Friday, February 27, 2009


It has been an interesting 48 hours.

My father is ill (though not gravely so, at least not yet) and it has dropped in my lap some undone emotional work I had not anticipated. I have been busy processing all of this, all of what it means, and all of the possible outcomes.

Last night I posted my initial feelings about this development. As the hands on the clock have completed another circle, I have learned more.

First, my father's wife is utterly incapable of dealing with this reality. She sent her daughters - my half-sisters, aged 26 and 20 - to Boston to deal with this. She stayed home. It seems she cannot deal with what is going down.

It is a heavy burden indeed that F, the oldest of the two, has been saddled with. It is unfair, it is a rotten thing, and it is not her job. But the situation calls for a mature adult, and she has stepped up to fill that role when it seems that others cannot or will not. Bless her for that. She is very strong and will need every bit of that strength in the coming months and years.

My father has dementia to the point where his doctors will not accept his consent for any procedures or treatments. Consent must be given by a family member, in this case, the oldest of my half-sisters.

That segment of my father's family is traumatized by all of this, and understandably so. This is a lot to digest - as exemplified in my post of last night. This powerful man is so reduced that he is not to be trusted to make decisions regarding his own care. That's pretty harsh. Especially so when he has loomed so large for so many years.

I spent last night and this morning doing some hard and heavy thinking. What is it my father - the original guy, not the reduced version presently with us - what is it he would want? I remember him saying that he did not want to linger, but preferred to go quickly. I suppose we all want that to some degree. He was a proud man, despite his insecurities. To spend his end years gradually fading away and losing his dignity is not what he wants. That much I know.

But who am I to say that?

I am his first-born, true. But I have been estranged from him for over a quarter century. We have each spent a fair amount of that time wishing for bad things to happen to each other and taking quiet (or not-so-quiet) glee in them when they did. We have not been involved in each other's lives for a very long time. What authority, then, have I to step in and say "He'd have wanted xyz..."? I don't know.

What I do know is that his wife is paralyzed and in denial. His other kids are still of an age where they do not want to lose their dad. All of them want to hang onto this man for as long as they can. I understand that. No, really, I do. There are people in my life about whom I feel that way. I will hang onto them, kicking and screaming, for as long as is humanly possible.

And no, my father is not one of them.

This does not mean I want to go in and kick the plug out of the wall today. Let's just say I've already done a fair amount of mourning and letting go of my father over the years. I have mourned the loss of a father who might have been capable of expressing love. I have mourned the fact that I never had a father who said "I am proud of you." I have mourned the fact that I was not wanted. I have done a lot of mourning already - for things that were and are now gone and for things that never were. I have mourned lost opportunities and lost relationships and holidays and birthdays spent never acknowledging each other. I have reached out, I have turned the other cheek, I have stood up and been honorable and I have been rebuffed. I mourned it all. And I moved forward.

Which puts me in a very different place than his current family, who must now come to terms with his frailty and mortality. They must also come to terms with their own feelings of loss and denial and all of those five stages that Kubler-Ross lady wrote about in her book.

It will likely be as difficult for them as it was for me, and more so as they watch my father fade away before them. He is there and he is not. He is in turns coherent and delusional, friendly and hostile, swagger and scared. And it is only going to get worse.

I find it odd that I am the one who seems most willing and able to advocate for those wishes my father made very clear throughout his life. I am the one most removed, yet I am the one inclined to go to bat for him when he is unable to represent himself. And I am the one who is going to step into this situation and say the unpopular thing. That he would have already been horrified that he was deemed unfit to make his own decisions. That his three daughters and his wife were going to have to make his decisions would be profoundly offensive to his old-school sexist world.

But I was thinking today about what he'd want. He would want some sonofabitch to go in, grab the doctor by the shirtfront, and explain that this guy was not going to be nursed to death over the course of thirty years. Don't drown him with treatments, don't hook him up to tubes and respirators and things to feed him and take away his shit and all the rest. Let him go on his own terms. If he has a stroke, keep him comfortable, but otherwise leave him be. If his heart stops, don't break his ribs or zap him with paddles to get it started again. Let him go. He is a man, not an infant to be coddled or indulged. Treat him like a man, with dignity and respect. Honor what he wants.

He'd want someone to go in and have a fit if that's what it takes, to make sure his wishes are honored and followed. I think we may need to have some kind of a family meeting with my father's physicians after he gets home from Boston. I may need to be my father's sonofabitch.

