Not COVID, Part CO(VI)D…

Boy, oh, boy.

I’m gonna make this part short, because I know I’M sick of this particular saga, so I can only imagine that you are too.

Here’s the long and the short of it:


Damn it.

You see, as I last reported, I had passed the mystery bug on to the hubs. He doesn’t often get sick, so you can imagine his joy. Well, when his head was no longer stuffed with cotton, about a week into his ordeal, and he still had no sense of taste or smell, we got a little suspicious. He went in and got the third negative test of the month for the Ottingers Two, and we were once again baffled. What are the chances that there’s another freakish bug circulating right along with The Rona? Wild kidney pain? Olfactories smashed? Pretty good, apparently.

Yes, well… For reasons only known to the surge testing gods at UW-Stout, they decided to send his test on for PCR. Why not mine? As I just said, thank you very much, their reasons are inscrutable. Do not ask dumb questions.

And even though all the antigen tests in the world weren’t picking up on the apparent low viral load running amok at the Ottinger Empty Nest (tell my body that one), the PCR could see plain as day that the house guest we’d been harboring was indeed COVID. Damn.

Scott got the call just as I was picking the youngest up from the airport, home from college for the holidays. Unbelievable. Sadly, I deposited the kid I hadn’t seen in 3 months in the house of the boyfriend and family for a week, just to wait out the absolute longest timeline possible on the CDC’s ‘when are we safe?’ scale that we all now check on a daily basis, like the weather. Abundance of caution and all that.

What a disaster.

How’s my back, you ask? Well, remember way back when I jokingly mentioned that I’d over-zinc’ed my kidneys? I was joking about that, but only kind of. I actually did stop the zinc for a minute there because it sure felt somehow like a kidney issue, and I had no other explanation. I didn’t really think the lozenges were the issue, mind you, but when weird sh** starts falling from the sky, sometimes you get a little jumpy.

And you know what? It was, and still is, my kidneys. Turns out Covid likes to fork some shirt up, not just with the lungs, not just with the heart, but also with the kidneys (look it up; as with everything else Rona-related, it’s mildly (!) terrifying). Surprise!

Once the initial wave of pain and sadness dissipated (the second time), and I was left with the more reasonable, though not at all nice, lingering back pain issue, it became clear through multiple channels, crazy chirodude and straight-laced family doc inclusive, that m’kidneys were indeed irritated, angry, and generally pissed off. The good news? My labs assure me that my primary filtration vessels are not on strike so much as airing their considerable grievances. Loudly. They’re not big fans of Covid either. But they are still doing their rather critical jobs, even through their gritted teeth. And that’s something.

So is it all better? No. Not really. But with liberal usage of many moist heat packs and forced-march consumption of 18.2 gallons of water a day, along with a small medic’s bag full of kidney-supporting supplements, it is getting better. Baby steps. We’re in pretty good shape.

Let me just tell you that the last two months of my life make so much more sense now.

Dumb. Covid is so dumb.

I do have to say, though, I can’t imagine how bad things would have been if I hadn’t had the vaccine. Small miracles.

No, Scott still can’t smell. Or taste. Didn’t stop him from having a second plate at Thanksgiving, though.

Thanksgiving for Two. See how good I am at scaling back?
18#… That’s 1# for me, and…

OK, enough about that. I’m so done with this damned virus.

What else?

Well, even though I actually thought I was going to have to have somebody deliver overpriced firewood this year, Scott proved me wrong. He’s been working his hiney off, even while sick with the vaccine-tempered Rona, to build up the reserves. We are, as of Thanksgiving Day, the proud parents of four full rows of split wood. Just enough for the winter. What a guy.

Ready for winter…

Just to jog your memory, this is what the stacks looked like back there mid-October:

Things were dire.




This guy helped.

Scott’s been nursing his Dad’s old Stihl for more years than anyone should admit to, and when it grumped at him after only an hour’s worth of work this fall, he was using more colorful language than I’m comfortable with. We’ve got two other parts saws for that thing, a heap of bones that in the right hands could come together to form two or three working saws. There are a dozen 16″ chains out there, most of which are little more than nubby decoration anymore. And there’s been a ziploc on our bulletin board for two years, holding the throttle lock that would one day be reattached to the saw. Nostalgia dies hard.

