Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A Hammer, a Ladder and a Coupla Nails

I hadn’t even set my stuff down yet when I heard the mother from the next room: “We need to go help R,” she said. (R is the husband in the couple who live next door. They are a few years older than the mother. R has been battling cancer for quite some time. He’s a shadow of the robust guy he once was and now relies heavily on a cane.

I was almost afraid to ask why, but I needn’t have worried; the mother quickly answered the question without my asking. “The fascia on the front of the house is hanging off and he is having a fit,” she said. “I told him you could probably fix it.”

"I’m not sure why I was the candidate to repair it, but I agreed to change clothes and go look at it.

On Monday night, I’d borrowed an 8-foot stepladder from my neighbor since the mother has such a hard time using my 17-foot multi-extension Werner. Since the borrowed ladder was handy, I carted it over first. Its height was just enough to get me to one corner of the A-frame where one nail was in danger of popping free and where just a few feet above, the aluminum strip had been whipped out of place because the lefthand piece of the peak at the A was hanging free of the house, flapping in the breeze.

The 8-foot ladder would not reach the peak, so I had to fetch the Werner. Freeing the strip so that it could be tucked, then tapped, back into place. Including the time it took to get tools, hardware and to fetch and put away both ladders, the job took about 30 minutes.

It wasn’t tough. My neighbor was grateful. And I was relieved that it was something I actually could fix.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Establishing the SDS

What time is it? What day is it? Who am I?

These have all been key questions during the past few weeks that I have found myself trying to answer almost every night, sometimes more than once a night. That’s because, at least in part, what I am experiencing has to be akin to what every parent caring for a newborn experiences: intensive sleep deprivation.

The difference is my “newborn” has fur, four feet and a tail. And, at 14, he’s hardly a newborn. Other than that, the similarities are many:
· I am awakened, on average, 1-3 times each night by a “crying baby.”
· This is a baby who is either hungry, needs to pee or both. (For Ozzie, both are due to his meds.)
· Sometimes, these adventures are short-lived and the return to sleep is quick. Generally, this is not the case.
· Said baby gets to sleep all day … while I must trudge off to work.

And so it’s been the past few weeks. So much so that I haven’t had a decent night’s sleep in I can’t even remember. So, I figure I would just go ahead and establish the Sleep Deprivation Society (SDS) . I hereby call this meeting to order.

Other than this, and the fact that some tumors are growing while he appears to slowly be losing weight, (SO glad he has it to spare, at least for now.) Ozzie is doing quite well. He’s spry and engaged, eating like a horse. Still interested in playing and offers spastic greetings when you arrive home.

And this is just one part of my life right now. I’ll try to get caught up with everyone again soon. In the meantime, sleep tight.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Out the Window

By now, I had hoped that the three storm windows that are currently off the house (the kitchen and the two in my bedroom) would have been safely replaced and that Lawrence and I would be fairly close to having the remaining three windows removed.

But, that was not to be. Mother Nature decided to thunder through, leaving rain in her wake. I knew that rain was in the forecast but had hoped it would stave off until noonish, giving me enough time to take on the windows. So, I postponed with Lawrence.

The good news is that nothing seems to be severe ... yet. That's in the forecast for later. Even so, Mother Nature can do her d*mndest but it won't keep me from trekking over to the church where, once again, they're serving up TACOS!!! Mmmm...

Things are looking up already.

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Silent Treatment

I have fallen silent for a week. Trust me when I say that eventually you’ll be glad that I did.

And what a week it’s been. Today, I feel like I should be wearing a shirt that says: “I busted my *ss for two decades and all I got was this lousy T-shirt.”

But more on that at a later date. Meanwhile, here are some other updates.
After more than a week’s absence, Pearl returned home once again last week. She is now safely jammed beneath the carport, carefully tucked between the mother’s myriad outdoor painting projects. (You may recall she was in the body shop getting the hail damage from April’s Easter week storms repaired.)

Thankfully, It would appear that the body shop does an infinitely better job with body work than they do in communicating with their customers. Whatever they did to the hood to remove a single dent, they managed to touch up a few other trouble spots making it look better than ever.

