Thursday, April 13, 2006

A woman scorned

Okay, so I am in a huff. Ruby had a vet appointment this morning. Ruby has a weight problem. No matter how little we feed her, she doesn't lose any pounds. In fact, even though she is eating less than half what is recommended for her DESIRED weight, she has gained four pounds since her last checkup. She is now 24 pounds, about 6 pounds heaver than the top of the range for her breed. She eats a measured amount of dry kibble only, and gets a counted number of low fat low cal treats for going outside. We exercise her for 30 minutes each day (hard running up and down stairs to fetch a toy, she thinks we are playing and nearly passes out after but loves it) plus add short walks when we can. Basically, the vet I am sure thinks I am lying and that we do nothing but force food down her throat every chance we get. She does not get "people food" normally. I am very strict about that (ask the KT'ers that came to my house). She might get one or two pieces of popcorn per month (when I miss my mouth), the odd cheerio or grain of rice or noodle dropped by dd. But that is all. No extra biscuits, no toast crusts, nothin'. And still she is a hunk of butter. It doesn't help that we have a cat named Jasmine that is also a bowling ball for no good reason. She as well eats only a measured amount of prescription cat food, and wouldn't eat people food normally if we did give it to her. She snubs cat treats of all kinds, although she will accept a shred of chicken or a bit of canned tuna now and again. Less than an ounce every six months, I would guess. Jasmine won't lose weight either (18 pounds). Xena lives in the same house, eats the same food, and is a trim 7 pounds. In fact, Jasmine and Xena eat the same amount from their own dish. There is no "food sharing" going on either, they eat from their own dishes. I did a LOT of research, and developed a recipe for my own home cooked food. Part of this visit was to discuss this new diet and have him review it. I figure, it gives her more bulk for fewer calories and doesn't rely on corn fillers and preservatives so it HAS to be better for her. Many pug owners believe that it is the grain fillers in commercial dog food that cause them to overeat, smell funny, get itchy skin, and have gunky ears. Diet food is typically low in fat, but pugs may need their fat in order to keep their skin and eyes healthy. Commercial kibble is high in carbs, and is very calorie dense for the volume of food. She wants to eat more, but then she gets more calories than she needs. Sure, we can get diet food that provides more bulk because they have added fiber (but in what form? I mean come on, I can feed her burlap if I wanted her to have more bulk but it isn't going to be very satisfying to eat is it?). But I think she will just poop more and we will still be in the same rapidly sinking boat. Plus I can guarantee the lower fat formula will cause her skin problems. He wouldn't even LOOK at the diet plan. He just said that only dogs that eat commercial dog food lead happy and balanced lives, and that was all. No discussion, no nothing. "If you want to change to a diet food, we can do that". When I suggested that a low fat diet might not be best for pugs, he said that it is "stupid to think that different dogs need different treatment. A dog is a dog is a dog". PARDON ME? That is just so not right. If a dog was a dog was a dog, then why are certain diseases or problems only seen in certain breeds? Some breeds have problems with hips, so we feed them a hip diet with added calcium and glucosamine in it. Some breeds are more prone to allergies so they are fed special hypoallergenic diets of lamb and rice. Other breeds have been known to have sensitive stomachs so there are special diets for that. Selective breeding is what allowed all those different kinds of dogs, how can it be foreign to think that along with the genes for curly hair or short noses, there isn't other coding for how dogs digest or use food? Basically, I lost faith in our vet today. When we first starting going there, while I didn't agree with everything he said and found he tried to oversell things (even when I agreed to something he still would go on for 20 minutes about why it is