The Wasp Homewrecker

So here’s something a little different. On Saturday I decided I really needed to borrow Jack’s framing nailer to do what I had hoped would be the quick roof fixin’ job that I rambled on about last entry. I called and asked if he was using his nail gun as he’s on a home addition project of his own. He said it didn’t look like he was going to be using it, so I ran up to Bountiful and picked it up.

Along the way I made what was probably a somewhat ill-advised stop to take a look at the pile of rubble where my studio was.

It was kind of heart-wrenching, even knowing what was coming, but I don’t really want to think about it tonight.

Anyway, I got back home and made a sandwich just in time for Jack to call and see how long I thought I’d be needing the nailer as his contractor had shown up and was looking on getting to work. Fortunately I had already cut all the pieces I needed for my repair on the roof and just needed to whack them into place. I told him to come on down to get it and I’d be done by the time he got to my house. It worked out pretty good, except for having to have us both make a trip out of our way on what was a heavy traffic morning.

In a way it makes me want to have my own framing nail gun, but Jack and I have kind of a pooled resource of tools. My pool isn’t so big, but I have a metal bandsaw that lives at Jacks, and his MIG welder has been at my house for several years. It works out well, because nobody has room for all the tools they need, and even less time to put most of them to work. It just happened this day the gun was in high demand.

I was taking a break from the heat, I guess I’m supposed to avoid it for the MS thing, but I’m finding it hard to not be outside in the half of the year I find tolerable. Jack and I have serious that-reminds-me issues that can be near interminable. Along with never having enough time for tools, time for conversations is usually at a premium. As the conversation stretched out we sat on my porch and Jack noticed a wasp flying into the small tubes of a wind chime over my head carrying a dried blade of grass. It would go in from the top, and right away the blade would sail out of the bottom and land on me. Earlier I had noticed a pile of grass building up on the porch, but hadn’t thought about where it was coming from.

The little builder came and went for quite awhile. Occasionally I would reach up and ring the chime and cowardly duck down fearing the worst, yet too lazy to actually move. Finally she brought a big curly piece of grass that managed to jam in the tube. I decided this was a bad sign and slothed into action taking hold of the wind chime and attempted to loose it from it’s stay. The ring from which it hung caught repeatedly on the bent eyelet. For several seconds I became increasingly agitated and worried as the ring flopped back and forth and stick on the mouth of the hook and I was really starting to fear a serious amount of stinging was headed my way. Twice I almost just gave up and ran for my life, but in the nick of time the whole thing came free the chimes jangling like an alarm, and I hurled it off the porch to the middle of the lawn. I confess I laughed a bit sheepishly at my own antics, and we continued our one more thing goodbye a bit longer. When Jack left I retrieved the chime and thought I’d put it in the garage for the rest of the season. As I was walking back to the studio I peeked in one of the chime tubes. I couldn’t see through it. I checked the others and three of the tubes had already become nurseries for the little beasties. Half of them were filled with nests and larvae.

I took a stick and cleared them out, but it was no easy task. The grass was all bound up in what looked like a web. I’m going to have to read up on wasps to see how it’s actually done. I’m a little afraid the wasps might be part spider. Part of me is always kind of sad to interrupt most of natures cycles, unless it involves cockroaches or yellowjackets. Those bugs get no quarter.

Fretting the Night Away

Accepting limitations has never been one of my strengths. Here I am stuck wanting and needing to do things and not being able to for multiple reasons. And this isn’t different than any other time in my life, but like ever before, it seems like such a cop out. It’s like I can feel my potential and opportunities slipping away while I kill time waiting for conditions to be better.
 
