I’m Rather Convinced it’s Spring

Considering how the temperature high is going to be a steady 50-60 degrees for the next 2 weeks with rain and sunshine, I feel like it’s safe to say the groundhog was wrong and spring has arrived. The birds are singing, the trees are budding and my bulbs are growing. Came home to insulation all over the front porch where squirrels are busy forming nests inside our neighbor’s attic. While it’s not unheard of to get snow in March, February looks done for in terms of winter. Dashed are my hopes of one good snow this year. That’s year 2 that there hasn’t been anything to write home about. Figures that 2 years ago we had so much snow I decided to get all geared up in the event we have another one. Hah. Snow blowers everywhere collecting dust in my region. I won’t complain too much because this is exactly what I wanted since I have off next week in order to accomplish anything at the house. Speaking of which, I may decide to have a pallet of mulch delivered to the house so I can get a head start on that. I do need to sell after all and I can only do that in the spring time. The earlier I can accomplish that, the better, and it seems mother nature has made that possible. It’s go time next week to do marathon fence staining!  …I think I’m going to have to ask for many more days off of work this year to deal with the house selling.

So many things to accomplish…Things cost too much and yet I keep buying crap at every turn. I need to pay for materials to fix up the house. My car desperately needs maintenance, but I’m trying HARD to wait until March so I can get it all done at once and wait for the credit card statements to close and have yet another month to pay it. I very strongly want to book the beach vacation, but I need to be able to pay the down payment for that which is half of the price and holy moly that’s expensive. Gable’s checkup is due in August, so Monday’s visit wasn’t too terribly expensive. At least my miniscule tax return is something to look forward to. Hmm…I think I’m going to try and do that on Saturday before I leave for South.

On top of it all my doughnut belly is driving me batty. It’s really very big.

You know what’s interesting? Gable and Liana’s duties as dogs in my pack. I’ve begun to notice again their mannerisms when we’re on a pack walk. Gable’s job is lookout. Both of their jobs (and I think I’m supposed to do this too…) are lookout when others are busy being vulnerable (ie pooping and peeing), but Gable is the primary on that because Liana is always sniffing something. He’s the low dog in the pack and she’s higher than him. I’m supposed to be the highest, so technically if there’s a threat, I command them and protect them because I’m supposed to be the most powerful. I really hope I come across like that. Anyways, Gable is extremely active with his lookout duties and I’ve never ever been afraid with him. All I have to do is watch his movements to know where people are and how far away they are. For instance, the other night he was staring…STARING…at a man standing in front of his house smoking as I was waiting for Liana to choose a place to mark, and I hadn’t noticed his presence. Then last night I noticed that as I was navigating the mailbox, I turned around Gable had situated himself  with his back to us, facing the sidewalk and path to the extremely dark area between and behind our houses, ears up and on high alert. Liana does it too when Gable is otherwise preoccupied, but she seems to be more alert to other dogs and distracted by small animals. She takes great responsibility in alerting and protecting us from other dogs, though, no matter their distance. Gable doesn’t care as much about dogs unless they are very close. At home, Gable has no protective duties unless it deals with the front door (whereupon he stands there looking big), but Liana is very active defending the home from passer-by dogs and squirrels. She gets loudly upset and barks like a mad dog, hackles up and all. Typically, though, if a stranger knocks on the door, everyone just lays there until someone decides they want to get up. LOL.

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Back to Work

January 2nd. I’m going back to work… it’s not really fair, though, because originally we weren’t supposed to work, which is why most of us aren’t even here. On my part, I would’ve been here anyways, but it would have worked out better for me to have the day off because I’m sick. The good news is that I started feeling a bit better yesterday and same with today. No matter, though, because working is going to be a huge pain. My voice is messed up and any little thing will make me cough. This is definitely allergies with a slight overtone of a cold. I half think the live Christmas tree has something to do with it all.

For some reason Liana is not eating again. They go in these spurts where they’re like this…Gable is predictable, though, and he’s been doing well. I give up. If she eats, she eats. If she doesn’t I guess maybe she’ll get it next time? Perhaps she’s upset we left my house.

