Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Start at the beginning

Gosh, it's been so long since I've written that I have been putting it off even longer because I didn't know where to start. We have had a lot going on the past couple of weeks. Well, we've had a lot going on for longer than that, but you've already been there with me.

Vince spent some time in Charleston, South Carolina teaching some classes. I am sooo jealous! I love, love, love Charleston. He spent 2 weeks there.

During that time, I was heading out to Milwaukee for my grandpa's funeral and my grandmother's burial. My MIL flew in and I flew out literally within an hour of one another. We passed each other in security. My flight to Minneapolis ended up getting delayed by an hour, which made me miss my connection to Milwaukee. I ran through the MSP airport trying to catch my plane, but still missed it. There was a flight to Madison, WI boarding at that moment, so the airline traded my ticket for that flight. Meanwhile, I was in the midst of an asthma attack in the airport while trying to call my dad to tell him not to wait for me in Milwaukee with the rental car. We were supposed to fly in close to the same time and rent a car together, but we all know what happens to the best laid plans, right? I figured once I got on the plane to Madison, I would order up some hot tea or hot water to settle my breathing, but there was no beverage service since it was such a short flight. Great! I tried to settle in the best I could, but I could not stop coughing and wheezing and the lady next to me was CRAZY! Something about an abscessed jaw and OMG, what pain! And someone from the airline stole her narcotic pain medication and she hoped they died of an overdose of her meds and she REALLY needed a cigarette, etc...Yeah. That's what I sat next to. Then she would doze off and wake up confused and ask me insane questions. "Did we just land?" "Um, nooo. We're still taxiing for takeoff." So, I finally got myself off of that plane and rented a car for $275 for one day and drove the hour to my aunt's house. (All they had was an SUV and I had to pay extra to drop it in Milwaukee instead of bringing it back to Madison.)

By then my breathing was better, but not great. I made it there, got ready for bed and could not sleep because I couldn't breathe! I would doze off and then wake up gasping for air. I haven't had issues with my asthma in years. I thought it had finally gone away. None of my friends here even know about my life-long battle with asthma. I have always had to do breathing treatments, take weekly allergy injections and carry several inhalers with me everywhere I go. But since I got pregnant the first time, these symptoms have all but disappeared. My inhalers all went out of date and into the trash long ago. Even with working out and running I had no problems until now. In the last couple of months, I have noticed more allergies, more wheezing after I run. Especially now that it has gotten cold out. I guess now that my body has fully recovered from pregnancy, breastfeeding, etc. my lungs are returning to normal. Weird, I know. So, now I have an appointment with the allergy/asthma clinic next week. I haven't been working out at all and I can tell! Even walking Audrey to school makes my lungs tight. Anyway...I made it through that night and the wheezing eventually went away completely.

The next day was my grandfather's funeral. It was COLD! And rainy. We made it through that and spent the rest of the evening at my cousin's house talking, laughing, and oh, yeah, drinking beer. My poor aunt had a flat tire on the way home, so my dad and I got up super-early the next day so that we could pick her up and take her to my grandma's burial and then to run some errands. We spent the day with her running those errands and going through old pictures and eating the goodies we picked up at the Italian deli. I flew out the next day. Of course, the cold followed me to WI and it was nice and warm here while I was gone. Then, when I got back, it got cold here again! At least my trip back was uneventful. My MIL took great care of the kids while we were gone and the kids had a spectacular time with her. I think they wore her out! I'm sure they wore her out. She left on Sunday. The kids were sad.

Then, we had to deal with Ranger. He was not doing well last week. A couple mornings he would come in and wake me up early and just sit and stare at me. I thought maybe he needed to go out, but he would just sit there. I would love on him and put him in my bed until he fell back asleep. The lump was so much bigger and he was struggling to breathe. He quit eating. Then he started getting messy. I would come home and have to clean up bloody, stinky messes from my carpet. I called Vince and told him I didn't think Ranger was going to last until he got home from SC. I tried, but I couldn't take it any more. I called the vet and made the appointment for Thursday afternoon. I told the girls that he was really sick and I was going to take him to the doctor, but Ranger might not come home because the doctor might not be able to make him better. They were extremely upset. All of us were bawling. I took him in and stayed with him until the end. It was quick and he was ready. He didn't struggle at all. They put down a towel and he laid right down and put his head in my hands. The vet noticed immediately how much bigger the tumor was and said that if he was having bloody stools and vomit and not eating, there was probably some internal stuff going on and we were doing the right thing before he was in too much pain. When I got home I explained to the girls that he was too sick and died. We were one big, teary, snotty mess that night. Katie kept saying she wanted to call the "bet" and tell them to fix Ranger and bring him home. She still wakes up crying and saying that she wants Ranger to come home. It's been strange here without him.

