Put A Fork In Me

Um, ya. It’s supposedly the first day of Spring in 10 days. We got 6 more inches of snow up here in the Nort’land in the last 24 hours. Supposed to get more on Wednesday. Yup. This IS Spring for us. Mm hmm. We’ve all had about enough now, though. Really. We give up. This winter of the 2018-2019 season has been a doozy. We. Are. Done.

I live in Minnesota. This is not what you would call the normal winter for us, but it’s close. Yes, we always have snowy winters. Yes, we always have cold winters. However, this winter has been ridiculous. The usual would be some parts of MN getting a lot of snow and some parts getting the usual amounts and some parts less. Over the last 20 years or so, due to Climate Change, the norm has been less snow and MAYBE 5 or so days of minus 40 below zero degrees Fahrenheit temperatures without the wind chill.

Oh, SO not this year. THIS year decided to blow us for a loop. This year decided to remind us just what a MN winter used to be. This year decided to remind us what it means to be a hearty Minnesotan. This year decided we needed to remember why Babe the Blue Ox is Blue and why Paul Bunyan is so friggin tall.

Paul’s tall so he can see over the damned snow banks and Babe’s blue because it’s 55 degrees F BELOW F*CKING ZERO! That’s 75 F below zero with the wind chill for you warm people who never had the balls to step foot in this frozen hell. Yep. It really got that darn cold this winter. More. Than. Once. Consequences? Extreme cold blamed for 17 deaths in the Midwest thanks to the polar vortex. (www.weather.com) That was early on in December. We still had 2 more months of polar temps to go.

Aaaand just how much snow did we get this year, you ask? Well, I’m 5 feet 1 inch tall. The snow piled on the sides of my driveway is over my head. When I have to leave my driveway I inch my way out VERY carefully and very slowly to make sure no one is coming down the road that I can’t see, and who can’t see me hiding behind the snow pile. It’s like a game of hide and peek; to see all the cars doing the same thing coming out of the other driveways. There are places in MN where they got 6 1/2 feet of snow.

Of course we can’t JUST have the snow. We get freezing slushy icy slippery messes that cause wonderful driving conditions. We started the season in October with freezing rainstorms that left slick layers of ice covering everything. I had just paid $100 to ready my snow thrower for the season. I never got to use it. It remains out in the yard, frozen to the spot where I unloaded it the same day and we got hit by an ice storm that night. Heavy snow and slushy conditions were blamed for 3 fatal Midwestern accidents before December had ended. Now that MN body shops are breaking out the bubbly, we finally have warmer temps in sight. We should be celebrating, right?

With 40 degrees Fahrenheit expected within the week you would expect us to be celebrating. Not yet. With trepidation, now we must haul sump pumps down into our basements and lie in wait. It’s coming. Remember I said another storm is coming on Wednesday? It might be snow. It might be rain. Most likely it will be a mix of both, then freeze solid after the sun goes down. The Big Melt is coming. When you have this much snow and ice sitting on the frozen ground where is it going to go? They say 1 to 2 inches of rain is possible in places. Where is all this liquid moisture going to go? Exactly where is the glacier in my yard going to go?

Storm drains in the streets have snow and at LEAST an inch or two of ice covering them. Driveways? Even if you’ve been diligently shoveling or plowing them after each snow or ice storm, driveways are still covered with several inches of frozen tundra. Houses have snow packed up the outside walls several feet high. Except for the places smart people have hopefully dug out around the pipes and things that vent toxic fumes and things out of their houses. I know I can’t open my front door due to the snow comes up about 3 feet high. Ya, my boy was lazy and never shoveled the steps. So, ya, um…all this snow and ice so close to the houses is going to go…where? You guessed it! Right into your basement! Fun, right?

I don’t have a sump pump.

Here’s the latest report I’ve read and why I think I might be screwed: “The snowpack over the entire upper midwest remained in place or increased over the past two weeks. The amount of snow water equivalent in this snowpack is in the upper 10 percent of historical records over a widespread area…leading to high flood potential for many river basins in the area. At least half of our forecast points now indicate at least a 50% probability of reaching major flood stage.”

I don’t personally live ON the lake. I live about 4 to 5 blocks away from Lake Bemidji. I’m very happy that the lake is wayyyyy downhill. However, I have many family and friends who live on or near the 11,842 lakes and 92,000 miles of rivers, streams, and wetlands in MN. I’ve seen the Mighty Mississippi at flood stage. She IS mighty indeed. The town I live in, well the river flows through us. We are called “the first town on the Mississippi.” We are “sister” cities with New Orleans; the last city on the Mississippi. The headwaters of Ole Miss begins 35 1/2 miles from us. So, yes a lot of the snow and ice will go to feed her, along with all the water from 31 other states.

