Before the doctor came in, though, we had to do the usual with the nurse. Blood pressure, weight, height... you know the drill. After she did all that, she said to DG: "Now, I'm going to need you to remove all your clothes, down to your underwear, and put on the gown."

When she got to "underwear", DG's eyes darted around and he chuckled, which made me laugh. Before I could explain to the nurse, DG said: "Uhh... well... I don't wear underwear." and he turned a few shades of red.

She said, "Oh, you're not the first and you certainly won't be the last!" and pulled a pair of paper shorts out of a drawer.

DG wasn't too thrilled about the paper underpants. When we were alone in the room, he took off his clothes and put on the paper underpants. At his request, I cropped the photo to his liking (he's not happy with the 220 pounds he weighs). But I also took a photo of him from behind, so you can catch a glimpse of his paper underpants. Which, by the way, he had to keep pulling up because they didn't fit properly.

As you all know, he's a total ham.

Blue paper underpants.

After he changed and climbed up on the exam table, he sat there, swinging his left leg and looking around the somewhat bare room. Then he started making faces. And if I wasn't looking at him, he'd make noises. Fish lips, "blurp-blurp". Duckface followed by a bad impression of the Burgess Meredith "Penguin" from the old "Batman" TV series (I don't know why a duck-face sounded like the Penguin).

DG: "Hurry up, guy. I'm sitting here naked!"

Me: "You're not naked."

DG: "This is paper!"

Me: "Just the shorts."

DG: "Still! That's wrong!" Then back to the face-making and weird noises.

I asked him why he was making noises. He replied, "It wasn't me." When I asked who it was, he answered: "Bob." When I told him I didn't know anyone named Bob, he said: "Well, you do now!"

So, the doctor finally comes in. And I explain to him what I told you all above. More than once the doctor expressed his confusion as to why we were even there. He did the exam, which was typical. Asked if he was paralyzed, how much use of his arm and hand he had, if he could walk, how long he could stand. He asked if he had any trouble with communication. DG said, "No."

I exclaimed, "What!?"

DG: "I don't!"

I said to the doctor, "He does. He's got aphasia and apraxia. I mean, I even write a blog about him called Conversations with the Disabled Guy." (that made the doctor chuckle) And we established that he does indeed have some communication issues, but he can carry on a fairly normal conversation. And that was meant loosely- because obviously not every conversation we have ends up on this blog.

Then he had to ask him ridiculous things like having DG identify things around the office (the doctor's tie, the knot at the top, where we were [DG said "Earth"], ink pen, glasses, and so on). Then he asked DG to repeat this sentence, verbatim: "For a nation to be independent and secure, it needs an abundant supply of oil."

DG's eyebrows went up. He stared intently at the doctor. He raised his hand slightly, as if he were going to grasp the words in the air. "Can I get you to say that again?"

Doctor: *speaking slowly, but not pausing* "For a nation to be independent and secure, it needs an abundant supply of oil."

DG watched him with such intensity that I thought he was going to end up kissing the doctor. He looked at me and I knew that if I said the first three words, he would have picked it up, but I couldn't. That's why we were there- to show his disability. DG said: "Uh... one more time?" So he said it again. And again. And a fifth time.

Each time, DG stared at the doctor, his eyes as wide as his squinting would allow (DG has squinty eyes). And he'd glance at me, then he'd look back at the doctor. And the whole time, he had his hand raised slightly.

After the fifth time, DG said: "For... the... world... the world... has... this ain't gonna happen!" and he laughed at himself. I was so glad he laughed at himself. Because it was downright painful to see that look of complete confusion on his face and not be able to help him.

After it was all over, the doctor said he wasn't allowed to comment on whether or not he was disabled. And he read a statement on his paperwork that said something like: "DO NOT discuss the health of the applicant/patient. DO NOT reveal your findings to the applicant/patient." So, basically, he wasn't allowed to say, "Yup, you're disabled."

I said, "Damn. Now I gotta change the name of the blog!"

