Days 21-31

The cone. Is. OFF!

There has been much celebrating, in the form of rolling on the ground, biting ankles, biting toys, scavaging for rabbit poo, and barking just to bark. I think she wanted to burn the cone under the full moon and dance around it.

I was hesitant to take the cone off, but my husband said the stitches were done doing their thing, and most of the healing under the scab was done. It’s nice having a paramedic / EMT spousal unit. It’s like having a reference book you don’t have to carry around. And what am I a reference for? Well, if he is interested in story structure and genre and themes and the hero’s journey, well, he knows who to turn to.

Took the pups on a hike today. A new trail and I was getting quite bored. Trees rocks snow, kaaaaay. Then I met some people coming up the trail and they mentioned caves. Caves? Yes, I will cross the stream twice over slippery, crackling ice to see limestone caves. And we did.

Day 5

  • I had a funny observation earlier today, but I forgot what it was. I always think I’ll remember, and I never do
  • Skidded on ice during my drive into work this morning and almost hit a big moving van head on.
  • Had to change the dressing on Mayhem’s foot because I forgot to wrap it during a pee break. She snapped at me a couple times, but I did it!
Not their usual formation but I didn’t want to disturb the patient

Day 4

  • The high today was -2
  • The low today (will be in about 2 hours) -25
  • Mayhem’s surgery went well. Vet techs gave me all these instructions about what she can and cannot do, how much to eat, drink…but they couldn’t get her down the hall by themselves and she had already gotten out of her cone – I had to go get her LOL
  • Vet invoices already sent on to pet insurance. Hey, everyone, get pet insurance
  • Poor Olive wants to hike and walk, but the snow is so cold it burns, and when it hurts she doesn’t hold her paw up for help – she lays down in the snow. I had to drag all 70 lbs of her out of the unplowed cul-de-sac
  • I’m beat

Day 3

I slept through my alarm this morning. Swear it was that drink I mentioned yesterday.

Going through my chapters this afternoon, and I really have to stop myself from editing as I go. I just recently learned that you were just supposed to charge through. You’re supposed to come back later, several times actually: tweak your story, then your writing, then micro-tweak your sentences. I’ve always jumped to micro-tweak.

I’m so sick of this damn story I dread going through it again, but I promised myself that I would finish it. I wish I got a developmental editor years ago, even if it was just for a month or two.

Took Mayhem to the vet this morning for a cyst on her front paw. They don’t like the look of it and think it might be cancerous, surgery scheduled for tomorrow morning. I have to admit that I did cry in the waiting room. I am still very scarred about what happened with Max, but I also learned a lot.

Stay calm, don’t freak out, wait for test results. In the meantime, love and play.

Day 2

I’ve been living off of miso soup and protein shakes. Of course I blame the reason for my headache-y lethargy to not taking my multi. Yeah, no. I have chapters and six (short) scene analysis due on Thursday morning, which is just three short sunrises away and I do my best work in the a.m., so I have got to get it together.

A few weeks ago, I ordered some samples from a company that has mushroom based protein powder and coffee and elixer/potion stuff. I accidentally drank one of their “chill” chai latte at work, having read the word “latte” and assumed it was a pick-me-up. It was so not. I was very relaxed that evening and I think I went to bed at 7:30. All of this to say I have another sample packet of said “chill” and think it’s just what I need tonight. And not to worry – I don’t get paid from the brand to promote or anything. I mean, who reads this besides me?

My lights just flickered. I CANNOT lose power. Tomorrow the high is 2 degrees. Dos. Degree-os.

Major win today: Getting two booties on Olive. The sound the plastic hitting the ice is hilarious. It’s what I kind of always hear in my head when she’s walking anyway – she is soooo flat-footed and the most ungraceful labrador-golden(?) I have ever seen. It’s like she’s got palapus feet – plat plat plat plat…..

I did get two booties on Mayhem, who promptly sat down and Yoda-ed her ears until I took them off, then she ran away. We both knew that was the only outcome that could ever happen.

Turn up the volume for that plat plat perfection

Day 1

Was up at 4:15 am and felt a bit proud about that, but still a bit panicked about the upcoming cold snap. Negative 26 degrees won’t crack the house open, I think, but I’m scared of things happening: pipes cracking, septic tank exploding…I can’t imagine what -26 feels like but I’m about to find out. Last year the lowest was -13. I wanted to get out of the heat and humidity, but as usual, I overshot.

  • Ate a huge pancake right out of the pan,
  • Kept a baking show on the TV all day to keep me calm,
  • Two loads of dishes,
  • Scrubbed the fridge,
  • Shoveled snow from the side steps, and walkway, and created 2 dog paths. It’s not melting anytime soon and the weather app predicts clouds with light blue stabby knives coming out of them, whatever the heck that means, but it can’t be good,
  • Rolled-up towels and blankets to stop drafts, my addiction to rubber bands coming in handy and secured the rolls with them,
  • Took the dogs out for mini-walks. They were so happy to go outside but got cold pretty quick and looked at me accusingly,
  • Took a two-hour, man-sized nap,
  • Smeared Aquafor on my face like three times,
  • Brought in some miscellaneous pet toys that were outside, and
  • Threw carrots to the bunny that is living under the front porch.
Mayhem & Olive

Skipped dinner, which I may regret soon, but Day 1 down.