It is not a role I ever imagined I would play. But I think it goes a long way toward my efforts to forgive him for the anger, the abuse, the bullying. If I can advocate for him, this last time, I think I'd feel good about that. And I dearly hope someone would advocate like that on my behalf.

It is the right thing for me to do.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Conflicted and scattered

I am conflicted today.

I found out this morning that my father is in the Veteran's hospital in Boston with some pretty serious stuff going on. He needs a gizmo put into a vein in his neck to prevent strokes (he has apparently had several small ones already) and is in such an advanced state of dementia that he is confused and the doctors there are unwilling to take his own consent to have the procedure done. They must have the consent of his family members who have such power to do that stuff. There is a chance that they may have to do some cardio stuff at the same time and need family there to give the okay if it is necessary. My father is 67.

For my newer readers, here's the family thing in a nutshell: My father has always been a source of humiliation and cruelty in my life. I am 43. We have disliked each other for probably 40 years or so. Maybe more. While I was small, he was jealous of the attention paid my by his parents and his sister. When I was growing up he was a bully and a tyrant and seemed to take great pleasure in humiliating me, often in public. He beat me often and severely enough that I still start violently at loud noises. He loved a surprise attack. He loved to tower over me and intimidate and terrorize me. He loved to see me be afraid. I remember the absolute hate I saw in his eyes. It is not a thing a child ever expects to see, nor is it one she ever forgets.

I left home the day I graduated from high school, and with the exception of a couple attempts to create a healthy kind of relationship when I was in early sobriety, I have not been back. I learned then that it is not possible to have a healthy relationship with a sick person. I called him when the best man from his wedding died, but after five minutes on the phone with me, he launched into a racist tirade. I hung up and have never called back.

In recent months, I have been in touch with my much younger (she's 26) half-sister who is presently living at home with my father and stepmother and her younger sister. We met once and have chatted several times on facebook. We are starting to build something like a friendship after years of separation. She was just a year old when I left home.

So I found out today from her about my father's health issues and that she might be the one to go down and deal with doctors and such. No job for a young woman to do all alone. It briefly looked like she might need company on the ride, so I offered. Turns out the rest of the familial unit would be able to go after all, so I did not have to.

Now comes the conflicted and scattered part of this story.

I had sort of figured that I would read about my father's death in the newspaper or watch it play out on CNN in some kind of armed standoff with government agents. He's paranoid, too. Did I mention that? He collects and trades guns, too. Yeah. It's safe to say I am not his pride and joy.

So anyway, I sort of figured that I'd be notified after the fact, either by some member of the family or the community where they live, or by the news media. I never expected to have to face the fact that he is failing. I never expected to have to deal with - even from a distance - the idea that he might be crippled by a stroke (or several), that he might be so debilitated as to become a toothless tiger.

Somehow I feel sorry for him.

And that is confusing for me. For years, I used to hope against hope that I'd live to see the day when he knew what it was like to be vulnerable, when he knew what it was like to be at the mercy of others. I used to say "time wounds all heels" and hope that I'd be around to see his comeuppance. And now it's here.

Karma has indeed come back to bite him in the ass. The once large, powerful, towering man is reduced to a delusional blob who must wait for his daughters and his wife to make his decisions for him. He is becoming helpless. He is becoming the thing he once feared above all else - powerless.

And I have not the heart to gloat. This is not to say I am going to run to his side like Bronte's Jane Eyre and nurse him through his dying days, enduring abuse and vitriol the whole way. No. I will stay apart from his newer family and let them do what must be done. I suppose I will come if he asks to see me, but I reserve the right to say no to that request also. I must protect my own self, my own mental and emotional health. This is the man with whom I have very few happy memories. I have no desire to go relive those old times, thanks.

The fact that I am willing to consider seeing him is a huge step that happened today. Yesterday, had you asked, I would have said I'd probably skip his funeral. Today, I am not so sure.

I am sad, and vindicated at the same time. I am feeling something that looks suspiciously like compassion and pity, at the same time I struggle with my old feelings of hurt, abuse and abandonment. I was used as a pawn years ago. I remember it well. And I remember the hate that burned in his eyes when he looked at me. But today I feel pity for the man.

He was damaged goods early on - sent to school before he was really ready, the littlest, least socialized kid in the room, he had an awful time. He turned that fear and inferiority inside out and became a bully and a tough guy, and that's how he went through life. He picked on people, threatened them, insulted them, treated them badly. He lacked the social skills to actually be kind. Or honest. Or generous. So naturally, after a fashion, people tired of his abuse and faded away. He spent his entire life chasing people away from him. Now he is about to reap the loneliness that is the fruit of his labors.

