Monday, April 13, 2015

Splinters: Two basics ways to handle

If you are a normal and/or intelligent person:

  1. Upon having a broom handle shave off a piece of itself the size of the Eiffel Tower into, say, the inside of the second knuckle on your index finger (let’s just say), let out a robust yell, possibly an expletive or two calmly alert those around you to the fact that you have just injured yourself
  2. Retire to the nearest washroom, preferably with entourage in tow ready to assist with Operation Safe Splinter Removal
  3. Wash injured area gently with soap and water
  4. Carefully have your duly appointed deputy attempt to extract the splinter with your choice of:
    1. Sanitized tweezers, and/or
    2. Sanitized needle, and/or
    3. Sticky tape, if you’re lucky enough not to have a sliver which is pretending to be a submarine on a top secret mission in the deepest ocean trench in the world, and/or  
    4. A ‘drawing’ poultice
      1. Baking soda is popular
      2. Warm water + Epsom salt soak is another that seems to work well for a lot of folks
  5. Upon ensuring you have gotten the beast outta there, apply:
    1. Antibacterial ointment
    2. Bandage
  6. Keep clean and dry
  7. In the unlikely event that an infection, swelling, redness, pus and/or an ungodly pain every time you even think about bending the damned finger kicks up, see your friendly neighborhood medical professional immediately

ALTERNATIVELY, if you are stupid and/or me:

