Another Monday has arrived, and not a moment too soon. For it has been a weekend of rude awakenings. A weekend of shocks to the system. A weekend where my comfy existence has been shaken, not stirred.
Okay. Maybe it hasn’t been SO dramatic as all that. But still, once I recount the events of this weekend, you will shake your head in knowing agreement and say “Tsk, tsk” in an entirely sympathetic manner to yourself, safe in the knowledge that is was not YOU, and for this you are grateful.
For my weekend involved (but was not limited to): excruciating pain, a glimpse into my own future, and a naked strange man.
Oh yes. That’s right.
A NAKED STRANGE MAN.
(This is going to be a LONG one. And involves nakedidity and toilets, among other things. So be forewarned.)
First, let me start from the beginning, for that is a good place to start.
On Friday, as I mentioned in the Friday Fun, it was 25 glorious degrees outside, so it was a good day to do yardwork. So I got out the various tools of the yardwork trade: my little weed basket, some hand tools, a rake, some gloves. I started by cleaning leaves and debris out the front garden and trimming the shrubs which had been so unceremoniously chewed down to nubs by the rodents over the winter. Then I raked the front lawn of all the dead grass, and moved to the back lawn and raked a little bit of that as well. But the back lawn is too big, so I decided to clean out some gardens. I pulled leaves and dead grass and some early weeds out of the side garden. I started on the back garden, pulling weeds and trying to get a start on taming the unruly periwinkle which is slowly taking over.
While I was working, Duncan was at the screen door watching. Now, Duncan is a big boy, but he has a very quiet little baby voice. He chirrups and peeps rather than your standard cat meow. So he sat at the window and peeped and squeaked at me while I worked. I wandered to the back garden. And I heard this strange noise. It was a cat, but none of the cats I know. I know all my cats’ sounds, and this one was unfamiliar.
And then I turned around and realized: it was Duncan. He had found his “big boy” voice, and he was shouting for all he was worth for me from the window.
It was odd. It was this strange yodelling, and a volume I was unaccustomed to hearing from our baby boy. Now, for whatever reason, all our cats speak in “sentences” and “paragraphs” — rather than utter single meows like most cats do, they often string a whole bunch of sounds together, like “meowmeOWmyowMEEEEEowmyowmyowMEOWmeow”. It’s quite a cacophony when they all get going. And so, here was Duncan, hollering in paragraphs in his big boy voice from the patio door.
I laughed. Silly woman. I didn’t know.
When I got tired, I went inside. And when BDH came home from work, I went out to help him bring his gear inside (as I have been doing of late, since he has his arm in a splint). And when I turned from the car to go back into the house, there was Duncan, trotting off across the porch, through the porch rails, and racing away between the houses for freedom, tail in the air and looking as happy as Larry.
Little bugger had ESCAPED. All that yelling had been him stating his NEED to go OUTSIDE.
None of our cats are allowed outside. We believe there’s no need to let cats outside — they are perfectly content inside, they live longer and healthier lives as indoor cats, and the world is too dangerous a place for housecats. But they still WANT to go outside, from time to time. This phase passes, but Duncan is still very young, so that has not happened yet. Thankfully, I caught up with him without too much trouble, and ushered him back indoors with much scolding. And we all settled in for the evening.
On Saturday, we were getting up early to go to Buffalo for the day, so I thought it best to get to bed early. My arms were a fair bit achey from the day’s work, particularly my forearms, so I took some extra strength Tylenol before heading to bed. But I could not get to sleep, and the pain in my forearms was getting steadily worse. After an hour and a half of tossing and turning and trying to sleep away the ache, BDH came down to go to bed. I was exhausted, and by this time, my arms were really sore. The pain started in the ends of my fingers, and throbbed all the way down each finger, through my hands, through my wrists and into my forearms, right up to the elbow. And I was irrationally tired.
So BDH got some ice packs from the freezer, wrapped my arms and hands in them, and read to me until I was ready to go to sleep. Finally, around 11:45, I was ready for sleep.
At 1:30 am, I woke with a start. The Tylenol had worn off, and I was woken by pain. This was excruciating pain like I had never felt in my life. Here’s the thing: many of the pain receptors in your body are concentrated in your hands as an evolutionary early warning system to protect the body from danger. So when I tell you it was hurting, every. single. nerve. in my hands was feeling it. I was in wretched shape, and seriously considering waking BDH up to take me to the hospital.
But I knew that it was just strain from the yard work, and they’d laugh me out of the ER. Hells bells, even BDH was saying I was a pansy. So I took some extra strength Advil instead, and an antihistamine — hoping it was enough to knock me out. And I went to bed with my arms wrapped in more ice packs and a freezer pack clutched between my hands, like I was praying (for pain relief or death, I didn’t care which).
I slept through the night, and got up the next morning very, very early. And I ate Advil for most of the day, which was actually quite a good day.
But it had been a long day, so yesterday we just planned to relax around the house and watch movies. So at intervals during the movies, one or both of us would head downstairs to get beverages and food and whatnot. And on one of these jaunts downstairs, mid-afternoon, I thought about how nice and sunny it was outside, and we still had our curtains drawn. I decided to pull the curtains so the cats could sit in the sun.
I opened the curtains to see our neighbour, suntanning naked, on his back deck.
EEK. I was, to say the least, stunned. Fortunately, he was lying on his stomach, so the damage to my retinas, not to mention my psyche, was minimal.
I have seen men’s bums before. Truly. However, generally speaking, they were bums I actually WANTED to see. Not bums of 50-year-old neighbours. I mean, EW.
I went up to the bathroom. BDH was using the bathroom, so the door was closed.
“Ummm?” I said to the crack in the door. And then, since the windows were all wide open, I very quietly related to BDH what I had just witnessed.
“You want I should go down and close the curtains again? While you go bleach your eyeballs?” he asked.
I thought it best. And I went upstairs and tried to dispel the image from my mind with a whole lot of snacks and John Cusack (who, to his credit, in the 20-something years in which I have been the unrequited love of his life, has yet to show his nether regions on film or otherwise. It is a relationship that works well for both of us, I feel.)
I slept hard last night, what with the not sleeping on Friday and the long day on Saturday and the ocular trauma on Sunday. And I got up this morning and headed into the bathroom, as one is wont to do when one gets up. And, as I went to sit down, as one is wont to do at times like this… I felt a searing pain through my knee. And I crashed down onto the toilet seat with a thud.
Just the act of bending my knees and supporting my weight to sit had caused me real, significant pain. And when the time came to get up, it was no better.
I’ve had bad knees since my late teens, the result of many years of hard sports training and an incredible amount of pounding during years upon years of jumping. So knee pain is familiar. But lately, it’s been getting worse. And suddenly, the future flashed before me: Grip rails on the wall beside the toilet. A house without stairs. Knee replacement surgery. My future looked pretty inevitable, and — let’s face it, my vanity kicking into high gear — pretty nasty.
I shuddered. The future is almost here. And I am GETTING OLD.
So, no walks for me today. Safe to say, no gardening either. And the doors will stay closed, in case any errant cats feel the need to explore. Probably I should keep the curtains drawn, as well.