Monthly Archives: January 2009

Life with canine Sherman tanks

Dear Hubby calls Gavin and Patty walking road blocks. The poor man has enough trouble walking but there are times that the two of them make it impossible for him to move. There’s nothing like trying to walk across a room and having two sixty-five pound Sherman tanks stop dead in front of you. Maybe if they were taller, it’d be easy to move them with the nudge of a knee, but with their low centers of gravity and the fact that their shoulders are right below knee height they become immovable barricades.

    DH swears there are days when the two pups plan their barricade strategies out ahead of time.

    Gavin says, “When Dad heads for the kitchen, you stand by the doorway on the left and I’ll get alongside him on the right. If we work it right we can herd him to the cookie jar.”

    Patty’s ears perk up and she says, “Oooo, I could use a cookie about now.”

    “There, he’s on his feet. Wait for it, wait for it—now!”

    Springing into action Patty says, “Left, right?”

    “Right. No left! Oh, I mean left is correct.”

    “Too late.”

    Gavin: “Damn, we missed.”

I miss Dear Hubby’s cooking

   Today the dogs were in the kitchen sniffing around my feet while I was cooking a leg of lamb. They love the smell and always hope for a scrap or two in their dinner. They were so underfoot I had Dear Hubby call them out of the kitchen and sit with him. It made me think about some of the great meals he used to cook for us on occasion.

    DH can’t stand long enough to cook things anymore. We even tried putting a stool next to the stove but with the way our kitchen is set up, it didn’t work well. The outdoor grill, which was where he excelled as a cook, is also no longer his domain.

    He used to make the most wonderful omelets. Mine never seem to taste as yummy as his did. However, that could have something to do with food tasting better when you don’t have to cook it. When I managed the pet store, if he was on day shift he was always home before me so he would cook our dinners those nights. The man was not only an excellent cook but he was quite inventive.

    Now when I speak of him ‘cooking dinner’ it means he’s ordering from one of the many places around us that deliver. The food doesn’t compare but it is nice that he occasionally does this to give me a break from cooking. There are those days when I’ve exhausted myself and I tell him, “You’re cooking tonight.” His response? “Chinese, cheese steaks, Italian food, hoagies, pizza, what are you hungry for?” Have to love the man!

EEWWW Slush!

   We had a lot of snow last night and then it rained on top of it. Today we had about four inches of slush. Imagine the looks on my dogs’ faces each time they went out and there was a change in what they were walking on.

    In the wee hours of the morning, several inches of snow had fallen and more was coming down. They practically skipped out the door to play in the light fluffy snow. Walking was easy and the tiny light flakes tickled when they landed on the dogs.

    Later Dear Hubby said the surface had a crust on it. They walked out on top of the hard snow and then their paws would pop through the stiff covering. Neither dog looked pleased with the changes. He said they weren’t eager to go out as often. Then it began to rain on top of it and they refused to go out in that stuff at all. Gavin stopped dead in the door and DH had to give him a push. He dashed out did his business and sprinted back in the house. He must have warned Patty because when DH went to take her out she dove into her crate forcing him to drag her out of it. At the back door, she did a handstand as he pushed on her butt to get her out. She too then did a mad dash out and a sprint back inside.

    Around five I took Gavin out, when his front feet hit the sidewalk, and the several inches of slush covering it, he almost did an about face, but urgency over-ruled. However, the look I got when he came back in made me tell him, “I don’t make the weather.” Patty was so disgusted with the slush I think she would’ve permitted us to put doggie boots on her and she’s not the type of dog you dress up.

    I can’t wait to see what looks we’ll get when they go out now. With the sun long gone and the temperature dipping, all that slush has turned into ice. Maybe they’d consent to doggie ice-skates or snowshoes.

Craving a cappuccino

 It’s time to dig out my cappuccino machine again. I’ve been craving a good cappuccino and I don’t mean the overpriced coffee bar stuff. Years ago, my younger sister bestowed a lovely little machine upon me that works like a dream. My only problem is my counter space is at a premium and keeping it out all the time is not an option. Thus, it only comes out when I develop a real craving; otherwise, I stick to pots of regular coffee.

    Yes, I said ‘pots of’ I drink tons of coffee each day. Out of at least two pots of coffee in a day, I do believe Dear Hubby drinks maybe two or three cups. The rest I drink. It’s a miracle that I don’t suffer from coffee jitters.

    I’ve always been a coffee junkie and wherever I am there is always a pot of coffee ready and waiting. When I managed a pet store, the local foot patrol knew they could drop in and there’d be coffee for them. If I’d had my little cappuccino machine then I wonder how many more would’ve popped in for a visit, but way back then cappuccino didn’t have the popularity it has today.