a good thing to do. Yeah, I get it. Fine. Do it. Shut up, lol). He did a remarkable surgery on Jasmine's ear and as far as those ear surgeries go he did a beautiful job. Then we got Ruby. At first he seemed to like her and would act like a crazy dog lover when we came in. But gradually, the shine wore off. He started making comments like pugs were an abhoration of nature. Or that short nosed dogs were defective and I should feel ashamed for having one, thus perpetuating the need to breed more. He started harping on her weight, saying she couldn't breath because she was panting. Ruby pants when she is happy or excited. She doesn't always walk around sounding like she is sucking air! Cut back the food cut back the food cut back the food - she isn't really hungry she is just being piggy. It reached the point where I would give her the half cup of food, and go cry for an hour because I knew she was starving. For heaven's sake, she was getting into the garbage. Constantly scavenging for food. EATING DIRT. Then, one day I dropped a piece of ham while making dinner. When I reached down to pick it up, she snarled and almost bit me! She was immediately ashamed and drooped all over (and no, she did not get the ham). I started thinking about it. More than once she had snapped at DD trying to get food from her or off her lap. At the time I figured it was a dominance issue and started having DD practice giving her commands like sit and stay (to show Ruby that DD was higher in the pecking order). But for her to snap at ME? Food agression. So the next morning, after giving her that paltry half cup, I waited for her to start to eat. And I put my hand on her back - nothing. Put my hand on her head - nothing. Put my hand in her bowl - other than changing spots to get a better reach at the bowl - nothing. I got a piece of ham out of the fridge and put it on the floor. When she came to investigate it, I reached down and touched it - nothing, she just sniffed around my finger. I let her pick it up, then took it out of her mouth - nothing. Later in the afternoon, I tried again. She was more excited about the ham than before, but didn't try to bite or snap it back after I took it. After dinner I tried again. She bit me, and I mean bit me one good. Don't tell me that dog isn't fricken hungry! I tried dividing that half cup so she had two "meals" for a few days, then tried the ham trick again. Guess who got bit first thing in the morning? She isn't getting enough food. And to make sure she just wan't acting out because I was basically teasing her with ham, I upped the food back to half cup at once, and tried it again. No bite. Extra weight or not, what she eats is not what she needs apparently. I tried to explain this, he just said we should bring her for obedience training. He is not seeing my bigger picture here, folks. And when Dances thinks that people are not seeing her bigger picture, she is not a happy camper. So today's visit was a bust. He wouldn't look at the diet, and I had to POINT OUT the pigmentary keratitis (sp, that laziness again) starting in her left eye. How could he have missed it? What am I paying for exactly, in that "exam" fee? Immediately he said it would be expensive surgery (to correct the rolling inward of her lower eyelid in the corner) and suggested he might cut off her nose roll at the same time. NO FREAKEN WAY. Her nose roll isn't touching anything, and nobody is cutting it off. Want to make me huffy? Suggest hacking up the face of one of my loved ones with painful surgery for no reason. The only good part of the visit was she got her shots, but really, for the price he charges I could have gone elsewhere. And I do believe I shall! I wonder of the emergency vet has a private practice and is taking patients? At least he didn't call her an abhorration of nature and actually seemed to care how she was feeling. And I am still going to change to the home cooked diet. In my heart I feel it is the right thing to do for Ruby so I am going to do it. I will add a vitamin/mineral supplement from the pet store though, just in case. And look into some chewy toys for her teeth. As for her eyes, I will let my fingers do the walking and find a second opinion. Who could hack up that face?????