Vince got home on Saturday, thank you God! I was just about to crack completely. This has all been too much for me without him here for the better part of the past 2 months. Usually I do okay, but this has been harder than usual. Plus, I came down with a nasty cold on Friday. Of course. I was glad he got home so that I could rest. That's really selfish, but I'm not exaggerating when I say that I was about to crack. Now maybe things can get back to normal. So far, this week has been pretty quiet, except for this morning on the walk to school when Audrey threw a fit because I told her she couldn't ride on the stroller. I'm pretty sure that anyone who was asleep along the route was rudely awakened by her fit-throwing. She was literally screaming and wailing the entire way! Just your normal Tuesday. Let's hope for a more peaceful walk home.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

videos

I said I was going to post these a couple weeks ago and I forgot. So, here they are. The girls singing!!
video video

Crash, boom, bang!


Poor Sam. I'm really going to have to get him a crash helmet. We filled in the other day at the YMCA for a friend and about an hour into our shift, Sam tripped on a bean bag in the reading corner and fell into a door with a metal edge. I thought he just hit the glass with his head. Everything stopped because it was so loud, and people came out of their offices to see who hit what. At first he didn't cry, but then he rolled over and kinda sat up and I could see the goose-egg from across the room. Then it started bleeding. It didn't bleed a whole lot, considering it's a head wound, but it was still pretty nasty looking. We hit him with an alcohol swab, an ice-pack and some steri-strips. I thought he was doing okay and he seemed fine after a bit, but I wanted to take him to the doctor anyway just to make sure. Our doctor was at lunch, so we waited for the Urgent Care Clinic. While we were waiting, Sam ran into the wooden arm of a chair in the same place and made it bleed again. The doctor told us that he didn't want to try stitches because he said it would be very difficult to hold Sam still for the procedure, so they wanted to Dermabond it. Fine. On the way to the procedure room, Sam was walking down the hall and ran into a metal door frame with the other side of his head. By the time we got there, it was swelled up pretty good too. The nurse thought he was hilarious. They held him down and glued his cut closed and let us go. The doctor said he would have a scar. Vince didn't mind. Chicks dig scars he says. He seems fine. A lady in the waiting room kept saying that she had a headache just from looking at his bumped head and he was running around like it was nothing. I'll include some pictures on here.
When we got home from the Dr.'s office, this is what I came home to. I had made up treat bags for Audrey to take to school for her birthday. Almost 30 bags of candy chewed up and ruined. I know that it's hard to tell from this picture because my kitchen table looks a lot like this most of the time, but on this particular day, it was kinda cleared off and one of the dogs had to have stood on the table to get at the treat bags. And they chewed up Katie's sheepskin into little bits. She still has one big section left, but it's her sleeping buddy and it's pretty much ruined. And there were 4 puddles of pee. We have been leaving them locked in the kitchen when we leave or at night because it's been cold. Here lately, someone has started peeing in there. Makes me so mad. Also, Buddy likes to steal food and I don't like that at all. He usually gets a short beating and then thrown outside. He has been known to steal food out of the kids' hands as they are eating it. You would think after numerous beatings (I am exaggerating here, people) that he would get a clue, but this is Buddy we're talking about and he's a few cards short of a full deck. So, when I came home and saw this mess I immediately banned them from the house except for when it's REALLY cold or at night. Apart from Ranger, that is. He's so sick. Most of the time he acts okay and we can't really tell, because he was already our mellow, lazy dog who laid around all day anyway. But he has been sneezing blood more lately and he is really sucking wind now. I would imagine that it's hard for him to breathe around this lump in his nose. I'm sure it's blocking most of the right nostril. We have told the girls that he's sick and might not live, but don't have the heart to tell them that we are going to take him to the doctor to kill him. Vince remembers when he was little and had to have his tonsils out. They told him that they were going to have to put him to sleep for the surgery. Apparently, he was a little frantic because they had just had a family pet "put to sleep" and he knew what happened there! I don't want to traumatize my kids. They know that Ranger is really sick and that he might not live so they give him extra lovings. Which he gladly takes now and again. We have been letting him sleep on the couch during the day and have been giving him extra kibble in his bowl, even though he's our fatty. We figure-what's the harm at this point? Next week Vince's mom comes to help with the kids and I don't want to leave her with a very sick dog to worry about too. So, do we go ahead and put him down? Or do we wait and see if he is still feeling fine beyond his estimated time? I hate to risk it and then leave her to deal with taking him to the vet if he gets bad while we're gone. Decisions, decisions.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Ready to come home

I do like Rapid City. It's a nice town, big enough but not too big and it's in a great area with lots to do and see. However, I have an extreme dislike of this weather. It's snowing already. So, I got 2 months this year without having the heater on. July and August. That's it. It's so freaking cold outside right now and nasty, wet snow is falling. I would say that it's okay because I have my new huge HD TV to distract me. BUT! But the snow is so wet and heavy that it is sticking to our dish and I have no signal. And let's talk about that stupid dish.

