Monday, September 29, 2014

Baby Flying Squirrel

My boyfriend was coming in from taking out the trash last night and encountered a tiny creature on the porch. At first he thought it was a bat, then realized it was a baby flying squirrel, probably fallen from its nest.

While he googled flying squirrels and determined it was about six weeks old, Cecelia declared, "This is absolutely the cutest thing I've ever held in my entire life!"

S ran to the grocery to load up on pine nuts and sunflower seeds while C and I frantically tried to finish her 3D DNA helix made with twizzlers and colored marshmallows and toothpicks and e-mailed her science teacher hoping she would take the squirrel off our guard. We got our reply this morning.

"A flying squirrel will not fly with the school but here is a list of Pulaski County Wildlife Conservationists to contact."

So we are contacting but still no word. In the meantime we are the hit of the new neighborhood. The kids really want to keep it for a pet, but we explained to them that it was illegal. "Remember Ivan?," I told Jack - referring to the book we read last year called The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate. "Gorillas and squirrels need space. We need to get this little one strong and healthy to live a happy life in the wild where it was born." Plus we have a cat. Not compatible.

S wondered aloud last night at being lost in the forest someday and the flying squirrel recognizing him and showing him the way since he saved its life. C and I laughed and then I said, "No, you will be running in the forest being chased by a cougar. An army of flying squirrels will descend upon the cougar and reduce it to bones in a manner of seconds just as it aims for your jugular. Then the squirrels will swoop you up and take you home to safety."

I didn't even know they had flying squirrels in Arkansas. Hopefully now we all have good squirrel karma.

Caption: Jack holding Drizzles (as Cecelia dubbed him this morning)

Caption: Cecelia with Drizzles

Interesting facts about flying squirrels: They like pine nuts. I freaking love pine nuts - S calls them my drugs because they cost so much. They are nocturnal (squirrels not pine nuts) - big cute eyes! I hear they also like peanut butter (who doesn't?).

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Moving Misadventure

Read it at MiM.

Thanks to stepmom Rachel for the title idea.

Ha, I just thought moving was nightmarish in my last post. I had no idea what I was in for.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Moving is Truly Nightmarish

Especially when the packers pack your cat food and wine and bedding and food and the book I'm reading that I bought in the Atlanta airport (why oh why I asked myself didn't I pack Fizzy's book? I thought it would take me all weekend to finish mine and read four Rolling Stones but I slept very little and was a reading machine) and then it rains for two days. Everything gets postponed. We are camping in our old house. I guess packers don't take people and cats into consideration - they are just packing machines. I didn't know that; this is the first time I have ever hired packers.

Highly recommend The Round House by Louise Erdrich. It's pretty intense so be prepared for that.

I got these pictures from Aunt Effie in Boston over the summer. I decided to post them tonight because my children look truly powerful and invincible and tonight, in the words of The Flight of the Concords, I'm feeling "vincible." They say death and moving are two of life's biggest stressors and to deal with both in one week has been hard.

Caption: Cecelia with sparklers

Caption: Jack with sparklers

I missed this at the event we were attending I think I was inside scarfing guacamole. Figures. These kids are on fire. I need some to get through the next few days. At least I'm not going through a divorce like I was during the last move four years ago. This is easy compared to that. Having help helps much (Thanks S:).

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Another Rant

I was getting utilities and mail transferred the other day. House is mostly packed for move. High adrenaline time.

I stopped by the post office last week to fill out change of address form - I'm a pro have done this many times. They advertised that it could be easily done online at Excellent. Easy. I thought.

The other day I went to The change of address form was easy to fill out, but then they vaulted me to voter registration change of address. As many times as I've moved in the past 17 years (8? 9?) I've never had to re-register to vote. I registered at 18. I'm 41. It's always been cool. But now I have to sign on for a form to officiate my change of address to maintain my voter registry (!!??!! New laws rear their ugly head).

I get vaulted to this page that requires me to choose one of twenty corporate owned national stores for coupons in order to get access to my voter form so I can download and send it in to maintain my ability to vote. Target. Restoration Hardware. I click on one I have never heard of (Horchow?) and nothing happens. I try to select the button at the top that says select one but it is grayed and unclickable - the only one available to my pointer says "Select All Deals at once!"

Um, really? In order to maintain my right to vote I have to subject myself to an onslaught of e-mails from various corporations? No freaking way. Apparently so.

I finally get my vote form by e-mail and spend twenty minutes unsubscribing to a million undesired sites that have just obtained access to me so I can vote. What the hell is this country coming to.

When I got the e-mail to access the form to send in with a stamp so I can vote it gave me limited two week access with a password. I downloaded it, printed it off, and mailed it in. November is looming.

My partner tells me I am lucky. When he moved he found out at the voting site he had to fill out a new form. "It took forever. Luckily it wasn't crowded, or it would have been a big problem. They are really trying to make it harder and harder for us to vote."