I’m Still Here

Death was following me around for a little while, and I feel like I’m finally coming out of the dark. In 2020 my Labrador died slowly, then my Dad died quickly, then in 2021 my grandfather passed, and then a dog I adopted. All in less than a year.

My heart and my mind were heavy. Leaden, really. I knew in my head that others lost more, but it was still hard.

I don’t remember the holidays last year, or the ones the year before. Thank god I keep a planner otherwise I wouldn’t remember anything that happened or when. Everything is like in a big soup in my brain. That’s right, I was supposed to research trauma stages today and just remembered.

So that’s where I’ve been, in my Me-Soup. But what I’ve learned is: adopt another dog, it won’t be the same but they will still bring joy; and be a fierce and unapologetic advocate in a family members healthcare, no matter what doctors or facilities say.

But like I said, I’m seeing an end, and so a beginning. I’m thankful for my family, for two healthy pups, for bending over in laughter with my husband, for watching deer cross my lawn. You know. Small but big stuff.

It’s been almost three months…

…and my heart is still limping along.

Maximus, 2010 – 2020

Ten summers over the earth we’d leap / for ten winters we would snuggle deep

And no matter where we wanted to roam / when we were together, we were always home

Then the day came, your youth worn away / you let me know that you could no longer stay

You’ve left us behind, your soul out to sea / but you’re always right with me, your heart at my knee.

Driving with Triple C’s – Cross Country Cats

Well, almost. It was South Florida to South Dakota, and with it taking five damn hours just to get out of Florida, I think I am permitted to say “cross country”.

Ok – so as soon as we learned of the work transfer, we were like yay!, immediately followed by “oh shit, cats”. Four cats of various ages and temperaments.

Yes, four cats. We’re a blended family, kaaaaay?

I won’t bore you with our details, but here’s what worked for us:

  • Before the big move: Set the carriers out for the cats to get used to. I sprayed feliway on towels and tossed them in.
  • Do trial runs: We would put the cats in the carriers and put them in the garage or around the house for a few hours. From this we learned which cats to put in first. With multi-cats, yes, there is an order. They didn’t like it, but we learned to lure them in with kitty crack (aka canned tuna).
  • For the drive: Have towels or old tee-shirts that you are willing to just toss. They will poop. They will pee. No big deal. Toss the towel, put in a new one.
  • If you have overnight stays: We did. Bring wet food (for hydration) and kitty crack. Also pack disposable or cheap litter pans with flushable litter, and a dustpan + broom to sweep up all their litter mess. (We kept the litter pans in the hotel bathrooms.)

Really, the list above is all you can do. We were so stressed about the 4-day drive for them, but in reality, they did fine. They explored the hotel room, used the litter pans, and ate a little – which was fine since they were just in crates all day.

In fact, some of the little darlings didn’t want to come out of their crates in the hotel room, and would just hang out on them. Others hogged the bed.

Our two dogs were actually more work, when we thought it would be the inverse.

Oh, also, on the DL – most pet-friendly hotels only allow two cats, but there are always side doors. We told the hotels we had pets, and they would tell us how to bring them in without going through the lobby, so staff never counted our cats. I don’t think they really minded how many cats we were bringing in, honestly.

I hope you find this info useful and lowers your stress level. Even our super nervous cat (not pictured) did just fine. Best of luck!

Shut Up, Pants!

Did I quit running? I’m not sure if I did. I ran and ran for four years, and now? Meh.

It started with a Super Spartan, then Disney Princess runs and Star Wars runs – half marathons, 10ks, a couple of 5ks in there to keep me honest. But now….

I know I need something to train for. I can’t just run to run. With my impending move to a much higher altitude, I’m also intimidated. I have low blood pressure and heartbeat already – I’m afraid I’ll pass out somewhere along the road in a new town.

I can see it now, me laying on the side of a country road, slightly concussed, calling my husband.

“Come get me. I’m concussed.”

“Where are you?” He would say, already in the car.

“I don’t know.”

And woe is me if I had our cattle dog with me, his baby.

Excuses, you say? I agree. There is nothing easier than being middle-aged and lazy.

I have started to stalk online a running club in my new town, thinking it will get me running and social (I am terribly introverted and so is my husband. Peas in a pod!).

However, I have noticed that my excess chub isn’t melting away like it used to. Before I could just use the power of thought, but now, post 40, it seems things have changed. At least that’s what my pants keep saying, and boy are they vocal!

“Lunges. Remember lunges?”

“When’s the last time you did a sit up?”

“A lap around the block wouldn’t hurt ‘ya. Take the cattle dog.”

Pants are nags. Not like tops.

The tight armholes in my blouses are more like “Well, this is interesting”, and my jersey tees just talk behind my back with my bra, something about doing push-ups and maybe dips. Jersey tees are kind of passive-aggressive come to think of it.

The bra? She’s just doing her best. Definitely not an instigator.

Maybe I will. Maybe I will start running again, just to shut them up. Stupid clothes. At least my leggings and tech tees are supportive. They’ve been clamoring to get out of the drawer anyway.

Aforementioned baby.