  1. Upon having a broom handle shave off a piece of itself the size of the Eiffel Tower into, say, the inside of the second knuckle on your index finger (let’s just say), let out a slight hiss
    1. If anyone chances to overhear this and ask what you did, snarl, “NOTHING!” at them
    2. If they ask again, glare at them and mutter something unintelligible until they give up 
  2. Shift broom to uninjured hand, stealthily inspect injured finger while pretending to actually be inspecting tool 
  3. If you spy any part of the splinter above ground (so to speak), use teeth to yank out
    1. This is totally safe
    2. That’s why $DEITY gave us teeth in the first place
      1. Not really
        1. They’re for softening leather hides
        2. And also opening difficult packaging
    3. Plus saliva has antibacterial properties
      1. Also not really
  4. Put broom back in injured hand because dammit, this is how GROWNUPS deal with things – you don’t get a free pass just because you got a damned splinter, wuss!
    1. Plus if you don’t, others who happen to be nearby may realize you totally did too just hurt yourself somehow
    2. And if they know you at all, they’re going to be all, “LET ME SEE IT. RIGHT NOW.”
    3. Because just possibly they have been through this particular farce once or twice before and know how you are
  5. Finish task at hand
  6. Hang around for a few more minutes, just to prove you can
  7. Sneak into nearest bathroom, wash blood off hand and peer angrily at injury
    1. Really glare at it
    2. This will possibly terrify the splinter into ejecting itself from your finger
      1. Not really
        1. Not even theoretically possible
        2. Unless you have psychokinetic powers
          1. In which case, why in the world were you using your hands to operate the broom in the first place?
          2. Man, I would be doing that work while loafing in an easy chair just to show off
  8. Dig pair of tweezers out of the back of the junk drawer
  9. Dig clean-enough looking needle out of sewing kit
    1. If you can find the sewing kit
    2. Otherwise, check the junk drawer
    3. Possibly the storage shed? Gotta be one around here somewhere
  10. Sterilization is for losers. Just frickin’ get it DONE already.
    1. The clock is ticking, cowboy
    2. Any second now, somebody is going to come looking for you
    3. You are surrounded by professional narks
    4. They will so totally nark you out
  11. Grab exposed part of splinter with tweezers and neatly pluck it out of your skin
    1. Ow, OK, nope, that wasn’t the splinter, that was skin, @^*&@…!
    2. Repeat until exhausted
    3. Realize this isn’t working
  12. Pick up needle and start poking around where you think the sliver is until you’re absolutely sure you’ve got enough of it exposed that you can totally grab it with the tweezers now
  13. Repeat #11 and #12 a few times
  14. Get all of the splinter out
    1. Pretty much all of it, anyway
    2. Well. Most of it
    3. All of it that, you know, matters
    4. Because you’re just sick of gouging at yourself at this point, therefore, clearly, you’re done
  15. Spray with most gawd-awful stinging antibacterial spray you can find – the one that says, ‘Antibacterial and “analgesic” (lol) sprayon it
    1. Stuff seriously stings like a @^*&@
    2. Wonder quietly to self if the “analgesic” property is purely comparative
      1. As in, “Once the burning this stuff causes starts to finally wear off, you’ll feel so much better than you did while it was still cauterizing your wound!”
  16. Apply bandage
  17. Immediately go and do any or all of the following:
    1. Hand-water plants
      1. Bonus points if you use the dregs of last week’s greywater
    2. Wash the dishes without wearing gloves
    3. Turn compost pile
      1. Ratty gloves with holes large enough to pass a mouse through optional
    4. Take a shower
    5. Move furniture / unpack boxes that have been languishing around in dusty, dirty, appalling conditions for months and months
  18. The next morning, note that finger is…more sore and maybe starting to feel a leeeeetle bit…hot
    1. And hurts like a @*^&@ when you bend it
    2. And may be swelling, ever so slightly, right around where that splinter went in
      1. Or possibly developing a rather large…blister.
        1. Yeah. Let’s go with “blister”
        2. Because “boil” is such an ugly term
  19. A few hours later, acknowledge that possibly you may have maybe missed a tiny bit of the splinter 
    1. I mean, most of it you surely got, but, I guess there’s probably a teeny tiny bit left in there
    2. Or something
  20. Ignore pain, swelling, heat and signs of impending pus
    1. IN FACT, tell yourself that this is “good” – because actually, pus = nature’s lubricant
      1. That’s right! Whatever is left of that sliver is going to come shooting on out of there
      2. You know, probably, like, tomorrow-ish
      3. This is the natural way to handle this. You are a paragon of, uh, natural-ish living
        1. Very…zen or something
        2. You should totally eat a couple stale, bright blue Peeps to celebrate your earth-goddess stature
    2. Plus if that doesn’t work, well, your body will probably just break the thing down over time and problem solved
      1. Not really
      2. That is seriously a myth
      3. Your body is not going to ‘break down’ a slab of pressurized lumber any time soon
  21. Continue ignoring increasingly achy finger until it cannot be ignored anymore – probably this will be at roughly the 24-hour mark after initial splinter-acquisition
  22. Remove bandage
  23. Give inflamed area the stink-eye for at least five minutes
    1. Yup.
    2. That’s infected all right.
  24. Consult Google
    1. Have minor anxiety attack because Dr. Google is pretty sure that you’re going to die
      1. Because the splinter is heading straight for your heart, with laser-targeted accuracy
      2. Plus all of these symptoms? => could also be cancer
      3. Or Bavarian swamp-rat muck-tail disease
        1. …wait, what? Go home, Google, you’re drunk…!
    2. Realize that if you go to a doctor, they will do…doctor-stuff to you
      1. …go find reasonably clean looking needle…
  25. Putting on best bad-ass face, poke sore spot gingerly with needle 
    1. Pffft, sterilize, what the hell for?! it’s already infected and besides, you’re going to wash it with soap in a second, and then spray it with more of the stingy-antibacterial-lol-analgesic-my-arse stuff in, like, two seconds
    2. What-ever
      1. I’m tough
      2. It’s just a stupid little splinter
      3. I got this
    3. Plus, there’s no time, in about ten seconds somebody is going to get home from work and be all, “WHAT are you doing?! WHAT did you do THIS time? Lemme see that…!”
      1. And then they’re going to want to “help”
      2. Which makes too much sense, particularly seeing as how it is your dominant hand that you’re trying to work on
        1. With your off-hand
        2. The one that has trouble dealing with things like toothpaste tube caps, and therefore clearly is the hand for this job
      3. Anyway, time is of the essence and cannot be wasted on such trivialities as ‘sterilization’ or even ‘thinking this through’
      4. Seize the day, people
  26. Say a few bad words as ‘nature’s lubricant’ does its thing and the sliver does indeed come flying out of there
    1. Damn.
    2. That was huge.
    3. How did I miss THAT MUCH wood still in my finger?!
    4. Wow.
    5. I suck.
    6. Totally should have had the husband look at this thing yesterday
    7. …eh, whatever, it’s all good now…
  27. Set sliver aside so you can show spouse when they get home
    1. Because now that it’s out, ha ha, it’s too late for all that fussing and carrying on about nothing
      1. That’s right, you can now live another day without having to get over your intense and completely irrational fear of people in white jackets bearing needles and medicines you can’t pronounce and stuff
      2. Now, the thing has awesome gross-out factor and must be shared with the spouse – this is why he married you, after all, because you are FULL of gross examples of your own idiocy
        1. It’s one of my many charms
        2. Along with putting half of all our belongings onto the bed while ‘cleaning,’ and then ‘not getting around to’  finding them all new forever-homes before bedtime
  28. Immediately lose sliver when cat jumps onto table and swipes her tail right over the top of it
    1. Waste a few minutes looking for the sliver
      1. Realize it was only “huge” in the context of ‘a foreign object under your skin’ – it is actually almost microscopic
      2. You are never going to find it…particularly not on a splinter-colored fake-wood floor
      3. Seriously
      4. Just, stop already…
  29. Now that all danger of being helped is past, complain vigorously to everyone you meet about the whole thing
    1. Possibly you could even write a blog post to share with the whole entire Internet just what lengths you are willing to go to in order to avoid being sensible about minor injuries