And we all three laughed. The doctor told us we were done and DG could get dressed and we could leave.

When the doctor left the room, DG stood up quickly and said, "Let me get these goddamn things off my ass!"

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Squirrel Protection Agency and the Squirrel Bureau of Investigation Part Two

I've been a bit sidetracked this week. I've got my own health issues that I've been dealing with and part of those kept me up till 5 AM on Thursday. Three and a half hours of sleep and I was back up and at 'em for the day.

DG has been rebuilding the deck, as I mentioned before. (his toe, turns out it wasn't broken, but it ended up with a lot of gross blood and oozing at the base of the toenail and he's going to eventually lose that toenail- so there's an image for you). Well, he's also sunburned himself- his "starter burn" is what we call it. Every year, he takes his pale body out, shirtless and just burns himself to a crisp. Then he reeks of cocoa butter lotion- which I hate.

At the end of this conversation, I'll post photos of the deck so far.

DG gets up at 6 AM most days. He's stopped walking since he started building the deck. And by that, I mean he's stopped walking for exercise, not that he's dragging himself along with his one good arm. He gets downstairs around ten after six. By then, I've been up for over an hour and have started what little work I actually do online or something that looks mysteriously like I'm not working. Most days, I go back to bed for an hour nap or even just to lie down. It really depends on how crappy I feel. But I digress.

This morning, he came downstairs, all excited. Because he saw the "witness protection squirrel" from the window on our staircase landing. I said then he wasn't doing a very good job at hiding if not only was he witnessed, but he was recognized. I really think cutting his tail off was a mistake- he's more recognizable now.

Moments pass and I go into the kitchen to get the last of my morning stay-alive medicine where DG starts talking about the squirrel again. I was only half-listening so I asked him what he was talking about.

DG: "I dunno. I could tell you, but I'd have to kill you. They have strict rules about this sort of thing!"

I waited a few moments (because I was taking my medicine) and then I asked: "So, about the Squirrel Protection Agency-"

DG interrupted me with: "SHHHHH!"

Me: "But the Squirrel Protection Agen-"

DG: "They're out there!"

Me: "Who is?"

DG: "The X-files!"

Me: "What do the X-files have to do with squirrels?"

DG: "They're in cahoots!"

He was quite entertained by his "cahoots" statement, so I let it go for a few more minutes. He had to laugh it out. Then I said, "Wouldn't they be the S-Files?" When he didn't reply, I asked, "Are you afraid they're gonna cut your tail off?"

DG wiggled his butt from side-to-side and said, in a sing-song voice: "I ain't got no tail!" *butt-wiggle* "They done shot my ass off anyway." As he walked past me he said, "They shot my ass off and it got scared and all of it came up here." *he patted his sunburned belly*

I sighed and asked, "What the hell is wrong with you?"

He answered with a sigh: "It's been a long morning."

Me: "You've been awake for seventeen minutes!"

DG: "It's been a long seventeen minutes!"

I came back to my desk, so I could scribble down some notes (I didn't want to forget the details of this conversation). From the kitchen, I hear DG exclaim: "Oh, NO!"

Me: "What's the matter? Are you scared of the squirrel mafia?"

He poked his head in from the kitchen: "NO! Shhhhhhh!!"

He finished making his coffee and I finished my notes. A few minutes later, Ceej came downstairs. DG was sitting in the living room, with his coffee, watching TV and I said to Ceej: "The SPA is out."

Ceej: "What does that mean?"

Me: "It means it's been a long half hour since your dad woke up."

DG, from the living room: "What'd she say!?"

Me: "She's talking about the Squirrel Protection Agency!"

DG: "Who told her!? I didn't tell her!"

Me: "She knew about it. There's a leak in your department."

If you're in the Facebook group, you know about the "ET" conversation that followed.

DG: "Here, this is the X-files."

Me: "That's 'ET', it isn't an X-file."

DG: "It should be."

Me: "Are there squirrels?"

DG: "Probably. I can't say. I'm not at liberty."