Painvanish problem settled quickly

            The company must be handling many complaints from people because when Dear Hubby called them today he was quickly able to resolve his mother’s billing problem with them.  It paid for him to be patient while going through their auto-attends maze.  At least that’s one more thing we don’t have to deal with for the time being.  I only hope that this is truly the end of it.

            Don’t forget people; do not let those sneaky charges or bills get past you.  Do check your statements carefully.  Don’t give out any personal information over the phone or on the computer.  Stand up for yourselves and make noise if you think someone is taking advantage of you.

            If you have elderly parents, keep an eye on their bank statements.  Usually these scammers begin with a small charge on their account.  If that makes it past them, they go for more money.  Question, question, question any and all charges or bills that come in that you are certain you/or your parent haven’t made or (as in the phony bills) haven’t requested the products.

            The only way these scammers can be put out of business is by raising awareness.  Pass this information on to others.  Put these vermin out of business!

‘Painvanish’ another scam hits home

    We thought we had everything taken care of. We’re not that lucky. We have another company demanding a payment of $19.95 from my mother-in-law for a product she didn’t order, didn’t want, and never received. Tomorrow Dear Hubby will spend a great quantity of time on the phone AGAIN. This time he’ll be trying to deal with Painvanish, our newest scammer. His opening line of, “After a career in law enforcement…” usually gets their attention.

    Are these swindling companies passing around a list of names and addresses of potential victims? Are they connected? Could it be that each one is a different pocket of the same pair of pants?

    The scammers who prey on the elderly, sick, and poor must be put out of business. They hide behind their auto-attends systems to prevent one from actually speaking to a human. They offer you many ways to pay their bill that to some people is simpler than dealing with a dispute. Some people will think it’s only $19.95 to get them off their back. It’s not that simple my friends.

    I tell you now, if these companies are going to be brought to light, put out of business, prosecuted, and punished, it will only be by people not taking the easy way out. Don’t pay them! Fight them! WORDS COST NOTHING. Call the toll free numbers, raise some hell, and dispute the bill. Do not let them control the conversation. Stay calm and tell them you are reporting them to the better business bureau and your State Attorney General and follow through.

    This is fraud and attempted theft. If the company has already lightened your bank account, then what they are doing is a more serious crime. When they take money from your account without your authorization, the crime is theft and is a fraudulent business practice.

    Call or write your State Attorney General’s office. Tell them! Report the theft perpetrated on you.

    You must be meticulous when going over your monthly statement. Examine all charges no matter how small and make sure that you know what each one was for, if you find one you don’t know, call your bank ASAP! You have only 30 days after you receive your statement in which to report unauthorized transactions.

    Betterman/Betterwoman has returned some of my mother-in-law’s money although she’s out quite a bit more since they’ve been stealing from her account for months. On the other front, one phone call to the finance company (I mentioned them in an earlier post) working for Bottom Line books already took care of those problems.

*See my earlier posts: Bottom line books scam and Bottom line Books scam part 2

*also Painvanish problem settled

Who pushed their idiot buttons?

    We thought today would be a quiet day but the pups had other ideas. The last couple of days were sunny and slightly warmer than we’ve had for a while. This pushed their idiot buttons. They had that mischievous glint in their eyes that spelled trouble. Both of them wanted to go out as often as possible. While they were out, they dashed about the yard barking at anything and everything that moved.

    When they were in, they raced around the house after each other. Patty kept bounding on and off the couch while Gavin sprinted around the living room and kitchen. It all seemed like doggy a celebration. I was glad when both their mainsprings ran down. Peace descended upon us around dinner time, once they ate the two of them conked out.

    I think they are as anxious for spring to get here as we are. In spite of this reprieve in the weather, they are in for a surprise in the morning the temperature has plummeted again.

Robert Burns 250th birthday

    Sunday marks the two hundred fiftieth birthday of Scotland’s national bard, Robert Burns. If it weren’t for him, we wouldn’t have “Auld Lang Syne” to sing every New Year’s Eve. How many people know all five verses of the song? I wonder what he’d think about having it in common use two hundred and fifty years after his birth. It’s an amazing feat when you think about it.

    Robert Burns worked hard to revive and preserve traditional Scottish song, much of which, without him would be lost today. In our town, there are many planned festivities to honor him. Art exhibits, readings of his poetry, and several places are having Burns suppers. This features the Selkirk Grace (Burns version of a traditional dinner toast), a piper leads in the chef who carries the Haggis, immortalized in verse by Burns. All stand while his poem “Address to a Haggis” is recited. Along with the suppers, there are often Scotch tastings. It’d take a lot of Scotch tasting to coax me to eat Haggis. I’ve tried it and I don’t care for it. However, I could go for a lovely scotched egg or two.