(Yeah, I totally did “take care of” a splinter that way this weekend. And I totally did try to save the splinter so that I could be all, “OMG, check this out!” when the husband got home tonight – but Fleur immediately started walking around on my desk and swoosh! gone. Which was probably for the best, because on further reflection I very much doubt the husband has any interest in viewing splinters I was storing in my index finger for any length of time, and probably he’d just give me that look and be all, “blah blah blah you need to not do stupid things blah blah blah” and then I’d be all, “What-ever, some of us are self-reliant, dude!” and then he’d give me that look again and I mean, really, what’s the point of starting all that again? NONE, there is no point. So, you know – it’s probably good that it is now safely in the vacuum cleaner [well, of course I vacuumed in here, because you know what sucks even more than splinters in a finger? splinters in your foot] instead of being gleefully shown off as first planned.)

Sunday, April 12, 2015

The Garden Report: April 12, 2015

Well – it’s going to be an interesting year. It has become very, VERY clear that our big drought out here in California is only digging in for the long-haul, not easing up.

So I’ve cut way, way back on my plans for this year; I have a feeling that just about anything I do plant now in these milder months I’ll just have to watch die later this summer, when we no longer have a drop of dew in the mornings, and the sun is mercilessly beating down on everything.

I’m not exactly giving up on the garden entirely – it’s more that I’m having to take a big step back and come back at it with a different perspective on things.

Basically, I have to be able to keep things alive using more greywater than fresh city water; I have to rework the way I plant and protect to be increasingly water-aware. And able to hand-water – I won’t be able to rely on the drip system to take care of it for me, I will need to have time every day to get out there and individually take care of every single one of them. Egads.

I’ll also have to make more and better use of greywater, and figure out just how much I can reasonably do on a lot less water than I’ve used in years past.

For the moment, I’m focusing on keeping the longer-term investment plants alive. The fruit trees, rhubarb and rosemary, the artichoke bushes and the blackberries. If I can at least keep those reasonably well-watered and alive for now, I’ll call that a win; if I have enough water left over, I’ll think about putting a couple of the beds back into use. I have a feeling it is possible, but I’m just not sure right now.

The only real news in the garden right now is both related and kind of sad – this big old tree is officially, and completely, dead.