I do not owe him visits and lazy games of cribbage of an afternoon. I owe him nothing. He raised me, yes, but he did it begrudgingly, and with as little investment as he could get away with. I remember Sidney Poitier in Guess Who's Coming to Dinner telling his father that he did not owe him his life. "It was your job" to do all that parenting stuff, Poitier tells his movie-dad, and he was right. There was no debt incurred. I will not feel guilty for not rushing to his bedside after all these years. Especially not after being made so unwelcome.

So I am in a hundred directions tonight. I feel sad and I feel vindicated and I feel compassion and maybe even a little bit of forgiveness and fear and pity and anger and a lot of stuff just swirling around in my head. I am on call for my sister. She has promised to keep me updated. I have promised her my support. The rest of the family is on its own, really.

In an odd note, I have not told my aunt this news of her only sibling. They have not spoken since my grandmother's funeral. I remember that day. After the funeral, he took his copy of the house key off his key ring and laid it on the table. He walked out and did not come back. My aunt would not benefit by knowing this news of her brother. I will play it by ear and notify her if it seems like the right thing to do and the right time to do it. But for now I will not upset her.

It has been a very long day. I am glad to be sober today and I will be very glad to hit my pillow. Amen.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

I'm getting too old for this...

How can something so pretty be so miserable?

I awoke this morning at about 3 o'clock with my arms on fire.

They weren't really on fire, but they certainly felt like it. No matter which way I moved, I could not get to a spot that was comfortable for both my back and my arms. So I got up and went pee and came back to bed. L was snoring because of her cold, so I amused myself by poking and prodding her for a while until she rolled over either in disgust or out of self-preservation. In any case, the noise quieted down and my arms ached a little less and I was able to get back to sleep.

Remember yesterday's post about the icebergs we had to chop through and remove? Well, here's the after picture. I never thought to get a "before" shot, damn it. Take a look at those piles of snow, though. They were all assembled by hand, one shovel-full at a time. Oof. One day's work crippled me up pretty bad.

I was next to useless today, though. I am going to bill my clients for half-rate for my time. It's all I was worth. Even after I replaced the belt on the snow blower. It threw the belt in protest after I asked it to chop and chew snow that was two-days frozen in the driveway. But it chewed the belt first. I brought the shredded remains with me to the hardware store to find a match.

Fixing the belt was a cool thing that I have never done before but was pleased to be able to figure out and fix by myself. Hardware store guy was a big help looking up the right size belt just to cross-check that I had the right one. Brought it back, figured out how to loop it, and started 'er back up with a roar. Heh. mighty pleased with myself, indeed.

While I was kneeling in the frozen driveway fiddling with wrenches and auger belts, my lovely assistant A was up on the roof clearing away nature's latest offering. I am soooooooo glad we got the snow off there Sunday before this batch fell. Holy crap. Here's what it looked like when we started today:

So we took at it again. Those ice dams are not to be trifled with. In this link, the University of Minnesota Extension Service offers a very thorough and easy-to-understand description of what ice dams are, where they come from and what they can do to damage a home. I've tried to post graphics from other places here with only limited success, so I won't do that again, but I highly recommend checking out that site. Ice dams are worth getting freaked out about. My bet is these homeowners will have me back again in the spring to stuff the insulation more thoroughly into the far corners of the eaves to prevent this from happening again next year.

So anyway, we get to work. I am next to useless, as I said before. I stay on the ground where I am less likely to hurt myself. My lovely assistant, A, though, is in much better shape. She climbed up on the roof and got to work. Notice that she is wearing jeans, sneakers (with Yak trax), gloves, and a freakin' tank top! Where she was, in the sun, out of the wind, working hard and then surrounded by black asphalt shingles, she claimed to be plenty warm. I think my hot flashes might be catching up with her. Heh.

While she was up on the roof accomplishing great things, I puttered on the ground, noticing small things. Like this track in the fresh snow:

That is a deer track, for the uninitiated. We watched a herd of about ten deer scamper through the woods and down the hill while we worked today. That little section of woods is right up against Acadia National Park and the deer abound. This is a hard year for them, though. With all this snow, forage is hard to find and coyotes have a much easier time bringing down a deer in deep snow.

Here's what the driveway looked like about the time the damned machine chewed and threw the auger belt:

I did get the rest of it cleared once the belt was replaced, but it was slow going. I ended up having to shovel some as well. That was more work than I could have imagined.