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Shredded out

Bleah. I feel all dusty and itchy. Spent my morning shredding paper. Of course, I should have been working since I have DEADLINES today, but that is beside the point. I couldn't work in a big pile of old bills and papers, could I? Worked up a sweat, I did. And what do I have to show for it? Cotton lung, hives, seven bags of shreds that I don't even know what I will do with, and a DEADLINE that looms. What does one do with shredded paper exactly? I want to recycle it. Certainly can't recycle it in the plastic shopping bags it is in. Too much to fit in our tiny blue box, and anyway it doesn't have a cover so the shreds would just blow all over the street. Although, that would technically mean I was rid of them.....nah. My original idea was to compost the shreds. But really, who knows what kinds of inks and treatments and chemicals are in that paper. Bills, advertisement, old receipts. Plus, it is a HECK of a lot of paper LOL. Two years of bills and things (cleaned the file drawer). The empty envelopes and inserts have been set aside to recycle on their own, but the "good stuf" got fed to "George" - which is what I named my shredder. He eats, he gets a name. That is the deal ;). Can I put it in the garbage? Will they take shredded paper? Should I drive it directly to the dump? Who knew that a bit of administrative cleaning would lead to such conundrums? Ruby felt left out of the fun so decided my lap was the best place to see ALL the action. Every time I fed a bill into George, she would watch that disappearing swatch of paper out of the corner of her eye and pretend not to be concerned. Her heart rate would go up just a little with each "rrrrmmmmmmch!". I told her she was going to have a heart attack by the time I finished the stack. I still have one small pile left to go, but ran out of bags to stuff the shreds in and I am too lazy to go upstairs and get some more. I will go through two years worth of dusty bank statements, but won't go get a shopping bag from the corner cupboard, what does that say about me? One particularly difficult document finally went down but not before a lot of crackling and scrunching and complaining. That was when Ruby decided the lap was NOT the best place and it was much safer on the couch, curled up on my poncho. Smart dog. I would rather be taking a nap too. I have been on a cleaning binge. I know. It sickens me too. It's just not right. But here it is, so I am dealing with it. Given a "Bissel Flip it" to try out. This thing is for hard floors. It dry vacuums in one direction, and wet cleans in the other. On the forward stroke it wets the floor, on the back it squeegies and sucks up the dirty water. It is heavier than I would have liked. And doesn't really balance well so I felt that I had to fight to hold it upright while using it. The dry vacuum side was fine. Better than a stick vac, not as good as a full fledged vacuum and you can only use it on hard floors (no carpeting). While I was using it, I wasn't too altogether impressed with the wet side. Sure, it got up simple drip marks and foot prints. But it amounted to a wet washcloth stuck on the bottom of a squeegie. Not for heavy duty scrubbing to be sure. But once I was done and it was completely dry, WHAT A DIFFERENCE. So it was doing more than I thought. Fine for light everyday type cleaning and touch ups, but won't keep you from scrubbing that floor forever. It came with a brush (not impressed it is too hard for my floor I think) and two scrubbing pads (machine washable), which are interchangeable and quite easy to change back and forth. Another note, I guess I assumed that somehow the brush or the pad MOVED while the machine was in operation. Nope. It just sits on the bottom as you drag it back and forth. I would be lying if I said that didn't disappoint me. But seeing as the finished floor was acceptable, I guess I am slightly over it. Now, if only it didn't drip dirty water everywhere after it was off. I used the sample solution that came with it. I would like to try hot water alone, and maybe water with a touch of vinegar. Even when I hand scrub the floor, I don't use cleaners. Just the hottest water I can stand, and maybe a touch of vinegar for shine. Scrub scrub scrub, wipe wipe wipe (I don't like to leave water sitting on the floor so it gets washed then immediately dried, a few square feet at a time). But the solution didn't smell bad, and didn't leave the floor filmy and sticky like the wet swiffer does. So overall, my rating is that it is not as good as a "good once over with a regular vacuum and crevice tool, then hand scrubbing" but much better than "stick vac, dry swiffer, then wet swiffer". Once the last bit of papers have been shredded (and some old magazines have been bagged and moved to the car to donate to a local charity) I will take the regular vacuum and give this area a good going over with the crevice tool. Cobwebs, dust, tumbleweeds (cat hair and dog hair mixed with bird feathers make the most interesting tumbleweeds, especially when they are caught in a draft and come through the spindles to float gently into my coffee cup). Then each room with get a good dusting and vacuuming. Then the day after that, I will change the furnace filter. Out with the old dust! And in with the new dust! Tee hee!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Sneaky buggers

