Dog Walks and Fire Hydrants

Twice a day, our neighbor loads his small dog into his big pickup truck and circles the block, letting the dog out at intervals until it does its business in someone’s yard. Sometimes the dog runs off and the owner has to chase him down and capture him.

Little Girl Across the Street was on her bike the other day, trying to rope the fire hydrant on the corner with a lariat. Never a dull moment.

Self-Medicated

The farming and ranching community on the Hi-Line has a long history of homemade innovations, largely due to lack of resources, lack of access, isolation and poverty. Evidently this is not restricted to mechanical or architectural issues.

The Jedi met an old rancher who has prostate cancer. He said doctors “charge an arm and a leg and don’t know what they are talking about anyway” and boasted he is treating his cancer on his own by medicating with bovine de-wormer.

I am curious if he is ingesting it or taking it rectally. Either way, that man is likely going to die…of prostate cancer.

Inn-noculated

The Jedi and I are fully vaccinated with the Moderna vaccine. He was fine after a day but I have experienced complications from both the first and second shots. I developed new neuropathy on my foot after #1 and after #2 immediately started having trouble with my hands and feet clenching involuntarily into fists, like pterodactyl claws. The first couple days after the shot I couldn’t type for prolonged periods of time because my hands kept locking up. The claw issue has diminished after my doctor put me on a heavy regimen of vitamin C to combat inflammation, but the neuropathy has not gone away. My energy levels also decreased significantly since the first shot and worsened after the second shot. I have very little energy to work and have to take naps during the day. I have not been able to write or do much of anything outside of work and feeding myself.

Living in Havre has been quite the adventure (though not in any romantic sense of the word) and there is so much that I could write about but exhaustion and brain fog is interfering with that process significantly.

Because he is fully vaccinated and feels he no longer can use COVID as an excuse to not work, the Jedi has begun maintenance and groundskeeping at the hotel owned by a rich Greek family in Havre (everyone refers to them as simply “The Greeks”. He has a crew of bottom-of-the-barrel workers who appear to have good intentions and want to impress him but are rather incompetent, to put it mildly. The hotel itself appears to be managed by the “cut corners everywhere you can” philosophy, which makes effective work nearly impossible at times. Most of their equipment is broken and they are reluctant to pay for standard things like trash disposal, instead sending their workers around town to dump their refuse in other establishment’s dumpsters until the establishments complain.

It is apparent the hotel’s management is accustomed to their workers being desperate for employment and has tried pushing boundaries with the Jedi about his work schedule and other things. I keep reminding him he has the power in this situation, not the other way around. We shall see how long this lasts. So far he has not appeared to have too much anxiety about his job but if that changes I hope he quits.

Relief

We noticed the house my brother and his girlfriend were trying to sell had disappeared from the real estate listings. We had heard about a month ago his real estate agent had died of COVID. Living in a small town with gossipy people has its advantages.

Drove out to their house at night and scanned the place. Someone with plates from Kalispell had moved in, so we are confident it has been sold and there is absolutely zero reason for him to ever return to Montana and harass us or the Jedi’s family and friends. He will continue to turn up like a bad penny as long as my mom (or uncle perhaps) is alive, but hopefully he is no longer an immediate threat. And by now I’m sure he knows he has driven a wedge between us and my mom, which was his objective all along.

My uncle wrote him out of his will, but my brother and mom do not know this. So, he will stick around my uncle indefinitely. But, my uncle can handle it because he sees my brother as the manipulative user he is. My mom insists on lying to herself and setting herself and others up to be my brother’s victims. So be it, but I don’t have to participate.

Hindsight is 2020

I should have pulled my retirement YEARS ago. It has been nice to not constantly worry about money and unexpected expenses. Thanks, COVID! Had it not been for the pandemic I would still be suspended in a state of financial anxiety and saving every penny. Wonder how much the past nine years of financial worry negatively affected my health.

Of course, had I pulled it earlier I would have taken a 10% penalty. Thanks to COVID that penalty was waived. I guess the timing was right. And, of course it doesn’t mean I have any money now…just have some temporary access to soften the edges a bit.

The new Republican legislature in Montana is already trying to attack the meager public employee pension that is left. But, for now I will have that. And, a roof over my head as long as I pay my taxes and the mortgage.

Guinea Pig

Got my first round of the Moderna vaccine today. Most people I know who have received it have had few symptoms but I feel like I have been hit by a bus. The Health Department gave me a very detailed disclaimer (AFTER my shot, not before) stating the drug is experimental and there are no guarantees it will protect against COVID. And, no one knows how long its efficacy will last, or if there are negative long-term implications.

So few people in this area have taken the vaccine that the tribes invited all the non-natives from surrounding communities to take it. The hospital in Havre ordered vaccines for their staff and so few of them wanted the vaccine they gave the remaining doses to the university.

About 1/4 of the people I know have contracted COVID already, including my friends overseas.

The Hill County health department experience reminded me a bit of Idiocracy.

Unfinished

My uncle (my dad’s elder brother) died in November. He was a botanist who conducted research on tree rings. He was working on a textbook and I wonder if he ever finished it. I don’t know who I would even ask. He was very private and never tooted his own horn.

He was the polar opposite of my dad; he had very little ego, was incredibly kind, never seemed to get irritated by anything, felt everything in the world was hunky-dory and believed everyone had good intentions, even Trump.

Shit the Jedi Says, 2021 Edition

Texas power crisis:

“Texas: Full of robber barons and morons.”

South Carolina

“Florida’s older, retarded neighbor.”

On having a job/going to work:

“It doesn’t mean I’m a responsible adult. It means I’m a blood sacrifice to the Capitalist gods”.

Gas (whilst hunting):

“Jesus, my guts smell like dead goose. Either that, or it’s dead goose.”

Unwanted Christmas gift:

Me: “Put that in the thrift store bag if you don’t want it.” Jedi: “No, I’m going to keep it and assign feelings to it.”

Forest fires:

“Driving a vehicle in Missoula during fire season is like driving around in a bong.”

Small dog:

“It looks like a walking hat.”

My sunny disposition:

“You’re so full of tartness, one drop of your piss would burn a hole in an acid jar.”

Women’s carefully manicured and penciled and powdered eyebrows:

“Looks like a blow-up doll gone wrong.”

My crazy, meddlesome, dramatic co-irker (with a lazy eye):

“Does her google eye get going until she has to be cock slapped?”

Upon realizing he was not alone whilst taking an emergency shit by a secluded creek:

“It sounds like they were catching fish down there. Either that or they saw my butt.”