Down a Dusty Road

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Before we go out, which is not very often these days with all my injuries, I will pee ninety-seven times. At least I’ll try to pee ninety-seven times. I’ll pee like a normal person, wash my hands, and then a niggling thought will enter the back of my mind, “How much pee did I just make while washing my hands? Could I pee again?” The next thing I know I’ve spent fifteen minutes peeing four drops, and Brian is sending me messages from the truck like, “I’m running out of gas waiting for you, what are you doing in there?”

This is probably not normal, but I can’t help it, and I doubt I’ll ever stop doing it. I began this odd habit when we moved to Montana because Montana doesn’t have bathrooms. If you’re on the interstate or a more substantial road, you’ll have rest stops and gas stations available, but if you’re on a back road? You’re peeing on the side of that road.

While it’s true you can go for long periods of time without coming across another vehicle here, it’s inevitable that as soon as you have to pee, someone will either appear behind you or a steady spaced-out stream of trucks, it’s almost always trucks, will start coming from the opposite direction. Also, anywhere east of Bozeman is pretty wide open, there aren’t a lot of trees, so you’d be exposed during your exposure. So, I try to pee ninety-seven times.

It seems my current injury, which has now also led to my foot feeling broken, possibly with microfractures from the stress of not using my thigh for so long, has triggered the same pee habit. Every time I make it all the way to the bathroom, which is honestly at least four miles away from the living room, I spend up to fifteen minutes trying to pee everything I can pee, so I won’t have to make the trek again for a while. Of course, the bathroom in our bedroom is only five steps from the bed, and I do it there as well, so maybe I’m just lazy about getting up to pee, regardless of where I am in the house.

Note: Technically, the picture here is from Wyoming, but I had to include it because of the Dusty Road song!

Title From:
Dusty Road
by Dave Stamey

Though the Ground Might Shake

A couple nights ago, not long past midnight, we were sitting on the couch watching something on the television. My leg has been getting worse, so I’ve removed two of the three back cushions to use for elevating my injured parts, and have taken to hogging the majority of the couch. Brian is relegated to less than one whole cushion. I was cleaning my glasses because my eyelashes are too long and they tend to transfer my moisturizing cream onto the lenses in blurry streaks. I can’t see anything without them, so when the couch started swaying, I thought Brian was adjusting in his tiny cubby of a seat.

As a kid, I used to lay in bed and imagine monsters. I do not know why but imagining monsters all around my home made me feel safe. I guess my weirdness started early. One of the things I would imagine was that my bed was stranded in the middle of the ocean and was floating amongst enormous sharks and other unknown creatures of the deep. The only way I could be safe was to keep on top of the mattress. I would imagine the waves gently rolling the bed, and I would fall asleep to that feeling.

That’s what the sofa felt like. Swaying on the ocean on a magical floating mattress. It was smooth and rhythmic. With my glasses back on I could see that Brian wasn’t dramatically adjusting. So there was only one thing it could have been, and ten minutes later the headline of “Magnitude 5.8 earthquake 48 km from Helena Valley West Central, Montana” popped up. We were feeling the tremors.

It was the first time Brian ever experienced one. I had one previous experience in Pennsylvania. I had been sitting on a tiny recliner in my grandparents’ trailer when suddenly I was vibrating. I turned to my (grandpa) Pappy, who had been talking to his friend Jerry in the kitchen, and asked, “What was that?!” He nonchalantly replied, “Probably a truck going down the road.” Turns out it wasn’t a truck after all. It was a 4.6 earthquake.

Title From:
by Maddie & Tae

Paint the Breeze

I’m still on the couch. Two weeks ago, while I was sleeping in bed, I pulled my right leg up by my side and felt a little pain in my thigh. Other than a quick thought of, “Oh great, another place to hurt,” and a readjusting of my position, it didn’t cause much of an issue. Later that same evening I was trying to propel myself out of this awful piece of furniture, and just as I stood straight, I involuntarily screamed and went down to the couch again. I had torn whatever muscle runs the entirety of your inner thigh. I could probably look up the proper name, but why? According to the internet, because I do not go to the doctor unless I’m seriously hurt, it was a Grade 2 tear, which requires 3-6 weeks recovery. Two down, four to go.

Guess what happened next? I was walking with great difficulty, using my Wizard’s Staff walking stick that I picked up on our hike up the mountain behind our cabin in Connecticut on the way to the Appalachian Trail. Off topic, we heard what sounded exactly like the howling of a wolf up there. It was quite unsettling. Anyway, because of the odd walking and stress being put on other parts to compensate for the torn thigh muscles, I hurt my lower leg. I suspect shin splints and some other injury that’s resulted in a massive bruise and swelling.

So now it’s compression socks, ice, and painful elevation, which pulls at my thigh muscle quite uncomfortably. I haven’t seen any improvement in my lower leg, but as it doesn’t show signs of falling off, I’m sure it’ll get better eventually.

Look at this brilliant transition into another topic.

