New Corporate Policy

Tom:  Damn!  I left your bra at work.

Me:  I shouldn’t have had any bras in the laundry!

Tom:  But you did.  A sports bra.  Don’t worry, it didn’t go in the dryer.  That’s why I forgot it.  It’s hanging off the door to the breaker panel.

Me:  What?!  What are you going to do when we have actual employees??!

Tom:…Tell them to hang their bras elsewhere?  That door is for YOUR bras.

Some More Things

  1. No, I don’t know when I’ll feel like I have the time and inspiration to write something other than a list.
  2. We needed a huge shopping this week and I mustered up the fortitude to go to THREE stores to get the best deals/favorite brands (or favorite generics).  And I STILL decided to buy a few of the wrong things at the wrong store for the best price.
  3. Those things I purchased incorrectly are things that a) we don’t need often and b) I feel angry about the need for them AT ALL.  For example, one was special laundry detergent for hand washing my delicates.  I opted to not buy it at store #2 because CERTAINLY IT SHOULD NOT COST THAT MUCH.  But alas, it was $1.00 more at store #3.  Then I considered whether I could just use regular detergent (no, because we keep it at the shop since we do regular laundry at the laundromat in town and if I bring it home we’ll forget to bring it back) or just use hand soap (no, because we like foaming hand soap which is ALSO EXPENSIVE and maybe we should just get regular hand soap except that I never feel like I can rinse my hands soap-less in our well water so I’d probably just stop washing my hands) or just use dish soap (no, because for the same reason we use EXPENSIVE foaming hand soap we use EXPENSIVE specific-name-brand-specific-extra-power-style dish soap to clean our dishes in well water) so I bought the BIGGER, MORE EXPENSIVE special laundry detergent so at least cost per ounce went down and now that I’ve written this all out I think using our dish soap would have been fine.
  4.  I also still have things on my shopping list because we did not absolutely need them and I was trying to save (or space out spending) money.  But now I wish I had bought them and never had to shop again.  Ever.
  5. Another reason for a huge shopping list is that Tom is leaving on Wednesday to spend Christmas with his family.  I think I’ve mentioned that before?  But maybe not.  At any rate, I will not go into my office job from Wednesday through next Tuesday (although I will work for them remotely) and keep our shop open.  Since no one will be around to help with other chores, I tried to plan out meals and shopping through next Wednesday.  We’ll see how well I did and if I can find time to get everything cooked.
  6. I am not sad to spend Christmas by myself.  I am happy it means Tom gets a vacation and to see his family.  I have a special meal of all vegetarian appetizers planned and a book a friend sent me that will come down off my “to be read” shelf.  I will probably buy a little wine even though that means going back to a grocery store.
  7. I held off on buying wine because right before Thanksgiving I bought enough (6) bottles to get a huge ($18) rebate.  There is a similar rebate for a similar amount of bottles available right now (different brand), but I was really hoping to actually get the rebate check in the mail first so that it could cancel out some of the up-front cost of this next purchase.  But time is ticking and my “emergency” whiskey got used when I found a small skin infection (AGAIN?!) yesterday during my shower.
  8. To end on a positive note: a) the infection looked MUCH BETTER this morning and I’m 99% sure I won’t need an oral antibiotic or to curtail my exercise routine b) the emergency whiskey tasted awesome.

What Goes Down Must Come Up

I’ve had a touchy stomach the past few days.  It’s very odd because I usually do not succumb to ailments below the throat.  (Internal ailments that is.  Ankles and knees, I am not speaking about you.)

My cast-iron status quo is somewhat confounding if you knew how much IBS and other digestion-related diseases run in my family.  It is less confounding if you knew how my father melded exotic foods with a laissez-faire attitude towards expiration dates and food spoilage.

Even when things do get on an uneven keel below the neck, I tend to roll the punches pretty well.  So I was surprised yesterday morning by how persistent a stomachache I had.  I drank water, ate a little food, and went to the bathroom.  I had done my part, but my stomach refused to stop complaining.

I figured it was a combination of stress (we have left much trip planning for this hike to the last minute) and non-sleep.  I muddled through the rest of the day, did indeed feel dead tired by 6:15pm, and went to bed at 7:30pm.  For a while it seemed my stomach might keep me up, protesting the blandest of dinners (roast chicken), but things settled down and I felt very refreshed this morning.

I was still careful about my coffee and breakfast.  But returning from my usual morning walk without any unusual morning twinges, I decided I was still hungry and made myself my usual breakfast green smoothie.

And promptly threw up a small amount of it.

