Meanwhile…

Where are the trees? What happened to the erosion paper?

Where are the trees? What happened to the erosion paper?

We’ve all been there. Life gets in the way of everything else. Everything.

We bloggers are not alone in this. Author P. D. James once said that it took years to write
Cover Her Face, not the usual span of months. “The work was hindered by family emergencies, by pressure of my job and by the need to spend some evenings at the City of London College…” – as quoted from her autobiography Time To Be In Earnest.

Lately I’ve had many hindrances. And I’ve written many blog posts – mostly in my head and mostly at night when I can disengage from the world for the nanosecond before falling asleep. One was titled, Life on the River.

It began like this:

I awoke to the sound of the rushing water of the river as it thrashed through the trees and out of its banks. Then I realized, I don’t live on the river. I ran to the front porch. It was still dark, the sun hadn’t risen and even if it had, the torrential rain fell in such giant curtains as to keep its light from the earth. The noise of the water upending trees as it smashed into the forest left me with gut wrenching certainty that our driveway which crossed the small creek with a normal three to six inches of water flowing along its rocky bottom had suddenly become a rushing river. Dread overtook me. I sipped coffee, alone and quiet, waiting for the rain to lessen and the sun to illuminate the driveway enough to see. Would I be able to get to work? Would my son be able to get to the farm? Were our animals ok? Did the heartbreakingly expensive repair on our driveway’s bank withstand the flooding?

We’ve lived here with no problems for eighteen years – until this year – until my husband’s surgery – until the fourth straight week of daily rain with only one exception since the first of June. And I’m not talking about normal rain. We’ve been in a period of drought for a couple of years. Now, not only have we recovered from the drought level, but have surpassed it by over a foot. This rain has lifted concrete tops off of wells and springs and carried them away, collapsed banks that have never given to even the hardest downpours, cut driveways apart from their foundations leaving people stranded into or away from their homes. You see folks, we live in the mountains. It doesn’t flood here. Never. But dump several feet of water into a creek that carries several inches at its peak, and anything can happen. And of course, it happens when my husband can’t do much of anything or risk rupturing one of his eight incisions.

Driveway wash out

Driveway wash out

That’s right. We were prepared for far fewer. And things haven’t been quite as smooth there either. Right now he is battling infection and a stitch that is likely going to need to be removed. It is kinking something and causing pain. The infection could be a symptom of rejection of the mesh. If that is the case, it will have to be removed and the period of recovery will begin again and my husband may lose his mind.

And the horses got out of the pasture – not once but twice. They’ve all been telling me I shouldn’t give them treats from my hands. Well, guess what? When I rattle the bag, the boss of the herd comes running and the others follow. So, that is what I did and eight horses followed me seamlessly back into the pasture. I certainly couldn’t wrestle them or lasso them, or whatever it is that other people do when their horses escape. It worked. I remain the treat lady.

Of course, the minute my husband can’t lift or carry, I have a flat tire on the way to work and the rain is so heavy that it gets beneath the housing of my headlight and shorts it out, leaving me with a costly repair, not to mention having to get to and from the dealership.

I won’t even go into the farm situations. It isn’t pretty. People are having to watch their crops rot. One of our flat fields is going to have to be replanted if it ever clears up enough to get equipment into it. The others are on sloping hills that end at ponds, piped into other larger ponds that carry the water away. The corn there is doing alright.

Another post I mentally wrote was titled, Why Can’t we Do it the Right Way?

I’ll apologize in advance to my male readership. We females are guilty in much the same way about things you try to help with. But turn a woman loose with a lawn tractor, mower, weed eater, blower, or other power tool, and the men in our lives become worse critics than the people reading our manuscripts.

There are exceptions and I cede to you. But in my world, my husband is picky about the lawn and the driveway. And just because he can’t take care of things he normally does right now, doesn’t mean he is willing to see it done the ‘wrong’ way. That translates to ‘my way’ if you know what I mean. The lawn isn’t its normal self anyway. And grabbing the one or two-hour space of no rain to try to cut it means it often isn’t dry enough really. Wheels spin. Grass clumps. But with days and days of even heavier rain in the forecast, you take your best shot when you get it.

Thankfully, (this is meant sarcastically), he is able to come outside and give me directions. He also had me drive him out to the farm which I shouldn’t have. They weren’t doing things ‘his’ way either. Not that it was being done incorrectly. It wasn’t being done in the right order.