The 4th of July is quickly approaching. I can hear the pop of fireworks in the distance tonight. The 4th used to be my favorite holiday, but I’m far too afraid of celebrating here. Spring was amazing, with more rain than I’ve seen in the last three years. The grass stayed green for so much longer than usual. However, it’s dead now. We have fire danger signs all over the place here, which look like this. I’ve never seen them below moderate, and I’ve rarely seen them below high. I get nervous when Brian grills, and the little sparks start drifting off. I can’t even imagine setting off a firework. Fortunately for whoever is setting them off tonight, our county doesn’t have any fire restrictions at the moment.

While I’m far too fearful of burning Montana down, I’m thankful others aren’t as concerned, so it’s still possible to see some explosions of color. My favorite part is when they’ve set off so many that each new one illuminates the smoke in the sky. It’s just a shame I can’t see anything from the couch.

Title From:
This Is My Country
by Tennessee Ernie Ford

Lookin’ on the Bright Side Always Pays

Here I am, back on the couch. My renewed hip pain has led to my right leg swelling to an uncomfortable size, and I feel like these two little throw pillows elevating my lower leg by four inches are somehow going to help.

You see so many pictures of people relaxing on their over-sized chairs and sofas, with their laptops balanced perfectly on their curled legs. There’s probably a mug of coffee or a glass of red wine somewhere nearby, usually on the floor. They’re always smiling and they look so comfortable. That is a perfectly accurate description of how I’m not sitting.

This is basically how this whole evening goes: I’ll have one leg stretched out to reach the aforementioned throw pillows, the other will be curled up under the laptop, which is never balanced on my body. Of course, I’m covered with an old quilt I got from Etsy a couple years ago. It was a great price until I had to pay almost the same amount for shipping. The quilt is never smoothed nicely over my legs because I shift around a lot. This means the laptop will bounce around as I type, which will eventually annoy me enough that I’ll take two inches from my ballooning leg, and I’ll shove one of the throw pillows under the laptop. It provides a much more stable position, but it also raises it so that I feel like a tyrannosaurus rex trying to type.

Next to the couch is a coffee table. I guess technically it’s in front of the couch, but since I’m sitting the way I just said, it’s next to me. There’s also an end table behind me. The coffee table is too far for me to comfortably reach my slippery mason jar of Steaz grapefruit and honey iced tea. I don’t want to twist around to reach it on the end table either because that would risk hurting my trapeze muscles again. I realize the word is trapezius, but today I’m five years old. So, to help make life easier and the living room messier, I’ve got our cooler stuck between the coffee table that’s too far away and the couch. I can’t just put my glass on the floor like the people who can somehow magically sit comfortably with their laptops, because I will kick it at some point, or a dog (Wicket) will knock it over, or the dog hair that is everywhere-all-the-time-no-matter-how-many-times-we-sweep will float down like that feather in Forrest Gump until it lands squarely in my drink.

So because that’s next to me, if I ever want to get up, I’ll first have to clear the top of the cooler so I’ll have a place to put the laptop. That means I’ll have to reach over to the coffee table anyway, defeating the whole point of having the cooler. Then I’ll move the laptop to the cooler, bend the leg that’s been stuck in the same position for forty-five minutes, and lunge out of the couch, because this couch tries to swallow you. Eventually I’ll have enough of all this discomfort, and I’ll put the laptop away and open YouTube on my phone. Hopefully there are still a few “people falling down” videos I haven’t yet watched.

Title From:
Better Than Today
by Don Williams

You Know I’d Never Talk About the Weather

Right now it’s 58°F and storming, which means I can’t open the windows. I can’t open the windows for multiple reasons. First, I’m terrified of lightning. I’ve gotten better over the years, but I still can’t allow drafts when there’s even a trace of thunder. It started in 1994 when lightning struck our house, which wasn’t uncommon, but this particular time it shot through the electric lines and hit my aunt who had been holding the refrigerator door. She was pregnant and had to be taken to the hospital to be checked. Everyone survived. I also got to experience ball lightning because of that event, which I didn’t realize was what I saw until I looked it up on the internet many years later. The second reason is that I can’t stand being in unnecessary humidity. So I’m sitting in the office with the air conditioner on, freezing. Why do I always talk about the weather?

Moving on. I ordered two new Fitbits in a misguided attempt at motivating myself to get back into a proper workout schedule. Kind of like how you’d possibly buy new shoes if you decided to take up running again. Or is that just me? It could be me. I have way too many reasons for buying new shoes. Anyway, most of the time I use the Fitbit to monitor my sleep, which is often terrible, but the Charge 2, unlike the original Flex, also monitors heart rates, has breathing sessions, and can display the time and text messages. There’s nothing like reading some text messages to get you pumped for the elliptical, amirightyouknowimright. If you happen to be interested in your own, there’s a sale through the 16th, I think. I mean, I was just there, but I can’t remember. Brains.

The storm is picking up. Time to head to the living room and hide under the blanket.

Title From:
Summer In Dixie
by Confederate Railroad