Monthly Archives: November 2008

MS the drunken puppeteer

     Early this morning we had a dusting of snow.  However, that didn’t last long because it changed to rain.  The ground is now oversaturated, it is still raining, and my yard is rapidly becoming a swamp.  I half expect the Koi to leave the pond and go exploring.  The dogs weren’t interested in too many outings today, poor dears.  Yesterday was a lovely day but they didn’t get to enjoy much of it. 

     Dear Hubby is coming down with something and it has aggravated his MS.  Yesterday when I woke up and came downstairs, his balance was so far off, that he told me he felt like a marionette with a drunken puppeteer on the end of the strings.

     DH was also running a fever and seeing double.  Our doctor has a walk-in emergency clinic so I drove him over there.  It seems that everyone who wasn’t out shopping was in the waiting room.  With that many people ahead of us, I began to wish that I’d grabbed my Alphasmart when we left so I could do some writing while we waited.  Luckily, I always carry a notebook and plenty of writing implements.

     One and a half hours later, a nurse called DH’s name and we followed her back to the exam rooms.  After another thirty minutes, we left with two prescriptions for him and instructions, one of them, that he should drink plenty of fluids.  Since we had to pass near a grocery store on the way to the pharmacy, I ran in there for stuff for him to drink.  I think the same crowds from the doctor’s office were in the store. 

     Our next stop was the pharmacy and if we wanted to wait for two hours, we could get his prescriptions then or wait until today to pick them up.  It seems the throng had beaten us to the drug store too.  By then the sun had set and the dogs had spent a long time alone so we opted for picking up his medications first thing today.

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Our rescue girl

     In an earlier post, I mentioned how Patty came into our lives.  Her owner, who’d decided that she was too much to handle, dumped her here five years ago.  The man said he had purchased her (for an exorbitant sum) from a breeder in Bucharest, Romania.  He promised to bring or send us her shot records, registration papers, and other necessaries.  It was no surprise to us when none of it ever arrived.  In fact, once he dumped her here we never heard from him again.  I left a ton of voice-mail messages on his phone and he never called back. 

     The former owner had named our girl Cleopatra, which in no way suited her, in our house she quickly became Patty.  Peppermint Patty, Miss Patty, Patty cakes, our little Romanian princess…can you tell she’s loved?  We got a sweet outgoing girl who balances Gavin’s shyness.  She is Dear Hubby’s baby girl, Gavin’s baby sister and best friend, and when she can’t have DH, she comes to me (the Boss) for loving. 

     When she arrived, along with an ear infection, Patty was going into her first heat.  At the time, Gavin was not neutered.  Poor Gavin, we made the decision that since he hated the show ring he might as well be neutered and there was no better time like then to do it. 

     Before spaying Patty, we had to wait for her to go out of heat.  After her incision healed, we let the two of them meet each other without gates or crate doors in between them.  They immediately took to each other, which is somewhat surprising since Patty doesn’t like any other dogs.

I feel your pain and I wish I could help…

     Our electric company wants to raise our rates by thirty percent.  Yep, you heard me right, thirty percent.  Now I probably wouldn’t mind quite so much if in the past three or four years we hadn’t had at least one power outage every month or so.  I probably wouldn’t be quite as miffed if the power outages had only been for minutes at a time.  However, these are constant power outages that have lasted from two to over eight hours at a time.

     Can I bill the electric company for my Koi who died when the pond filters and pumps were off for over eight hours?  No.  How about billing them for damage to my electronics, will they replace my computer?  No.

     Maybe they’ll spring for a cup of coffee so I can warm up while I wait for the power to come back on.  What, not even a cheap cup of coffee?

     You don’t even get the pleasure of bitching to a human being.  No, you phone them and an electronic voice directs you through their obstacle course that is worthy of Special Forces training.

     If I’m going to have to pay them thirty percent more I want a human on the other end of the phone so I can at least vent a little.  It’s better to hear a human voice saying, “I feel your pain and I wish I could help….”  I want someone you can yell at about how your dinner was cooking and now that the power has been out for an hour, it is ruined.  Maybe that person would even spring for a hot cup of coffee…

Dogs, writing, and bananas

     Gavin isn’t happy with my habit of turning on my computer as soon as I come downstairs.  In his dogged opinion, I should pour my coffee and sit in my lounge chair.  Then I should put up the footrest and let him hop up to snuggle next to me while I leisurely read the paper. 

     He doesn’t understand that I am trying to finish writing two books and do a daily blog.  The poor dog mopes at my feet and, if given the chance, I think he’d pull the plug on my computer.

     Lately when I get up, I write for a couple of hours and then take a break with him and the newspaper.  He’ll get used to it.

     “In a pig’s eye I will!” 

      “Shush, Gavin.  I’m trying to write my post.”

     “C’mon, chair, let’s go sit in the chair.  You know you want to.”

      “I’m almost finished.”

     “Sigh.  You don’t love me anymore.”