An old, rotted tree trunk came over in the storm. It hardly looks out of place at first, until you notice that it is broken off just above the snow line.

Then, when we looked up at the rest of the dead tree, we noticed that it was well tangled with a couple live trees and some (presumably) live power lines. I'll have the property owners call the power company when they get home. There are no sparks or weirdness right now, but it really should be addressed before the next storm brings it all down in a tangled heap.

While I was putzing on the ground, A mastered the art of the gentle tap with the ice chisel. She's got a knack for using this thing so that it smacks the ice on top but does not plunge through and scar what's underneath. I watched her do it yesterday on a wooden deck, and again today on the roof edges. She's a marvel. I would be so screwed without her on this job.

And then we were done. The driveway is cleared, but I have not finished playing with that section of pictures yet. But the roofs look fabulous:

We've got to go back tomorrow to get rid of the large berm at the end of the driveway that the town snowplow left there, and we'll probably knock down whatever icicles remain. A well salted them today, so they should come down cleanly. I hope my arms work better tomorrow than they did today. Good grief. I can't afford to charge half-rates for too many days in a row.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

recipe time

OK, I am beat. I mean really and truly beat. My lovely assistant and I today spent just over seven hours clearing a season's worth of accumulated snow and compacted came-off-the-metal-roof-in-a-big-icy-lump stuff off a deck. My hands can hardly work. My fingers don't want to type. The flesh on the insides of my hands - the palms and that side of my fingers feels strange. Like it's been smacked several times with the pointy side of a meat tenderizer mallet. Yeah. Like that.

This deck is probably 16 by 16 feet, surrounded on three sides by metals roofs that run the snow right down into the middle. We have dutifully shoveled a path up the center of this thing after each storm, but now there was enough snow and accumulated ice and such to cause some real concern about what that kind of weight might be doing to the deck itself.

So we attacked the twin masses with shovels. And got absolutely nowhere. The stuff was frozen into two solid icebergs, one in either side of the deck. Encased in one iceberg was a gas grill and a plastic watering can. Entombed in the ice on the other side of the deck was a plastic storage container for lawn chair cushions. None of these items were visible when we started.

The icebergs were about five feet high and about six feet deep. They each ran the length of the deck, about 16 feet, maybe a little more. One side got sun and was easier to break up. The other side was not in the sun and required a pick-ax.

Yes, a pick-ax.

I told A that I did not know whether to be thrilled or terrified that she happened to have a pick-ax with her. She simply grunted and swung high. I'd have been lost without her on this job.

The icebergs turned out to be historical things. We could look at the striations and recognize each storm's snow. The really thick layers of ice were from that couple of nasty storms we had in mid-January. The others were less distinct. It had the feel of an archaeological expedition.

I uncovered the watering can in what must have been the Cambrian Era.

We never found any fossils, though. And I dearly wish I had taken before and after pictures. I do have one picture of the deck from that first doozy of a storm earlier in the season. Remember this?

I'll swing over and take a picture tomorrow to show the new and improved snowbanks. You'll be impressed.

Oh, hell. Recipe time. Remember the recipe? This was supposed to be a post about a recipe.

Because I have a first-time commenter who is also a first-class storyteller in her own right, I will post the recipe to yesterday's sticky buns per the request of Gladys. Visit her blog and prepare to be entertained. Very neat site. Family friendly. Way more so than this one. I didn't see any pictures of women tied to equipment on her blog. Doesn't seem like that kind of place. But wicked cool nonetheless. Here's the recipe, straight from the Bread Machine Magic Cookbook, by Linda Rehberg & Lois Conway. Published in 1992 by St. Martin's Press, New York. ISBN 0-312-06914-6 (paperback original) for you book geeks. I think it might be out of print, but it is a gem. Pick it up if you see it at a yard sale.

For a one-pound loaf. I use a bread machine. I am sure real bread-makers will know how to adapt this to by-hand methods. Please feel free to do that. I use the machine.


1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup water
1 egg
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter or margarine
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons dry yeast

Select dough setting on machine, put all ingredients in the hopper and press start. Now go have a cup of coffee (or two) and read your email while it does its thing. About 10 minutes before it's done, you'll need to assemble the rest of the stuff.

2 tablespoons melted butter or margarine
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup light or dark corn syrup
1/2 cup walnuts (I added these, they're not really in the recipe. Pecans would be good, too.)


1 tablespoon melted butter or margarine
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (I used waaaay more than that)
1/4 cup raisins

Deal with the topping first.

