"On the plains of Oklahoma, with a windshield sunset in your eyes like a watercolor painted sky, you'd think heavens doors have opened."
Fly Over States

Monday, September 10, 2012

Summer's End

August has come and gone.  It remains one of my favorite months not only because all three of my children were born then, but because - like February - it is deceptively active in the natural world.  We've been collecting seeds from our Caddo (Sugar) Maples and Bur Oaks in hopes of getting some seedlings in the next year or so.  The wild animals are changing their patterns, sending their young off to fend for themselves, and the days are swiftly shortening.  Our neighbors have bellowing cows, next door, and I suppose they are weaning their calves.  The last of the fledglings have come and gone and I saw a migrating Yellow Warbler, last week.  Periodic shotgun blasts in the distance remind us that Dove Season has arrived.

As the summer ebbs and the night lengthens, I am far less likely to miss the sunrise.  I can sit on the patio with my morning coffee and no longer have to rush to beat the sun coming up in the east.   The August days are typically blazing hot (and this year, we set a record), but just when you think you can't stand it anymore, the cool winds start breaking through a few days, here and there.   Moreover, the shorter days mean that even when the temperatures remain high, the longer nights send the scalding sun to bed a little earlier.  As brutal as the summer can be in Oklahoma, when I lived in Virginia I actually missed the shudder of relief when the fall rains arrived and things cooled down in September.  It is like a good meal after going without - you know how delicious anything tastes when you've been hungry for awhile.
I recently began working at a LQS about a day and a half a week.  I've enjoyed the pure physical work that starts the instant you walk in the door.  Seriously, other than about a 10 - 12 minute break to gobble down lunch, you are moving for 6 - 7 hours - restocking, cutting fat quarters, straightening, waiting on customers, etc.   95% of the time, you are on your feet.  I am getting callouses on my fingers from folding fabric and was trying to figure out why my forearm was dry and scratchy (am I getting eczema? - OMG!) before it dawned on me that I rest my forearm on the table while I'm doing it.  The skin is just dry.  Duh.

I'd all but forgotten what it was like to not be the mistress of the moments of my day.  As an attorney, I had time to check the internet, head to the bathroom any time I felt like going, decide when I wanted to eat lunch, sit, prop my feet up, etc.  Retail is different and I haven't had this kind of job since I was a girl.  The first day my feet nearly gave out but since then it has been fine, although I am tired by the end of the day.  My knees aren't what they once were but bending and standing has got to be good for them, seems to me.

It has been an eye opener to talk to the owner and realize just how close the profit margin lies.  A theft here or there (and it happens, sadly), small by most anyone's standards, can wipe out her entire profit for a day.  People don't realize.

The customers have been a delight.  It is so much fun to see people come in smiling and enjoying themselves, often in semi-large groups or with a daughter or girlfriend.  This is the sort of stop ladies include when they plan a day out with the girls, treating themselves to lunch,  pedicure, etc.  Nice!  On a regular basis, you hear snippets about the sadness they might have going on in their lives - an ailing mother or husband; problems with a daughter; a son in trouble with the law; a grandchild caught in a custody fight, etc.  But the LQS is a place they come to leave that behind for a bit and recharge their batteries.  My very favorite is when a mother and daughter/two sisters come in who genuinely like each other.  So much laughter and affection!  I figure the mental health benefits of working with happy people, coupled with the physical exercise of being on my feet instead of, ahem, constantly in front of the computer, will pay off in health benefits no matter that the pay barely covers the price of gas to get there and back.

Over the Labor Day weekend, someone broke in by throwing a large rock through the front door.  They destroyed the cash registers to get the money and broke the lock on a storage cabinet, but didn't touch the fabric (are you SERIOUS???).  They left video equipment, a credit card left by a customer, an ipad and a laptop.  Go figure.  Although the front door was smashed, they took the trouble to relock the stubborn back door when they left.  Their take ended up being just over $200.00 and the owner had to replace the two cash registers and the door.  She also opted to contract with a security service.  Cost of doing business, unfortunately.
Pearly is doing moderately well, these days.  In August, she started getting stains under both eyes, for no apparent reason.  The eye doctor shrugged - no answers there but he wasn't concerned.  Then, she had a flare of her auto-immune disease when she was on 5mg of oral prednisone, daily, so the eye doctor increased her drops.  Within about ten days, her eyes had quieted back down so they reduced her oral prednisone to 2.5mg, daily.  For a few days, her eyes stayed very quiet but then, the little turd ate a dead toad and vomited for two days.  We believe she threw up all her medicine at least one day and perhaps two.  At any rate, her eyes went buggy although they didn't get red and angry looking.  The photo above is what she looked like.  It didn't seem to affect her vision and she has been in great spirits.  Her very high spirits have all but made up for the bad parts!  I fretted a bit but the internist said to keep her on the same dosage of oral prednisone.  After about three days, her eyes settled back down and look close to normal, again.  
They are still a little buggy but vastly improved from even two days ago.  Sometimes I wonder if this will ever end - will she ever get well or, for that matter, will she just go blind and the battle will be over?  God forbid.  We'll keep fighting for her sight.  So far, she's winning.

Evelyn went back to the doctor to have her thyroid tested after being on medication for a couple of months.  It was WAY high so they reduced her dosage to 0.5 mg, twice daily.  She's looking fantastic and the bald spots continue to be fill in.  Moreover, her coat - brittle, yellow, broken and dry not too long ago - feels so soft!
Awhile back, I bought some OSU fabric thinking that I might make some pajama pants for my youngest daughter whose husband graduated from Oklahoma State.  I changed my mind and decided to use it in a medium sized lap quilt for a friend who is a big OSU sports fan.  I'm making my favorite - pineapple blocks using the OSU fabric and a variety of blacks and whites.  Still have a ways to go but here are some of the blocks, in progress:
It has been a quiet draw down to summer in these parts.  The daffy weather from the past few years has affected other parts of the country more than us, at least this year.  We still struggle with extreme drought but the farmers tell me it was forecast two years ago so I can't say it was unexpected.  With any luck, we'll start to pull out of this dry cycle, this fall.  Fingers crossed! We actually broke a decades long record for a low temperature, yesterday morning.  Now, if the rains will just show up...

Happy Quilting, Penny, Evelyn and Pearl


Florida Farm Girl said...

Hi Penny! So glad you're enjoying your job at the LQS. I imagine I'd use up my pay and never take any money home!!! Glad the girls are improving.

. said...

FFG, it is a sad thing to see so much beautiful fabric with a built in employee discount but simply not need it or feel an overwhelming need to buy. When I was working, I would kiddingly say I would use my purchases for when I retired (as justification for buying). I had no idea it was the truth!

Anonymous said...

Working in a quilt changes the view of the quilter in ways that are often surprising. The people we meet, nurture in their quilterly journey and become friends with. So glad the girls are feeling a bit better.


Thearica said...

Hi Penny... I haven't kept up with too much blogging in it seems forever! I had always thought I might enjoy working in a quilt shop but now, today, I don't think I would. I am happy to twiddle away the day here at home. The older I get, the more of a homebody I get.

I couldn't help but giggle when I saw the OSU creation you are working on. It brought back your Dare To be Ugly post to my mind and the write up you did on that ugly cat fabric. lol

I am on the search for the next ugly fabric!

Linda said...

Where are you? What's happening? I miss you!
Lurking Linda