And, it’s now odd to see her trunk lid PRISTINE again. I was kind of getting used to seeing all of the assorted dings and dents, some of which were only revealed when the sun hit them a certain way. Now let’s just hope that Mother Nature is done hurling ice the size of golf balls and beyond for a while.
Ozzie continues to hold his own. The medication though has made him ravenous. He’s ready for his next meal within 10 seconds of completing one. And, it has increased his water intake and output. This means that I am awakened at least once or twice a night. I don’t mind though. It’s better than the every 30-40 minutes when he first started the meds and, at least for right now, he seems comfortable and contented.

We’ll be going to the vet again soon so we’ll see what the diagnostics have to say.
Outdoor projects are progressing at a snail’s pace. It’s frustrating, but they keep moving. Currently, I’m still doing battle with the windows. We have been taking off the storm windows and scraping, painting, caulking/repairing the house windows. A long, tedious process. So far, two of the eight are done with the storm windows back in place. I have three more painted and repaired. They just need a good razor-scraping and cleaning and then those storm windows can go back up.

Then, just three more to go …

Monday, August 8, 2011

Home-grown Terrorists

Terrorist: A person who uses terrorism in the pursuit of political aims.

Terrorism: The use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes.

I don’t know if Vice President Joe Biden called the Teaheads terrorists or not. I guess that all depends on who you choose to believe. It’s immaterial to me. Because if he did, I think he’s right. (That was the theme of this op-ed in the New York Times that I think hit the nail directly on the head!) Sorry folks. Whether Joe Biden called ‘em terrorists are not, I will.

What else can you call being willing to take a nation to the brink of financial ruin if, like a pouty 3-year-old, you don’t get your way and you don’t get your way NOW? Happy about the credit downgrade and continued Dow plunge? The continued shake-up in the volatile world markets?

Pleased with yourselves that EVERYONE could end up paying more for credit cards/mortgages/car loans thanks to your shenanigans?! This could be just the beginning of yet another downward spiral. THANKS SO MUCH!

History has shown us myriad examples of how you cannot negotiate with terrorists. Hmmm. And which group absolutely, positively, wanted to put none of their demands aside? (Clue: It wasn’t the Democrats.)

Sorry, but these people are irresponsible, arrogant hypocrites. One need only see two examples of their fine hypocrisy to get the gist. You couldn’t make this stuff up – and, as it turns out, you don’t have to.

Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann doesn’t like government and thinks people need to “get off the government teat.” Why the hell doesn’t she become the first example? After all, this former IRS lawyer has never worked anywhere else – and continues to draw a six-figure income, courtesy of you and me. She doesn’t like the stimulus program (but had no problem asking for money for her district), and she, personally, has been the beneficiary of multiple government programs. For instance, A family farm in Wisconsin, in which Bachmann is a partner, received nearly $260,000 in federal farm subsidies. And, before voting to dismantle Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, she made sure first to get a $417,000 home loan.

Apparently, the government can only dole out funds to a select few. I guess as long as Bachmann is included on that short list, she’s OK with it.

Yeah, I want this one as my president. Not.

Then there’s the piece of work that is Illinois Rep. Joe Walsh (not to be confused with the former Eagle and James Gang member). Walsh is quick to tell you that he won’t place another dollar of burden on the backs of his children and grandchildren. Perhaps he ought to take some of the burden that’s already on those kids’ backs and pay some child support! Turns out our Mr. Family Values 2011 is in arrears on those payments by more than $100,000.

Normally, I wouldn’t use the latter point against him. How I feel about someone as a person and as a legislator aren’t always synonymous. (Though in this case, they are.) But … he’s the one who brought his children into the conversation. If he’s that worried about his kids, maybe he should be the first in line to help their futures along. So, he should practice a bit of what he preaches or shut the hell up already.

I guess it does offer some insight into his debt ceiling views. Clearly, the congressman has no issue with walking away from debt. And either he doesn’t understand – or doesn’t care – about the consequences of ignoring financial obligations. In either case, not someone I’m proud to have representing my state.

Now that the infantile antics have been temporarily subdued, maybe we can focus on something really important and that plays a major role in reducing the deficit: JOBS.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Quality Time

Ozzie slept through the night. Nearly six hours of almost uninterrupted sleep. It was a thing of beauty.