That was, while unpleasant, educational.  Because it was very evident that what my body was trying to expel was not the smoothie, but gobs and gobs of phlegm/snot that had made it to my tummy.

Evidently my sinus issues, which I have SO frequently I barely notice until I can’t breath or have an elephant sitting on my right eye, are a little worse than I realized.  And my just-to-combat-the-dry-air nettie pot session first thing in the morning helped move things along.

While it’s not fun to feel under the weather before planning a rugged and athletic vacation, at least I know I will be getting plenty of fresh air in the next few days.  And not be making green smoothies.  That trend may continue a few days more.  Because as much as I have come to love the taste of pureed spinach, Swiss chard, romaine lettuce, and even kale on its way down, the taste on the way back up leaves a lot to be desired.

A Sober Cervix is a Happy Cervix

Seeing the doctor for my nose bleeds resulted in calculations of when the last this or that medical test was performed and today I ended up at the office for a complete physical and a tetanus shot.

(Side note: I now understand why people in small towns go to bigger towns far away for medical treatment.  It’s not because small towns have inferior care.  It’s because it can be creepy that your doctor, familiar with your birth control preference and cholesterol, is also a customer at your shop.)  (Creepy in theory.  I don’t mind, but it was a bit of a shock the first time a Hiker Box Facebook video was referenced in an exam.)

Complete physical equals pap smear.  It’s the first time ever this doctor has seen my nether regions.

Her:  Everything looks good down here.

Me:  Is that due to a lack of alcohol, do you think?  Because I have not seen ONE health benefit since I stopped drinking.

Her: …Well…it’s healthy…so if you want to attribute it to that….sure.

Me:  Good!

I bet she can’t wait to stop in the shop sometime soon.

Waaay Too Busy

I have a short-but-real post in the queue, but I’m having image loading problems from my phone and I’m too busy to be syncing my phone to the computer right now as I type.  Because I just sat down to THIS computer (after 4.5 hours at my part-time computer, and 2+ hours designing/creating/editing on a Hiker Box computer) in order to file Hiker Box emails so I can remember what is still outstanding and also find a link to a media center to download product pictures so we can start work (again) (for reals this time) on our online store.

And before I could even get to emails or .jpgs, I decided to shoot over here and share what just happened before I settled in for my 3rd computer of fun.

The Background – Tonight has been deemed “Defrost the 2nd freezer” night because we’ve left the door open once or twice this summer and we have our own sneak peak of the winter to come in there.  I almost needed a hairdryer to remove the container of chili for this week’s meals.

I will let Tom determine the actual defrosting events because I will do it wrong.  He is unwilling to balance the checkbook or organize a closet because it is my way or the highway in those departments.  I, in turn, demure to him with appliances.

But I did feel safe in the area of “try to take things out of the freezer”.  And so, still my work clothes, with our box of CSA produce to put away, while setting up the coffee maker, I started making vegetable broth from my bits and leftovers stored in the freezer for broth-making.

Juggling all of that, I also pulled out a bottle of wine and opened it.  Although I joke about my lush-y tendencies here, I DO try to moderate myself.  I am very aware any drinking can completely undo my exercise and otherwise-OK diet.  But still.  Re-read this post (I dare you), and ask yourself if YOU would have left a nice white uncorked on a day like this.

But evidently I am trying to moderate myself too much.  Because as I added water to the stock pot, then to the coffee maker, then shelved the fennel and made faces at the cilantro (I hate cilantro), I uncorked the bottle.  Let it sit there between tasks.  Re-corked it.  And put it back in the fridge.

Then I turned to pick up my completely empty wine glass.

That, people, is what I call waaay too busy.

This One Time? In Band Camp?

So far I am not the adult that complains about kids these days and turn the music down and get off my lawn.

It helps that I don’t have a lawn.

I, sheepishly, like a lot of  current “pop” music.  I cringe at the lyrics but love the beat and the actual music.  (“Let’s make a night we won’t remember, I’ll be the one you won’t forget.”…but…if you don’t remember? then how do I not forget…?  Ooooh cymbals!)

My current cringe-worthy crush music-wise is “Classic” by MTKO.  We will forget that they just called Prince and Michael “Classic” and I’m pretty sure do not own a rhyming dictionary.  And are young enough to be the kids that need to get off my lawn.

Since I listen to music in a bubble, I have no idea how popular this actually is these days.  But hearing it on Pandora once and then immediately downloading it for my workout playlists reminded me of another song I had a similar reaction to.

It was March 2012.  I was about to set off with K to hike the Appalachian Trail for a month.  And this song was just starting to be played in regular enough rotation on the radio that I caught it a few times and decided I must download it right away.