Speaking of my house, the market is going down again and I’m stuck because I’m not done and ready to sell right yet. The fence is not done and neither is my backyard landscaping that all the naysayers said wouldn’t work. Minor things that still need to be done, but need to be done nonetheless. I’m not going to make anything off this house if I wait too long…

 

Memories

3 years ago, today, Gable got into a fight at Wylie Wagg with Prince, the non-racing greyhound. The racers and non-racers are built differently from each other; where the greyhounds (athletes) are slim, smaller and fast, the non-racers are much more like what you know of a dog: squarer head, bigger snout, big paws, no butt muscle, big barrel chest. Overall they’re much more substantial. Nope. My boy did not win and he now has a scar on his snout as a momento of the fight, but it was a good, however surprising memory. I never in a million years ever thought he would’ve gotten into a fight. My dogs and Prince made up after the fact, as dogs do. They don’t keep grudges like humans. Prince was banned from the store altogether so we all went to sit outside and had a good time talking and hanging out. In the end I held the 3 of them together while Prince’s owner went to bring the water bowl back inside and he definitely had anxiety problems, but nothing that couldn’t be remedied. He’s a big boy!

 

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You can see he has a much wider stance, bigger paws, fatter snout, more substantial head. All around bigger than Gable.

 

People could learn from dogs, you know? Fight, yes, fight it out, but in the end we can still coexist. They really do live in the now. Not the past, not the future. Then you had my girl Liana trying to calm the situation the whole time, even though we jokingly speculate that she was the cause of the fight. I don’t think so. Apparently the store’s staff saw one dog try to warn the other and then BOOM. Attack. GOOD GOSH it’s scary to see two large dogs fight. They’re SO TALL when they get up on their hind legs.

Memories, man.

I am fat

And it’s driving me crazy. It’s not even sitting in one place, fat. It’s like, I’m going to spread myself evenly around like padding, fat, so that when I try to bend or stretch, it impedes my movement. But the worst part, is that I must be well into Storage Mode, because I’m eating twice the amount of food necessary. Something about storing up for winter, methinks. I’ve been trying to cut my portions and rid the house of snacks, but I keep defying the portion control rules and then eating cookies, telling myself that I need to get rid of the bad stuff before I start getting back into shape again, otherwise it won’t work. In part, I’ve not done nearly as much yardwork as I usually do given the weather, the inability/lack of desire for going south, is a major hurdle too. Not to mention that since my dogs are older and have health issues, I’ve been averse to long park walks with them, with the fear of being unable to carry them back to the car in case something happens. Lots of excuses, not much action. Always excuses.

In other news, I’ve been hard at work this past weekend doing pretty much nothing but sewing for 3 days straight. That’s right. Sewing. Actually sewing with a sewing machine. Frustratingly, I’ve not made much progress…but I’ve learned quite a bit and have a very newfound respect for seamstresses and sewing as an art. Extremely useful skill, but more complicated than it looks. There are lots of problem solving, planning ahead, details, remembering, patience, etc involved with all of this. What’s taking me so long is that since I have zero experience sewing, I decided to do a mock-up/practice round first before jumping into the final material in case I mess up. Basically, I’m doing it twice (or sometimes thrice) over. In this, like many other skills in life, practice makes perfect. The more I do it, the more I learn little tricks and what to and not to do. You have to make mistakes to learn. The stitches look awful in some places, learning how to push and pull the material, what is too much, what is too little, how to patiently press on the pedal instead of flooring it and having the thread fly everywhere. I constantly forget to back-sew which means that eventually my stuff will fall apart. How the cuts need to be spot on or it just looks bad and lopsided. Honestly, I’m terrified of doing the real deal now. Haha. But I know I’ll have to and I feel better now that I’m doing some practice runs. Extra helpful in this case because I’m free-handing everything from scratch. No patterns involved except for those I created myself specifically for these projects.

With all the pieces for Liana’s costume coming together, I’m getting excited for the real deal! She is a terrible, terrible, model, though. I thought Gable was bad. Also, she’s old and much more grumpy than she used to be when she was younger. It’s nice, when you’re doing costumes like this, to get input on the design from other people. My mom is appreciating quite a bit that I am suddenly interested in doing stuff like this and I can feel the creativity rising in her too. It’s been far too long since I’ve seen that in her. I have to ask her about how to do things because at this point she is the master and I am merely a novice. I have never, ever had the patience to do anything like this, even though she tried to teach us. Haha…I still don’t have the adequate patience to be a real sewing master (don’t know if I ever will), but I have enough to accomplish the project as a whole.