Right now though, I just don’t want all the frozen white stuff to go into my basement. I’m tired of “hide and peek.” I’m tired of sliding around on the ice, on my tires and on my feet. I’m SO very tired of being c’c’c’cold. My checking account is wondering where my money went. (All to heating costs!) Worst of all, though, my poor old body just wants to curl up into the fetal position and yell, “NO MORE, PLEASE?!” I live with a genetic disabling rare disease that causes chronic pain and the cold of this winter has exacerbated all that pain and increased it to monumental proportions. I’ve tried to help with shoveling and it hurts! I’ve fallen on the ice and it hurts! I can’t afford to turn up the heat and it hurts! I’ve been stuck in the snow so many times and have dug and slid and sug and slid and it hurts! Now flooding is coming? Ah, c’mon?!

Put a fork in me, I’m done!

 

Addendum as of 3/14/19: All this liquid has decided it wants to be inside my house via the basement. Spent 5 hours in the middle of the night using the wet/dry vac. I had just taken my folder of warranties/instruction manuals for various items out to look for something last week and just left it on the floor. MY bad. Now all those papers are spread out all over the place left to dry out. 6′ x 5′ area rug ruined. As things dry I’ll see what else is ruined.

NOT a happy camper.

The Walrus in the Room

Yes, I know the usual adage is about the Elephant in the room that nobody talks about, but there is another more sinister “animal” out there that lurks in the shadows that has come about. Some crass people do talk about it, but those with compassion and courtesy and who were taught “if you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all” will keep their thoughts to themselves.

Not all of us were born with the genetics to look like a supermodel. We don’t have the willpower to eat like a rabbit either and nibble on broccoli and celery all day long either. The idea of starving myself just to placate the mass hysteria of what a woman “should” look like according to some stale male ideal is just NOT in my mind’s selection of best hits.

Being born with a genetic disease that causes my ribs to form a barrel that sticks out a bit more than the average Joe, it can make me “look” a bit heavier as it squishes my fat out the bottom. You can also look at every person on that side of my lineage and we all look the same: short, squat, and big tummies. No matter if we are in great shape physically or not, we carry our weight in our mid-section. Yes, we look like pears, or Walruses. Average sized heads on top and not necessarily overly large breasts (there are of course some, we’re not cookie cut-outs,) then the big middle, and slim back down to the legs, with these flappy things called arms sticking out on the sides.  Sound like a walrus?

So, OK, if we gain weight and get overweight, we gain it in the belly area. Nutritionists and doctors will tell you this is the bad area to gain weight. We already have medical problems due to the Osteogenesis Imperfecta, now add the heart disease issues. I also have fibromyalgia and arthritis. I am supposed to work-out, get exercise. When you’re in chronic pain what kind of exercise can be a good question.

Yoga anyone? People with big breasts complain about trying to do yoga saying their breasts get in the way. Try doing some of those poses with a belly you can’t get around and joints that won’t move. I’m not saying I don’t want to move them due to pain. I’m saying they WON’T move. Some of them have been broken too many times. Calcium build up or bone spurs cause them to NOT move. Sometimes there may be pins, screws, plates, or rods in the way. So, how am I supposed to lessen the big belly? I am not going to starve myself. We must modify yoga poses. We still get some benefit from the poses. It’s still better to do what we can, than not do any of them at all. On days when there’s not too much pain stopping us. You ladies with the big breasts? Bring it on! Bunch of complainers.

“Oh I can’t find a bra to fit.” Oh whine. I can’t find parts for my wheelchair that I can afford. Cry me a river.

Sorry. I get carried away by what some people whine about in our first world problems. I keep looking until I find what I need, because I can. WE can, because we live here and not in a 3rd world country.

Anyway, next try: swimming? Try to find swimsuits for walruses and then actually go out in public wearing them. The same goes for the clothes in the yoga classes I s’pose, but I just wear sweats there. I don’t go in for the skin tight yoga pants and tiny workout bra in public. What’s the problem? People! Yes, they DO talk. Apparently they didn’t listen in Kindergarten when they were told it’s not polite to whisper about what people look like. Heck, some of those people will talk out loud to each other about what you look like. It’s not nice.

Who said workout pools and spas and yoga places were for fat people? Do you see a lot of fat people there? Not usually. They are full of skinny people wearing the latest workout fashions built for size zero people. Know what else they do? They take pictures and send them to their friends on social media! I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to end up “trending.” Even if you go to the beach to try to do your workout in a lake or river you have to deal with rude adults and children. “Look at the whale trying to workout!” No, I am a walrus.

