The Horror!

“He cried in a whisper at some image, at some vision—he cried out twice, a cry that was no more than a breath: “‘The horror! The horror!’” ~Kurtz’s last line in Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness.

How was your week? Mine had some horrifying moments. Like when I realized I completely ruined my blog. When I found out my neighbors have a slaughterhouse in their basement. Neither of these moments was more horrifying, though, than turning myself into human jerky.

I’ll start with the blog. Last week, I decided to clean up my media library and delete some of the photos. Sounds positive, right? Cleaning up, letting go, all that good stuff. Until that horrifying moment when I remembered that when you delete photos from the library, they are deleted from your blog posts, too.

Horror turned to despair as I sifted through post after post and saw gray spots where once there were photos. To make matters worse, so many of my posts are directly related to the photos that without them, the words don’t make much sense. I was able to add some photos back – a long, grueling process that required scrolling through thousands of photos on my iPhone, emailing them to myself, downloading them to my Chromebook, uploading them to the library, and inserting them back into my posts. I’m sure there must be an easier way of doing this, but I have yet to figure it out. Some of the posts are so old that I may never be able to retrieve the photos because they’re on my near-dead, virus-infected laptop. The very idea of dealing with that, and this whole blog mess, horrifies me so much that I’m going to ignore it for a while. Which brings me to the next horrifying moment.

Wednesday night I learned that my neighbors have a slaughterhouse in their basement. The revelation came during a Zoom Zoning Board of Appeals Hearing my husband and I attended on Wednesday night. We were there to oppose the neighbor’s request for a variance to keep chickens on their double occupancy property, which is not allowed in our small city. This chicken ordeal has been going on for two years. The coop is two feet from our property line, along which runs our driveway, and next to our driveway is our patio. The neighbors do not properly clean the coop and at times the smell is unbearable. Often we have not been able to enjoy our patio and have had to move outdoor gatherings inside because of the horrible smell. Then there is the matter of the chicken waste they keep throwing in a pile against our fence, which is now collapsing in places. Since the chickens arrived, for the first time in over 20 years of living in this home, we see rodents, dead and alive, in our yard. The town sent a cease and desist order to them for the chickens two years ago, but they didn’t comply and our communications went ignored by the zoning enforcement officer, until finally I went over his head and emailed the Director of ALL Zoning.

These are the same neighbors I called animal control on several years ago when I discovered, to my horror, at least 25 rabbits in small cages sweltering under a tarp in their yard during a heat wave. I had gone behind our garage, which is detached and set way back from our house, and there they appeared, like something out of a Stephen King novel. They were forced to get rid of all the rabbits except a handful, per zoning laws.

Once when the chickens got loose and ended up in our yard. I really was rooting them on.

Given their track record, I shouldn’t have been shocked when, during the hearing,  our neighbor admitted, in response to a question, that she uses the chickens for eggs and meat. But I was. A board member asked the question that had to be on everyone’s mind, “Where do you, um, prepare them for meat?”

“The basement.”

The silence that filled the Zoom meeting was without doubt one of collective horror. All five board members denied the variance and the neighbors have 10 days to get rid of the chickens. I imagine they’ll be stacked in a freezer soon.

Moving on, to my abject horror I turned myself into human jerky through my own carelessness. I don’t know what I was thinking when I spent four hours at the beach last Saturday without putting on sunblock. Usually I do, and sit under an umbrella most of the day. But it was pretty windy, so it didn’t feel too hot, and the umbrella likely would have blow away. I have olive skin and don’t burn easily, so I thought I would be okay. Not. I have been in agony all week from this sunburn. I had to wear a strapless bra for two days because my shoulders could not withstand straps. I have been slathering aloe vera that I keep cold in the fridge all over me, and still areas of my skin are starting to peel. Peel! I haven’t peeled from sunburn since, well, I don’t think ever. I am so mad at myself. At my age, the last thing I should be doing is allowing my fragile, aging skin to shrivel up like dried out, dehydrated meat. I learned my lesson the hard way, but my poor, old skin may never recover.

Oh, the horror of it all!

So, how was your week?

14 thoughts on “The Horror!

  1. Oh my, Kim! My week was horrible too! Now that the highways are empty I am too afraid to drive on them, since the trucks are moving at a speed of light…
    I did not notice that your blog was missing the photos. I mainly enjoy your strong words and opinions. And the awful neighbor. Wow. Poor animals. Hope for a better week ahead.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, you poor thing! You have had a week from hell for sure. Like you, I’ve often been tempted to clean up my photo library, but then I remembered that it would remove the photos from my blog. The photos are mostly just for extra looks on my blog, so I supposed it wouldn’t matter that much. But thank you for reminding me not to do that! As for your neighbors, I have no words. Clearly, they have no respect for life, human (no regard for the effect their chickens had on your yard) or otherwise (those poor chickens and rabbits.) I hope the sunburn heals soon, and wishing you a much better week to come!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know. I’m not so naive that I believe all chicken comes neatly wrapped in packages at the grocery store, but caged up chickens in an unclean coop in the middle of a small city with the yards so close, and the thought of her killing them in her basement, is horrific to me. It may be too much to hope that she’ll give them to a farm where they can roam free.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh wow. My week was definitely better than yours. I have come this close | | to deleting photos from my blog, particularly the duplicates. But I don’t necessarily know which of the 3 is actually attached to the blog, so I might have done damage–scared to look. THANKS for the warning. As for the yard animals, I have never understood why so many towns permit people to have chickens in town on small lots, where they are sure to annoy others with the smell and noise. SO sorry you’re dealing with that! As for the sunburn, I have fair skin and learned long ago to be careful, but I feel your pain. Hope this week goes better!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Ellen. I wonder what do we do when the media library gets full? This happened to a website I used to manage for a non-profit I am part of. I eventually had to bring in a tech expert and can’t even remember how he fixed it.


    • Yes, I thought she kept them for the eggs only. They really need to move somewhere where the yards are much father apart if they want to have a small farm. As I said, I live in a small city, and within this city the more cityish part of it. My husband did a great job of conveying our grievances to the zoning board. He lives animals and is disgusted by how dirty they keep the coop.

      Liked by 1 person

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