Friday, January 20, 2012

Baby, It's COLD Outside!!

We're finally back up to double digits here (10° counts!), but with a wind chill that's still below zero, I'm finding it hard to take comfort in that.  Add to that the snow that's been falling for the past few hours and I'm more than happy to stay in my nice, warm house, thank you very much.

At least it's warmer than yesterday, which was, as Hubby confirmed, booger-freezin' cold.  The only reason I left the house was to venture to Chipotle for dinner with some friends.  If not for the idea of tasty foodstuffs, I would've hidden under the covers and refused to show my face again until spring.  (Oh, if only that were an option...)

Instead, I must be content with the knowledge that we are 44 days away from a week of warmer weather in beautiful Florida.  Until then, I'll use music as a distraction/escape from the weather.
1) The Beach Boys - "Kokomo"  Who doesn't want to go to Bermuda or Bahama (come on, pretty mama!)?  It's easy to get lost in this song and imagine yourself on a beach, relaxing and listening to the waves rolling in, and that's definitely where I wanna go.  (Of course, The Muppets do a super fun version of this song, too!  Though, I find myself giggling more than relaxing during their version.)

2) David Lee Roth - "California Girls"  OK, so, it's sort of a terrible song (and yeah, I could've gone with the Beach Boys version, but this video is just too hilariously horrible), but it does make me think about warm Cali beaches and bikini-clad women.  Whatever you gotta do to keep warm, right?

3) Bowling For Soup - "Ohio (Come Back to Texas)"  I can appreciate the sentiment.  Like Ohio, there's nothing wrong with Wisconsin... Except the snow and the rain.  And the cold.  And crazy political shit.  But I digress... 

Sorry, kids, but I only have time for 3 songs today.  Go ahead and tell me what songs help keep you warm when it's cold out so I can add them for extra warmth!  I just may need it...

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The First Time Ever.

We watched this week's episode of Glee last night (man, I love DVR) during dinner.  I loved it, and all the songs were just great (OK, "Summer Nights" was a little hokey, but, it's Grease; what do you expect?).  But the highlight of the episode for me was when the girls sang "The First Time Ever (I Saw Your Face)" for Will.  In fact, I even cried a bit.

You see, I'm a lucky girl.  I got to grow up in a house where not only were my parents still married, but were still very much in love.  My dad traveled a lot, but he would bring home flowers for my mom randomly.  They often went on date nights together and when they were both home, they were usually together, even if they weren't doing anything at all.  I really had the best example of what marriage should be like.

I'm not saying their marriage is perfect.  Of course it's not.  My dad has always had a pretty short fuse and is pretty OCD about certain things, but my mom's the most patient person on the face of the planet (my husband being number 2 on that list), and somehow, it works out.  I remember once as a kid wondering why Mom put up with him, why she didn't divorce him.  It seemed like such a simple solution to me, but I was probably 7 or 8 and really didn't understand divorce anyway.  

As an adult, I understand that she "puts up with" Dad's quirks and temper because the good she sees in him outweighs the bad.  I understand that she's not about to just leave him for an offhand comment he makes while he's upset about something completely beyond her control.  It makes sense.

When they met, my mom was 15 and Dad was 16.  They started dating just before Mom turned 16, I think, and got married about 5 years later (1976).  Last month they celebrated 35 years of marriage, and despite the fact that they met over 40 years ago, and that my dad can't always remember why he just walked into a room or what he had for breakfast that morning, he can still tell you exactly what my mom was wearing the first time he saw her.

So, it should be no surprise, then, that Roberta Flack's version of "The First Time Ever" is my mom and dad's song.  I can't imagine a better song for them, and hearing that song reminds me of how lucky I am to have such amazing people to call my parents.

Here's hoping that Hubby and I can follow their lead and be as happy as they are when we've hit the 35 year mark.  :)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

wtf, 2012?

From what I can gather via Facebook (the source of all things in my life), a lot of people were really hoping 2012 was going to be a great year.  Personally, I didn't really have a bad 2011.  I got good grades in school.  Had my first anniversary with the hubs.  Had a house, a job, clothing, and food.  Things were pretty good.

