7/20/2016 Ugly Truck Day

I feel much better today! I can tell because I grabbed non-fiction books when I woke up, and found them irresistible. There was a bit where I couldn’t focus to read, and then I could only deal with fiction (Prince Valiants). I love having my brain back! I will admit that I’m still physically wobbly, “weak as a kitten” is the simile that leaps to mind, but “frustrated because I can’t do what I feel I should be able to do” is probably more accurate. So I get up, do something, then sit down again. For a while I didn’t feel up to even sitting at the computer. I hope I’m recovered by Pennsic. I feel badly already for the amount Willow’s had to take on.

I think I missed some pretty flowers while I was ill. I occasionally stuck my nose out and saw Day Lilies, and daisies. We have both yellow and a gorgeous maroon type of lily. I have to say I prefer the wild or feral orange ones we had at the old house and one sees along the road. We also have some pink mallow, and the purple cone flowers are coming in, and I saw a morning glory today. Sadly it was crawling along the cinderblocks, not climbing, but still, it’s the first time we’ve had one return after all the years of planting them.

Well, to quickly cover two weeks, a week ago we went to the Great Northeastern War (GNEW). Since the Sunday is totally spent packing, they now let (encourage) people come in on Thursdays, so that we can get two full days- on Friday and Saturday. We had been worried about the car breaking down on the highway (a third time), especially as in our “pre-travel” check in June Steve had said we needed a part replaced. Sadly, it had not come in when they took their annual week off, the first week of July. Between remembering the miseries of breaking down with a trailer, and the warning about the part, we decided that the reduction of stress would be worth the cost of renting a truck even if it meant what we made simply covered the cost of the rental. (Last year when we broke down and Megan paid for a rental truck for us to get there, and we fell in love.) Willow still has “truck lust”. Every time we see an extended cab truck she gazes at it longingly, and prices any that we see for sale.
Meanwhile, her car started hemorrhaging steering fluid, and when checked also had other problems, so we were given the choice of fix the engine, replace the engine, or replace the car. We opted to fix the engine (Gary pointed out that if we fix it, at least we know the engine, whereas a new engine could contain unknown issues), and are still waiting to hear that it’s done. It’s hard to not have two cars, especially when Willow’s out of the house so much (more on that later).
OK, so we got the truck on Thursday morning, packed it, and Willow and Kat went to a doctor’s appointment, and we got on the road when they got back. Sadly, I had had a very broken night of sleep, up every hour using the toilet, and felt groggy and dehydrated, and pretty freaking useless. The girls were very kind and understanding. As last year, the seating was tight, with Kat on the hump between us. This year I didn’t help with the driving, but rather dozed the way up.  We got up to Hebron, found our place and set the tent up. This time we were helped by two passing girls about 10 years old- Ayla and Merida, who were eager to show how strong and helpful they were and pounding most of the stakes for us. Yay! Everything was undercover by the time it got dark, and we dropped the trailer in parking (our chocks have disappeared, we shall have to get another set), and went to the Lewiston Denny’s for supper. I was not surprised to feel dehydrated (feels a lot like a hangover), and mostly wanted drinks and soup (and fruit- luckily we had lots of grapes and watermelon and such at the tent). Sadly, all they had was “stuffed potato” soup which didn’t appeal (mostly I wanted fruit- luckily we had lots of grapes and such at the tent). We stopped at Walmart for a couple of things (like more cut up fruit, and a chamber pot for me) and the girls got me a neck pillow for my car dozing- sweet!
The next day we got up and organized the tent. As there was a mild slope and rain threatening, we made a U of tables across the middle, leaving room in back for the girls beds, and several tables and chairs, and plenty of room in front. We are very elegant! Sadly, no room for a passageway, so if we had to go to the front to help people, we had to go out the back and around.  Not that I was helping much. I’d agreed to do four classes, because I love teaching, and don’t mind teaching kids. This year I indulged in my joy of folklore, and also offered to teach kids embroidery.
