Building Character

7 Jan

If drama, like adversity, builds character, then I’ve got enough “character” to last a lifetime. When you get a sustained bunch of both at the same time, well, I’m not sure what that builds, but I’ll let you know.

I think it all started when I didn’t get my flu shot. I haven’t gotten the flu but I think not getting the shot is when things started to go south & this winter became “The Winter of My Discontent.”

I kept forgetting to make an appointment with my doctor’s office to get a flu shot & I definitely was NOT going to the same local pharmacy where I got the shot last year. The pharmacist who “administered” my shot also administered to me, as his captive audience, tales of his divorce, child support & what lessons he learned from his dad as a growing boy. It wasn’t that his stories were dull. On the contrary, they might have been spell-binding were he not sticking a needle in my arm. At the end of the injection he removed the needle & kept talking while continuing to squeeze my arm. I quickly stuck my finger over the injection site & applied pressure to keep the serum from leaking out & running down my arm … as it had started to do just as the pharmacist began wrapping up his tale. I didn’t want to run the risk of getting THAT particular pharmacist again unless I had a free afternoon & most of an evening.

November was a flurry of activity. Our club was planning, & eventually constructing our float entry for the local Christmas Parade. As club president, I was right there “constructing” while also planning the Annual Christmas Party for our chapter & I was looking forward to an early December cocktail party.  I’d bought a fabulous new dress.

So I didn’t get the flu shot but the last of November, when I’d planned to make an appointment to GET the flu shot & didn’t, what I DID get instead was a month-long attack of a G.I. condition that started in 2009 … way back when I was getting chemo for breast cancer. I’m used to getting those attacks several times a year but this one started on November 30 & lasted the entire month of December.

Fortunately, as truly miserable as the attacks are, they were spaced so I was able to be in the parade, go to our club’s Christmas Party & eat a wonderful Christmas dinner, minus my homemade pecan pie that would have had Martha Stuart drool with envy. Missing the cocktail party was disappointing but one out of several wasn’t bad.

To make a long story short, I’ve spent a lot of quality time recently with my gastroenterologist. He has had a thoughtful look at all of my bloodwork (normal), biopsies (normal) & my anatomy literally from the inside out. With one more test left to do I’m hoping to find a resolution to this on-going problem because I simply don’t have another body part or square inch of flesh … inside or out … to be examined. I can only hope …

I’ve lost 12 pounds during this on-going experience & my diet has mostly consisted of BLAND  … grits, potatoes, rice, oyster crackers, green beans, Jello & an occasional chicken breast baked in the oven – no seasoning, no marinade. I wouldn’t recommend this as a weight loss program. I’m starving! I hope the “babbling pharmacist” is having a better month.

So things settled down to a routine … kind of bland like my diet … until last weekend when I was standing at the kitchen sink looking out the window. I noticed our neighbor walking what looked like a new white, kind of fat dog on a leash. The animal took off at a trot past the mailbox, pulling on the leash, headed across the street seemingly intent on terrorizing our across-the-street neighbor’s dog. She yelled, ran into the yard & scooped up her dog while the woman next door pulled on the leash. I was thinking how our next door neighbors really didn’t need to add yet another animal to their menagerie. Their 2 dogs (that seem more like 10) have not stopped barking since they bought the house next door a year & a half ago.

I kept watching & noticed that the animal on the leash was not a dog at all … wasn’t even vaguely canine, but was, instead a white pig. Yes, of course I blinked to see if I was seeing what I was seeing … you don’t even have to ask me that question.

I called Willy on the intercom & told him about the pig. His response was, “You’ve been sick a long time & I’m sorry it’s affecting you like this.” I told him to come upstairs & see for himself, which he did & eventually admitted that it was, indeed, a pig. For at least 30 minutes we went from window to window with cameras trying to get a photo of the porcine pet, but to no avail. That pig is way talented at staying behind the shrubbery & avoiding the paparazzi.

I’m not really sure, even considering the shock value, that a neighbor walking a pig on a leash is “drama,” but it does speak volumes about how little it takes to amuse Willy & me. I’m blaming that mostly on my being sick for a while & us not getting out much lately. Mostly I’m blaming it on that pharmacist & his rather annoying stories that have kept me from getting my flu shot & probably included a pig on a leash somehow.

Jumping ahead to our biggest drama lately … Last night Willy started a fire in the woodstove in our family room. It snowed all night last night & half of today so the air was heavy & dense & a gusty downdraft forced a rather huge cloud of smoke out of the stove around the closed door. It was a freaky thing. I started closing doors to keep the smoke from reaching our smoke alarms but was too late & that awful alarm went off, piercing the night & sending the cat as far under the bed as she could go. We have ADT Security & Fire Alarm Protection but with no call from ADT I figured I’d disarmed the system in time.  Willy had turned on ceiling fans & opened a window.

But much like that old familiar, recently read story, “The Night Before Christmas,”  I disarmed the alarm & was turning around when a fireman landed on our porch with a bound.

ADT had called the fire department & they responded immediately.

We invited the fireman in, told him our story & while he was in the family room checking out the stove, a second fire department vehicle arrived followed by the hook & ladder truck; lights twirling & blazing, lighting up the neighborhood. Thankfully, there was no siren. That would have certainly disturbed our neighbor’s new pig.

Everything checked out, we apologized & the fire department (half of them were in front of our house) said they would rather respond to something like that than a real fire.

I finally coaxed the cat out from under the bed with cat treats. She’s a pussy for a treat.

This morning I heard from a couple of neighbors who realized what had happened & who let me know they were glad there wasn’t a real fire. I told them it was the pharmacist’s fault & advised them never to let him give them a flu shot.

So I’ve been thinking about drama & character-building & here are the conclusions I’ve come up with:

  1. My glass is half FULL – we didn’t have a fire
  2. ADT really ROCKS!
  3. I got to do most of what I wanted to do at Christmas, even though I was sick
  4. My beautiful cocktail dress will look even better on my 12 pounds slimmer body even though my face looks like a refugee
  5. If you THINK you see someone walking a pig on a leash, even if you can’t get a picture & you’re not drunk, it probably IS a pig on a leash
  6. Most cats are pussies for treats
  7. I have enough character to last several lifetimes
  8. AND … Never EVER get a flu shot from a pharmacist who is a story-teller, even if he’s walking a pig on a leash at the time.



2 Responses to “Building Character”

  1. reriggins7 January 8, 2017 at 5:32 am #

    Oh my goodness….a pig on a leash. Reminds me of Arnold from Green Acres (A fascinating pet – although I don’t think he was on a leash…)! I’m wondering why you didn’t go outside and meet the pig in person! But I certainly understand if you weren’t feeling well enough in your trim/gaunt body,
    Sorry Phoebe had to endure the smoke alarm :/
    Thanks for your entertaining stories….And tell Willy he exponentially adds content to your stories. You both make reality so much more fun 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • heimdalco January 8, 2017 at 6:42 am #

      Awwww, thank you, Rebecca. I’m so glad you enjoy reading my stuff.

      Long story about the pig people that I will tell you later. Suffice it to say just seeing the leashed pig from a distance was good enough even if Willy DID think I was suffering aftershocks from being ill.

      Agree … Willy is some of the best “blog fodder” I have … LOL

      Love to you


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