Friday, April 27, 2007

Time to spill the beans

I have been hoarding some secrets. I know, totally unlike me. Usually I am a kiss-and-tell-all kind of person, but here are a few things I have been keeping to myself. 1. Work. Our company has been through buyouts before, and when this one was announced we figured we would just go through the name change and dog and pony show like every other time. The company has changed names more often than Prince. There is always a shaky period when the two companies combine and new people replace some of the old "redundant" employees, but for the most part things go pretty smooth. This time? Not so much. Our COMPANY was not sold exactly, just the customer base. So we are out. No transition, no combining of offices and employees, just a firm handshake and a "please play nice until your last day". My day? June 12. And since the announcement, I have been working overtime to get all the projects done and requests completed and information pulled for the transition. Basically, the ship is sinking and there are a lot of rats and only so many rafts. As the water rises the rats are realizing there isn't limited space on the rafts, there simply are no rafts left. And there I am, trying to keep rat heads above the water line. And beginning to wonder why. Every day there is another kick in the teeth to prove that performance and dedication mean absolutely nothing, and the only people that benefit in this world are those who are underhanded, dishonest, lazy, and mean. Now, don't get me wrong. I am not crying in my soup over this. This job was killing me and we all know that. It will be nice to be done with it and maybe doing something different for a change. But the market right now for ANY job is not that good here. Everybody is laying off right now. Even the fast food places (a good indicator of the economy by the way) are laying off or at least not hiring. Scary thought, since the summer is coming and usually by now every place is hiring at least temorary staff. No, I am not looking to work at McDonald's. But I kind of need some of the people who WOULD take those jobs to do so and get off the market, and stop milling around making it look like there are idle people everywhere. Idle people looking for work is not a good thing. It makes the applicant pool look bigger, and filling a position seem less urgent. This week alone I got 6 rejection letters. Hiring from within. Looking for more automotive experience. Too old. Okay, they said somebody more "main stream" but I know what that means. I saw the interviewer. She weighed 110 soaking wet and was a foot taller than me. Younger and prettier, that is what the letter should have said. DH and I are at a good place right now in the sense that things will be tight, but I can take just about any job and as long as I make like 10 bucks an hour we won't starve to death. But that doesn't mean I have to be happy about getting a job like that. And since I am working so many hours trying to get things done, it's not like I can get proper networking done. By the time that happens, summer will be starting and it is not a good time. Anxiety anybody? So now you know, that for the next while I will be on a job search. I am on my third package of resume paper and so far nothing to show for it. I have always been nice to the law of averages, perhaps it will be nice to me soon. 2. Dogs. About a month ago, somebody dropped a pug off to be groomed and did not come back. When they were finally contaced, they said they no longer wanted the dog. The owner of the business said the dog could not stay there, and none of the employees could take it. Through family connections, and seeing we already had a pug, we were asked if we could take it. The dog needed medical attention and would have to be neutered. We are not exactly in the best place to get another mouth to feed, but the dog was going to be surrendered to the Humane Society. Knowing it had issues, "the pound" would most likely have put the dog down right away. We all know I am a sucker. So we finally grit our teeth and say we will take the dog, and make arrangements to have vet checks and operations and medicines and so on. The owner of the grooming business suddenly decides it wants boarding fees for the time the dog was there, and while we don't think that is fair at this point we just want to bring the dog home, and make the payment. We had been advised by the vet not to bring the dog home until the fleas and mange were taken care of, or else the boarding would not have been an issue. Today was the day. DD wanted to be part of it so we got her up before dawn. We drove to the business, to find it dark and locked. We wait. Finally it is time for DD to go to school and nobody has come, so we drop her off and come back. Somebody is there! But not the dog, alas. The original owner picked up the dog last night. After a full month, they changed their minds and wanted the dog back. The dog that cost us $400.00 in vet bills, plus extra for medicines, and about $300.00 boarding and grooming fees. The dog that we were bringing home TODAY. To say I was angry and upset is nothing. Why didn't they AT THE