But this year has started out with major suckage!  Well, maybe I'm exaggerating, but seriously?  This is lame.
  • I've already had a cold this year.  That knocked me down for 3 damn days.  Ugh.
  • Puppers had/has her extra butt hole (see previous post).
  • Hubby had to work from 9 AM until about 2 AM the other day.  He then had to wake up and go back to work at 9 AM and wound up staying until almost 8 PM.  
  • Also, Hubby thinks he's getting my cold, which is not cool.
  • Oh, and my classes are already getting the best of me!  Well, Forensic Science is, anyway.  Yikes, man.  Just yikes.
  • Bestie's cat is not doing so well, and they think her time is soon to come.  :-(
  • K's first week back teaching was, apparently, less than stellar and actually resulted in her singing karaoke.  Sober.  If you knew her, you'd be stunned.
  • Annnnd, I just found out that my dad fell down some stairs last Monday and cracked a rib in the process.  He had to take this week off of work (which he said wasn't the worst thing in the world), and he says it hurts to laugh (which he considers the worst part of the whole thing).
That's not to say 2012 is completely without hope.  Hubby got a raise (yay!) and in less than 2 months we'll be at the happiest place on Earth with my bestie and her hubs!!  WOOOO!!!  I also got invited to join Phi Kappa Phi (a national honor society with decently high standards), so that's pretty awesome, too!  

Let's just hope that the year starts producing more good than bad.  After all, if the world really does end in December, I'd rather have fun getting there, wouldn't you? 

Monday, January 9, 2012

Poor Maxine McPupperkins or Why My Dog May Never Trust Again

Well, my dears, 2012 has started off less than spectacularly.  

On or just after Christmas, I noticed a tickle in my throat.  For the next week, I'd wake up in the morning with a little pain as well.  Nothing too bad and it went away after breakfast, so whatever.  Just around the 2nd of the month, I started having random coughs.  Then by the 4th, I had some sniffles.  I begged this cold to just manifest itself so we could all move on with our lives.  

Careful what you wish for.  On the 6th, it started going downhill, and I spent the majority of my weekend miserable and/or asleep.  Then, I woke up this morning feeling so shitty, I had to call in sick.  I work from home, so you know it's bad when I have to call in.  I couldn't focus on anything, I was barely coherent, and I'm reasonably certain that even if I managed to function enough to survive the workday, I would probably have to re-do a good portion of it tomorrow anyway (you know, so it would actually make sense).

But enough about me.  This post is primarily about my poor puppers.  As a warning, things are going to get a little gross.  If you don't want to read on, I totally understand.  If you read the rest of this, and then say, "Oh, man!  WTF, Erika?" just remember that you have no one to blame but yourself.

My dog has a hole in her butt.

OK, that seems obvious, but it's not.  Let me rephrase.  My dog has an EXTRA hole in her butt.  Better?

On Thursday the 5th I was giving Maxi her monthly meds (heartworm pill and flea/tick application).  To do the flea/tick stuff, I always sit on the couch, turn her around so her back is to me, and apply the stuff.  (For anyone who doesn't know, this type of flea and tick repellent has to be applied along her back, from her neck down to where her tail meets her body.)  It can take awhile sometimes, depending on how long ago she last visited the groomer's.  She's fairly fluffy right now, but it wasn't too bad.

Anywhoozles, I had noticed her looking a little uncomfortable earlier, and, trying to be a good puppy mama, I lifted up her tail to check out her bum.  Many people are unaware, but dogs (and some other mammals) have these little sacs/glands near their anus.  The cliff's note version goes something like this: 

Dogs produce a secretion that tells other dogs who they are, what they are, etc (thus the whole bum-sniffing ritual).  This same secretion can also be used to mark their territory, warning other dogs to back off.  This secretion comes from the anal glands, which usually empty when a dog does his or her business, but can also empty randomly (like, if the dog's super stressed).  