He's not at liberty to say anything about the Squirrel Protection Agency, the Squirrel Bureau of Investigation, or the S-Files. So whatever you've heard, you didn't hear it from him!

And now the photos...

The tear-down from last week.

The tear-down

He left half of the upper deck in place because of the dogs and for convenience, really.

The tear-down

This is the expanded part of the upper deck (it will all be upper deck when it's all done). But this is so the two parts of the deck meet up without a gate or whatnot. He dug up all those shrubs a day or two ago, put the framework up, then put the shrubs back today. He got done with those and then it started to rain.

The new corner section

The lower-deck, which will be all one level when it gets done.

The other side

The yard!

Our yard...

From Ground level-

From the back part of the yard.

Disabled guy sighting!

Disabled guy sighting!

DG says: "Hee-eeeey!" (he's putting his tools away because it started to rain- without the rain, he works till it gets dark).

DG says "Hey!"

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Broken toe...

It seems that the Disabled Guy broke his big toe.

Yesterday (Tuesday for all you later readers), he went to Home Depot to get the wood he'll need to rebuild the deck. And he was gone for over six hours- no exaggeration. Now, it's about a half our to forty-five minute drive to Home Depot (depending on traffic), so if we say it took an hour for the driving, we still have five hours of time AT the Home Depot.

He got home around seven and he was limping. I asked what happened- he's got some just plain old "I'm getting older" arthritis in his knees but won't admit it, so I figured he just overdid it. He said he dropped a piece of Plexiglas on his foot. I asked why he bought a piece of Plexiglas but he didn't- his dad gave it to him last October for some reason. We don't know why. His parents do that a lot, just give him junk they don't want or have no use for anymore.

After he ate dinner (chicken casserole, he had thirds), he took off his shoe and showed me his foot. His big toe is swollen and has a blue-green bruise under the nail. I said he probably broke his toe. He denies it. We had this conversation that I posted on the Facebook page- about the Home Depot employees and why he didn't ask for help.

I asked: "Why didn't you ask for help? That's their JOB!"

He said: "They offered, I said no." I told him he was crazy and normal people would have taken the help. He replied (slightly jokingly): "I didn't want to seem needy."

Yeah, needy. By having employees do what they're paid to do.

So this morning, he's limping bad. Real bad. I told him if it swells more or gets worse, we'll go in to the ER. A trip to his ER involves a sixty-mile one-way drive. And all they'll really do is X-ray it, tell him to stay off it, and give him Ibuprofen. (can you tell I've broken my toe before?).

He says his toe is not broken. But he's in pain. He won't take anything for it, because *wince, groan* It isn't broken.

I said: "You don't know that."

DG: "Yes, I do, it's my toe!"

Me: "True, but I know what a broken toe feels like and you're walking and acting like you have a broken toe."

DG: "I am not!" (cue limping and wincing)

Me: "That's the broken toe walk."

DG: "I'm not dancing."

Me: "I said walk."

DG: "I didn't go on my walk."

I did a real life "facepalm" then. Sometimes, talking to him is a real life "Who's on first" conversation.

He keeps insisting that his toe is not broken. I keep asking how would he know. "You don't have X-ray vision."

DG: "You don't know that! Maybe I do!"

Me: "Except that you don't."

DG: "Yeah..."

When I say it's broken, he replies that it's just "really badly bruised."

Me: "So bruised that you broke it."

DG: "I DID NOT! It was the Plexiglas."

Me: "So you admit you broke your toe."

DG: "NO! Wait, did I? I didn't mean to! I was tricked! THERE'S TRICKERY AFOOT!"

Me: "Yeah, trickery broke the toe on your foot."

DG: "That's not funny!"

Me: "Yes, it is. You broke your funny toe."

DG: "My toe is not funny!"

I told Jase: "Ask your dad about his broken toe."

Jase: "What about your broken-ass toe?"

DG: "I didn't break it."

Ceej: "But he's limping around on it and making pain-faces."

DG: "My face don't hurt!"