Laugh here. Go ahead. Order is important in some areas of life and farming and all of those things were done in exactly the right order. It was just the little things that hadn’t been done in the same manner as he does them or directs them to be done.

Letting go of control is never easy. And I had to gently remind him that if he trusts them to run his farm, he must trust them to do the right things, even if they follow a different set of priorities about the way in which they get done.

I had planned a great small gardening blog in honor of E.C.’s influence. Garden with gate

Go ahead and laugh here too. Too much rain and too little sunshine has stunted everything. And all of my plant food needs to mixed with water, which is the last thing it needs – more water!

Yet, while we have suffered – and are still contending with – too much water, the folks in the Arizona and Colorado have had the opposite. One of the nineteen firefighters who died was originally from Ashe County, North Carolina, pretty close to where we live. Eric Marsh was one of the founders of the Hot Shots and had a passion for his work. He was only 43.

And one of our local judges, a man who went to school with my husband, drowned while on vacation. He jumped into a rip tide situation to save a drowning woman. She survived. He did not. He was only 54.

So, when I get up in the morning or come home from work, accustomed to grabbing my computer and blogging – either doing my posts or catching up with the ones I follow – and my husband looks at me and says, “Oh, so I guess you don’t want to talk,” I put it away. He is bored, alone for most of the day, and not used to being sedentary. People come first – right? (He’s with my son at the moment, looking over farm issues, so I have a break.)

Hopefully, this too shall pass, and all will be back to normal within a couple of weeks. Who knows what I will have written in my head by then?

Renee Johnson is the author of Acquisition, and The Haunting of William Gray.  She is currently working on a Young Adult novel, while editing a suspense novel which has international flair–an homage to her love of travel and foreign food.  She lives on a farm in North Carolina with her husband, Tony Johnson, and one very spoiled German shepherd named Gretel.   

About reneejohnsonwrites

I have recently returned from University of Iowa's Novel-Writing Intensive during their Summer Writing Festival. Other credits include two stints at The Essoyes School in France, two terms at a writer's residency at Noepe Center for Literary Arts on Martha's Vineyard, and a retreat in Italy. Join me in 'writing the world.' -- Renee Canter Johnson, author of "Herald Angels", "The Haunting of William Gray", and "Acquisition" published by The Wild Rose Press. Coming soon--an international intrigue set in Venice, Italy--where adventure and danger are as masked as the characters.
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38 Responses to Meanwhile…

  1. Elyse says:

    If only the worst bit of news you had relayed was that you had been too busy to blog, rather than all that rain and your husband’s surgery. Yikes. As they say, when it rains, it pours!

    Good luck!

  2. When it rains–it POURS)))
    I love that you write inside your head. This is your prayer.
    Sending love from MN. Xxx

  3. Some of our best blogs are written in our heads and never see the light of day. That’s why they are our best blogs. No one can pick them apart.
    You have been having quite the rough go of it. It sounds as if you have had more than your fair share of trouble. I hope things have started to turn around and that the weather and your husband are doing better. Make sure you take care of yourself as well.

  4. You guys have gotten rain, rain and more rain – every time I look at the weather – it’s storming around there. The German is tired of the depressing grey skies ( and it slows work on her dog park) and my brother says his barely 2 year old landscape is drowning. But it is worse for anyone on a farm. (Hey, gotta get the horses quickly – bucket or bag of treats is the only way)
    Hope the back treatment is easy and successful – dealing with hurting bored husband who is frustrated by not being able to do normal lifting and constant rain? Nope, that’s not fair at all. Hang in there!

    • You are here in the Southeast with me, so you know what it’s been like. And for some reason, we are stuck in a weather pattern that just won’t break. I feel for your brother. Landscaping is an expensive and time consuming project. I hope he can save it.

  5. rangewriter says:

    I’m glad I’m way over here in blazing hot S. Idaho. No flooding, no escaped horses, my lawn is itty-bitty, and I have only a sweet, noisy, demanding cat to answer too. With all of that, you’re still more prolific, more funny, and more well organized than I could ever hope to be. Hang in there. You are right to put people time ahead of writing time…up to a point…

  6. jmgoyder says:

    You are certainly having a tough time. I am so glad you posted.

