It ain’t half hot mum

posted in: Animals, Gump, Health, Writing | 0

I actually started to write this back in March. But then I got very busy and serious. I wanted to focus on the mystery novel I was writing, and the blog kept getting in the way. So I have enjoyed a hiatus, and finished the first draft of my novel.

I am slowly editing all 500+ pages, and thought I’d take a breather from blood, death and crime to write the blog instead. Hopefully you will remember me and take a quick read, but I’ll never know if you don’t !

So forgive the historical aspect of this – and happy summer!

Meanwhile…back in the springtime……

Gump has an odd way of being romantic. Years ago when we dated, he would drive to my house in the evening, hand me a warm pork chop fresh off his bbq grill and then leave…..unusual yes, but tasty. Once we were married (yes I married him anyway) I tried to train him in the romance department, I told him that meat didn’t work in a vase, but flowers did.

The first time he bought me flowers, they were purchased over a lunch hour and then left inside his truck the rest of the day until he drove home…in the summer….so you can imagine right? Thankfully Trader Joe’s opened up in town, and with a couple of lessons he has finally figured out that he can buy flowers on the way home that will actually survive, and can be forgiven a multitude of sins simply by giving me tulips.

Another aspect of Gump’s romance training is spontaneous gift-giving. I have tried to show him this skill by setting what I consider to be a good example. I purchase favourite foods, clothing, music, and sometime (insert shudder) Marvel movies. He’s been a bit slow on the uptake. He did take me out for a romantic chicken fried steak on Valentine’s Day, but then two weeks later he completely shocked me by surprising me with a gift.

No – not jewelry, nor chocolates. Gump bought me a Red Rider BB Gun. You know, the one that ‘might shoot your eye out’.

His intentions were noble, it’s to use for scaring the squirrels away from monopolizing our bird feeders. We have skinny birds and fat squirrels around here, and they drive me batty. I don’t want to kill them, just frighten them off, and according to GI Gump this would do the trick.

That said – Gump has been more excited about the damn gun than me…he’s shot the bloody thing more than I have. It hasn’t helped the squirrel situation whatsoever, they just give me a bland look, check their squirrel survival handbooks to see a Red Rider’s shooting range, then go just out of reach where they can look at me and gloat. This has not helped my blood pressure. Gump thinks it’s hilarious, so I have threatened to use him for target practice.

The next purchase he made was to feed his annual spring passion. Every year we scour different locations for specific types of tomatoes that Gump has to grow (or else he’ll die). This year he scaled way back on the varieties, and narrowed it down to a measly eight or so. We finally bought all the plants he wanted and then purchased all the other crap he had to get, feed, fertilizer etc. yadda yadda. He was so happy with himself to accomplish this and plant his babies, because he was on a countdown to having hip replacement surgery.

Although I mock him, it was painful watching Gump trying to bend down to put the tomatoes into the dirt with more tenderness than I’ve seen him exert on anything. The positions he had to angle his leg were quite clever, brought to mind Rudolph Nureyev. But he persevered, and then paid for it later, unable to move.

At least it was done, now he could sit back and wait for them to grow, a man and his vegetables – right …….and then a few days later we were warned there would be freeze coming, and it wouldn’t be the last. Suddenly, Gump’s hip got conveniently worse, and he was sick with worry about the toms – could I possibly dig them all up for him? Oh, and put them in pots…oh and bring them inside until the final freeze? So I had a dining table full of bloody tomato plants while we waited for spring to hurry up and really arrive. And then I had the prestigious job of replanting the buggers….chicken fried steak my arse – next time it better be prime rib.

So about Gump and his old hip……

Never in a million years would I liken him to a Prince. There is no regal bearing to my Lake Charles man, well except when he eats King Crab. Gump rules no realm (other than the garage) and his regal and mighty sword is more commonly recognized as a fork. But back in April, my husband and Prince Phillip, the Duke of Edinburgh shared something in common – they both got a new hip!

Poor old Gump has had such a rough time of it these last few months – his hips were never going to be like Elvis’s (even with my imagination that wasn’t going to happen) , but the ones he had, well he was partial to them both, never showing preference to the right over the left or vice-versa. But Gumpy had a bit of arthritis & bursitis in them as most of us do post-fifty, andt while fishing in Alaska (that’s going overseas for Gump) he was hiking down to a river and one of his legs discovered a hole. The other leg stayed on even ground and the jolt of the impact snapped what little cartilage was left and voila (note I do NOT type ‘walla’…I HATE that) Gump’s left hip was history.

