Tuesday, September 24, 2013

LIFE. The four-letter word

I seem to have been in a mental fugue state the last part of this summer. I think it's slowly lifting. A dear  friend once noted this seems to coincide with my August birthday; not so much a cause for celebration, as a date with 'payment upon demand' notices, underlining just what I haven't gotten around to that I thought would surely have been addressed by now...Not that I mind getting older. I'm rather pleased about that.

I am regaining ground on the health-front. Getting the monthly infusions in the home state is a huge relief. The side-effects of the transplant that were the most unpleasant, to say the least, are easing, and a recent trip back east to NIH* last week proved to be a positive one (those pesky brain and spine tumors are behaving themselves).

The head of urology at NIH has become somewhat of a friend over the years. Since he was responsible for the loss of my right kidney in 2009 (it sucks to be a pioneer and a guinea pig for science at times), he was more than amenable when I asked if he would consider making a donation to my nonprofit kidney account, since I am going to be paying for these expensive transplant drugs for the rest of my life. Maybe he actually will.

Since June we have been trying to figure out how to save the sanctuary land and the mustangs (our partner decided she wanted to sell out, so we are scrambling to find ways to can buy her out and keep the horses together on the land they are used to -- all of which involves putting the house on the market -- something we planned to do anyway, just not under the gun like this). We have suffered through one real-estate company and agent, and are about to go through the trial of finding another to re-list the house. We are working through bank loans. Not sure any of this will work, or work in time, anyway. I am finding there is a reason so many jokes disparage bankers, lawyers, and agents...apologies to readers of any of these professions. I am willing to listen.

Both parents have had significant medial dramas this summer  -- the kinds that will continue...now I am firmly a bonafide member of the dreaded 'sandwich' generation (seriously, could we not have made up a better name? Plain stupid. But the people instigating the title are stressed and tired; I get it). I am lucky beyond measure they are both still in my life, and there isn't much I wouldn't do for them. I just wish there were more I could do that would make a difference. And that they wouldn't resist the things that would be make every-day things/life easier. This flip-flopping of traditional roles is as wearisome and tedious and predictable as everyone has talked and written about.

To counter all the stress I am turning more and more into myself. On the days I am lucky enough to spend at home, most days exercise, reading, and writing comprise the majority of the day. And at night after chores we settle down to a classic movie taped off TCM. Yes, it's a rut. After living through what we have and dealing with what we are, a rut sounds pretty good right now. There's a lot to be said for fantasy, and I am working on some fiction, something new to me, since my forte has always been non-fiction and personal essay. A few more essays have or are about to be published, and I am writing a memoir of sorts. What will be done, if anything, with any of that is anyone's guess,. But I find it necessary and cathartic.

This is also the time of year much of the wild-life move on. The beaver took off months ago, looking for more willowy green pastures (or murky-blue watery ones). He will be back to trim the shoots around the pond back this spring. The geese are busy taking the goslings out on practice runs and practicing take-offs and landings on the pond. The domestic ducks are getting upset they will be left behind. Somehow this summer another domestic duck showed up on the pond. Since they can't fly, we guess someone dumped him, much like they dump their dogs and cats on the mountain for someone else to take responsibility. I wish our three ducks were nicer to him, but they insist on making him feel an interloper, even though he's clearly here for the duration.

The fox family has gone. The six baby 'coons are almost as big as their momma now. Their rough-housing on the skylight  and gamboling on the terrace has become a thing of the past as they press on with more mature 'coon responsibilities, such as digging up the plants and gouging holes in the screen. Excy's favorite is a bold little guy who tries to enter the house when the door opens and likes to hang upside down on the screen or eye-level so he can fully beg to best advantage. I keep reminding Excy no new owner will be as enamored of 'coon pets and it won't be fair to them or the 'coons to let them continue to sponge off us. (Though if people move out here they had better like the country -- and wild -- life). My philosophy has been that once the 'coons are older than three months and mom isn't nursing, I cut off the gravy train so they can get used to no more hand-outs while it's still pleasant and the young ones can be totally self-sufficient before the cold months set in.

The cabin is finally finished but for re-daubing the exterior and landscaping, and although it's furnished, I will slowly be furnishing it and fixing it up nice enough for short-term rental. It's an awesome spot and people have told me they want to stay in it and gaze over the pond and watch the horses roam. I hope we don't have to sell it off and start all over again. It's taken a long time to see these things settle and fall into place.

*flying to National airport in DC (I can't call it Reagan Nat'l; it was difficult enough living there  thorough the Reagan years. Seems we left just when things were getting interesting with Clinton moving in the WH),  the day of the Navy yard shooting was interesting, to say the least. We also were at NIH the week after 9/11. Seeing tragedies up close compounds the horror.