I’ve been on vacation this week. The plan was to help Norma with Thanksgiving preparations.
You know what they say about plans.
On Sunday I was getting ready for my annual pilgrimage to Cincinnati with my brother and friends to take in a Bengals game. Before I left, Norma and I went out to the barn to retrieve the Christmas decorations. When we started moving the boxes in the overcrowded barn I noticed some liquid on the wooden floor. It turned out that the bottom had broken on a plastic jug of kerosene which we kept for the Tiki torches. I picked up the bottle and tossed it into the yard. Norma called the fire department to ask the best way to clean kerosene from a wooden floor, stressing that this wasn’t an emergency. They said they’d send somebody over.
Sure enough, within five minutes the fire chief arrived, followed by a fire truck with the lights flashing. The five or six firemen (in full gear) unloaded the barn and spread oil dry on the floor. They told us the only thing to do was to let the barn air out all day.
So, to recap: the spill was contained, the firemen dug out the Christmas stuff for me and I could still go to the Bengals game. So far so good, right? This was around 8:30 A.M.
We went to the game. The team sucked. We had beer and chili. Got home around 8:00 P.M.
On the way home my right foot began to ache. I didn’t think much about it. I’m close to 50 and I’m diabetic. Occasionally my feet ache.
Monday I felt fine. The foot was good. I spent the day organizing massive mountains of books into more presentable piles and boxing up thing that could be moved back to the barn. The foot ached a little, but not enough to cause concern.
When I woke up Tuesday the foot really throbbed. It had that tight, hot feeling that comes with a sunburn. I went into the bathroom, turned on the light and examined my foot.
It looked like I had been tortured with a cheese grater.
I went to the emergency room, where the baffled doc was at a loss to explain the injury.
“It looks like a burn,” he said, “so that’s how we’ll treat it.”
They dressed the injury, loaded me up with bandages, antibiotics and pain medication, and told me to keep the foot elevated. I was just happy they sent me home. I had visions of a hospital-cooked Thanksgiving dinner.
When we got home, a friend e-mailed to say it sounded like a chemical burn. Did I spill any of the stuff on my shoe?
I checked. My shoe reeked of kerosene. As I was tossing away the jug a small amount must have dripped on my shoe.
Ladies and gentlemen, I spent all day Sunday slow-roasting my foot with petroleum.
Here’s how it looked yesterday:
Repeated viewings of my foot could be the cure to overeating this holiday season.
Tomorrow I go to the doctor for an update.
Combine the foot fun with last week’s long days at work (to prepare for this productive week at home; dig the irony?), and I haven’t accomplished much on the novel.
Am I deterred? Am I surrendering to fate? Am I slinking away to spend my life on message boards talking about writing instead of doing it?
I say thee nay.
Reaper Road remains very vital, and I hope to prop my foot up near the computer and crank out the words on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I’ll let you know how that goes.
I also have to get the group Christmas story going for the next Pod of Horror and get my notes to the other participants on the Justice-Wilbanks Message board.
Meantime, the family will be showing up soon. The turkey and desserts are done and Norma is working on the side dishes. I have potatoes to peel.
I hope you get to spend the day the way that makes you happy, with the people you most want to be with.
Try to take just a moment to count your blessings.
Me? I’m happy to be surrounded by a great family.
And to not be eating Thanksgiving dinner in the hospital.