Last night after taking DD to Sparks, DH and I went and bought her a new bike. She knew we have been looking at bicycles, but she thinks it's for when she finishes school this summer. She has no idea that it is an Easter/Spring present. It's a cutie, too. It's called "Cream Soda" but it's purple, and is sort of swoopy kind of like an old fashioned bike. It has fenders, and we bought streamers to go on the handles. The handlebar is bent, rather than the straight sport bike style which I like. I think it would be more comfortable to ride. Isn't it purty? My parents bought me an expensive mountain bike when I graduated from high school. Why? I will never know LOL. By the way they were acting, it was almost like they thought I asked for one or something. But that is neither here nor there. It had like a zillion gears (I never could figure out which gear made it so I could PEDAL the darn thing), and wide tires. I think I could have ridden down kilamajaro on that bike. And yet, it was so heavy and hard to maneuver that I couldn't even ride it around the block. It had the straight handle bars, and even just sitting on it my shoulders would ache and tire almost instantly. The pedals seemed to be off center, toward the back of the bike which made it awkward to get the momentum going. I was not kidding when I say it was impossible for me to pedal. Any trips would have to be one-way downhill type deals. Never rode it even once. Not even down the driveway. When we moved I assumed it had been abandoned with the rest of the family bikes (to be donated to a local charity). But after I moved out on my own my dad proudly presented me with it again. He had cleaned it, had the tires changed and the brakes redone. Gee. Thanks. It has been sitting in my shed since then, about ten years now. I discovered in Florida last year, that while I can pedal a regular bike, once I sit on that seat and start going, some nerve is compressed and I can't move my arms. And moving ones arms is pretty handy when it comes to doing things like STEERING. I also can not move my fingers to work the brake levers. If I stop and stand, I can move my arms and brake and do whatever. But sit on that seat and I lose all upper body control. My mother said it could be worse and I could become incontinent or something. She thinks she is funny. I said "well at least I would be peeing on YOUR bike and not my own". She said I wasn't so funny either. So now, DD has a new bike and will be getting it Easter morning. She can't really ride a two wheeler yet. She should have learned last year...... only nobody seems to be able to run behind her to teach her. You know how it is done. You run behind holding the seat, assuring the child that you will not let go. Then you let go and the child pedals off like a pro. Well, until they turn and see you DID let go and immediately fall and hurt themselves. It's a process. Every child goes through this. It builds character. Right? I never learned that way. Sure, I went through those ropes like everyone else. But I never did learn that way. I was content to just sit on the bike and scoot along using my feet. Then using one foot with the other on the pedal. Then one day, before I knew what was happening, I was pedalling away! And went right around the block even though I wasn't allowed to without permission because I didn't know how to stop. How was I supposed to know that pedalling backwards were the brakes? What kind of logic is that? Anyway, her bike has a coaster brake AND a hand brake so my hopes are that even if we can't manage to teach her the OTHER way she just might figure it out on her own this year - and she will be able to stop before she runs into something. Otherwise we just may have the only college student on the block still using training wheels ;). Dh says he may get his old bike from his mother's shed and have it fixed up so they can ride together (he can't pedal the mountain bike either). Which sounds very nice. But I know it will turn into a situation where she begs every single night of the summer to go for a ride, and he refuses every single night of the summer, then finally agrees only to have to cancel because there is snow on the ground. We went through a similar but opposite situation involving a toboggan. But at least I can manage to bring her sledding, it seems this biking thing is a problem. My sister says I should take up rollerblading so DD can ride and I can skate. She was actually making a joke though. She had the same back surgery I did and knows there will be no roller blading in my future LOL. Could you imagine? I can't walk some days, I would have to be possessed to strap on roller blades. I guess I could just walk with Ruby and DD could ride in circles around us. We'll know it's time to head home when we are both too dizzy to go any farther. Yep, that oughta do it.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Long days night.