  7. Astra says:

    Sunnier skies will soon prevail! Hang in there 🙂

  8. Sheila says:

    Oh, this was perfect for me to read! I am in the same position, not from weather (been beautiful here for a nice change!) or from health issues, but from work, travel, and visitors. Too much of being on the go and too tightly scheduled with work. I write in my head at night and at odd moments of the day when I am in “wait” mode. But the past several weeks I’ve been mostly sidetracked and empty by evening. I hope your rain clears and your husband heals, and that you learn to do everything the “right” way (big smile here…I know just what you mean!)…and just know that you are not alone…or maybe I know I’m not alone?! I suspect most people who blog fight this battle. I love the experience of writing and reading other writers’ thoughts, and I especially love the interaction…I just need to find a way to integrate blogging into my busy times so I don’t lose the thread of this community! Sending sunny skies your way! ~ Sheila

  9. Great post. I can vouch for everything going wrong when I can least afford the time or the money.

  10. aFrankAngle says:

    Your weather is horrible …. so abnormal. Then again, do what you can because it’s going to happen whether you like it or not. More importantly, take care of hubby … after all, we’re more patient at waiting.

  11. gene3067 says:

    He may not be saying it, but your husband appreciates everything you’ve done and are doing right now. Don’t take the lawn mowing personally. He’s probably venting his frustrations about not being able to do “his job”. I had a hernia operation years ago and went nuts not being able to do anything during recovery. (Too bad I didn’t know about blogging back then.)

    The rains been messing my plans up, too. I have five people I’m supposed to be helping out while they are away and I can’t get anything done. My landscaping day job is also a mess and we are done with the summer garden for this year.

    Keep the faith and scribble when you can. I love seeing your work, but you gotta do what you gotta do. Don’t worry. We’ll still be here once things get sorted out. 🙂

  12. I don’t where all these pop-up rain storms are coming from every day. Fortunately I live at the top of the hill, so the water takes its path by gushing down the street not coming near my house. But every day it’s too wet to mow the lawn, so it continues to grow thicker and taller. Take care, I’m sure things will start to get better for you. I can relate to your flat tire incident. Just the other day I noticed one tire flat on my car parked in the garage. Thank goodness I have a friend with an air compressor who filled it up so I could drive it, not far, to get the nail in it repaired.

    • The rain and hail has damaged roofs and there have been several houses in our area getting new ones. I suppose the nails can wash into the street if they get loose. We are probably not the only ones experiencing this. Take care and stay dry.

  13. Oh your poor husband, Renee. I hope he’s feeling better soon!

  14. TBM says:

    I hope your husband feels better soon. And goodness that’s a lot of rain. I wish it could go to the places where they need it. We have family in Colorado and they are quite worried about the fire danger.

    • It is sad that we are suffering from too much water while areas like Colorado and Arizona have too little. I would love to donate several inches to them if we could just figure out how. Hopefully they will have some rain soon.

  15. bronxboy55 says:

    When a crisis comes along, we handle it. Sometimes there are two, or even three, and we find ourselves wondering if the world is falling apart, but still we manage to work things out and restore order. The situation you’ve described so vividly is a cascade of problems, each feeding on the next. Your husband must be as frustrated as you are, though in different ways and for different reasons. It must feel as though everywhere you turn, there’s an obstacle. What do you deal with first? I don’t know, Renee. But I’m sure there’s a day in the future when you’ll be writing another post that explains how you got from where you are now back to a normal life. I hope it’s soon.

  16. My take on the saying is “It never pours but it rains”. Savour my sentiment, Renee. You’ll know what I mean.

    One of the reasons I don’t particularly like Frank Sinatra: “I’ll do it my way”. Nothing wrong with it per se. So do I. Just don’t foist it on others. As I will onto you.

    To overwhelm you completely, Renee: Bear hug,
    U

  17. WordsFallFromMyEyes says:

    Yes I hope it shifts back to normal in good time, but you appreciate well just what is going on! Oh, hindrances – I KNOW. So much average average average gets in the way of that glorious alone time – you, your thoughts, words. It’s PRECIOUS time to me.

    I so relate. Love hearing of your life too! 🙂

  18. Thanks for sharing a post that makes all of us aware of the impact of deforestation and neglect to nature. So much flood all over the world and most of these, man contributed by abusing mother nature for hundred of years. It is not too late though to do something about it and everyday, we need to try to make a difference.

  19. munchow says:

    Hopefully by now, life is more back to normal again! But, yes, sometimes life just comes down hard on us. I wish a nice recovery for your husband.

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