Brush 1 tablespoon of the melted butter onto the bottom and sides of a 9 inch round cake pan (9 by 9 square would work, too.)

Sprinkle in the brown sugar and nuts, then drizzle the corn syrup over the rest. Set aside. Hang onto that other bit of melted butter. We'll get to it shortly.

When the dough beeps and is ready, turn it out onto a floured board and knead a few times. Roll it out into a large rectangle - about 12 by 10 inches.

Brush with the melted butter, then sprinkle with the raisins, brown sugar and dust vigorously with cinnamon.

Next, roll up the dough along its longest edge and pinch it tightly to seal the seam. Gently mark out 12 or 16 pieces with a knife (but don't cut the dough with the knife - it will be bad!). Cut the pieces using a 12-inch piece of dental floss by sliding it under the roll and then bringing the two ends across the top to slice the dough cleanly.

Place the slices cut side up on top of the topping already in the pan and brush with that other tablespoon of melted butter. (I told you we'd get back to it!)

Cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place for 30 to 45 minutes, or until they double in size.

Preheat the oven to 325 F and bake for 45 minutes.

Remove from the pan and invert on a plate. Let the pan sit for about 2 or 3 minutes to allow all the oozy-goozy caramel to let go of the pan and adhere to the rolls. Lift off the pan and serve while hot.

These are yummy while hot and will break a filling when cold. They don't keep terribly well, but microwave tolerably. When I am awake enough to remember, I add the raisins right into the dough when the machine beeps partway through the second kneading cycle. When I am not that awake, I spread them on the flat dough.

That's it. A daily report of my oh-so-dull life, a shout-out to a new blog buddy, and a recipe. Now I'm going to find a snack and head to bed. 7:30 p.m. is not too early for bed, is it?

Monday, February 23, 2009

P.S. Food porn

Here is breakfast.

First, fresh from the pan:

Then at the table:

Now I've GOT to go deal with the snow. Sigh.

Snow art

Or perhaps, the art of snow removal.

Notice how nature arranged the snow in a swirling pattern with my rear view mirror in the center. It is beautiful, but is means that the snow has been blowing hard and is going to be heavy to move.

Who knew back-breaking work could be considered and art form? I am beginning to think so.

I have some friends who asked me to do some snow removal for them while they're poolside in a warm place sipping drinks with little umbrellas in them. I hate them today. Just sayin'.

So I have been keeping an eye on the weather and saw that we were going to get a foot or more of heavy wet snow today. So yesterday I went to take a look at their place. There was some snow in the yard, and a large berm at the end of the driveway thanks to the town plow, but that was not what concerned me the most.

Here's the view when we first got there:

Not bad. Some snow in the driveway, some steps to clear, not bad at all. But then I saw these two things:

SO what? you might say. Well, icicles are dangerous things. They mean that there is ice behind them (I know, it's a shocker). Well, that ice backs up at the roof's edge and LIFTS THE ROOF SHINGLES when it expands (water expands when it freezes, remember) and leaks in and wrecks ceilings and walls.

From the way the house is situated, not much sun gets to the roof, certainly not enough to melt away the snow naturally, so there was probably a foot of snow up there. a cubic foot of snow (12 inches by 12 inches by 12 inches deep) weighs approximately 20 pounds. More if it's heavy. Today we're still getting pummeled with a storm that has already dropped close to a foot of very wet, heavy snow. Knowing that it was coming, and knowing what it would do to those ice dams, I made the executive decision to get as much of that snow weight off the roof as we could and to see if we could get rid of that ice before more joined it.

I climbed up there with shovels and a snow scoop pushing thing and a bucket of salt and some ice dam melting pucks and set to work. And work it was! Heavy, heavy stuff up there! Wow. Ice frozen to the moss on the roof! I had to be very careful how I cleared it. Some was left, but that's OK, it was the weight and the ice dams that concerned me, not the aesthetics. I called in reinforcements in the person of my friend and ace helper A, who climbed up and cleared what I had started. Here's a picture of the icicle at the crotch of the porch and kitchen/dining room roof:

And here's one of her spreading ice melt stuff on the dam at the eave along the living room wall.

You can't see them, but there are some little white hockey-puck looking things lined up along that ice dam just uphill of the edge. They are designed to melt heavy ice like what is here, and I hope that they are doing their job under today's new batch of snow. They're pretty amazing things, so I have hope that they're working. Chemistry is wicked cool. If I can get the ice dams gone, we can avoid some real damage to the house. Getting rid of the built up snow was essential - today's accumulation could have done further damage to the roof. Talk about bullets dodged. No shit.