VERY LEAST call us last night? What a waste of time and energy. And how am I possibly going to tell DD? This was going to be HER dog, and it was already so bonded to her. It would spend an entire visit sitting on DD's lap or looking into her eyes. She is going to be devastated. Heck, DH got teary. He won't admit it, but he really liked that dog. We only have one picture and it is blurry, and I just can't even look at it right now. My heart is broken. We have already spoken to the police, and there is nothing we can do. Although we have a written agreement with the groomer, we have no proof that we own the dog because nothing was signed by the original owner. Basically if we were silly enough to spend money on another person's dog then the only crime committed was our own stupidity. 3. Craziness. We all know I am crazy. I come from a long line of loonies. Being able to admit that fact and accept it and seek treatment is what sets me apart. I spent some time on anti-depressants. Not because I was depressed, but rather they work extremely well for conditions like OCD and anxiety disorders. Who knew? I did so well on the meds, but eventually they made me so tired I could not function. At the time we assumed it was the Paxil doing it and when scaling back the dose did not help I was weaned off and we tried a jump to Wellbutrin. Wellbutrin made me very ill. I was nauseous all the time. I could not read, I could not knit, I could not watch TV. They said stick it out for 8 weeks and that would go away. I stuck it out for 12 and it did not, so we abandoned it. I noticed that my anxiety et al did not come back even with no meds, so decided (with medical approval, of course) to stay off the medications. For over a year, things went well. Then my personal life ramped up again, and some of the OCD came back. Nothing major. Then I started to notice that feeling in the pit of my stomach was back - the sort of flutery dispeptic feeling. Uh oh. Driving was starting to get difficult, I catch myself scanning for insects on nice days. Now that my personal life (work, other worries like the dog issue, MIL issues, and so on) is ramping up even more, it is unrealistic to believe I can continue like this and survive without some help. So, I will be going back on something (not sure what yet). And my other meds are no longer working for me. My blood sugar is up and down and all over the place despite good diet and care. My blood pressure is dangerously high even though I am taking the max dose of stuff for that. My cholesterol meds might be causing liver damage. All of that speaks towards facing some very tough weeks ahead. Detoxing from one med and adjusting to another, changing diet YET AGAIN. The work search and all the ups and downs from that, the stress of finishing off the job that I have. I am asking you now, to please have patience with me. I will try to keep my posts light and funny, but let's be real. There are going to be some bad days to post as well. I will try my hardest in later posts to take my bad day and put an amusing twist on it like we all know I can. I don't want to just drop bad stuff in your lap (like I did today) because who wants to read that? And in that interest, I add a final note. A letter to the person who stole our new dog: Dear Dog Owner. Thank you for giving us a chance to spend some money on your dog. We were planning on using that to buy new shoes and food and stuff, but what the heck. I can always add a duct tape strap to the ones I have walked the bottoms off of and call them flip flops. Summer is almost here, I am sure it will look most fashionable. Since you obviously don't know much about your "new" dog (you kept him outdoors before and he did not even have a name), let us enlighten you. His name is Ozzy. He likes baby carrots, and will be your best friend if you scratch his butt. He probably looks different, because since the mange cleared up his fur is starting to grow back. Wow. He is brown, and not pink. Who would have thought? Unlike Ruby, he delights in being held like a baby and having his face and nose kissed. He sighs deeply and relaxes to the point of melting. Since he usually slept outside, you might not know that he was a champion snorer, like many other pugs. After being safe and inside for a few weeks, his hoarse cough (which we thought might be kennel cough or heart worms or congestive heart failure) turned out to be from being scared and lonely and barking all the time. Now that his voice has rested he can roo and purr and grimmel like a true pug. He has been fixed. You will have to cancel those "dates" you send him on. Sorry about that. Seeing as he may be prone to dry eye and luxating patella, it is probably for the best not to breed him anyway. You did notice his eyes, right? Because our daughter sure did. She learned special how to put drops in them, just for him. I am sure she could be talked into showing you how to do it. Once she gets over not being able to keep him after you said you no longer wanted him. Enjoy your new dog, and please eat a hornet. Dances and family.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Sometimes the simple things are hard