That was September 2017. Fast forward to March…….He tried to ignore the whole situation because deep down inside Gump knew he would have to have surgery….The word SURGERY, along with the words vagina/any naked body part/Rush Limbaugh are all words that if mentioned can arouse terror, blushing, and several minutes of rants – in that order.

Meanwhile……I wasn’t allowed to mention the ‘S’ word in our house for fear of him fainting. Funny really, because if you look at Gump, he’s all southern farm boy on the outside, strong, brawny, would even look good in a kilt (I’ve asked – he said no) – but inside he’s all pudding.

At last after months of being in excruciating pain he gave up – he’d had enough. We found a great doctor who could deal with Gump’s awful sense of humour, and he had the surgery. For the first time in his life, Gump became ‘hip’.

He’s 3 months post surgery and doing pretty well with his bionic bits. Yet somehow I’ve managed to maintain the auspicious position of head gardener to the bloody tomatoes, even though I don’t like bloody tomatoes. We have a massive net draped over Gumps garden to ward off the amazing squirrel population that lives in our yard (see Red Rider BB gun) and the voles/birds/hungry neighbours……We’ve also adopted a turtle.

We always see a few of the funny shelled creatures from summer to summer as they make their trek through our property headed to wherever turtles go on vacation, but this year Gump found one walking across a really hot and busy parking lot near his office. In fear the poor thing was headed out onto Yale to certain death, he popped the wee guy/girl into the car and relocated it to our house.

To say the the turtle was probably in severe shock after riding down a highway in a small convertible is an understatement. Although he and the Gumpster looked pretty cool with their hair blowing in the wind. Now the little reptile is living in our back yard and he has been named Harvey. Every morning at 6:30 I go outside to hang the bird (squirrel) feeders and feed our neighbour’s horses their daily carrots. I also have to put lettuce and other bits out for Harvey, who promptly shows up to the same dining spot by my porch every single morning looking for his breakfast, sometimes even coming back for lunch. As this seems very un-turtle like behavior, Gump thinks he is responsilbe for the ‘turtle training’ and is now the turtle whisperer, although I’m actually the one feeding Harvey. In an attempt to keep Gump’s ego from growing too large, I feel it is my responsibility to lambast him daily. I remind him that he has given Harvey severe psychological issues, and separation anxiety from the loving turtle family that are still waiting near the parking lot for daddy to come home. It makes Gump feel really guilty, and as a loving wife that makes me feel like I am doing my job for society.

Speaking of driving convertibles, that is what I drive and I highly recommend that none of you are stupid enough to do the same with temps in the 100’s. I do have an air conditioner in my car, but all it really contributes are a couple of somewhat cold sneezes (my car is 25 years old) so I have to drive with no roof or I’ll have a stroke. The upside is the sandpaper effect the wind and sun have on my skin as I drive, is the equivalent of getting a skin peel and then jumping into a tanning bed. I look rather ripe (like the bloody tomatoes)………..

It’s funny. As I type this I just glanced out of the window and saw two hummingbirds buzzing around the feeder. There are cardinals eating at the other feeders and squirrels eating sunflower seeds I threw onto the grass – it is all a far cry from living in the London area. I feel quite bumpkinny…like Gump – ugh.

Oh, and before I forget. I haven’t used the BB gun anymore, but I did find a great squirrel deterrent for the bird feeders. Instead of hanging them on a tree limb, I have them hanging on poles called Shepherd’s crooks. I then got some Crisco and greased the entire pole. It’s brilliant! The heat keeps it greasy for days, and the squirrels can’t climb up. I also have to be honest and admit I had a good laugh watching the little blighters trying to scale the pole and then slide down. I swear they had this expression on their face like ‘what the f**k?’ But I am at heart a kind person, I sprinkle sunflower seeds on the grass so they still get to eat, but the birds at least have a fighting chance now.

Well that’s all my feeble mind can run to today. I do hope all of you are having a good summer and staying healthy and safe.


******I would like to send out my condolences to all the people affected by the terrible tragedy at Table Rock Lake – I know many of my friends go there regularly and this hits pretty close to home.