Tai Chi Chih can be OK, if not a very good cardio workout. If you haven’t heard of it it is a series of 19 movements and 1 pose that together make up a meditative form of movement to which practitioners attribute physical, personal and spiritual health benefits. Obviously this is a lesser physically stressful version of Tai Chi. This can be done by the elderly in nursing homes, so I should be able to do this, right? Sometimes the nerve pain in my shoulders can NOT even handle this! Doing Tai Chi Chih on one particular day sent me to the floor in excruciating pain. OK, I could do the leg stuff, but not the arm stuff. It really sucked. Kinda hard to get to the spiritual health benefits when you’re on the floor “praying” for the pain to stop.

I have pah-lennnn-teeey of physical therapy exercises I’ve learned over the years that I’m supposed to do at home. Just need the willpower to do them. You know, this is why yoga and all those other things are done in groups. People like to do things in groups. Part of it is about the socializing of it all. Actually being able to GET OUT OF THE HOUSE would be nice once in a while. I know, a person learns what PT they are supposed to do one-on-one with the therapist, then they are supposed to keep it up at home. Boring! Why can’t they get together with other people who are supposed to do the same type of PT and do them in groups? We could tell each other if we’re not doing them right. Breathe right. Tighten our core. Get some needed socialization, too. The best part; no one to be there to mock us!

You know what those walruses sound like, that barking sound they make? They can get really noisy when they are in a group. When they are in a collective group they are called a herd, pod, or huddle. They do indeed sound like they may be mocking each other sometimes, especially when they call each other out to fight. Maybe I’m not the walrus. Maybe the dark animal lurking amidst our society that makes us feel not right according to the way we look are the walruses, lying around in their huddles mocking everyone by how they look. Their “barking” is annoying and I say we ignore them, dress however we want, and exercise however we can. If they’re the walrus in the room, then what animal am I?

I’ve Found Bigfoot!

Now, before you get all excited and start waiting for me to download great pics of this thing I have to warn you-it’s not what I expected at all. As they say a lot in Hollywood movies, “I thought you’d be a lot taller in person.”

For starters it’s a She and only about 5 ft. 1inch tall and lives in MN. She doesn’t really have a very big foot at all. Only ’bout a size 7 1/2. I guess she could kick your ass with it though. It would depend on just how badly you had pissed her off and what day of the week it was and what the weather was like. She can get a little ripe. That depends on several factors. Apparently taking a shower can be painful.

OK. OK. I give up the gag. You’re too smart. Yes, it’s me. I can get as hairy as the Hendersons (insert movie reference.) It’s really not my fault. I blame the Osteogenesis Imperfecta! I blame the fibromyalgia! I blame the Joint Hypermobility Syndrome! I blame my gad dern body. It just doesn’t want to obey. I have several medical/physical issues that cause chronic pain.

Chronic pain can cause even the most mild human being to roar like a forest monster. The poor cashier at the grocery store won’t know what hit them when I’ve been through their isle on a bad pain day in a hurry to get home to my comfy chair. The phrase “bit their head off” comes to mind. Sound a little bit like a grumpy hairy monster-like fellow?

The fabled beast has been noted to walk funny, or have a rambling gait. I have no idea why HE does, but my mobility problems are because I have bone spurs all over the place and arthritis in my joints. That causes me to walk slowly, rambly and funny and makes people get mad at ME! Well, toot toot, go around me if yer in such an all-fire hurry. Geesh. I try to stay close to the side if I’m going up or down stairs just so people CAN go around me, but I still have to listen to their grumbles about my slowness. On the days when I’m in a wheelchair; holy cow are people rude!

I’d like to see the big furry guy in a wheelchair. I’m betting no one would be rude to him.

Even if he smelled like a boy’s locker room. Well, I don’t get THAT bad. There are times when I have to go a few days without a shower. I just can’t lift my arms high enough to wash, or I just can’t climb over the side of the tub to get in. Especially in the summer this can lead to some smelly situations. I can’t afford to have A/C, so my house averages about 90 degrees Fahrenheit. You can understand where I’m leading about the smell? A few days, or weeks, of sweating in my bed and not being able to change the sheets by myself…you get the idea. I don’t even think the Yeti would want to come cool me off.

Without being able to wash means, yes I also can’t shave my legs. Good thing no one is currently running their hands up and down them except me. To put lotion on! Wow. Get your minds out of that gutter! So, anyway, I am quite furry and alas the Bigfoot sighting. It’s been a while now. You know what it looks like when you’ve had a cast on your leg and you get it taken off? You grossed out now? Well, it’s not THAT bad yet. Just thought I’d give you a fun visual. LOL! Not quite man-hairy, but not very lady-like either.

This is no way for a single woman to live. THIS is not very “come hither-ish” quality to catch a good date. Ya think? How ’bout that bigfoot? Think I could catch him? He might be available…