I'm a professional with constant access to a computer and the internet. It was still frustrating and confusing. I cannot imagine the voices we are squelching with our new laws. I think this is only the tip of the iceberg. It makes me so angry.

Sweet Jane

Life is fleeting.

We lost a big one today, suddenly without warning.

I realize, belatedly, that I spend more time with my co-workers than I do with my kids.

Work is family. As much as your own blood. Maybe more.

R.I.P. to the best Jane I've ever known. Love you.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Col. Bruce Hampton Ret. and Late Bronze Age - Arkansas promo

9/6/14 - Northside Tavern. Atlanta, GA

So excited bro. Documentary was bizarre.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

This Was Not in the Job Description

When I arrived at work today a little before 8 am I learned that the bulk of my work, about 100 slides, would not be ready until 2pm.

I busied myself. Took care of a pile of bills. Made some mind-numbing phone calls for sold house/new house stuff. Passed the morning productively. I glanced at the bottom shelf over my left desk that was filled with taped up memos. One caught my eye, and I decided to take care of it. It was from the head of cytology.

March 27, 2014

All pathologists need to go to Employee Health to be fitted for an N95 respirator mask and send the results to us for our records by the end of 2014.

It's only September, I thought. I'm jumping the gun.

I wandered over to the adjacent building and took the elevator to Employee Health - I was there a couple of weeks ago for my annual (negative again!) TB skin test. I take those a little more seriously. The receptionist told me that the person in charge of the respirator fitting was luckily available - "Did you call and set up an appointment?" she asked. I didn't know I needed too, and told her I was close by I would be happy to return at his convenience. "It's ok, he's here."

I was led into a small office and after we chit-chatted about why we both wondered there were three fire trucks outside the hospital (one of the girls up front was drooling over them - she declared that the only good reason a man was allowed to wear suspenders was if he was a fireman) he showed me the mask. It looked like any cup-shaped over the nose and mouth mask I have worn many times in my career. "Have you ever been fitted?" He asked. I said, "No."

He gave me a tutorial about how to place a mask. There were two elastic strings - he told me you place the first above the ears behind your head and drag the second down on your neck for the most secure fit. Then, importantly, you squeeze the aluminum inserts around the top of your nose. I watched, copied successfully, and wondered aloud, somewhat muffled, what comes next.

He handed me a large HazMat head piece (think E.T.), and asked if I was claustrophobic (Um, no) before placing it on my head. I could see through the sheer plastic face shield. There was a hole near the neck; he told me he was going to insert aerosolized sweetener (don't worry it's patented he assured me) into the hole to fill my small space.

"Read this passage." He handed me a piece of crumpled paper. "If at any time you taste the sweetener while you read it's an indication your mask is not fitting right." I glanced at the passage and laughed. He said, somewhat surprised, "It's designed to test all of your mouth movements to make sure anything you might do behind the mask will keep you protected from whatever you are exposed to." "Like Ebola?" I quipped. He sighed, "I hope it's not coming. But yes, this will be a first step if it does."

I've worn these masks sporadically, mainly in the presence of reading smears in radiology for TB patients. But I've never been fitted until now. I started reading.

Rainbow Passage

When the sunlight strikes raindrops in the air, they act like a prism and form a rainbow. The rainbow is a division of white light into many beautiful colors. These take the shape of a long round arch, with its path high above and its two ends apparently beyond the horizon. There is, according to legend, a boiling pot of gold at one end. People look, but no one ever finds it. When a man looks for something beyond his reach, his friends say he is looking for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

At the conclusion I declared that I did not inhale any sweetener. He looked satisfied and started filling out a card. "Here this is to remind you that when you need an N95 respirator to ask for the Model: 1860 Size: Reg. If you get the small you will automatically know it is not the right fit. These are available in surgery and radiology and on all the floors. Always throw away your N95 after each use. Whatever you are protecting yourself from is all over the outside of the mask. Don't try to reduce waste with these things by reusing. It would be very dangerous. Any questions?"

"Can I have a copy of the Rainbow Passage?"

"I've never been asked that before, but here you can have this one, I can print out a new one."

"I'm just wanting to show it to my kids, thanks."

Monday, September 1, 2014

The Aliens are Coming

Boy sleepovers are much different than girl ones.

Case in point:

I was leaving the Arkansas Skatium (roller skating) Saturday night with a car full of nine year old boys.

"Do you see those lights in the sky?"

"Yes, I think they are spotlights. I saw them last night."

"Well I think they are aliens. You need to get us home right away."

"You are right, I'll step on it. I might look like Jack's mom but I'm really a warrior queen. I can get us home safely from the aliens."

"Are they really aliens?"

"No, we are having fun. They are just spotlights."

Much discussion ensued as I was driving down Chenal Parkway to the interstate.

"All the buildings have force fields around them, they are safe from the aliens. As soon as you get us home we will be ok. But you have to move quickly. Your name is Burn."

"I love it, yes I'm Burn. Burning up the road to get us home safe. You can trust me I'm moving as fast as I can."

"Burn baby burn."