I felt the urgency because I was about to go “off the grid”, so to speak, and I was worried it would no longer be on the air when I got back.  It was such a silly song, certainly no one else liked it and it would fade fast.

That’s how Tom got sick of “Call Me Maybe” long before the rest of the world.  That’s also the story of how for one time in my life I was ahead of a trend.

I promise it won’t happen again.  Because you’re so classic.

What Now?

Tom:  Hey, the high on Wednesday is neg one!

Me:  THAT’S NOT A REAL HIGH.  HIGHS CANNOT BE NEGATIVE NUMBERS.

Tom:  Someone forgot to tell Wisconsin that.

(Send…stuff.  and things.  I have no clue what the fuck will see us through this but I’m sure more stuff and things will help.)

(In case you couldn’t tell, I’m kidding.  I’m loving it.  Unless you were going to send dollar bills or gold bullion.  THEN S O MOTHERFUCKING S PEOPLE.)

Running Water and Electric Outlets and Mattresses, Oh My!

I ended up not needing the incision (for now, fingers crossed), thank goodness. But I was no where near healed so I kept my follow-up appointment to get different/more medications.

Then we promptly started looking at flights for me to Atlanta.

Outfitter/Tom (may I call him Tom again?) made the difficult decision to continue hiking without me. This was an outcome we’d discussed before ever stepping one foot on the trail and one we agreed on – if someone wished to hike solo while the other had to stop, that’s what they would do.

But it was hard for him to decide. He was very worried about me and despite being a grown woman and sending me to his mother, A NURSE, he somehow thought I might decline without his constant attention. But finally he decided I seemed well enough I could be trusted with my own health and that he would regret not pushing on.

I came to my in-laws instead of my mother for many reasons. They have a bigger home with a good spare bedroom/bathroom set-up on one floor. They are closer to FL if I felt like visiting friends. And they have all my stuff.

Although I did not pack our clothes very well. All the easy-to-find clothes are jeans and sweatpants. Luckily I found some capris and one dress (my favorite dress) that are appropriate for summer. And since I’ve been wearing one of two shirts for months on end, it doesn’t bother me that much.

I was scared to travel since it involved an hour long car ride, a two and a half hour plane ride, an hour and a half van ride, then a final hour car ride. That was a lot of scheduling and walking and being clothed. But in the end it all went very smoothly and while I was tired and in pain by the end, I was here no worse for wear.

I’ve been in Georgia for four days now. I am slowly feeling better. I do not miss the trail right now. Even with just sitting around the house, I get tired enough that I sleep a full 8-9 hours a night. So it’s very evident I did the right thing.

It soon became evident to Tom that he did not do the right thing. I wish he could have enjoyed solo hiking as much as I did last year. And perhaps he will someday if he specifically plans a lone adventure. But for this hike, he just couldn’t get into it. He lasted three days on the trail without me. Then he hitched to the train station right on the trail that goes into New York City. From there he took another train to my mother’s.

Yup. We switched. Some fucked up adult version of Parent Trap.

You see, we are not planning to returning to the trail this year. At all. I have mixed emotions about this. I think if we didn’t have the adventure of the move to the cabin ahead of us, we would definitely try to get back to at least get further along. We have 800 miles (a little less) still to go so that’s a huge chunk of time, especially if you consider whenever we go back we’ll need to get back into “trail shape”. Although at least in Wisconsin we can do some hiking on hills to train.

So I hate that our hike was so abruptly ended with little thought of how we’ll get back. But on the other hand, I am excited about the cabin and I’ve been looking forward to this move. One thing I was sad about at the beginning of this year was that the hike meant we wouldn’t get to enjoy any of the summer time at the cabin. Now we will.

ANYWAY, Tom went off to my mom because he decided we really needed the Corolla (which I had driven Lady there in and then left) to make the trip north with three cats. (Tommy, Tom’s dad, exclaimed, “Well that don’t make no sense.” “Yup. But he’s decided so there’s no point in telling him otherwise.” “Don’t know where he gets that from…”). I’m not in a place to argue since I can’t/won’t drive the truck pulling the trailer.

At some point today I expect Tom to start the drive down here. We’ll then coordinate a time to hopefully stay with friends in Tampa and crate up the cats for our great trip north.

I still have one day left of the trail to re-cap for you, but I’ve been putting it off. Maybe that is when it will hit me that we’re done (for now). Of course, I’ve been here four days and today is the first day I decided to fire up my laptop and type on something larger than my iPhone screen. Civilization is great and all, but I need to take baby steps. (And not just because of my infection.)