Lawrence was supposed to come back today but due to the weather, I wasn’t able to finish the windows. (We’re taking down the storm windows and cleaning, caulking and painting the windows. Two of the eight – except for caulking and painting the OUTSIDE now that the storm windows are back in place – are done. Lawrence took three more down when he was here on Wednesday.)

I canceled with Lawrence since I’d not yet started with the next round of windows nor done anything in the bathroom. And, because we had nasty, airless weather again, dotted with occasional showers.

Technically, I could have worked on the bathroom. I didn’t. Instead, I took care of Ozzie and logged some general quality time. He still has occasional choking fits but they are shorter and there aren’t as many. This morning was kind of bad but it was only intermittent throughout the rest of the day.

He continues to eat well. In fact, the medication has taken his already voracious appetite and made him completely obsessed about when he eats next! It can get annoying , but I’m just grateful that he still can eat.

Assuming that it doesn’t rain all day tomorrow (it was raining when I got up this morning), I may spend a few hours working on the windows. I’m not going to kill myself doing it though.

It’s been a long, stressful few weeks and I worked plenty hard while I was home last week, so a little R&R may be just the ticket!

Learning About Lymphoma

During the past few days, I’ve learned a lot about the lymphatic system. Knowing that poor Ozzie’s is under siege, I’ve set out to see what I can do to ease his plight.

Apparently, the vets have already given up on him – or someone would have bothered to tell me that his homecooked food, which has always been healthy – suddenly has some serious problems for a dog with cancer. It’s not like they don’t know what he eats; they ask each and every time I take him in!

On my onw, I have learned that dairy products (like the cottage cheese he eats) are bad. Luckily, because he has been severely congesteed this week, I had already started backing him off of the cottage cheese. Then I learned that “sweet fruits,” with bananas and pineapple being the primary culprits, “fuel swollen lymph glands.” Oh, great.

I found out that beets are a better alternative as are the “leafy greens.” Watermelon is good, and grapefruit is, too. All of these have been added to Ozzie’s diet. I found out that supplements like fish oil, echinachea and zinc are good, too.
They may have given up. Fine. Let them.

But we haven’t.

Monday, August 1, 2011

All That AND Tacos!

It’s been a rough couple of weeks. The heat. Busy at work, busy at home. Ozzie’s diagnosis.

The end of last week began a stint of little to no sleep. Ozzie’s condition and shifting medications have made him restless and/or frequently needing to pee. That means getting up in the night. Many times.

Wednesday, Thursday and then Friday nights – collectively, I got maybe seven or eight hours sleep. Friday was the worst of these. I went to bed at 12:30. My first “wake-up” from Ozzie was less than 45 minutes later. And it went on every 30-45 minutes after until I finally gave up and got out of bed at 4 a.m. I’d gotten all of 90 minutes sleep, if that.

So when Lawrence arrived Saturday morning, I wasn’t necessarily ready for the normal rote. (We’ve been blessed to have Lawrence return after a loooooong hiatus.) But Lawrence, being Lawrence, managed to fix that quickly.

He managed to knock out one job after another in very short order. One trip to the hardware store and less than four hours later: the kitchen sink had stopped leaking; the hose was once again In working order thanks to a new exterior faucet and the shut-off downstairs was tightened and stopped leaking; the shower had a new porcelain handle (courtesy of the commode) and the commode had a new porcelain handle (courtesy of a new handle kit I had picked up, thinking it might work for the shower). But the biggest plus for the day was the additon of a phone jack.
We’ve lived in this house for 25 years. Before Saturday, it had a total of five phone jacks between upstairs and down. None of them were in my bedroom. I can’t say that now!

So, Saturday was a good day. And I needed a good day so I let it play out. To recap: the return of Lawrence, several small jobs complete in just a few hours, and a phone jack in my room. But then, things got a little bit better.

I was starving. Eating had been a rarity, nearly as much as sleep. I had noticed that the Catholic church by my house was selling tacos. I didn’t get too excited but I was determined to check it out. (The mother and I are taco “snobs” as we don’t do cornmeal.) Much to my delight, they offered fried flour tortillas!!! And they were GOOD.