And then. what would the limit be?? Costumes for me??? Heck, I’ve not even gotten anywhere with my Samus costume. Mostly because I am dissatisfied with the parts that have been accomplished already. I want to redo them, just like I re-did the cardboard samurai helmet. I don’t know how people can work with cardboard. Yes, it’s easy to work with, and more supple than foam which means more intricacies can be accomplished with it, but the finished project is much more fragile and doesn’t look nearly as good. Case in point, I took a picture of both dogs wearing the old and new samurai helmets and they hated them, of course, so they both tried to get them off by rubbing them on furniture and walls. Liana managed to rip the cardboard one altogether, while the foam one is still intact. For the moment. Silly pups.

Major hitch in all of this is the lack of moolas. Major roadblock, without the greens, you know? Coupons, yes, but it still costs money! And time looking for that perfect design or material in hopes that you don’t mess up.

I’m really proud of myself, overall, though. Another to scratch off the bucket list. Let’s hope the end product turns out as well as I imagine it will be.

When is DST ending?

It feels like it should be soon because these days I’m so sleepy when I wake up. My body and mind are up and down with the sun, like I was made to live on a farm. If the sun is rising, I’m up and awake. If the sun is down or dark, I’m sleepy and ready to dream. Makes for a dangerous drive at night. I can night drive if I’m somewhere in town with lots of lights, but if I hit any stretch of darkness, the eyes just start closing on their own.

According to some research, DST ends November 5th this year. Ugh. Another month. I got confused at first because the internet pulled up Australia and not the US and they were saying their DST starts in November and ends in April. I’m like, wait, what? I thought it was the other way around?

Liana is a tough case…she is clearly in distress when she gets her muscle spasms, but other than the spasm, the seemingly pins and needles, the agitation whatever it is causes her (she’s been chewing and tearing things up), she’s perfectly fine. She walks fine; she’s a little stiff in the mornings but contrary to her neck slipped disc last time, the discomfort seems to get better the more she moves as opposed to worse. She doesn’t like to stand for too long, but she runs and sprints around the house no problem. She moves up and down stairs like she always has. She’s been playing with Gable. Her neck is not the issue here. No pain screams, but discomfort in the hack half of the her body. I’m completely confused and it throws my initial thought of it being a nerve thing into disarray because it’s not always acting like one. At this point I’m not sure if it’s spine or something internal. Her appetite is normal…actually, better than it used to be. She wants to EAT. Possibly that is more concerning than her physical symptoms. Like I said, I don’t know if it’s spine, internal, or both. Sometimes I swear it’s neuropathy, and others I think it’s her organs or muscles.

As much financial struggling as I have going on right now, I can’t get around that need to get her to the vet…needed to have gone on Monday. I think I’ll call them when I get home tonight and schedule for Monday. …I don’t want bad news, but I don’t want to make something treatable worse. I guess I’ll just be in debt and watch my credit keep drowning.

I don’t know how I’m going to finish doing the yardwork at the other house. It just occurred to me that I have never been there without a dog with me. Honestly, I wouldn’t ever want to. What a hollow feeling that would be.

This is when one makes the argument against having pets. If I didn’t have them, I I’d be that much richer. If I didn’t have them, I’d be traveling. If I didn’t have them, the house would be so much bigger. Then again, if I didn’t have them, I’d have not bought my car, my house, went on all those trails, had all those laughs, learned to love, learned to care, learned patience, learned what really matters in life. My heart would still be stone. Also I probably would have had an aneurysm by now or a stroke.

I feel a poem coming on. Haha.

 

Liana Update

It almost seems worse today, especially this morning. I remember why I didn’t want to finish the Gabapentin like the vet strongly recommended I do with her neck: it makes her eyes crazy and instead of sleeping (it’s supposed to be a sedative) she wanders around all night/day instead, unable to relax, pacing. When I stopped giving it to her (didn’t make sense because of how it’s supposed to work) she seemed to relax better.