Unfortunately, sometimes the glands don't empty themselves.  At the very first vet appointment after we adopted Maxine, the vet expressed Maxi's glands for her.  The smell is putrid.  I can't even liken it to anything.  If you've never smelled it, count your lucky stars.  Anyway, that was back in late 2009, and hadn't been an issue since.

Until last week, when I was looking at her bum going, "Huh...  It looks swollen."  So, I told Hubby to make a vet appointment for us asap.  He wasn't working on Friday, so he made her an appointment for the afternoon.  Excellent.  I knew she'd need to be expressed, and I was fairly relieved I wouldn't have to be there.  

After work, it's almost impossible to do anything without letting Maxine out first.  Thursday wasn't like that.  "Outside?" I asked her.  Nothing.  Not good.  "Outside, Maxine?"  She managed to get up and out of her crate, but then scooted her butt all the way from her crate to the kitchen.  This isn't a long distance, mind you, but she has to do a u-turn in the process, so it's a few feet.  She wouldn't listen to me when I told her no, so, fine.  Away we went.  

When she came inside, I decided to be extra careful and I cleaned her up with a baby wipe (she had been getting a rash in the fall, and the vet had suggested baby wipes, so, why not?).  And then I freaked out.  There was blood on the wipe.  I ran to my computer and left Hubby a message.  Then I called him and left a voicemail.  THEN I texted him and left ANOTHER message.  Yes, this was a full-on Riki freakout.    

To Google I went, looking up everything I could possibly think of, reading every page I could find.  Best I could tell, she had an abscess that had burst, but that didn't make me feel any better.  Called Hubby again and finally got a hold of him.  He called the vet and we rescheduled for that evening, just about an hour from our call.  So, I got dressed, poured Maxi some dinner, and waited.  She wouldn't eat.  I tried hand feeding her, and she wouldn't take anything.  Uggggggh.  I was scared out of my mind.

When we finally got to the vet, they tried to tempt her with some canned food (Maxine gets dry food at home) as a treat, but she was completely uninterested.  In fact, she actually turned away from it.  She always takes treats, even at the vet, so this was a new concept for us.  Maxi not hungry?  What?

The vet confirmed my suspicion of an abscess resulting from an impacted anal gland, and walked us through what that meant and what we would have to do to take care of her.  Essentially, all that fluid builds up in the sac, and if it isn't released in the normal way, it finds another way: it bursts through the skin.  Thus, my puppers has an extra hole in her butt.  For now, anyway.

Twice a day we have to give her meds and apply ointment in the hole.  Yep.  In it.  Not on it.  IN it.  Assuming it heals properly, we should be done with this in about a week or so.  But if it doesn't heal properly, we're SOL and we get to start the whole thing over again.  Joy.

On the plus side, the vet did say that we were lucky it burst today.  If it hadn't, the only option would've been to put her under and lance it, which would've been way more expensive than just the shot and meds.  I guess that's good, right?  He also said it was really good that we got her in that night, so thank goodness for an awesome hubby and an awesome vet!  

As soon as we got home, she ate her dinner.  Vet said she probably just didn't want to eat because of the pain (and a mild fever), and I don't blame her, but I was so glad she had her appetite back so quickly.  She's still not back to her normal, playful self, but she seems to be getting better every day (or, so we hope).  Sure, there are some blood stains in the back seat of my car (you should've seen the splattering she did at the vet's office!) and on some towels and her sofa bed, but it's a small price to pay for her to feel better.

So, now that you've made it through that lovely story, here's hoping that 2012 gets better in a jiffy! :)

Friday, January 6, 2012

The Holidays are Over; Bring on Reality!

I guess I went AWOL for a bit there, hey?  Sorry about that.  Things have been busy.

Christmas was good to us, I will admit.  Christmas Eve Day I got to exchange presents with K at Ella's Deli (yes, we exchange Christmas gifts at a Jewish deli).  That crafty lady made me lip balm!  Seriously; she MADE it.  How cool is that, right?  Anywhoozles, that afternoon I decorated sugar cookies while Hubby napped.  Maxine, in her Christmas sweater, napped along with him for most of the afternoon, and I spent some good time with my parents.