So, Who's on first, what's on second and I don't know is on third.

Just now-

Me: "Why don't you think you broke your toe?"

DG: "The toe didn't swell."

Me: "But it is swollen."

DG: "The toe didn't turn black."

Me: "It doesn't have to turn black!"

DG: "It's just really bruised. There's blood up under the toe, that's why it's all black there."

Me: "You broke your toe."

DG: "I didn't break my got-damned toe! I can move it!"

Me: "You can move a broken toe. It just hurts like a sonavbitch."

DG: "Well, it hurts. But I didn't break it."

Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Wheelchair lady

We were coming home from the grocery store the other day- he goes with me on the "big shop" on the last day of the month. The route home takes us across a shopping center's car park. It's got one store in it now (a dollar store of some kind, I don't remember which chain) and a hospital's "this-side-of-town clinic" and that's it, just a vast expanse of sparsely-used parking lot. It is also within view of a couple apartment complexes that are for seniors. By "seniors", I speak of our elders, not the hyperactive teens in their last year of high school (or is mine the only one that seems hyperactive?). Not a nursing home, but an actual apartment complex that caters to the older generation and has activities but everyone lives in their own flat. My grandmother lived in one and it was quite nice.

Anyway, we're shooting across this car park- and it was windy that day, and it was starting to sprinkle- and there's an older woman in one of those electric wheelchair/scooter things. She had an umbrella tilted against the wind and was obviously heading toward the grocery store. She's one of a handful you can see on a regular basis. What they usually do is leave their electric scooter at the grocery store's cart section, plugged in, and use the store's electric cart. Which is kinda cool, because the store could totally be jerks about it, but they're not.

DG looks at her and says something along the lines of how much that has to suck. So, I point out the elderly-living complex and say she's probably from there, so it isn't a biggie.

DG: "What if she breaks down?"

Me: "You mean, what if her battery dies?"

DG: "Okay, that then."

Me: "You don't think she knows if her battery is fully charged or not? I think she'd take care of it before leaving, but okay."

DG: "So she'd get stuck out here, in the rain!"

Me: "You don't think someone would stop and offer to help? Or at least stop and offer the use of a cell phone if she didn't have one?"

DG: "No, people are jerks."

Me: "I'm not. I'd stop and offer a ride or at least my cell phone."

DG: "You're not normal. Normal people wouldn't stop. She'd be stuck there all night."

Me: "It's noon. You don't think in the eight hours between now and 'dark' she'd not get help?"

DG: "Let's say she left in the dark."

Me: "But she didn't, she left in the daytime. It's NOON, she'll be fine, even if she loses her battery power."

DG: "Let's say she leaves at like four o'clock..."

Me: "It doesn't get dark till around eight, she's got four hours. I think she'd be fine."

DG: "Let's say she leaves at four o'clock in the winter and then she has a blowout!"

Me: "Now she's having a blowout? A second ago her battery died."

DG: "She's stuck there and nobody will help her because you're not there and then the thugs come out."

Me: "The thugs only come out at night?"

DG: "You didn't know? So they put her up on blocks and steal her tires! They got rims on those, you know."

Me: "So, you're saying that she would leave her house an hour from darkness and her battery would die-"

DG: "Or she'd blowout."

Me: "Or she'd have a blowout and then nobody would help her. Nobody would help a woman in an electric wheelchair in the middle of a parking lot, just stranded? They'd just leave her there?"

DG: "People are jerks, man."

And then we got home and he dropped the entire subject, fast. It was as if, once home, the poor, stranded wheelchair lady was of no consequence. We can only assume she made it back to her home, unscathed. I mean, there was nothing in the news about a wheelchair lady, put up on blocks and wheel-less till morning.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Rebuilding the deck and such...

Years ago... years and years... I'd say, 2003? I'm not sure exactly, but it was before Shawn came to visit in 2004... but back then, DG built the deck on the back of the house. A few years later (after 2006- I know this because I have photos), he added an extension to the deck because "the swing was tearing up" the grass. It wasn't the swing, it was the kids' feet, but back to the moment at hand.