My first class, Beginning Embroidery for Children, was at eleven, at the Youth tent. I’d been reminded to check in as a teacher at the information point, so figured I could do those things at once. Kiaya and Gideon came by, and were planning to go to the class, and Kiaya offered to carry my chair for me. The class tents were down at the other end of the merchants row, past the display hall. Sadly, as we passed, we looked at the 6 class tents, and none of them seemed to be the youth classes tent. Information point informed us that it was down by the list field- near the youth fighting lists. So back we trooped, luckily we’d left enough time to get there just at 11. Sadly (or not) only one other person showed up and I was able to give her all my attention. Being an opinionated old lady, I insisted on starting first with seams and hemming, because that’s traditional. Also, I gave each of them a muslin napkin with a iron on transfer of a celtic beast that would need to be hemmed. And a needle and some embroidery thread. Then we went on to running stitch, and double running stitch, stem stitch and chain stitch. At this point I think that I might let the hemming and seams go, because it’s so easy to frustrate kids by throwing too much at them at once.
Luckily Kiaya was helping Gideon, and then Nuala came by after, and I gave her the basic materials, and she’s gotten hooked on it! (I feel like a pusher. bwaha!) I really think having lines to follow helps in those first projects. If you’re careful, even a beginner’s first project looks pretty good. And I explained to them the savage perverse joy of using an embroidered napkin to wipe your mouth, which horrifies people. With such a small class, I gave Kiaya three, so she could do one, Gideon could do one, and they could have a third for Zeke and it would be a matched set.
I was happy when it was done to have a very short walk back to our tent, and collapsed on Kat’s bed and fell asleep. I got up and taught Märchen and Monsters in the Middle Ages at 2, then came back and slept again. I think sleep is the best thing for healing, and began to think that there might be more wrong than just disturbed sleep and dehydration.
We were sad because this year the people who’d been selling the lovely iced syrups didn’t come. They were wonderful last year! Lorilei had her breads, and we got cinnamon and cheese buns, which with fruit and cheese and nuts rounded out our needs. She has lost about one hundred pounds this year! While expanding her baking business! Amazing! On the other hand, we have apparently misplaced part of the grill, so we went back to Denny’s again. Willow had declared “I deserve a milkshake!” and that sounded good to me too (it was rather warm!). We all got frappes, and then when the food came, couldn’t fit it in. Why do they make frappes so big? I’d only ordered the chicken noodle soup since I’d been thinking about it from the previous night, sadly, it tasted strongly of sage and I couldn’t stomach it. I theorize that they use the same “base” for their chicken soup and gravy. Why else would you put sage in innocent chicken soup?  (opinionated? me?) Saturday Willow made some chicken soup on the neighbor’s stove, and it was just the way I liked it.
The next day I taught theThe Wild Hunt at 1, and The Evil Eye at 3. At GNEW they have forms people can sign, and whichever side contributes the most classes gets a war point; and whichever side spends the most money (and turns in their forms) gets a war point, so even if you don’t fight you can still help your side. I’m not exactly sure which was the other side this year- Malagentia and someone else. Really, I dozed for most of the event. I don’t do well in heat anyway, and apparently was putting all my energy into healing. Pity, because there were lots of classes I’d have liked to attend! Meanwhile, the kids sold their little hearts out, and we made enough money to cover the truck, and enough to feel good about. AND she dropped off the first load of herbals to Auntie Arwen’s.
During the night I had some severe chills, and decided to call the doctor as soon as we got home (well, Monday morning). Which we did. The kids let me rest while they packed up the truck and trailer. Sadly, it DID rain Saturday night, and the canvas was still damp when broke down. (Corwyn came by and helped us with the heavy lifting bit.) We put anything damp in the back of the truck, hoping the wind would dry it out, and tucked it into the woodshed when we got home to spread out when the sun came back. It rained long enough that we forgot about it until today. Oops. There’s a whiff of mildew, but I’m hoping we caught it in time. We managed to get out of Hebron by noon, which allowed Willow to return the truck to Manchester before five, and save an extra day’s rental. Avi, bless her, brought her home again.