There are times, before attempting something that sounds very complicated for example, that I expect things to go wrong. We can anticipate difficulty when doing something different. But when something routine just goes bad, I think it hits us harder because it is so unexpected. This morning we brought Ruby for her routine checkup (and fat dog lecture). This checkup included taking some blood (for heartworm testing and a general wellness test) and some vaccines. Rabies. Bordatella (kennel cough). Something else that I think was for parvo but I am not sure. We discussed changing her food again because I am not happy with what we are buying. Ruby doesn't seem overjoyed to eat it (and pugs are overjoyed to eat june bugs and sock lint, for reference). It smells like death. I know pet food isn't meant to smell pleasant to people, but this stuff is pretty gaggable even if there is a pug on the bag and it is supposed to be tailored for piglets like her. All in all the visit went well, and we were pleased. The Vet seemed happy to see Ruby and didn't call her an abhorration of nature, always signs of a good visit. When we got home, Ruby kept coming and rubbing her face on me. She has done that before, but I mean really rubbing, and not stopping. Then she went to rub her face on the carpet. Since one of the vaccines gets placed in the nose I thought maybe she was trying to rub the scent of it off. But after a few minutes I got worried, because it was excessive and she was breathing like she was bothered. I called her name, she looked up, and her lips was swollen! In the time it took me to call DH and say "Is her lip swollen?" the other one swelled up like a balloon. I grabbed the phone and called the vet, told them what was going on, and they said to bring her in right away. Thank goodness we are about five minutes from there. By the time we got there (and I am not kidding, five minutes) her eyes were swelling almost shut and she was having trouble breathing. They gave her a shot right into her bloodstream and had us wait to see if it helped at all. It did, thank goodness! The swelling started to go down and she seemed to be breathing easier. They gave her another shot under the skin and told me to give her benedryl on a schedule. Now, she has had her face swell before. The swelling went down fast, and later that night she had breathing troubles and I brought her to the emergency vet. This time, it happened in minutes. We don't KNOW that it was her vaccines. We checked her file and it did not happen last time any time near a shot or anything. For all we know she ate the same kind of spider as last time, or got bit again by something, or who knows. After getting her home again, she seemed better for a few minutes then started acting odd again. She would walk a few steps, then drop like her front legs weren't working properly. It looked very neurological to me, and I became hysterical and called the vet again. As we were talking, I noticed she would drop then turn her legs and lick the bottoms of her paws. We think now that her paws had swelled and become itchy and she was trying to walk without them touching the floor - after watching for a few minutes (once I calmed down enough to breathe) it really seemed that was it. The vet said not to let her walk around, to make her lie down and rest. Which with Ruby means telling her we are "taking a nap", getting her squirrel, and lying with her on my chest. It worked, she relaxed and even fell asleep (I think it was the benedryl kicking in). After it was all calm again and things seemed to be okay, I threw up. Yes, sometimes I throw up from worry. My stomach gets so sore and upset when I am upset or worried or anxious and I get sick. Most of the time it doesn't happen until everything is over and done with though. Kind of like people who are good in a crisis, then cry when it is all over? Like that. And in the process I think I managed to burst an ovarian cyst. I was standing there, tears streaming down my face, burst blood vessels all over my eyes, a pool of blood forming at my feet next to the puffy faced dog when DH came in to see if I was okay. Note to self - even if I think I am just going to get sick, close and lock the bathroom door. When he saw the state of me, he had his OWN hysteria I think. I was trying to explain what was happening but I strained my voice the other day and throwing up did not help and my abdomen felt like it was being hit with a jackhammer and I suddenly noticed I had a whopper of a low-sugar headache. It was futile, there was no way to calm him down, I had to just wait him out. And eventually he stopped to take a breath and I explained I was NOT dying. And while I may seem to be in a bad way, it was nothing some feminine products, some sugar, and a change of clothes couldn't fix. I had him call my doctor though, because last time a cyst burst I did lose a lot of blood and there were problems. I have strict, official instructions not to bleed to death, by the way. Nice of him to do that over the phone. Ruby seems fine now but we have to keep a close eye on her (and keep up the benedryl for now) and I clean up pretty good so we are none the worse for wear by outward appearance. Well, except for the dots around my eyes. Weak blood vessels suck. After it was all said and done, DH said it is a pity we never took a picture of our doodlebug with her face all puffed up, but really, the camera was the last thing on my mind. It is raining here, and when we rushed her back to the vet I didn't even stop to put my shoes on! I feel a touch better after eating some apple slices, but still not completely better, and I have so much work to do that now I have to do it tonight. DD will not be pleased. I'll have to tell her, that sometimes the simple things are harder than we expect.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Taking a risk