When we moved here we switched from Dish Network, which we'd had for years and been happy with, to DirecTV. Big mistake. We switched on a whim because when I tried to call Dish Network I apparently dialed a wrong number and ended up on the phone listening to a spiel from DirecTV. It sounded really good, especially the whole NFL Sunday Ticket idea. The guy told me we could move our dish for free from the temporary house where we were living to our new house (whenever we found one), the installation was totally free, that we would be able to get local channels, and some other crap that turned out not to be true. When we did finally get a house and try to move it over, they charged us about $50 and they charged us for other stuff that the dude signing me up told me was FREE! I should have known at the time that it sounded too good to be true. I bitched to a supervisor and was given some money off after I gave her the name and direct number of the moron that signed us up. Gee, thanks. Then, when the man came to hook up the new receiver in our new house, everything went well until I got my bill. They charged me for a DVR when I had ordered a plain Jane regular ol' receiver. I called and got the run around. They told me that I had e-mailed them and upgraded my order. I didn't even have internet access and my computer was still in storage at the time! No, I said, I did nothing of the sort. Well, let us research this and call you back. You do that. Oh, we're sorry for the miscommunication. Apparently what happened was the hookup dude only had a DVR with him and instead of going to get the other one or asking me what I preferred, he just upgraded my order for me and made it look like it was my request! I promptly told them that I WAS NOT paying the extra and that they could stick their DVR where the sun don't shine if they didn't like it. They decided to just charge me for a regular receiver. Then we find out that we don't get the local channels at all because of some kind of non-contract business. Whatever. Why did the guy tell me I would? So, we pay $50 extra per month 6 months out of the year for NFL Sunday Ticket so that we can watch our favorite teams play. What happens in January at Super Bowl time you ask? Nothing happens. We can't get the Super Bowl because one of the major networks has the rights to it, which would be a local channel. We have to go somewhere else to watch it! Isn't that peachy? Now, this will really kill ya. I bought this big-ass TV and wanted DirecTV HD so that the picture would be awesome. $200 for the new HD receiver that I don't own. It's a lease. But, the channels that are HD are incredibly clear. You can see everything and I mean everything! However, last night Vince was recording his NFL Sunday Ticket games. His team is the Redskins if you didn't know. We always let the game play for a little bit before we start watching so that we can FF through the commercials. That DVR has spoiled us beyond belief. We go to watch it and the screen is black except for a little box at the bottom that says that channel is not purchased. I call DirecTV and ask them what's up. Oh, well, in order to get our NFL Sunday Ticket games in HD, it's gonna cost us more because we will have to upgrade to the NFL Sunday Ticket SuperFan package. Are you kidding me? So, the $300 that we already pay for the games, plus the $200 HD receiver, plus the $10 a month HD service, plus the $50 a month for our regular programming isn't enough to watch football in HD?!? That was it. Vince lost it. He demanded to talk to a supervisor, but after waiting on hold for a few minutes, he hung up. As soon as our contract is up, we are dropping DirecTV so fast their heads are gonna spin. V ended up missing half of his game because he wasn't recording it on the plain Sunday Ticket channel too. Do not, I repeat, do not ever switch to DirecTV. They will scam you until your head explodes and even then I bet they have a charge for that.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

More Beautiful You

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this new song by Jonny Diaz. I can't get enough of it. It's such a great message to all women. I added it to my player at the bottom of the page and also here's the link to the video and the lyrics:

More Beautiful You by Jonny Diaz

LITTLE GIRL FOURTEEN FLIPPING THROUGH A MAGAZINE
SAYS SHE WANTS TO LOOK THAT WAY
BUT HER HAIR ISN’T STRAIGHT HER BODY ISN’T FAKE AND SHE’S ALWAYS FELT OVERWEIGHT
WELL LITTLE GIRL FOURTEEN I WISH THAT YOU COULD SEE
THAT BEAUTY IS WITHIN YOUR HEART AND YOU WERE MADE WITH SUCH CARE YOUR SKIN YOUR BODY AND YOUR HAIR ARE PERFECT JUST THE WAY THEY ARE

THERE COULD NEVER BE A MORE BEAUTIFUL YOU
DON’T BUY THE LIES DISGUISES AND HOOPS THEY MAKE YOU JUMP THROUGH
YOU WERE MADE TO FILL A PURPOSE THAT ONLY YOU COULD DO
SO THERE COULD NEVER BE A MORE BEAUTIFUL YOU

