A poke in the eye

poked in the eye

As part of a back yard reno project I needed to move a bunch of big rocks around, tearing down an old rock garden and ripping up edging stones from around an old fish pond. The larger rocks were really small boulders, 60 pounds or so, and I promised myself I’d be careful and use good mechanics yadah yadah because I have a tendency to try and just muscle things through and these days when I hurt myself it takes a long time to heal.

I’ve used the rocks to make a border for a new rose garden, and as a freestanding rock wall to separate a new vegetable garden from the rest of the yard. Took me several days of lifting and grunting and shifting to get things in place, but at the end I was pleased with how it was taking shape and proud I hadn’t injured myself.

It was with great pleasure that I lifted the last big rock and carefully lowered it into place. With all my focus being on fitting it exactly and maintaining my mechanics, I neglected to notice the very sharp and narrow frond from an adjacent old palm. Sure enough, the tip slipped past my glasses and poked me in the corner of my right eye.

Hurt like hell. I jerked up and pulled away and in doing so lost control of the rock and dropped it on my left foot. The good news is that I didn’t lose my balance; if I had fallen backwards I’d have landed on a rose bush, and that would have been really bad.

The foot isn’t broken, I’ve done that before so I know how it feels, but it did swell up pretty good and now is a lovely pastiche of purple, blue, green and yellow. The eye was an adventure; it is surprisingly difficult to tweeze a fragment of palm frond tip out of one’s own sclera, even with the aid of topical benzocain.

The injuries were on Saturday, and by today you can see there is only slight residuum. The eye still hurts, but it feels a lot better than it did yesterday. The foot has stopped throbbing and tomorrow I think it will fit in a shoe again, so back to work. I still have seeds to plant and bushes to set before the rains end.

Better to be poked in the eye with a frond than a sharp stick, I suppose, but I could have done without the boulder-on-foot crush. Out of a sense of common decency, I’ll spare you all that photo.

[More to follow on the garden, and the backyard reno. My spring greens are up already, a couple of tomato plants and several of the peppers have blossoms, and the iris have started to bloom.]


10 responses to “A poke in the eye

  1. blacksheepone

    Oh, my gosh.
    I’d tell you to be careful, but it’s clearly too late.
    I will, however, tell you I hope you heal fully and quickly, and that before you go back out there,
    perhaps, you could invest in a pair of these:

  2. grahamfirchlis

    Thanks, Sarah, I’ll surely heal. Today I only have a gimpy limp with a tendency to list to port like a drunken sailor along with a blink rate of 120/minute which, by report, makes me look like an owl suddenly exposed to sunlight. Altogether entertaining, as long as you aren’t me.

    The wrap-arounds might have been, with (ahem) 20/20 hindsight, a good idea but I’m thinking karma or some such is what’s at play so maybe with them on I’d have gotten the frond up my nose instead, potentially much worse. Trying to dig out that fragment would have been truly a challenge.

    “Be Careful.” Really, I should say that to myself non-stop.

  3. blacksheepone

    Ouch. Owie. Not, not, not fun.

    Now, those Cudas are tough to find, but can sometimes be corralled via the Internet in the colors shooters prefer for the range (vermilion, amber).

    Did I tell you the other thing I like about ’em?
    They’re polarized. You can see the fish even with sun on the water. 🙂

    • grahamfirchlis

      Hell, with the right source I can take a couple of tokes and see fish even when there isn’t any water. Or any fish.

      I’m Old Skool when it comes to fishing. I do wear sunglasses when I’m out on open water, because blue eyes and sun make it hard to keep my eyes open and fishing blind is too damn difficult. But the idea of seeing the fish first takes a lot of the fun out of it, the hard stuff, reading the water, trying to think like a fish, deciding where and when and how to place the fly or lure or bait.

      Some of the most memorable fishing experiences I’ve had were days when I got not a nibble but I felt that I’d fished the stream to the best of my ability, the whole time spent entirely within the moment, endless anticipation while one with the universe. Looking back, actually catching a fish would have been an interruption.

      I’ve never owned a sonar fish finder and disliked the only time I went ice fishing with one; it was too much advantage, poor fish with their little tiny brains. I should be able to outwit them or suffer the consequence.