      “I do too.  Be good and I’ll make a smoothie.  You and Patty can have some banana.”

     “Don’t wanna share with her.  Want you and the banana all to myself.”

      “Banana?”

     “Oh, crap SHE heard.” 

      “Be nice to your baby sister.”

     “Are we gonna have some banana?”

     “Yes, we will if you silly pups will let me finish this.”

Treasured memories

     Thirteen years ago on this date my loving Father died.  On this Thanksgiving Day, I’m thankful for my many memories of him, his humor, and his love.  

     Dad had a wonderful deep voice that could carry from the pulpit to the back of the church without the use of a microphone.  His scent was Old Spice aftershave and cigarettes.  I remember his laughter as the most marvelous thing in the world to hear.

     One of my earliest memories was going with him to the barbershop.  On the way from the car to the barber, we walked past a pet store.  They had kittens in the window.  Typical of a small child I began to beg him to get me one.  I begged him all the while the barber cut his hair.  I begged him as we walked back past the pet store window. 

     On the way home, the tiny black kitten thought it was great fun to climb on my father while he drove.  I can still picture the kitten climbing on his shoulder and Dad complaining about how he should have known better than to buy a kitten.

     I remember many walks with Dad.  How safe I felt with my little hand enclosed in his large, warm hand.  I had to take giant steps to keep pace with his military stride. 

    When he had to travel to far away lands, I remember the dolls he’d bring home with him, one for each daughter.  We were never able to pick a doll by anything other than by the box so no one could claim he gave a better one to another.

     I remember my teen years where I’m sure I drove the poor man round the bend more than once.

     There’s the memory of my wedding day thirty-five years ago where my Father gave us our vows and pronounced us man and wife. 

     I remember his last years.  He lived far away and I couldn’t visit him often.  He had numerous strokes that kept him from speaking, and most of the time, he didn’t know anyone.  I remember the last time I saw him, how when I used my pet name for him there was a lively spark of recognition behind those gray-blue eyes and he smiled at me.

     I have only a few pictures of him and those along with many more memories are my greatest treasure.

     Today, I hope each of you will make some wonderful new memories, tell your loved ones how much they mean to you, and remember, be thankful for what you have.

Dream home?

     I had an odd dream last night.  I was in a fabulous new home, I knew it was ours, but I wasn’t sure how we got it.  Did we win it, had someone given it to us, or did we have it built?  All I know is that in the dream, it was ours, brand new, and it was all on one floor. 

     The only problem was I wasn’t happy with the décor.  Some designer had gone overboard with it.  The whole dream probably came about because I fell asleep with the TV on TLC channel with the program “While You Were Out” playing and it steeped into my brain.  Either that or it was wishful thinking.

     You see, our home isn’t handicapped accessible.  It would be nice for Dear Hubby if it were.  How wonderful it would be only to have one floor.  When we bought this house, we had no idea we might need to be on only one floor someday.  Heck, when we bought the house it was supposed to be our starter home.

     We had plans to move one day but with job changes, lay offs, and his early disability retirement we’re stuck here.

     To make the best of it, I’ve been talking to the young men who live next door to us about building a deck out back that will have a ramp to the yard to make it easier for DH to get in and out of the house. 

     He’s still able to manage the steps but the time will come where we’ll need the ramps.  Our stairs to the second floor are steep and some day we’ll have to put a stair climber in for him too.  However, for now we’ll make do with what we have.

What will you do on Black Friday?

     In a few days, it will be Thanksgiving and families will gather around tables groaning under the weight of enough food to feed a third world country.  Some people won’t be thinking of how thankful they are that day.  They will be mapping out strategies and war tactics for shopping on Black Friday.

     Believe me.  I know these people.  I’ve listened to them describe their battle plans for weeks.  Some folks will be outside certain store doors at two a.m. for the sale that begins at four.  I don’t get it.  I hate shopping.  I hate crowds of people.  To me shopping on Black Friday is akin to having four root canals at once. 

     According to all the weather forecasts, it’s going to be a very cold morning here.  A motivated person could make a fortune outside the stores selling coffee and hot chocolate.  Will I be out there?  Heck no, there’s no way I’d be leaving my warm, cozy home to stand outside in the cold for an hour or more for a few dollars off on an item or to make a few bucks.  I’d sooner burrow under the nearest blanket.

     I worked retail and there was no day I dreaded more than Black Friday.  Every year since I left that job, I spend the day as far from the stores as I can possibly get. 

     I think I’ll work on my books and relax this Friday.  What will you do?

Malcolm’s Mayhem 12

     Bull Terriers will eat almost anything.  I worked in a vet’s office for a while which, more than once, turned out to be fortunate for us.  When he was young, Malcolm had the typical Bull Terrier habit of chewing on and eating things he shouldn’t.