LITTLE GIRL TWENTY-ONE THE THINGS THAT YOU’VE ALREADY DONE
ANYTHING TO GET AHEAD AND YOU SAY YOU’VE GOT A MAN BUT HE’S GOT ANOTHER PLAN ONLY WANTS WHAT YOU WILL DO INSTEAD
WELL LITTLE GIRL TWENTY-ONE YOU NEVER THOUGHT THAT THIS WOULD COME YOU STARVE YOURSELF TO PLAY THE PART
BUT I CAN PROMISE YOU THERE’S A MAN WHOSE LOVE IS TRUE
AND HE’LL TREAT YOU LIKE THE JEWEL YOU ARE

THERE COULD NEVER BE A MORE BEAUTIFUL YOU
DON’T BUY THE LIES DISGUISES AND HOOPS THEY MAKE YOU JUMP THROUGH
YOU WERE MADE TO FILL A PURPOSE THAT ONLY YOU COULD DO
SO THERE COULD NEVER BE A MORE BEAUTIFUL YOU

SO TURN AROUND YOU’RE NOT TOO FAR TO BACK AWAY BE WHO YOU ARE
TO CHANGE YOUR PATH GO ANOTHER WAY
IT’S NOT TOO LATE YOU CAN BE SAVED
IF YOU FEEL DEPRESSED WITH PAST REGRETS
THE SHAMEFUL NIGHTS HOPE TO FORGET CAN DISAPPEAR
THEY CAN ALL BE WASHED AWAY BY THE ONE WHO’S STRONG
CAN RIGHT YOUR WRONGS
CAN RID YOUR FEARS DRY ALL YOUR TEARS AND CHANGE THE WAY YOU LOOK AT THIS BIG WORLD
HE WILL TAKE YOUR DARK DISTORTED VIEW AND WITH HIS LIGHT HE WILL SHOW YOU TRUTH AND AGAIN YOU’LL SEE THROUGH THE EYES OF A LITTLE GIRL

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ks3R2BwyO0

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Update on Ranger

Well, the hits just keep coming. I told you all that I was taking Ranger back to the vet for a checkup to make sure that his abscess was doing better. I noticed that the lump was still there and was actually bigger. The vet agreed and came back with some bad news. This is no abscess. Apparently it caused the abscess, but there is another issue. Cancer. She told me as much as soon as she saw that the lump was growing. There are usually 2 causes for a lump like that, an abscess and a tumor. She was pretty sure even before I paid another $300 for a biopsy and all that on top of the $500 I gave them for the dental work. After the biopsy, she is 99% sure that it is cancer and unfortunately it is an aggressive form and has already gotten into the bone. She said that we could take him to Colorado State University Vet school and try to have it removed, but the chances that he will recover are extremely slim. He's an old dog and the tumor has more than doubled in size in 10 days, so it would be very difficult for them to remove it all and not have it come back. She gave him 2 weeks to live at the current growth rate. She also said that it will be very painful for him and messy for us. He's going to start sneezing blood again and eventually it just won't stop and he will bleed out. Nice. The right thing to do is have him put down at the first signs of discomfort. We still haven't told the kids. Vince thinks that it would be best to take him in and tell them that he is sick and then when he doesn't come home, tell them that he was really sick and died. I don't know if that's the right way. I think Audrey especially will not do well with not having said goodbye. She's very sensitive about it. I flushed one of our fish one time and she was upset for days, asking questions about why he died and why didn't I let her say goodbye first. A fish! So, I can imagine that this dog, who greeted her when she was brought home from the hospital, will cause much more upset. Especially if we don't let her have her moment. I bawled at the vet's office when I went to pick him up after his biopsy. I know I complain about my dogs and sometimes wish that I didn't have to hassle with them anymore, but I surely did not want this to happen and it will be really hard to let him go. We brought him home when he was just a tiny thing and he's been a part of our family since before we had kids. 9 years he's been with us. I'm sure there will be many more tears. I hate that this is happening. And he's usually our quietest one. Leaves me with the 2 crazy dogs. Fabulous! I'm sure they will wonder what happened too. Scout and Ranger have grown up together. Scout was about 2 years old, maybe not even that old when we brought Ranger home so that he could have a brother. I hope that Scout will let Buddy fill the hole that Ranger will leave. Right now Buddy is kinda the outsider. Maybe this will bring them closer together. I'm glad that we will still have those 2 to help us get through this. Bye, sweet fat dog. We will miss you so much. Have fun chasing rabbits and squirrels in Heaven.