I have no idea if this next part will work. If you see a map, notice the little white cross-hairs in a circle sort of to the right. That's Mount Desert Island. That's where I am. Weather here in New England tends to move in a north-by-easterly direction. That means that there is a nasty-looking pocket of snow still headed our way. I refuse to leave the house until I am pretty sure it's mostly over.

Zoom Map Click:
Zoom In Zoom Out Pan Map (Full Zoom Out)

I have just put caramel sticky buns in the oven. I am headed for the shower while they bake. After the shower and breakfast, there really will be very little stalling left for me to do and I will have to head out into this crap. Think warm thoughts on my behalf.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Ewie gross.

I mean it. This is nasty.

Many of you will want to not look any farther. There is a nasty, gross picture at the end of this. People with weak stomachs will not like it. This is not a joke, like the pussy pics. This is the real deal. You've been warned.

Remember when I whacked my fingernail with a hammer back in January?

Well the nail has grown out to a point where the black part was beyond the cuticle and I could see that there is new growth underneath. The old, black part is just so much shell over the new growth.

Only it would move a little like a loose tooth when I'd touch it. And since I discovered that it did the loose tooth thing, that's really all I've been able to do: keep touching it. Pressing on it, wiggling it, lifting the edges and seeing if it hurt (it didn't).

So finally I decided to cut away the dead stuff and let some air get at whatever ugliness might be underneath. I put the edge of these clippers under the back edge and gently pried it forward. I lifted and snipped and then went under the other edge and lifted again and snipped. In a few short moments, I had all of the old dead nail chipped away as well as an utterly disgusting pile of what has to be dried, congealed blood that had been resting between the old nail and the new growth.

Note that I have not called what I found under there a new fingernail, merely new growth. I think it has a way to go before anyone will call it a new fingernail. It's pretty nasty and mangled-looking. I had an awful time getting a good (??) picture of it. Here's my best effort. That pile of stuff next to my finger? That's the nail bits and the dried black shit that came out of there. Probably month-old dried blood. Bleah.

My finger feels lighter now, but wow it looks like hell. I thought it looked bad before. This is way worse. It is like I have Frankenstein's fingernail. Quite disgusting. I think I shall go give it a gentle scrubbing with some mild soap and rinse it well. Then I'll sand down the edges so it doesn't catch on every bit of fabric it encounters. And then I'll go to bed. My stomach is kinda queasy.

Monday, February 9, 2009

For the record,

industrial grade metal primer paint stuff is nasty. I wore my respirator while I painted it on the bench pieces, then came upstairs and it smelled so bad up here that I ended up with a headache. Apparently the fumes are undeterred by subflooring, plywood and kitchen tile. Wow. All I can say is that I will be glad when the painting part of this exercise is done. Nasty stuff.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Eye update

I was really nervous last night about my eye. My fear was that a tiny piece of wire had somehow lodged itself in my eye and that I could not feel it because it went into the soft white part. I was truly scared to death.

I awoke this morning to find my eye pretty much looking like it did yesterday morning: a little bleary, but otherwise fine. There was not so much as a tiny little bruise on my cheek. In fact, the whatever it was managed to nick the part of me that is perpetually red (thank you Irish ancestry and roseacea!). The scratch at the edge of my bottom lid seems to have pretty much disappeared and there is no more swelling.

I am at once thrilled that I have not suffered a debilitating injury and disappointed that I have nothing to show for my terror. Feh.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

It's all fun and games...

Until this.

I don't know exactly what came off the angle grinder's knotted wire wheel, but it got past my safety glasses, the side shields, and came right up under, putting a hole in my cheek as it traveled up and over my eyelids. I can only guess that the impact with my cheek caused me to blink, thus saving the eye. We have yet to find a piece of metal.

It does not feel like there is anything in my cheek or in my eye, although things are continuing to swell nicely. This picture was taken about five minutes after it happened. If I think too much about it, my stomach just churns. I have no health insurance. I was wearing all of the protective gear I own for such things - respirator, safety glasses with side shields, earmuff hearing protection, heavy leather gloves. I had the good sense just to turn the grinder off and put it down, strip off the respirator and earmuffs and come directly upstairs to have L take a look at it.

My vision is OK, but I can feel a nice bruise starting. Ouch. Talk about suffering for one's art.

I think I will take a shower and make some nice cheddar-broccoli soup now. No more metal for me today. Tomorrow I will start anew.