And given my nature to be introspective, I kind of feel the need to write about it, but I also feel that my writing has become self-indulgent and melancholy. So I avoid writing, or at least writing and sharing. And I found out long ago that writing and then archiving/deleting isn’t as helpful as sharing. It’s almost like I need to let my ideas go out into the world instead of into a cage to experience any kind of growth.
I’ve probably mentioned this before, but my friend Anita recommended a book to me called, “Where’d You Go Bernadette?” by Maria Semple (and soon to be a feature film). In the book Bernadette is a creative person who suffers when she stifles her creativity. I enjoyed it very much and I can see parallels in some of my experiences. Right now I really want to make something, and I have several ideas for projects, as well as a need to get some pottery made for the post-Thanksgiving sale I do every November. My studio is in a shambles, though, and 95° in the studio is too oppressive to be doing anything. I have some slabs rolled out for carving, but they’re quickly passing the point where they’re too dry for what I want, and I just haven’t been in the frame of mind to babysit them.
In the meantime I’ve been listening to Adam Savage’s podcast on youtube in the evenings when I’m wasting time. It’s called “Still Untitled”  and is one of the most interesting podcasts I’ve found. He inspires me in a lot of ways, and I just watched one episode where they spent most of the podcast talking about the enjoyment they get from watching other makers videos on youtube. I felt inspired that I ought to be putting more video out for some of the stuff I do, but quickly began to shoot myself down. I don’t have any real special knowledge, or insight, but I have worked pretty hard to develop a certain level of skill that is not inconsequential. The idea of making videos just seems self indulgent, or at least it seems sort of meta self indulgent as I don’t really seek any sort of fame or adulation. I just agree with Adam in that it’s fun to watch.  I’ve played with making pottery videos before putting a couple of live things up on Facebook for fun, and I’ve been told by people that I ought to produce something a little more polished and less ephemeral than a Facebook post.
But it’s not just the pottery, I kinda-sorta document lots of stuff I do, but only halfheartedly, so I end up with lots of pictures in a folder.  And necessarily, some of the stuff I end up documenting, more in writing than anything else, is about the things that I go through in trying to maintain a somewhat corporeal existence. The whole convergence in this particular rambling train of thought brings me to my most recent health development. It looks like the reason, at least in part, that I’ve felt pretty crappy these last few years is that I’ve been ignorantly trying to deal with symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis.
I got the diagnosis when my physical therapist sent me in for a MRI to look at the arterial blood flow to my brain because she thought that my weird dizziness might be restricted blood flow. The results came back negative on any blood flow problems, but positive for signs of a demyelinating disease, most likely MS. Since then I’ve had a lot of tests, including a spinal tap (surprisingly easy, and now I go to 11). I guess it’s going to take some time to figure out how I’m affected by what’s going on, but it’s already starting to answer a lot of questions about things, some of them going back quite awhile. Although there is some confusion for me in that if this has been a long term thing how was I in a state of remission enough when I was having the scans 5-10 years ago when I had cancer that it didn’t show up on my scans then? I guess I’ve always been lucky.
As is my nature, I guess, I’ve been trying to keep track of the day-to-day issues that might be related to MS, just to get a baseline. I’ve tried out a couple of mobile device apps, but haven’t found one I’ve liked yet. I also have given a shot to doing it somewhat tediously though Evernote, but that is seeming less than optimal after two weeks. I almost considered just carrying around a small log book, which has some classical romantic interest for me, but I am a digital child and I can see the handwritten notes falling by the wayside, or at least becoming less useful, as I like to grep for things.
Bringing this around full circle (maybe for the second lap), while I was reflecting on when I can remember issues starting I thought back to last fall when I was doing one of the Facebook live videos and was having some trouble throwing a largish vase. I dug the vid back up and found the part where I had a significant hand tremor that I hadn’t had an issue with when throwing before. I remember it because at the time I couldn’t believe that I was that out of shape that throwing a couple pots had worn me out.
 My physical therapist pointed out that the tremors are, indeed, MS symptoms, and that I need to stop doing what I’m doing when they happen and not push myself. That’s going to be very hard. I have a lot of time sensitive projects on my hands that require quite a bit of physical activity. Already I’ve gotten behind while trying to sort of take it easy as I seem to be in the middle of a fairly lengthy exacerbation. I have a hard time asking for help, and today when trying to tackle a problem that absolutely needed to be completed by sundown it was looking like I was cutting it close. Debbie, without my knowledge, called our friend Jake and asked him to come help, which he did immediately. With his assistance I finished working on the garage roof with daylight to spare. I hate to bother people, and maybe this is a lesson I really (finally) need to learn.