      No knock on anyone else, to each their own, but I like using my wiles as the primary tool when fishing or hunting and avoid the high-tech side of it as much as possible and that includes blinds and salt licks and corn scatter and the like. When I hunt I am an active hunter, not one who lies in wait, and the same for fishing; I have little patience for still-fishing and even less for trolling. My ideal is a small clear stream with plenty of brushy cover on a cloudy day, just me and the fish and the time it takes to see what they see, to sneak up on them and beat them fair and square.

      And then eat them.

  4. blacksheepone

    Ah. You fish in live water. Where I live, it’s all city-stocked (when they bother) playas.

    They’re muddy and brown or dark green and just barely big enough not to be stagnant, so … if I’m going to wet a line, I want to be sure there’s something in there besides junk tires first.

    Do I have to catch a fish to have a good day fishing? No, not by any means; it’s enough to spend the time on the water (but I haven’t a boat, so we’re talking docks and banks here).

    The other place where it’s important to see the fish is riding the dolphin boat — if the glare off the water obscures the dolphins, why bother?

    • grahamfirchlis

      I have spoiled myself. Spending a lot of time in the Sierras and NorCal coastal streams, then the Uintas and the Rockies, I’ve gotten very picky about where I’ll fish. Sort of a snob, now that I read myself, eh? Different strokes, certainly, and no offense to those who find enjoyment other ways. It is all about the outdoors experience and the anticipation, for sure.

      You have clear water in the Gulf, pretty nice. Out here along the NorCal coast the upwelling and cross-currents keep our water cloudy, no more than a couple of feet visibility from on top under the best of conditions. If it doesn’t break the water, you don’t see it.

  5. The Other Sarah

    Okay. I’m going to be a snob for a minute. If I ever get back to the coast, one of the things on the agenda is a definite ride on a dolphin boat (again).

    The thing is, if you google Texas on a map, and then you look at where Lubbock is, and where the coast is … you begin to get a better picture of why I can’t fish in the Gulf whenever I take a notion.

    (Lake Alan Henry, about an hour and a half from me, is the biggest of those playas I spoke of earlier. For real fishing I’d need to go to O.W. Ivie, about a five-hour drive. From there it’s just another seven hours to the coast …)

    • grahamfirchlis

      Yeah, true that; Lubbock to the Gulf is a fur piece. Back when I was young and involved in the (cough, cough) import business I got to spend a good amount of time in Baja California, both sides. Warm water, clear and rich with life, really a dream compared to the cold cloudy water up here. If somebody handed me a million bucks and said “Pick somewhere” I’d land in La Paz. Hot summers but the evening breeze cools things off, winter is shirt sleeves, the desert is your back yard and the Sea of Cortez is out front. Oh and cheap beer and tequila, mustn’t forget the staples. And dolphins to be sure, and whales!

  6. The Other Sarah

    La Paz, eh?

    Off the major MJ routes these days enough not to be deadly?

    • grahamfirchlis

      La Paz isn’t on the way to anywhere, so no trafficking to speak of. It is Sinaloa cartel territory, and early this year the jefe “El Teo” was located and arrested but the job was done by federales, not the locals who know better.

      The last thing the surviving bosses want is more notice so there haven’t been any repercussions. La Paz has always been live and let live, and seems it is still that calm.

      There isn’t much violence around MJ smuggling, actually; the profits aren’t that great. The real money is in cocaine, meth and heroin and that’s where the violence comes from, the fight over big money.

      Most of the major Mexican MJ business moved north of the border years ago. They set up in the national forests and on private land where the owners are absentee. The cartels set up easy-to-spot, easy-to-get-to grow sites that keep DEA busy and provide lots of photo ops and big interdiction numbers, while the real grow sites way in the back country go unmolested – everybody wins.

      This year in CA we have a grow-your-own measure on the ballot. If that passes, and right now it is 50-50, it will mean a major hit for the Mexican growers as well as for domestic gardeners. Pot is more than half the annual gross income for Mendecino county, and close to that in surrounding areas. With logging gone already, a drop in pot sales will devastate those areas economically.

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