During my dozy periods I’d noticed that when I closed my eyes, what popped up behind them was the image of a computer screen, and this led me to think I had maybe been spending too much time on the computer. So I decided to only check it occasionally until whatever was going on was resolved. Besides, there is so much politics on facebook now, it brings me down, and I didn’t/don’t need that. I even gave up posting the holidays on Holidays that Might get Overlooked- with an apology, and an appeal to the guy who started it, and who’d recruited me when he decided to run for office last year. About a week later people were asking what had happened, and where had we gone, and how much they depended on the site. By that time I was feeling a bit better and decided to give them 3 or 4 of the easiest to find silly holidays a day. This is hardly the ones that “might be overlooked”, which was what really interested me. But I didn’t/don’t have the energy to do more at this point, so it will have to hold them.
Monday morning I called the doctor, and got an appointment for Tuesday. Sunday night Liz had called to tell me about the weekend. I am not sure when the new toilet was installed, but get the impression that this was the big “opening camp” weekend for the Richards clan. Kitty apparently spent most of the weekend trying to get the boat in the water, registered and going. In the past Liz has handled it, but after last year when Kitty griped about the battery going missing, she turned the whole thing over to Kitty to handle. I do fear that Liz gets a lot dumped on her because she’s the one in the same town. Kitty is in Massachusetts, and Trish and I are in New Hampshire- besides, Trish has her own cottage. Apparently there were some of the younger crew up- a full house. Or I may be getting this past weekend mixed up with it, not having been there-  or thinking clearly. Kitty did post pictures of waterskiing on facebook. Liz was very sympathetic and suggested that it was probably a urinary tract infection. Given that I’d had no burning or anything like that, it hadn’t occurred to me. Frankly, the words “urinary tract infection” never sounded so good! I really hate to present a doctor with a mystery illness. And most of my symptoms were easily explained by dehydration (and resolved when I spent four days straight drinking and eating fruit).
When I did get into see Doctor Quirbach, he agreed with my sister’s diagnosis. He also tapped on my kidneys which I hadn’t noticed before, but when he tapped were rather tender. He gave me a prescription for Ciprofloxacin, and had a couple of blood tests done to check my counts and liver function. The next day he called back to tell me that the the blood looked good, but we’ll watch the liver in case I have a gall stone or something that precipitated this. I have to admit that the last time the Doctor actually called me was when he was calling to tell me that Ælfwine had leukemia, so it felt uncomfortable to me. Doctors usually don’t call you these days. I started taking it immediately, and have only one day left, so I suppose I’m OK. Cipro is the antibiotic they suggest for Anthrax scares, or other major infections. Looking up the side effects, they included fatigue, foggy thinking, headache, nausea, weakness, fever, chills, sore throat, confusion, tremors, and dizziness- basically, what my symptoms were. As I said, I am now thinking a bit better, and am not feeling the need to nap, but I’m still far weaker than I expect to be. (I get tired hanging out a half a load of laundry, and am not up to cooking dinner yet.) I have lost 10 pounds in the last month, but hardly think that’s cause for celebration. We’ll see what the next month brings. Mostly I want the energy to walk around Pennsic- and to help drive there.

Willow has been doing most of the cooking, most of the Pennsic preparation, and she’s been working a few days a week watching Avi’s kids. Luckily mostly what Avi needs is someone there, making sure that they are fed and don’t kill themselves. So far Willow’s biggest “goof” was letting Kaelin eat 10 popsicles one day. (He wanted the envelopes for a craft project, and after a while she was just curious how many he could eat. I remember letting Diana eat 7 banana’s once for much the same reason.) The next day his poop was colorful, so they decided not to do that again. She also is trying to teach the kids things like clearing their places, picking up after themselves, being polite, and folding the laundry. It would seem odd not to, but I think it’s making Avi’s life a lot easier, and the kids need to learn those things. We agree the idea of a 9 year old not being able to wash dishes odd. But when Avi has to leave first thing and often doesn’t get back (exhausted) until after seven or eight if there’s a last minute rush of customers, she hasn’t got time or energy. I have no idea how single parents manage.
