Thursday, April 12, 2012

Behaving Badly

I'm so thankful for my well-developed sense of humor.  You guys need to leave Allen West alone.

Over time, we've all been trained to navigate life by icon.  Mad men rule, really.  The last few days, I've come to dislike brands and very dense signifiers, and not only because they're the ruination of language and conversation.

I'm supposed to use two kinds of eye drops to treat glaucoma.  Both cause redness, stinging, and blurry vision. My vision is further impaired by cataracts -- gifts, we believe, of corticosteroids.  My new eye doc wants to remove those suckers and also perform some kind of stabbery to the back wall of the eye, to help reduce eye pressures.

Problem is, I tend to "forget" the drops, entirely, or, magically, just the one with the worst side effects. My forgetfulness dates from around mid-December 2011, when I scored my best eye pressures in years during a week when I'd only used one of the two drops due to mail order pharmacy confusion. "Hmm," I said to myself.  "And huh!"

Checking out the calendar for upcoming krapola, my appointment with NewEyeDoc waved and blew me a kiss.  She'd scheduled it with the hope that all the bone infection nonsense would be resolved by then, and that we could concentrate on recovering and preserving vision.  This was to be our pre-op planning time.  I don't know how comfortable she will be proceeding with the infection still active, or whether she wants to wait until after the spacer removal (also known as The Gift of Flail).

Clearly, however, it was time for me to start using the drops as prescribed.

And so I've been blind as a bat and crabby as can be, either as a result or as a highly unlikely freakishly malicious coincidence.  "Crabby" is all wrong.  Forgetful, trapped in a headache, spiraling blood pressure.  We don't know why my blood pressure shoots up on these drops, but it does.  I don't know whether the jangling::clang:clang::screech of my headache is related to the elevated blood pressure or just a haphazard kiss of the divine, but the message received from the accumulated misery is... don't move, don't turn on that light, don't try to make the lines of the novel separate, enjoy them as a crossword puzzle!

[Above all, if anyone offers to help you, scream "No!" as if the notion were ludicrous.  Be sure your voice is heavy-laden with annoyance.  Poor Fred.]

Yes, I could make this another Poor Fred post.  Instead, unless you think I need the impetus of more debasement, I'll make today a new day.

For years, Fred and I have struggled to conquer the complicated notion of "when does Retired Educator Prof-de-Rien need and want help."  I think there is an elegant solution that ought to be self-evident.  I need help when I ask for it.  As for how that help should look?  Well, again, I refer you to the asking component, which should contain all necessary specificity.

Ah, yes, perhaps I should refer you to the famous laxative post.  Otherwise, you'll be left with this:  I want WHAT I want, WHEN I want it.  To put it any other way would be dishonest.

Let's imagine {guffaw} that I make a list of things that need to be done around The Manor, things that I am not physically able to do.  Shoot -- given last night's post -- let's just use the example of putting birdseed into the feeders.  It's important to me, but Fred also enjoys the birds, and we both are hoping that the bluebird romances of last year will be rekindled so that we'll have babies in the nesting boxes.

So, one month ago, noticing that the feeders were empty, I put "birdseed" on the grocery list.  And I continued to put "birdseed" on the list, the lists usually occuring biweekly, until this past Sunday, when I not only put it on the list but put yellow Post-Its bearing the same message all over the bathroom mirror, on Fred's computer monitor, and around Ruby the Honda CR-V's steering wheel.  You may be assured that verbal reminders had been issued with great regularity and -- really -- with relative good humor.  I mean, needing birdseed is not like needing a laxative, you ninnies!

The listings, in sequence, looked something like this:

The conversations about birdseed also followed a progression.  Beginning with Fred's "You should write it down on the list," and ending with Fred's "Oh, you still want birdseed? That was on last week's list, I thought."

I was very proud of him when I saw the 50-pound bag of seed nestled among the ten 40-pound containers of cat litter.  And when I found him weeping into his pillow, a heating pad on his lower back, I told him how moved I was by his purchase.  "Arggh and arggh," was his predictably selfless reply.

But he was clearly just angry yesterday, when I rolled up to his carpeted and paneled Man Cave, cleared my throat and said, "You know, it's great that the 50-pound bag of seed is nestled among the ten 40-pound containers of cat litter out in the laundry room..."

"I know.  I haven't had time to put any outside..."

I had gone too far.  In my defense, I was frustrated by my failure to accomplish one single solitarity bit of anything.  Of course, the fact that I turned on my partner at that moment doesn't say much about my character, and I won't defend it, either.

[All references to ADHD and youknow and blahblahblah have been removed to preserve normal brain function in both Author and Reader.  Efforts to foreshadow -- beyond the reference to the laxative post -- were abandoned.]

At midnight, I heard grunts and the sound of pouring grains. The crunch of dirty gray crocs on flagstone walkways. The blare of Fred standing in the moonlight, face open, face up. If we had modern doors, I would have heard them slamming, all modern-like, and -- seconds later -- locks locking.

There was good-natured fighting and some fierce short chases, flits, really, among the chickadees this morning. We still have some suet up, so the nuthatches did their breakaway thing, snacking -- snarkily -- upside down, while the other birds fought. A titmouse stood up to a woodpecker, or tried.  We've never had mockingbirds before but now have two dedicated couples who share the chore of dive-bombing humans, even those bearing seed, so we are hoping for little mocklettes.

No bluebirds yet.

I most enjoy watching the nuthatch.  Jerky, quick, assured, intelligent. They "creep" but are not creepers!
Very tame.  Also, stubborn.  And did I mention that they're often upside down?

Why not take a few minutes and watch one now?

  • Tool use in birds is rare, but the Brown-headed Nuthatch will use a piece of bark as a lever to pry up other bark to look for food. It may carry the bark tool from tree to tree, and may use it to cover a seed cache.
  • Nests of Brown-headed Nuthatches are regularly attended by extra birds, usually young males. Whether these helpers-at-the-nest are older offspring of the breeding pair is not yet known.

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