I must warn you now. I'm going to show some photos. In a few of these photos, DG is shirtless. Please, contain yourselves.

Here are some photos of DG building the deck. These were mostly taken with a webcam, because that's all I had back then. So it HAD to be around 2003.

Me, starting the deck

Me again

The deck

And here, he's almost done.

me finishing the deck

The finished deck.

The deck.

And, after a few years, he built the swing. And that's when he had to put the extension onto the deck. I asked him why he didn't just make the second part of the deck the same height and he can't answer me. Seriously, I just asked him. He said, "I dunno... the deck with the two levels... *mumble-mumble*... kinda cool... I wasn't thinking..." and he trailed off (see, NASCAR is on, he's distracted).

Some of these were done with a better-than-webcam camera, because by then, one of my online friends had given me a Polaroid digital camera.

Deck extension



The deck

the back of the deck-

So, you see the deck and how he built it all by himself. It's a damn fine deck too. Great place for photo set-ups and we don't use it nearly enough. Well, it's old now. Almost ten years old. And he never treated it with anything, so he's just going to rebuild the whole thing. And he decided he would build the whole deck, all one height. So I had some questions.

Obviously, I wanted to know why he was going to leave the steps in the same spot.

He said because he didn't want to build a new brick walkway, and he'd have to move a bunch of shrubbery.

Very well then.

If you look at the photo of the deck, you can see how only a small corner matches up to a small corner of the other part of the deck. Why not just extend the upper deck a little and make the whole thing one big deck at that end?

He said because he'd have to dig up six or seven shrubs and "find new places" for them. He doesn't want to do this. He just now tried to tell me he'd have to get more shrubs. Or he'd need less and would have leftover shrubs. So, I used an Australian Cadbury bar to represent the deck against the house and a greeting card to represent the extended part and explained it to him. But for you, I'll show you in MS Paint. The black part represents the deck (for the most part, I didn't add the part that goes around the corner to our door). The green part- those are the shrubs... the number is approximate. The red square indicates what I think he should do for the deck, moving those shrubs to the outer edge of it.

So, I asked him- why not do this? I showed him several times, using my props and explaining how it would just be all one open deck at the end instead of a whole separate room-like thing. And he can keep the steps where they are (his original plan).

He said, "But it won't work." And I showed him again. "I'd need more shrubs!" then it was, "I'd have extra shrubs."

So I said, "You don't want to do it that way because it'd be more work?"

DG: "Yes! NO! Stop it!"

Me: "Stop what?"

DG: "Making sense. We'll have to talk about it later!" and he was quiet for a moment. "Stop trying to fuse me with logic."

Me: "Fuse you?"

DG: "Yeah. Stop trying to infuse your logic on me! It won't work!"

But it looks like when he rebuilds the deck, he's going to extend it about five feet and join the two levels into one deck. Now, the reason he's not just going to make one giant deck, in one huge rectangle is- we have that shrubbery, but also, some flowers. AND, he parks his truck at an angle there. A full rectangle in that size would make us lose one of our parking spaces.

Speaking of parking spaces, before this discussion of the extension and such, I asked him why he didn't put the steps by the door, actually by the door. They're sort of off-center. His excuse was because of how we park our vehicles now. We have a single-wide driveway and six years ago, we put gravel up to the house so we could park there too. His excuse for the steps was because of this. I said, "But we didn't all drive back then. In fact, till two years ago, it was just you and me."

So he said, "I didn't want to walk out the door and BOOM right into the steps!"

Except that's how it was before. Literally. We opened the door and the three steps down were RIGHT there.

He told me I needed to stop showing my brain and using all this logic on him. Because it's a bad thing.

In completely unrelated news, I opened an etsy shop to continue to sell my photos. We still have thirteen birdhouses leftover from the etsy shop for the NYC trip. If you want one, let me know, we can do a paypal kind of thing without the etsy involvement. Here's the link to "Pahz Photography" on etsy.