Thursday, February 08, 2007

...our past campsites.

I was just working on our year end letter. Something that we haven't done in a few years. Anyway I was hit with the sense of loss over not going to Florida this year and participating in the FL Ren Fair. We won't be camping for 2 months this year. We won't be with our Renny community. We won't be outside. It's making me weepy.
Here are a few pictures of our past camsites.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

We do sweetie. We do.

Last week we got together with my sister-in-law. Got ya didn't I? For a moment you thought "Oh, this is going to be juicey." But it's the wrong sister-in-law. This is my brother-in-law's wife, Karen.
We got together to create a "grave blanket" for Audrey & Alec's grave. No one in my family had ever heard of a grave blanket before. You take chicken wire and cover it with greens and anything else that you want. We put on pine and cedar boughs. Xan picked some sort of thing that had red berries on it. Karen had picked a bunch of green things from their yard and we had brought suet. We spent an hour putting it together and then we decided that we would go together to the cemetery on Saturday to lay it out over the grave.
On Saturday after I got home from working at the Farmers Market I gave Stuart (Michael's brother) a call. He told me that Karen could not come and did we want to come over to their house and all go in one car. We had a few things we needed to do afterwards and declined his offer. He offered to have us follow him. We did not see the need so I told him that we would meet him there.
We get in the car with a few shovels to clear a spot on the grave for the blanket and off we go. We get to the town where there is a fork in the road and in typical married fashion I'm sure we need to go left and he's sure we need to go right. Since he went to Audrey's burial last year I concede and we go off to the right. And we go off. And we go off. Ten minutes down the road and we're not so sure we are going the right way. But Michael has great visual memory and he remembers the big Virgin Mary in the blue background in front of the church. He remembers the old paper mill. Though, there is no sign for the cemetery. We finally end up at the Saratoga Battlefield National Park. We go inside the visitors center (beautiful view all the way to Vermont) and get directions to the Saratoga National Cemetery.
We are late. We got lost. We call Stuart. Michael is on the phone with him and he starts out by saying "I was sure I knew the way but we got lost." and then I hear "What's that noise, Stuart? What are you doing? I can't hear you. Stuart? Stuart?" He loses the connection.
On our way to the cemetery with our new directions we get a voice mail. It's Stuart. He's miffed. He says that we wouldn't do what he wanted to do and go in his car. He knew we didn't know how to get to the cemetery. He offered us directions but we wouldn't take them. We never do what he wants to do. We always have to have it our way. He was cold. He had been standing outside waiting for us and he was leaving.
Well, OK then. We get to the cemetery. He is gone. The grave blanket is there. It's funny how Audrey and Alec are in the same grave and they share a grave stone. Alec is on one side and Audrey is on the other. As we are walking up to their gravesite it hits me. Like a rock. Of course we are late. We were on our way to visit Audrey, the woman who was never on time and would get lost so easily. I turned to Michael and said, "Of course we are late honey, we were on the way to visit your mother." We stood there and cracked up. It was perfect. It was divine intervention. We stood there for a few minutes and thought of Audrey and Alec and what wonderful folk they were. We then decided that we needed to stop at "Saratoga Apple" pick up some cider donuts and go home and have tea with the girls.
At home we made tea, held our donuts up high and toasted Michael's parents.
"Mom you are so cute. Who toasts with donuts?"
"We do sweetie. We do."

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

...all over our bodies.