    Sometime during your Superbowl festivities on Sunday, lift a glass in honor of the man.

A caregiver’s break

    After Dear Hubby reassured me that he would be fine for a few hours, I got out of the house for a small, much needed break. I scooted off to our local Borders carting my manuscript along. I bought a large coffee, two writing magazines, and the DVD DH wanted. I settled down at a table with highlighters, a notebook, a pen, and my manuscript. I spent the next two hours sipping coffee, marking up the print out, making notes in colors on the pages, and writing out ideas in the notebook of where I can expand certain chapters. It’s the most work I’ve been able to do on the book in weeks.

    Feeling more at peace and that I’d accomplished a lot, I left Borders and went to the grocery store. Yuck, I do hate shopping. However our cupboards were running to almost bare so it was a necessary trip.

    When I arrived home, DH had the dogs in their crates, and the front door opened, he’d heard me pull into the driveway. It didn’t take long to unload the car.

Chipping through the looking glass

    To be able to step through the looking glass as Alice did and deal with a strange land of chess pieces and a fearsome Jabberwocky would probably be easier at times than the day to day life we deal with. Heck, another day similar to yesterday and I’ll beg someone to give me a hammer to chip my way through the looking glass. I’d rather battle a Jabberwocky than watch him have such an awful day.

    Dear Hubby never knows when he wakes up in the morning if he’ll be able to walk or not. I never know if it will be a good day or a bad day. Today was a good day.

    Other than a sore spot on the back of his head where it met the wall yesterday, DH felt well. His balance was even halfway decent. In fact, after spending yesterday limited to his Lazy Boy he was restless today. Nevertheless, after yesterday’s fall I wasn’t taking any chances. Whenever he got up I asked him what he was doing, and did he need me to get him something. I couldn’t help myself. I probably drove him crazy treating him like Humpty Dumpty.

    On days like this, I call Patty and Gavin Tweedle-Dum and Tweedle-Dee. They were silly and spent the day chasing each other about the house, wrestling over Nylabones, and getting under foot. I think they were happy that DH was feeling better.

Secondary Progressive MS kicks Dear Hubby’s ass

    Every day around here is another misadventure in wonderland. Today was worse than most days. Early this morning I awoke from a sound sleep, not sure why, couldn’t tell what woke me, but then I heard Dear Hubby call my name. When I got downstairs the first thing I saw was blood. It was running down the side of his head. I helped him to his chair. I ran to the kitchen, grabbed a clean towel from the drawer, and had him hold it in place. Then I grabbed a bunch of wet and dry paper towels to clean the blood off his head and hand and find out where it was coming from—fortunately, he had only three small cuts on his scalp. The fact that he had wet hair had made the blood run faster. I’m not squeamish, I don’t have the nurse gene, but I know first aid.

    I assessed his damage and made sure he was okay by asking him all the concussion questions. Then I asked him if he wanted me to run him to our doctor’s emergency center. He told me no, he didn’t need to go there. Once I him settled, and was certain he was doing fine, I poured myself a cup of coffee, sat down, and began to shake. Having had only about two hours of sleep my body rebelled at the shot of adrenaline his fall had given me.

    Right now, now that he’s safely in bed and asleep for the night, I’m angry, angry that there’s no real treatment out there for him. I’m angry that the research being done is spotty at best. I’m angry that although I do daily searches for any new drugs or clinical trials to help him nothing is out there except the same old same old.

    I love him dearly and it pains me to see him fall further and further down the rabbit hole. I’m not Alice, and even though I wish I could with all my heart, I can’t rescue him.

Gavin the master of illusion

    We had snow yesterday and again today. For a while today the snow fell in large flakes, fast and furious. Wouldn’t you know that during that time Gavin wanted to go out the most? Have you ever tried to follow the antics of a white dog in a snowstorm? It’s not that easy.

    One minute he was trotting along the fence line and the next instant he was behind me. I almost fell over him. He does this all the time. You can tell he thinks it is funny. Bull Terriers have a way of grinning at you and their eyes are always full of mischief. I don’t recommend this breed to the faint of heart for they are truly a handful. We often joke that one day they’ll be the death of us.

    I’m certain there are times that Patty envies Gavin his winter camouflage. Patty can only get away that sort of maneuver at night and never in the snow. Then again, she has nighttime stealth capabilities. This, along with her sharper temperament, is why she’s the one who sleeps in the crate with the unlatched door.