I dreamed about her pain. I got up in the middle of the night because I heard a dog walking around and went to find her. I think she was in pain? It’s weird because half of the time she seems extremely healthy, and even seemingly TOO energetic (sprinting around, galloping, running up and down stairs, stretching, excited for walks, being VERY strong on the walks, very strong appetite), while the other half sees her sensitive when I touch the part of her back, tired, nervous, seemingly scared, uninterested in people moving around, easily tired on walks. She didn’t budge when my sister left yesterday, just lay there sleeping, but when it was food time she was strangely overstimulated and once again finished every last bite.

This morning on the walk she was unsteady (I had to catch and support her because her back leg wasn’t having it), tried hard to keep up with us, but at the same time had the enthusiasm of 10 dogs, kicking and galloping and just working around the bum leg. I had to ask her to slow down and she was adamant about smelling things. Such a strong dog when she wants to be. I was sad the entire walk, thinking about losing my girl (again), but obviously her will to live is still strong for the moment, and until she’s ready, I won’t do anything. As much as I have the prior experience to pull on, this one seems different…more confusing. While initially she was having issues putting weight on it and making the leg work, it almost seemed that the more we walked, the better it got. The medicine doesn’t seem to be working the same way either.

I’ve been toying with making a vet appointment tomorrow but I know how much it will cost because they’ll want another xray and my credit card debt has only grown, not shrunk. I’m struggling. Plus…if they tell me again that I need to get an MRI, I’ll just have to say that I literally can not afford the MRI not to mention any surgery they recommend. As my patient and I discussed, while it’s true they are like family, she’s still a dog, a pet. In  that way, I don’t want to know the truth because what am I to do about it, besides grieve? Then again, waiting until she’s in severe pain seems irresponsible.

I cut the walk short for her and decided to take Gable out by himself so that he could get the amount of exercise necessary for him and to not exacerbate her condition. Apparently that was a mistake. Not only was Gable not all that excited about going walking on his own (never say no, though), he seemed to want to go back home, like he sensed something (going faster and leading me directly home). When we walked in the door Liana was there with a terrified and relieved look on her face, breathing very very hard like she had been panicking and scared the whole time. Great decision making, mom.

Now they’re both lying in my room (after a slight quarrel because Gable likes to sprawl and not share his bed) both adorable. She’s breathing heavily, but I’m glad to have her in here with me.

Liana Pain Again

My heart dies a little more whenever something like this happens. I came home yesterday and she was acting strangely: super excited even after the walk (a little bit longer than usual but not too far, and she was very tired), kept coming up to me and trying to be really close, doing a weird thing where she was “scratching” her belly with her back leg while standing up. I went to see if maybe there was a tick or something she stepped on, but nothing. She was nervous and tried to rip a box, then when I was eating strudels, she wanted to eat it and came to lick the container when I was done with it and still holding it. She never does that. We left to get some tomatoes, then when I came home I thought they were really hungry because she acted that way, so I fed them early as I was preparing our food. She literally ran in and pranced and jumped, so excited for her food and ate it in record time, finishing every bite. Then she went out to lay down again and my brother tells me she does something weird when you touch her back. This morning I notice she’s walking extremely slowly outside, but trying hard to keep up when I look at her, just like it was before the unbearable pain last time. When I run my hand along her back, she kicks her leg when I get to a certain point (this time the lumbar region) like it hurts. She’s a toughie, too, so this time I’m going to listen…it’s good I decided to keep some medication around despite what the vet told me last time.

We were supposed to go south to take advantage of the weather and my mom’s rare Saturday off, but after much deliberation, we decided not to. I mean, if this is truly the last time she’d be able to make it back down there like she loves, will I regret the decision? She can still walk and jog and stuff, she just hasn’t started screaming in pain yet. However, why make it worse? I know when she goes down there, she’s going to want to run which will exacerbate it. I know what’s happening now, let’s nip it in the bud.

That ball of fear in my stomach. That sinking feeling. I felt a strong grief and sadness last night as my mind decided, unbidden, to revisit my past sorrows. I did ask them to wait until after our beach trip to get sick and do whatever. They’d kept their end of the bargain. Her birthday is less than a month away.

Gable is worried, but is now upset that we’re not going anywhere and he’s stuck again in the house.