There are so many things I want to blog about. My participation in the "anti-war peace march" that was in DC or the grave blanket debockal of last weekend. But I must devote this entry to our scabbies adventure because I'm living through it and because misery loves company I have this perverse need to share the "itch".
It all started in December when Artie came home from being out on Lopez for 7 months. Two weeks before she arrived she got diagnosed with scabbies ($75) and got the treatment from the local pharmacist ($50). She is living with friends so everyone had to it.(This means lots of laundry and spray for all the surfaces.) She works in a daycare center so letters were sent home with the kids. "Warning, Warning Everybody! Artie has SCABBIES!" Poor kid.
She does the treatment and her skin has a total hissy fit on her. She ends up with this red, itchy, unhappy rash all over her body. Thus she arrives home to her family begging me for the thickest, goopiest, most hydrating moisturizer that I can get my hands on. I have some Shikai brand lotion with borage in it. Great stuff. Thick and hydrating. She finds it barely passable. I go to the local health food store and buy her a bunch of options. She tried them all. Didn't ask for more so something in there must have been OK for her.
Christmas is right around the corner and we are in bustle mode. Getting ready for a trip to my Mom's and delivering local cheer. Poor Artie comes down with a nasty respiratory flu while the rest of us get the stomach flu. After two weeks of that sickness and recovery time, Artie begins to sense that she still has skin. Still very unhappy skin. Still very itchy skin. Still has little red dots on her skin. F*** almighty she thinks she still has scabbies on her skin. Xan notices that she has itchy hands with little red dots on them. Oh brother or sister in this case.
We make an appointment with our local doctor. At the visit our doctor isn't quite sure wether the girls have scabbies or some sort of extreme excema. Something about not being able to find the scabbies' tracks (they borrow in your skin). Because Artie has had such an extreme reaction to the treatment and because she's just not sure she wants to refer us to a dermatologist so that a scratch test can be done. Well if she's not sure then we agree and let her make us an appointment with a local dermatologist ($100). She swears that this guy is great, the best.
We wait a week and half to see the dermatologist. His office is big and crowded. They will not let the girls be in separate rooms. That ticks off Artie who is old enough to do this on her own. The girls are told to put on paper gowns and have to sit in the exam room for 45 minutes and they are cold. The nurses come in and take down the girls' history. More waiting. The doctor finally comes in. He is abrupt and haried. Poke here. Look here. Other than the scabbies I want him to look at a rash on Artie that we've been dealing with for years and one on Xan too. Why not, we're there.
"Yep, yep this is that, that is this, I'll prescibe that and this. You've got scabbies. How many in the family?" And he's walking out the door.
"Wait a minute. I have a philosophy about what we use on our body. I want products that are as natural as possible and not tested on animals."
Oh you should have seen the look on his face.
"Alright I'll prescribe sulfur in a petroleum jelly base for all of you. It will be best anyway considering that your daughter has very sensitive skin. You apply it twice a day for three days, wait a week and apply for three more days."
"Is it going to smell?"
"It is like sulphur in rotten eggs it might smell but it won't be that bad. I don't think. I will be back in just a minute to talk about the prescriptions."
He never came back. He sent his nurses. They were not all that informative. I figured that I could ask the pharmacist all my burning question about this remedy ($300).
We get to local CVS and the guy at the counter made a face when I handed him the prescription. He told me that it was going to awful and smelly. Really smelly and we couldn't bathe for three days. I couldn't do it. I took back the prescription and headed home to call the dermatologist. I call and the office is closed. I was just there the office isn't closed. And the office won't be open again for three (my magic number) days. So I got on the emergency line and leave the Dr. a message. The next day I leave three messages. The next day I leave four or five messages. Finally on Sunday morning the Dr. calls me back and we talk about the alternatives. We decide (without me telling him what a dick I think he is) that Artie needs to do the sulphur treatment and the rest of us can do the one day normal treatment. He calls in the prescription to CVS.
Later that day Michael is out doing errands and he stops at CVS to pick up all our stuff. There is only one thing there and it is for Xan. So he picks it up and comes home ($130).
"Did you ask if this is for one person or three?"
"No, I just picked it up"
I call CVS. There is no prescription called in for Artie and what we picked up for Xan is only for one person. We are sitting at the kitchen table trying to figure out how we are going to pay for all this shit. I then have to take Artie's prescription down to CVS to get filled. Guess what? They can't fill it because it is a compound and they don't have one of the ingredients. I ask how much is this compound going to cost us. Much looking in books and the answer is about $100. So Artie's remedy is about the same as the rest of us. I am sent to a pharmacy in a neighboring town. They are super nice there and tell me that it will take overnight to make and that it will cost less than $20.
Again we are sitting at the kitchen table. We now have one remedy at $130 and one at $20. We decide that we need to call back the dermatologist and get him to write us two more prescriptions for Michael and myself and we will call around and find the cheapest place to get them.
The next morning I go over to the dermatologists office to pick up the prescriptions. That's done and then I have to drive over to the pharmacy that's making the compound. When I get there I pick it up ($11) and of course the first thing I do is open it to smell it. Damn if it really doesn't smell at all. I say something to the pharmacist about and he tells me that is a misnomer that sulphur will smell in petroleum jelly. In other mixes yes but not in this one. I call Michael and we decide that we are going with the sulphur remedy. I discuss it with the pharmacist and since the original prescription was for a pound of it and we only had him make up 4 oz. of it he can easily make up another 8 oz. for us. While I was on the phone with Michael the pharmacist and his staff decided that they were going to make this compound up for us that day and it would be ready in the evening($22). I almost wept. I was teary eyed and told him if I could get back behind the counter I would hug him.
We started the remedy yesterday. Michael is going to do the one day deal. He's the man and he's going to go for the harsh remedy. The rest of us smell like a spa. We smell just like one of the mineral springs here in Saratoga.
I'm doing tons of laundry and I think that today we'll watch movies and clean the house. For we shall not go forth into the world. We shall stay home and slather petroleum jelly all over our bodies.