Tuesday, November 12, 2019

farmette life 14

Oh, something is missing here
Oh, something has disappeared
'Cause I'm all alone
Like a bird that's flown
Into the great unknown
On my own.
(Madeleine Peyroux)

The farmette is complicated. There are many components to it, most installed by Ed. I don't think he set out to make it complicated, but his lifestyle changed since he moved here several decades ago and so tweaks were made and connecting lines were installed and it all works fine, because Ed is good at installing things and tweaking stuff.

Until it doesn't work fine.

Before Ed left on his sailing expedition, we went over the various things that could go wrong here, in his absence. The list is long! And it's complicated. The set up for the internet alone is comically convoluted. Gas lines feed the sheep shed and the farmhouse. The water is heated one way here and another way there. The furnace heats the house, water pipes heat the sheep shed. And all this is somehow connected in ways that I do not understand.

In this beast of a month, we've had the snow. The freeze. I'm still sick. Cats have been sick. Cats have died. It's been two weeks of keeping this place afloat and though I'm sure the sailors have had their challenges out at sea, at least there are five of them. The farmette ship, on the other hand, is mine to handle. Alone.

I wake up to 5F (-15C) outside. That's brutal, even for January. It's insane for early November. The cats are hungry. I run through about a dozen tissues to clear my sinuses, seize control of my cough, and go out to do the morning chores.

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In the sheep shed, seven powerful cats (I can't believe they were once babies!) are clamoring for food.

Hold on! -- I tell them. I need to clean these disgusting bowls of yours!

And that's when I notice there's no hot water. Indeed, there's no water at all when you turn on the warm water faucet. The water heater is in the kitchen. It seems dead.

Perhaps this is not a big deal. I simply do not know. I do not smell gas, but then the sheep shed right now smells of machines and cats, so anything else would be well camouflaged. Is there danger? A gas leak? A malfunction requiring immediate attention? I have no idea and because I don't understand the complicated farmette system, I have to call Madison Gas and Electric and ask for an immediate visit (which in itself is complicated -- kids, doctor's appointments -- how am I going to fit it all in?)

It's going to be a crazy day.

*   *   *

I'm in my doc's office. Not because of the cold/virus/whatever, but because I want to find out why a report on my abdomen last week revealed that my gall bladder was just fine. I do not have a gall bladder. We parted ways more than forty years ago.

She looks at the report thoughtfully and concludes finally that it must be boilerplate language, pasted in when things are fine. I do like my doc very much and she is not the author of the report, but still, shouldn't we do better than to slap in boilerplate, especially incorrect boilerplate?

As long as I'm here, my doc listens to my lungs. I think you have pneumonia, she tells me. There is a crackle...
Am I okay around kids?
She notes that if she had pneumonia, she'd still be around her kids, but she gently suggests that I should also rest.

People point fingers at kids, but I want to say that they are not my problem! The strain is in dealing with the complicated farmette, the 17 animals and the most bizarre November weather in our history! There's the strain!

As I sit in the doc's office, I receive a message from the captain of the sailboat out there on the Atlantic, via satellite or some such nonsense. He asks if I can book a flight for Ed and assures me that Ed is enjoying himself.

I know that this is a family-friendly blog, but I don't care! My reaction is visceral -- are you fucking kidding me?? You think I'm sitting around worrying if Ed is having fun? You think, as I am cleaning animal vomit, burying cats, discarding squirrels and mice and chasing chickens before little Sparrow comes and requires my hands on care, you think in this coldest of cold months, with snow piling up and water heaters breaking, while I'm coughing up a storm and fighting a fever, that I'm really worried whether Ed is having fun??

Who are these strange people, the five sailors out there flying with the wind (or lack thereof) and testing their manhood against the elements?

I calm down. It's not my doc who is the author of the report, it's not Ed who is the author of the email.

*   *   *

Somewhere in there, there was breakfast.

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*   *   *

In the early afternoon, the Madison Gas and Electric truck pulls up. The two men inspect the gas water heater, do not understand how it all works (It's not just me!),  turn off the gas, just to be safe (with what consequences? I do not know) and depart, leaving a trail of wet muddy footprints all across the sheep shed (and seven terrified cats hiding in the barn). 

I quickly get into the car and head out to pick up the kids. Was it me? Was it the gas guys' truck? One of us, likely me (though I do not hear or see anything) hits a kittie who has parked herself in the middle of the road. (I see a second kittie, sitting on the road further down. I screech to a halt and chase her off. But it's too late for her sister -- the pretty little one with the orange patch on her white skinny body.)

*   *   *

The highlight of the day? Easy.

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*   *   *

The low point? Uff! This.

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Darkness and the cold do not keep me from burying the little one. Next to her little cousins.