Last night, as I listened to the clock strike three, I wondered what I was doing up at that hour and wishing for unconsciousness. Not necessarily sleep, even, just not to be awake any longer! I was absolutely exhausted, but my left leg was giving me troubles and I couldn't get comfortable for the life of me. Not sure if I was sending out "awake" vibes or what but DD was up twice to use the bathroom. She and her dad ate at MIL's for Sunday dinner (stew *shudder*), and I think the last time she had tummy troubles at night too. We don't eat beef that often, I wonder if that was the problem? Anyway, sitting in the bathroom with a sleepy child who is pooping with all her might is not exactly my idea of fun night time adventures. TMI? Deal with it. You just have to read about it, the experience was much worse in the first person. My left ankle is having issues. It's funny, I can't actually FEEL that part of my leg. If you were to grasp my ankle I would feel a strange pressure (and might even get nauseated) but I wouldn't be able to actually feel something touching my skin. But for legs that I can't feel, they sure ache a lot. Around my ankle and down the top of my foot presently. Almost like how a bruise feels, sort of. And one spot behind my thigh, about a foot down from my patoot. Same ache. I am getting a lot of muscle cramping of the leg as well (all muscles, and they crawl around like they are posessed. Imaging the worst charlie horse, only it doesn't hurt because I can't feel those muscles but the sensation makes me sick to my stomach and they ache after). Try explaining the problem to a doctor. "My ankle and foot are aching". So they poke. Does this hurt? No. Does this hurt? No. Does this hurt? No. Well, nothing hurts. Well, I can't exactly feel you poking either, but it still aches. I usually get the blank stare right about then. The only think I can think of is I have been vacuuming a lot lately. I finally had to admit that no matter how many times DH says he will do it and promises to do it, it never seems to get done. Two inches of cat hair on the edges of the stairs, loose mud on the floor for three weeks, no piece of dirt is large enough to set off his inner voice that says "Hey, maybe it is time to vacuum". If I ask, I can guarantee it adds another week to the wait. Even though he insists, once I start to run the machine, that "I was going to do it, all you have to do is ask". Time to give someone my OWN blank stare for sure. Our vacuum (supposedly) only weighs 12 pounds. But that means little to nothing when you are hoisting it in the hair and carrying it while using the tiny, short, itty bitty hose to vacuum steps. I use the Roomba for the livingroom, and the bedrooms have tiny little swatches to go over so that is not a big deal. They need to create a robot to vacuum steps! I am already lusting after the roomba type robot that washes kitchen floors. Waiting for it to come down from 400 buckaroos though. I am lazy, but I am also cheap. So last night I lay in bed, not sleeping, listening for DD in case she needed another run to the bathroom, and thinking about vacuuming and washing floors. And suddenly it hit me. I HAVE FINALLY LOST MY MIND. What do I care for vacuuming? When has housework become something to lie awake and think about? How long before I start thinking about laundry detergent and planning stain management while not sleeping? Or going over the grocery shopping in my head trying to shave off a few precious moments from the trip for the highest efficiency? Or planning on cooking dinners that provide leftovers for another meal, two lunches, and a snack? See, one night of missed sleep and my life is spiraling into a Stepford abyss. And we can't have that, now can we? I immediately set my thoughts on something less domestic. I managed to imagine a trip to Mexico (I won't go into details but it mostly involved a beach, umbrella drinks, and cabana boys), but found my mind drifting away from the sun and towards a packing list. AARGH! I can't even take an imaginary trip, and I am reminding myself to pack sunscreen and extra undies for DD. I think I might need somebody to save me from myself. Aside from housework and not sleeping, I have been working. A LOT. We are talking deadline hell. I have a big meeting and conference coming up so things are gearing up for that. I knew it was taking a lot of my time (getting up early, staying up late, eating dinner at the computer, that sort of thing) but I hadn't realized that this time sucking was being noticed. My family gave me a hint. After offhandedly answering some questions - I wasn't really listening...busy working on something and only answering on automatic - I heard giggling. I focused my eyes to see this. Ruby caught on ages ago that to have any chance of me noticing her, she had to get into my line of sight, which is on the steps right above my laptop display. It seems the other two monkeys took her direction, and wanted to be noticed. Bunch of nuts, I tell you. So today I have a laundry list of deadlines to complete, a meeting to plan, and let's not forget vacuuming to do. And somewhere in there, I just might have to take a nap because if I look as bad as I feel, it might be a matter of public concern. First person to ask what's for dinner has to make it.