It was the best of times, it was the worst of times? Perhaps not as dramatic as all that, but yesterday was a tale of two days, for sure.
We had a leisurely morning -- well, when you barely sleep, all mornings seem long -- and drove the dogs over to Salty Dog, the local daycare and boarding spot. When I made the arrangements, Jaime was the opposite of every doggie daycare place I've spoken with in any city. She was so totally laid back. Whatever day, whatever hour, just come on by. She didn't ask for vaccination certificates or do an aggression test. She does boarding as needed, grooming if you want it, she raises Husky puppies, and she's open 24/7 to accept rescues, which she tries to rehome, but will keep if need be.
We followed signs up a rutted mountain road -- perhaps this is why she does pick-up and drop-off? -- until the sound of barking told us we were in the right place. There was a large collection of outdoor kennels -- clearly homemade, irregularly shaped, some projects with lumber and tools where more are being built -- lots of lovely large dogs barking, some by themselves, some two or three together, and one kennel with a few adults and a bunch of puppies, an extended Husky family, little pudgy guys playing and staring.
Jaime is very friendly, and I felt she has the perfect attitude about the dogs -- assured and professional, but relaxed.
I had made a mental note to myself to tell Jaime that one dog (ahem) is an escape artist, but the first question she asked was, "Do they escape?" I had to laugh. I told her about Cookie, and she moved some dogs around to give our two an escape-proof kennel.
She has miles of wooded trails on her property, and took them off for a walk in the woods, and we made our getaway.
* * * *
We went off to the Saturday Market, which is set up in the village of Ganges. Ganges is a mix of regular stores that island residents need, restaurants, and touristy boutiques. Touristy, but not schlocky -- everything is local and handmade, and to my eyes, not extremely expensive. The Market is nice, full of local craftspeople and artists, many with the usual stuff, and several with more unusual and unique offerings.
I instantly fell in love with some inventive carved art that would look amazing on our deck. I assumed pieces would be more than $1,000, and I would admire and move on. I was amazed to see the one I liked best with a relatively modest $300 price tag. Not that we can drop $300 at a craft fair without thinking -- hardly -- but when we travel on "big" trips, we do usually come home with one special item, rather than a lot of little things, like our papyrus painting from Egypt or a gorgeous vase from Ireland. We haven't bought anything new for our first and much-beloved home, and the deck is the best part of the house.
We chatted with the artist for a while, then I thought we'd make a whole circuit and see how we felt when we came around again.
Amazingly, I did not buy one set of earrings, not one piece of pottery. The only thing I saw that really appealed was some interesting bead work made entirely out of rose petals -- an ancient technique, and we are told, where the word rosary comes from. (Early Christians got it from Muslims, who learned it from ancient Hindus on the subcontinent.) The rose-petal beads are black, and the artist accents them with freshwater pearls, or brightly coloured beads. I was thinking of buying something for my mother -- she would love them -- but they were really out of my price range.
So we wandered through, looked at many things, ate a few things, briefly considered buying a few things but did not, and made our way back to Lorne Tippett. We looked at all the pieces he had displayed -- and had different favourites! Oh no! We discussed and compared and negotiated... we went back and forth... but in the end, home things are my domain. I couldn't bring Allan around, so I overruled him. Hey, he did the same to me with the house itself! I was just absolutely sure that this was the design we needed for our deck.
I'll post a photo of it later on. It's the kind of art I would have drooled over when I was younger, wishing I could afford such a thing. I felt really happy to be able to indulge this, and one should never feel guilty about supporting artists.
We also bought a funny, funky change-purse for our grand-niece Sophia (who started kindergarten this week by Zoom... and also helped pack up for fire evacuation...). The artist makes bags (purses, totes, luggage) out of discarded tweed jackets, then makes change purses from the scraps, accenting the dark tweed colours with brightly-coloured zippers for mouths and funny buttons for mismatched eyes. Each change purse has a name, and we bought "Maude" for Sophia. (Pics to follow.)
* * * *
So that is perhaps too much detail about this little market, but the day would soon take a sharp turn. Allan wanted to check out the bookstore (shocking, I know), but I thought we would have some gelato first. I considered choosing sorbetto -- I have been supposedly avoiding dairy in case the hives are a dairy allergy. But I did not. I ordered gelato.
I sat and ate the gelato.
And then I was instantly overcome by the worst itching I have ever experienced. Hundreds of welts appeared on my hands and arms, and I could feel them popping up from my scalp to my toes. I convinced Allan to move along without me, and I went to the car, and just attacked myself. Blood was running down my legs and my arms. I was crying from the intense itching.
I was also having some trouble breathing. Not need-to-call-911 trouble, not anaphylaxis, but I could feel inflammation in my bronchial tubes and needed my inhaler.
When Allan came back, I convinced him to take me back to the cottage and go out without me. I'd much rather he enjoy himself alone than feel I was keeping him from something. I couldn't convince him to go to winery or ciderey without me, but I urged him to go back to the bookstore and to pick up the dogs when he was done.
We talked about whether or not this was dairy-related. That may sound ridiculous given what I've just described, but hives do ebb and flow in intensity. But we realized we hadn't seen anything like this -- so sudden, and so intense -- since they started. We also realized that I have not been completely dairy-free for the past week. I've had little or no appetite, and have been working my way through two giant bags of my favourite junk food -- white-cheddar popcorn and Cheetos. There's enough dairy in those things that I need Lactaids. So it's possible I've been keeping the hives alive...!
Anyway, by the time we got back to the cottage, I was crying. Allan brought me ice packs and I drank as much water as I could stand, which is really important with any allergy attack. I was coughing, and felt feverish, and the itching was just mind-boggling.
* * * *
Allan came back later with the dogs and a lot of books. The dogs were happy, but Allan was disappointed that they had been in a kennel enclosure by themselves -- together, but without other dogs to play with. I kind of expected that, and honestly, I think it's fine. They were outdoors, in a really large enclosure, like a big yard -- and they had each other. Which is how they spend most of their days! Plus they could look at and bark at other dogs, which was probably fun. But it made their daddy sad.
The cottage has a large clawfoot soaker tub, so I took advantage of it with an oatmeal bath, the first I've had in quite a while. I had stopped the daily oatmeal soaks because hot water exacerbates hives, and a tepid bath is very unappealing. But now I see that just a slight reduction in temperature is enough.
Allan picked up dinner from a seafood restaurant down the street, and I had a bite or two of real food. I did the oatmeal soak and used some oatmeal balm, and took a lot of allergy meds, and after all that, was able to read and relax, and eventually got some sleep.
This morning, Sunday morning, the hives are still much worse than they were pre-gelato.
I'm going to call the dermatologist, and see if I can get triaged up, as I'm in such distress.
* * * *
The area where my mother, brother, sister-in-law, nephew, grand-niece, and nephew's partner live has been devastated by wildfire. Whole towns and communities have been reduced to ash. The air quality is dangerous. My mother has COPD; if the retirement community where she lives has to evacuate, she won't be able to breathe.
Other nephews, nieces, and friends are not far off, in areas of California where the sky is orange with fires and heavy with ash.
Given everything else that's going on in the US, this is cruel.