Christmas Eve dinner was, of course, fantastic.  Mom made the best Yorkshire pudding ever, and when I found they were out of hot cocoa mix, Dad made me some from "scratch" by heating up some pieces of Dove chocolate and mixing with milk.  I have to say that my family is pretty great, and that helps make my holidays so wonderful.  Would've enjoyed some snow, but, it was still lovely.

My parents got me a 3,000-piece puzzle (which is HUGE, btw) and a Jambox (which will come in really handy for school).  They got Hubby a Gentleman Jack giftbox (so, basically, good booze and two glasses).  They got Miss Maxine a bunch of toys and treats.  Oh, and best of all, they got us a new water heater!  (Apparently I was thisclose to getting an iPad, but they decided to get us something practical instead.  Ah, the joys of being a homeowner!)

Hubby surprised me by getting us a bunch of stuff we can enjoy together, including a remote control for our PS3 (so we can watch blu rays without fumbling over the controller), season 2 of "Big Bang Theory" and season 1 of "Raising Hope," and new controllers for the Wii.  He also got me a gorilla pod (that I picked out myself) and a monopod (that was a complete surprise)!  Yes, it was a successful Christmas indeed.  :)

Christmas Day was spent with my mom's side of the family, and then watching the Packers beat the Bears before heading back home.  The day after was Christmas with Hubby's family, which, while a bit chaotic at times, was nice.  I got to spend a lot of time hanging out with my nephew and taking pictures of him (he's so freakin' cute!!), but after being exhausted from all the running around that weekend (and feeling like I was starting to come down with something), I wound up sleeping in the recliner for an hour or two toward the end of our visit.  In my family, it's not Christmas until someone falls asleep in the midst of the festivities, so I guess I was just carrying over the tradition.

You'd think a 4-day work week would go quickly, but it didn't.  It dragged.  A lot.  And while I looked forward to our weekend plans, part of me would've been content just sleeping through the whole thing.  Alas, after a bit of a struggle, we made our way to Madison for S's graduation gathering.  We spent the night at my parents' and the next day had lunch plans with a friend of mine and his wife.  I hadn't seen Mr. P since his wedding, which was in November of 2009 (they moved to Georgia the previous year), so this lunch was LONG overdue.  We actually made plans to stop in on our drive down to Disney in March, so it won't be nearly as long before we see them next!  Color me pleased. 

New Year's Eve was spent with my second family.  K, S and J (my "sisters") had all gotten new toys (iPhones, Kindle, etc) and much of the evening was spent in the same room, but each of us on our respective electronic.  K's dad and his new wife stayed around for dinner, but left around 10 or so.  See, the new wife has a rescue dog named Princess (a bichon, for those interested).  Since she can get along with Eva (J's dog), we tried bringing Maxine into the mix.  Bad idea.  Bad.  Those two were at each other's throats like you wouldn't believe!  My best guess is Maxi made an inappropriate "Yo Mama" joke and Princess was having none of it.  I'm probably wrong, but it works in my head.  So anywhoozles, they ended up crating Princess upstairs in the "other" condo, since the two couldn't play nicely, and so they left early to make sure Princess didn't spend the whole evening alone.  

We had a great time anyway.  K always makes my second favorite meal of the year for New Year's Eve: shrimp and potatoes.  Between that and all the snack foods available, I was stuffed silly.  We played some Apples to Apples and drank to ring in the new year.  Then we crashed at the condo (me on the couch, Hubby on the recliner/floor, Maxi on another chair).  New Year's Day we headed home to drop off the puppers and headed back to see part of Hubby's family for the Packers game (go Matt Flynn!).  Thankfully, we had nothing to do the next day, and we spent it like a couple of lazy bums.  It was lovely.

This week has been... interesting.  But this post is long enough, so I'll save that for another time.