A LONG POST TO COVER TOO MUCH STUFF

A lot of crazy stuff has been happening lately.

Firstly, I had a benign parotid tumour removed from my face a week ago, with a muscle flap cut from my neck to fill in the tissue removed from my jaw line. Needless to say, I am feeling the burn, quite literally. The incision from the middle of my neck up to the that little tab on the front of your ear, including a complete dislocation of my earlobe, has caused some major nerve damage that should heal in time. As well, the flapped muscle now in my face is also numb. It is so weird. Every now and then I get a fuzzy feeling across the inside of my ear as nerves are slowly healing, then down my neck a little sharper. On Friday I tried to wean myself from my Aleve and Hydrocodone which was the worst mistake of my life. I ended up screaming in pain during one of those flash nerve pulse moments. The office was very concerned and I popped 2 Aleve immediately. I have never taken 2 at a time, and I will only take one half a codone in the evenings before bed. I try to take as little as possible. The high feeling is not my friend. But the dreams I can get are really interesting, like lucid type dreams.

When you try hard not to move in bed (a lucid dream trigger is not moving for over 20 minutes while falling asleep), and the meds (which I did take full doses of the first 2 days) are kicking in hard, you can easily get into the lucid stage without even trying. I’m going to write an essay on the difference between mind and eyelid dreaming, because I experienced that a lot those first few days, to the point where I had 2 dreams going on at the same time. One in the mind and one behind my eyelids. It was trippy. It was hard to fall completely asleep when my mind was so wired but my body was totally stoned. Some of the best/worst sleep of my life.

I digress.

But then, like I said, a LOT has happened.

Another little thing…mom is back in Canada. I took her home the first weekend in April. The trip was uneventful but for a brief moment on the third day where a gaggle of turkeys walked out in front on us in Wisconsin. There was someone beside us and behind, so slowing down or changing lanes was not an option. I laid on the horn as the front runner was just turning back. This caused the dressing stuffee to launch into the air and barely miss our windshield by an ass feather. That would not have been a pleasant drive with a busted windshield. And I was the one doing 90% of the driving.

The best part was when my Aunt Marjorie brought over an antique typewriter. Her and my grandmother are avid garage salers. It’s a sport to them. Several people give them things to look out for. I had given them the project of looking for old typewriters. Manual, specifically. I didn’t care what condition they were in; anything is fixable, maybe. So, the next morning Marj brings me one she just happened to have in her garage, but didn’t want to say anything the night before because she couldn’t remember if she still had it or not. Turns out she has been trying to sell this antique typewriter for 2 years in garage sales, but as far as anyone is concerned, it’s broken. It belonged to her daughter-in-law’s grandmother, a Scottish war-bride come over in 1942, and purchased that same year to write letters home to Scotland, and type receipts for her clients. She was a tailoresse, and a really good one.

I got to working on it immediately. And really, I can’t believe my luck. The typewriter was not broken…it was ‘put away’. The margins had been set close together to keep the carriage from moving and the ribbon had been set to ‘stencil’ to keep it from moving if a key was accidentally struck. Everyone that had attempted to play with the typewriter had expected immediate results and never tried to understand that the machine was set to sleep mode and there was a process more than just hitting a button needed to wake her back up. Some people’s ignorance is my golden fortune. Within 5 hours, I had all the gears and whistles figured out and fine tuned. There is a store decal on the front, kinda like when a dealership puts one of their own on a vehicle, and on the vinyl cover. I googled that and found a photo of the storefront in Minneapolis about 6 years after she bought it. I also found her obituary and I typed it up on the typewriter.

By the way, she is a Smith-Corona Super-Speed. This is a full-sized typewriter. A secretary grade machine that is not meant to be moved often. A desktop, not a portable laptop. Which also means way too heavy for me to tote back as a carry-on on the airplane the next day. *crying intensifies* I will not be able to touch this magnificent beauty until November.

So what do I do to pass the time? I go antiquing, of course. On a lunch hour, 2 weeks before surgery, I head over to the closest antique store and find 3 typewriters. 2 electric and one manual. And it doesn’t look too good for the manual. But then, I didn’t know too much about this model and I only had a few minutes to glance at it before heading back to work. I later call the store to barter and get a 20% discount because of it’s poor condition. But now I’m a bit embarrassed about what I told the clerk was wrong with it…and what is REALLY wrong with it. I said the keys don’t work, it is rusted, and the top of the case is non-existent.

This is a Remington Portable 2, made lately-popular by the Great Gatsby movie, supposedly. I haven’t watched it.

The keys work just fine, once I learned how to raise them. The problem is the fused platen to the paper bail, the broken drawband that keeps the carriage from moving properly, and more rust and grime than I thought there really was. It is perfect!!

This is my third typewriter. The first is a Royal Royalite, from the same antique store 3 years earlier, and it, like the Smith-Corona, is in perfect condition. So, how the fuck am I supposed to learn how to repair typewriters when all I find are perfect ones? This one is perfect BECAUSE it is broken.

It is now my summer project. I got it torn down to the bones just before surgery, and received my Manual Typewriter Repair Manual in the mail the day before. While I am out of commission for a few weeks (I am not even allowed to drive because of the tension it would cause my neck) reading is my next best choice.

And editing…because I typed a short story about receiving the Smith-Corona from Aunty Marj, with a bit of a ghost twist in the end, that I am going to be reading at this year’s Iridescent Quill show a the Flannery O’Connor home here in Savannah, GA. I typed it on the Royalite, read it at the Peacock Guild meeting on Tuesday, got great critic from my group, and am now editing in order to retype the final draft next week. I can at least accomplish that much even if I can barely chew Ritz crackers without getting a headache.

On top of this, I’m completing my mothers trio of watercolour paintings for Xmas (bad daughter), Mother’s Day, and her birthday this month. Learning how to sketch skulls. Planting several types of Elephant Ears, papaya, and hostas. Knitting a pair of socks. Reading Margaret Atwood’s The Blind Assassin and Zack Power’s Gravity Changes (personal friend, read it!). And getting a promotion at work, so training and trying to find a replacement for my old position. Anyone in Savannah good at real estate marketing and maintenance department coordination?? Seriously, I can’t handle doing both much longer. Also, the receptionist quit to go to massage therapy school. We need people ASAP.

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