The pedicure socks are done. And I love them. In fact, it is going to be very hard to give them away. Is it wrong to hope they are too big so I'll have to take them back and make a different pair? Of course, I can just go ahead and make myself a pair too, but you know. The whole laziness thing and all that. Is it the colours? The stripes? I don't know what it is, but I love love these sockies. I am taking a risk putting the pic here (we all know what happened the last time I even mentioned certain appendages) but this style is not pictured on the pattern page so I thought somebody out there might be interested in seeing what they look like.

I have tried in the past to knit with cotton, to make items like dishcloths and towels. The few projects I have managed to finish nearly killed me. My most recent foray into cotton was a dish towel set as a thank you gift. It was so horrible to make (though I did finish it) that I haven't been able to part with it yet. I keep it under the ruse that I haven't found the perfect button for the hanging loop yet, but I know the real truth. I could hardly wipe my own arse for a week after knitting that thing, and I have come to terms that cotton yarn and I do not mix.

Then I saw something new. A glimmer of hope! Cotten Ease by Lion Brand. A mix of cotton and acrylic. It LOOKS like cotton, but is supposed to be easier on the hands. I quickly snapped up a ball of a delicious green called "Lime". First I tried using the size 6 needles called for in the pattern I liked. No. Freaking. Way. My hands got so tired after only a few rows that I could hardly hold the needles up. I ripped and chose larger needles. Somebody told me once to try knitting with cotton in EXTRA large needles, to get myself used to how it works. So right up to size 10.5! It did not get any easier, and people, I do NOT knit tightly. My arms felt like they were going to fall off and the work looked like crap to boot. Evil, evil cotton, even at only 50 percent. This is Ruby protecting me from the evil cotton yarn and remnants of the washcloth I tried to make on huge honking needles. Good dog.

On a high note, I was walking through Michaels and browsing through that section where things are priced $1.50 or so - little note pads, small packs of gift cards, magnets, candle tins, that sort of thing. And I saw a little box that looked perfect to store my DPN's. Seeing as the whole ziploc bag thing isn't working out (after a few weeks, the needles wear right throught the plastic), and given the low price I figured I would try it out. It is a pencil box, actually. Japanese in style, I believe. So far, I am kind of smitten with it and wish it came in a size long enough for my regular needles. DD tried to steal it and actually put pencils in it. I had to threaten to poke her a good one with a DPN to get it out of her little sticky hands. This is MINE kiddo.
Last night, DH and I went out for dinner because DD had a party. We were alone for dinner, and a local place had a special on panzerotti so we went there. Usually I get it baked and DH has it fried, but this time for some reason I had such a craving for the fried style so ordered that. I also got talked into a filling that I don't normally get, but it all sounded so delicious. Blech. The dough was nowhere cooked enough for me. And the meat filling I was talked into? Like eating blanched pork products. Pork products must be crispy to be good, not soggy and stringy and boiled. According to my DH, there was nothing WRONG with my panzerotti, and assured me that was what his was always like. I swear that guy could eat garbage with gusto as long as it was hot and ready when he wanted dinner. But why can't I get him to try a green bean? He will eat that awful disgusting slop, but acts like a veggie might kill him. I just don't get it. So, I didn't complain or send it back but DH gets a rather large portion for lunch today. And I have made a mental note, to stick with the baked version and leave the meat out of it.

Oh. And just in case you need this info some day, I will share it (though it be of a gross nature, so be warned). Say a person is not used to eating deep fried dough. Then say that person decides to indulge a whim and eat said deep fried dough. The innards of that person may take objection to the large amount of grease present in even a few bites of that dough, especially if the dough is wrapped around particularly fatty pork products. A person in this situation would be best not to stray too far from home in case the aforementioned innards decide they no longer want to entertain said dough and pork products, and choose to evict them abrubtly. Just saying.