     One day Malcolm managed to unplug a lamp from the outlet and eat four feet of cord.  (Lucky for him he unplugged it first)  He did it without pulling the lamp from the table.  Furthermore, he did it the five minutes before I was to leave for work.  In a panic, I called the office and told them what had happened, they told me to bring him in to work with me.

     When I arrived, the vet decided to take x-rays.  Malcolm never needed sedation for x-rays he was such a ham he’d stay still for the pictures.  Once my boss got a look at the x-rays he called me away from my microscope to tell me that he thought with a little help from medication that by the end of the day the problem would resolve itself.

     For the rest of the day while I worked Malcolm enjoyed the attention of all the vets and technicians and the luxury of a fancy run in the kennels.  An hour before my shift was over one of the techs came running in to tell me all was great and Malcolm could go home with me.

     Vet bill:  200.00

     New lamp cord and rewiring:  12.00

     Malcolm healthy and into more mischief:  Priceless

Toys to torment siblings and parents

     Toy commercials are rampant now that Christmas is fast approaching.  I admit I do get a kick out of some of the toys they are advertising.  There’s a dinosaur robot that cracks me up, and I keep telling Dear Hubby, “I want one.”  Of course he tells me no.  He knows me too well.  I’d probably use it to torment him and the dogs.

     Every year there are toys for the child who is into espionage but now they are almost as sophisticated as what the CIA has to use.  Hey, kids how about using a toy to listen in on your parent’s private conversations?  We’ve just the thing for you.  There isn’t an older child around who wouldn’t appreciate having little brother or sister able to spy on them.  Let the beatings commence.

     Another brilliant gift idea, night vision goggles, exactly what every budding burglar needs to have.

     Hey, I’m that evil person who gives children gifts of xylophones, drums, and things (like Leggos) that have many tiny pieces.  I don’t have to live with the noisemakers or stepping on those little crippling pieces of plastic.  Nor do I have to listen to the howls of the older child when they catch a younger one spying.

     My kids have four legs and fur.  They’re happy with tennis balls and dog cookies.

With middle age comes wisdom and hot flashes

     Ah, middle age, I don’t feel much older than when I was in my twenties.  Wiser, yes, I know I’ve learned a lot over the years.  I’m wise enough to know that I will always have something new to learn.  I’m wise enough to know that you can pick your friends, your battles, and causes, but you can’t pick your relatives.  As in many families, and given the choice, there’s one or two that I wouldn’t have selected.

     Middle aged, a time when you begin to see more gray hair and wrinkles and wonder where the time went.  I had fun getting here.  I don’t have many regrets, but I do wish time would slow down a bit.

     Middle aged, old enough to have hot flashes.  I don’t mind them too much.  I have a T-shirt and emblazoned on the front are the words ‘I’m not having a hot flash my inner child is playing with matches.’  My inner child plays often.

     I do have one question.  Why is it that on cold days, when I can really use it, my inner child decides to refrain from being a pyromaniac ?  It’s cold outside tonight!

An intervention

     I emptied the last bag and walked into the living room.  “Hon, do you realize that this is the fifth one I bought this month?”

      “Are you sure?”  He said.

     “Yes.  We’re going through it like crazy.”

     “That does seem like a lot.”

     I motioned for him to follow me back into the kitchen.  “You’re sure it’s not you?”

     “Yeah.  I only use it once a day and not every day.”

     “I guess we need to talk to him.”

     We walked into the living room and sat down in the chairs facing the couch.  He was on the couch eagerly looking from my face to Dear Hubby’s.  This wasn’t going to be easy.

     I began, “This is an intervention”

     DH added, “We need to discuss your addiction.”

     “We understand and we love you.  But Gavin, you are peanut butter addicted.”

     With the words peanut butter Gavin’s ears moved forward, and his tail wagged.  He leapt from the couch and ran to stand by the cupboard.

     “I blame the vet,” I told DH as I scooped some peanut butter from the jar, popped an allergy pill on the top, and had Gavin lick his medicine from the spoon.

There is a reason to use grammar and spellchecker.

     I know I am not the best grammarian in the world.  My grammar checker proves that to me all the time.  Hell, it screamed at me for that first sentence.  However, I do use it and my spellchecker.  I would be embarrassed to post something I hadn’t at least run through both checkers once.  Granted, on occasion, I have missed things.

     That’s what I have proofreaders for (and you know who you are.)  They will read what I plan to post before I publish it.  Fortunately, few mistakes sneak past them.  Mind you, I say few.  Occasionally, I have found some errors we all missed and have gone back to edit them out of a post.

     All of which brings me back to the title of this post.  I can’t understand why anyone would post something out here in cyber land for the entire world to see and not want it to be his or her best writing.  I not only try to put my best out here, but I continue to improve it whenever I can.

     More and more, I find articles in newspapers, works of fiction, advertisements, and blogs full of blatant spelling and grammar mistakes that by simply running the spell and grammar checkers will disappear.  Yes, there are words the spell check will miss.  Those words are the ones that if you find you consistently mix them up you should keep a list in front of you as a reminder.