As Scott is not the guy to do his own small engine work, we’ve been relying on our mechanically inclined buddy, Henry, to keep things running smoothly, but you can only call on the fix-it man so many times before you just have to chuck somethin’ into the woods. Also, said fix-it man himself recommended a peek at these EGO babies when we picked up the Stihl and it’s accompanying banana-box graveyard of parts, just days before the colorful language began.

Really? A battery-powered chainsaw? Unlikely.

But we were in a pinch, with those seventeen sticks of wood out there and winter bearing down on us.

And Amazon had just instituted their holiday returns schedule, which means, for the layman, that you have until January 31st to send back your returns. Turns out that battery-operated chainsaws just happen to be carried by the biggest retailer on the planet. With free returns. Until January 31st. That’s 3.47 months.

So right then and there, on October 17th, as the fumes settled on the couch and the verbiage calmed itself to a workable roar, we loaded up the Amazon cart and figured worst case, it would get him through this season’s cutting. If it was an awful piece of shite, we’d send it back to the hell-hole from whence it came.

A few days later, 56V batteries were whining to life on the charger. Manuals were being read, lest this abomination to logging have any secrets in store that might throw the seasoned woodsman. Registrations were submitted. Skepticisms were high.

You can almost taste the doubt.

And very soon the first rev (can you call it a rev?) of that brushless motor filled the yard. Well, more accurately, it just sort of spun the chain, without much pomp, circumstance, or noxious noise (or fumes). The noise cancelling muffs were tossed aside. The chaps, they remained, for a chain is a chain is a chain. And the 18″ EGO saw with zero exhaust and a cute little purr began it’s mission.

Upon reflection… A battery-powered chainsaw? Yes, please.

So far, this thing has been a beast, and the disbelieving man at the helm has not looked back at his gas cans. He has also yet to come in reeking of fuel and oil.

This is quite reminiscent of the day many years ago that he was introduced to the gas splitter and thought he’d still rather use the maul. That maul hasn’t seen the light of day since. (No, there doesn’t yet appear to be a viable battery powered-splitter. But when there is, oh, when there is…)

And so… The EGO stays. The Stihls will be hitting ebay soon, in search of owners who are confident enough to do their own daily tweaking and parts swaps. (Iff’n you’re lookin’, gimme’ a shout…)

The man’s also called into action this old galvanized tub that has been haunting the recesses of the shed. And that old oil bucket. So we can burn everything.
2″ slabs? Twigs? Gangly root masses that know not how to stack?
Nothing is a cast off.
The fireside, a la tub.
Oops… Let’s not forget the bucket.

So the wood situation is under control. In stacks, in crocks, in buckets, and in tubs. We’ve got wood.

As well as a new resident of the mudroom cubbies, for no one would expect a battery-powered beauty to winter out in the cold.

No, no.

The wood situation is under control, and the Covid situation is under control, at least in our house, at least for now. We won’t be getting our boosters anytime soon, you know, since we just got a bit of a forced booster, au naturel. Dumb. I guess now we see what Omicron brings.

The college kid is finally home,, post-Covid, and occupying the hearthside real estate with the full arsenal of journals and art supplies and techno-baubles. It’s good to have her. (Although that’s kind of my spot, there in front of the fire, between the bucket and the tub.)

And the latest news off the wire seems to indicate that we will have the full contingent of Ottingers home for Christmas Eve, barring any Omicron complications. That’s all seven kids, together with at least two spousal attaches, and four grandboys to round out the fun. We haven’t had the whole crew in one spot in ages, much less the new and ever-expanding crew, so we’re in for a good time. And possibly a homeowner’s claim of yet-to-be-determined origin.

Grandpa’s growing the Santa beard, so I guess it’s time to write that Christmas Letter…

If you need me, you know where I’ll be…

11 thoughts on “Not COVID, Part CO(VI)D…

Add yours

  1. Damn. So sorry the global plague has hit your home. Two of our good friends are just over it , though they were fully vaccinated, and the only lingering effects seem to be loss if taste and smell.
    Bravo on the woodpile, and the new electric toy. Who woulda thunk it? Glad your whole crew will be together for Xmas, sounds like you need some good vibrations after all that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No kidding! We’re kind of at the epicenter of redneck, and have one of the worst vaccination rates around. So many people so sick. And dying. So, so sad. Well take a bugger cold and some eccentricities I guess!

      Liked by 1 person

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