Behind and Fair Weather Skin

Since my last update, we’ve had good if challenging times. NJ was easy(ish) to hike but full of mosquitoes. We ran into Handstand and Apollo again and had a few good days on the trail with them. Our new shoes did make a difference on our feet. Southern NY is known to be a very difficult part of the trail and it was true for us. Yet somehow, I enjoyed it. It was the right sort of difficult for me.

We made good time to Bear Mountain/the Hudson River and got a hotel in Fort Montgomery. Unfortunately, that was Thursday. We’re still here.

I’ve mentioned in past posts that my skin has not liked the hike. My legs especially have broken out in angry bumps quite a bit. The heat and sweat makes it worse, but I try to counter that with cleaning cloths, clean clothes, and bandana bathes.

I have also been susceptible to a more painful, serious condition of ingrown hairs causing abscesses in my inner thigh/groin area. (Oh, you didn’t want to know that? My bad. It’s not exactly a joy for me to share either. But it is what’s going on in our hike right now.)

I’ve had two or three angry, hard abscesses/boils/what-have-yous through out the hike until now. And until now, I have been able to treat them with my general cleaning regimen and frequent coats of Neosporin.

But the day before we arrived in Fort Montgomery, after two days of walking in wettish clothes (light to medium rain every day for a short period of time) and insufferable heat, I had the mother of all ingrown hairs. Out in the woods, I had no other remedies. So we walked to town. I still didn’t realize how large it was, although I should have because none of the others impinged on my hiking the way this on did.

At the hotel, I tried a bath and more generous coats of antibiotic ointment. I was stubbornly against zeroing. I thought maybe I could do five miles to a monastery where they let hikers tent and shower. But it was clear in the morning I couldn’t go anywhere.

Outfitter headed out to find a store that sold Epsom salts. After some soaking in the morning, it seemed worse not better. So I bit the bullet and we went to the Hudson Valley Family Health Clinic.

The lady who did my history and intake? Did not know that the word “labia” meant. Because I was a hiker, she kept staring at my feet trying to see the problem.

Thankfully, the nurse practitioner was better versed in anatomy and medicine. She was very, very concerned for me. She felt very strongly that I’d need “surgery” (I put that in quotes because it’s a surgical cut, not knock-me-out on an operating table surgery) but nothing could be done right then because the area was so inflamed.

So she put me on two antibiotics, got me an appointment with a GYN who can do the incision and drain at their clinic on Wednesday (!!), but was adamant that if I got a fever or felt worse, I should go to the ER for IV antibiotics.

She was amazingly quick-thinking on ways to handle the fact that right now I don’t have transportation or true health insurance. (We have some six-month policies in place to cover major accidents or illnesses. Fingers crossed this does not escalate to “major”.)

I did have a fever (about 101) that evening, but we countered it with ibuprofen and ice compresses, hoping that once the antibiotics got into my system I’d feel better.

And by yesterday mid-morning, I did. The swelling had gone down some and no more fever. I am continuing the Epsom salt baths (per Dr instructions) and those are somewhat helping.

But.

But it does not appear that drugs and soaking will help enough. We have currently arranged to stay in the hotel until at least Thursday. If something changes, that will be awesome. If not, I am resigned to the idea that my hike is over.

I do not believe I can keep an incision site clean enough and healthy enough while hiking. I also think the recuperation time until I can walk the miles needed might be too long. It’s one thing to say I can go for a walk the next day. It’s another to say I can walk 15 miles into the woods and repeat that two or three more times before I get a shower.

I’m numb to this conclusion right now. I’m in a lot of pain and don’t want to put myself through more. While this is a kinda superficial illness, it also is serious. Most bacteria that cause this kind of thing is staph. This is not something I want to play around with and take chances.

For now, please keep your fingers crossed that I get better before Wednesday. And I will try to write up the missing days of our hike. It’s not like I’m doing much else.

Meta Mentionables

I am slowly getting caught up on the days. We’re paying almost top dollar for a room in the EcnoLodge in Harper’s Ferry, WV in part for some WIFI action.

I wanted to let you know that if you’re interested in knowing when I update without checking the site daily, put your email address in the field by “Subscribe Here” and hit Submit.

I don’t get notified when someone subscribes or unsubscribes, so you may stalk and/or get bored without me knowing. Subscribing means you will get an email each time I update the blog. Perhaps useful, although maybe annoying when I do mass uploads and you receive six plus emails in a row.

Harper’s Ferry is the “emotional” half-way point on the trail. The Appalachian Trail Conservancy is headquartered here. Tomorrow we will go there and get our pictures taken to go into the official 2013 thru-hikers log.

I cried a bit walking over the bridge. With the biggest fucking smile on my face.