We stopped watering the lawn last year because of the drought and local watering restrictions – but we’d thought the tree had deep enough roots to be tapping into the ground water. Nope. The water table has dropped so low over the last couple years that even a tree of this size couldn’t find enough water to sustain itself.

Farewell, old fellah. We appreciated all the shade you gave us during the long, hot days of summer. You’ll be missed.

(But we won’t miss the bird poop – yes, that’s what the white stuff on Homer is, the birds also love the tree and show their appreciation…copiously. Note the lack of street parking – not shown is the enthusiastic nature [or as some have put it, the black and petty souls] of the suburban answer to the meter maid, who love to start slapping pink and orange notices on your windshield if you park on the main thoroughfare up around that corner for more than, say, eighteen seconds. The birds, they have had us RIGHT where they want us, for LO these many years…)

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Amazon: At the corner of ‘shut up and take my money’ and ‘lol, really?’

So, this is a thing: the Amazon Dash button, which you can stick on the wall next to your toilet paper dispenser and, when you find yourself running short, you hit the button and boom – more {specific brand you chose} TP is on the way.

It’s not an early April Fool’s gag.

It’s an actual thing.

And the ‘Amazon Fresh’ version of it is even scarier, because you can talk to it, like, say, “Apples” and the thing will add apples to your Amazon fresh order. Or scan the barcode from that empty box of Oreos that some treacherous blasphemer emptied when you weren’t looking – bang! Done. Fresh box of Oreos is a go, people.

I know, right?! Holy computerized enabling, Batman!

I feel as though I should be outraged. That I should be dragging out my soapbox and climbing up onto it to deliver a scathing sermon about the dangers and costs and blah blah blah…

…but instead, I swear, it’s like I want to just start screaming “SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY ALREADY!!!” while clicking wildly on the ‘invite me!’ button. Invite me, damn you – INVITE ME NOW! NOW! I NEED THIS, I NEEEEEEEEEED IIIIIIIIIIIT…!

Fortunately, the Amazon Fresh service isn’t available in my area. The single-product-button one doesn’t really trip much emotion inside me, but that Fresh one…yikes.

I can totally see myself sitting here at my desk all day long…and alllllllllll those times throughout the day when I’m working and my brain decides that right now, in the middle of all these work-crises, is the perfect time to go, “oh, hey, psssssssst! you needed {crackers, some specific cheese or other, eggs, milk, crème fraiche, etc. etc. etc.} for that thing you were going to do…”, I’d be grabbing that beautiful little enabler and barking, “Water crackers! Weird cheese, the kind with the little holes, not Swiss cheese, that other holey-cheese! Eggs! Crème fraiche…CREM. FRESH. No. Delete. CERRRRR-REM…FRAAAAAAAAA-ESH. DAMMIT. NO, NOT ‘DAIMLER’, DON’T YOU SEND ME A CAR, AMAZON!!…ooooooo…that…is…is that…a convertible?!…”

…and that would be how I ended up with a brand! new! car!!

(Boom. Next day shipping, y’all. They could probably just drop it into the same box they use for paper towels. I think it would actually fit.)

Anyway, for now, seeing as how the version of this dash-thing that I’m very much intrigued by is straight-up not available in my area, well…I have a free pass on having to actually use willpower to resist this siren’s call.

And, thanks to my geographically-challenged location, I probably have plenty of time to fashion tinfoil hats for myself to ward off the mind control that is clearly in play here.

Not that I will.

Because I remain intrigued by the concept, unsure whether it will be the trumpet fanfare ushering in a new era of copious free time and carefree living, or knells of the cracked bell ringing in our inevitable descent into dystopian doom, wherein our too-many belongings silently and wirelessly order the parts they need to assemble their armies and take us out.

Eh, could go either way, I suppose.

In either case, we do live in fascinating, changing, amazing times, don’t we?

Just TALK to this little token, and FOOD will be sent to your house.

What a world, what a terrifying, amazing, messed-up-but-with-potential-fast-tracks-for-improving world we are building for ourselves, with every passing day…