Willow was working the day I had my appointment, so she came back to drive me in. Kat came to to watch the kids while we were in with the doctor. Then we went to Walmart to pick up the drugs. Willow had offered them a treat if they behaved, but when we got there Bianca had a tantrum because she wanted to push the cart, Caelin was dubious about that. She told us she’d wait on a bench, but you can’t do that these days, and she wasn’t responding to logic. Finally we dumped her unceremoniously into the cart, where she fussed. I later informed her that she’d lost the minute she tried to blackmail Willow. It’s an automatic loss. She did eventually behave, but I am feeling very blessed with what I won in the child lottery. I feel for her because she’s at the age where you realize that you are capable of more than you’re allowed to do, and you can’t choose when you can act independently. We had a lot more responsibility when we were kids, and more freedom. I can’t say that it’s helped the modern kids much.
When she is at home, she’s busy working on pre-Pennsic projects. Last Friday, she and Kat took the take from the weekend and went to Blake Brothers to buy new stock (with the cash). Today she installed hinges in a chest they found in the trash there. Since she’d been trying to build new chests for herself and Kat, this was a great find! (She also fixed a broken hinge on a cupboard in the kitchen.) When she took the van over for the 2 hour fix, it turned out to also have bad brake lines, and for a while we had no cars! That was disturbing. I suppose as long as we are going to be down to one car, it’s good to do it when I wouldn’t be driving around anyway. But still, out in the boonies like this, one likes to have a car just in case. Again, Avi drove her over to pick it up. Wonderful girl!
My podcast last week with Deb was great- she really knows her stuff (it was on Comics as modern mythology), and I couldn’t even tell that she was calling with a blue tooth, even when she stopped and filled her gas tank. She’d meant to be home for the call, but got stuck in traffic coming back from the cape. Once again I am impressed with modern technology.
I started feeling incrementally better during the week. Not as quickly or completely as I’d expect with the miracle of antibiotics. I do remember once getting antibiotics prophylactically when I stepped on a nail in the barn yard. Whatever it was that time it wiped me out for a month, and as far as I knew I never had an infection that time. I wonder if that’s what happening this time? I am going to do everything I can to build up my strength with herbs and the right foods, and hope it doesn’t take a month to recover. I will probably also go back for more tests, just to make sure.
I did try to find things I could do at a low energy level. Sometimes I’d chop food for Willow to cook, I helped Willow price the new stock from Blakes, then inventoried our old silver stock, and put the new stuff in. I worked on a favor for Kuberry.
I watched the first two discs of a Victorian horror style TV show: Penny Dreadful. It has wonderful atmosphere, and like Into the Woods, or League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, ties lots of stories together (Frankenstein, Dracula, Dorian Grey). One of the leads is Timothy Dalton, who I’ve loved since Lion in Winter. I have enjoyed it, but there is WAY too much gratuitous sex. I didn’t bother watching the Tudors and Game of Thrones because of that foolishness, and I probably won’t watch more than the next disc (which is on my Netflix queue) of this. I don’t know why they put sex in, when it doesn’t further the story, the characters or the theme. I also re-watched Kingdom Hospital which shows what you can do with a mini-series with good writing and acting.
John’s been watching a lot of old fantasy movies. Today’s is Beastmaster, but the theme music sounds so much like the theme for Battlestar Gallactica I keep thinking of that show.  (He also chipped out the ice that condensation makes on the inside of the freezer today- to make room for Pennsic supplies.)
What I’m reading now is some Anglo-Saxon books for my Pennsic classes. Tonight I have one of the new speakers for CTCW on the New Normal, Zhenya Amiditis, talking about how she’s found that clients who have repressed their psychic abilities for years have developed physical symptoms, which resolve when they begin to unblock those abilities. I am fairly excited about this.
Well, that’s it for the past couple of weeks. Next week will be getting ready for Pennsic, and then probably no letter until we get back. I hope I was interesting. I fear not. Being sick is boring, which is why people tend not to talk about it even when it makes an impact on their lives.

“Politicians and diapers must be changed often, and for the same reason.” Mark Twain