What's that need $4,000 for botox?

No joke, our dog, Liberace, is now taking 6 medications a day. Why, you ask. 'Cause he's so old, you're keeping him alive with drugs? Oh, no...because he is the canine equivalent of me, the medical enigma (we're sure to discuss this on many a later occasion).

He had one knee ligament 'restrung' with nylon at about 4 years old. He just destroyed his knee chasing sticks one night at a bonfire. See, there were about 20 people there and no one paid attention to the fact that before they had thrown the stick for 2 hours straight, more than likely 2 or 3 other people had thrown the stick for several hours. The realization came to us the next morning as each person who emerged from their hangover mentioned that they had thrown a shoulder out or aggravated an old football injury "just throwing a stick for Rachie last night."

He had the other knee done 2 years ago when he was 6. It had been taking so much strain from being the strong one all this time, that it finally gave out, too.

And neither of those surgeries ever explained the wonky walk he's had since puppyhood. Three times we had him checked for hip displasia - all before the knee thing happened - and the various vets all said no. Regardless, about a year ago, he started with periods of immobility due to pain in his hips/knees. We took him in and they gave us glucosamine & painkillers to be given as needed. He refuses to eat the first glucosamine which pretty much means he gets a pain pill every morning so that he can stand. Especially if it's going to to be rainy, he sat out on the concrete too long, or he played too hard the day before.

When we took him in for this weird rash last year, they gave us some more intense glucosamine supplements (which he also refuses to eat) and told us that the rash and his inability to lose weight was due to a thyroid condition. Here we go!!!

So then, he was getting a pain pill just about every morning, thyroid meds morning and evening and an antibiotic 3 times a day to clear the rash. Since then, we've (read: I've) been to the vet with him no less than 5 times with the funky rash which he then licks and scratches to the point of infection. They're pretty sure he's allergic to flea saliva and/or some tree, grass, weed or pollen that he "gets into" by, you know existing as a dog. Have I considered acupuncture?

The other day I noticed him itching. Then I noticed the clumps of fur on the rugs and when I tracked the do down, he'd given himself a sculpted poodle tail by removing pretty much all of the fur in 2 spots along his tail. There's no picture because he'd also gnawed his hindquarters to baboon red and it's so not photogenic!!!!!!!!!

Today's visit to the vet resulted in a new food (venison & potato at $2.84 a pound) which we are to give him for 3 months while we narrow down what he's allergic to. They've taken blood to see what shows up there and whatever they find will result in a referral to a veterinary allergist (closest one 1-1/2 hours away in another state). Meanwhile, Rachie is to get:

his morning pain pill to get him going; benadryl to prevent the hives or other allergic reactions (which cause the itch, which cause the scratching, which cause the infection...); thyroid meds morning & evening; 2 different antibiotics twice a day for 30 days; 8-10 drops of some sh*t in his ears twice a day (somehow he got an infection in his ear this time - flea saliva to hives to itching-to infection or just-for-fun, who knows?) and then the topical spray to put on the bare parts of his tail and hindquarters 2-3 times daily. The gummi-vites in the background of this photo are not for the dog. They are for my children if I have time to get them out of the bottle before we head out the door in the morning.
Just a little fun I'm having that I wanted to share. But now I have to run. We're dog sitting the neighbor's 12 year old lab, Digger, who has CANCER, takes no meds, and wants to go outside and play!!!!!


Is that flop sweat?

I found myself, last Thursday, in the front passenger seat of a white Ford Taurus on the way to Harrah’s Casino in Cherokee, NC.

How I got there is simple and it is complicated. The simple part is that my father lied to me. The complicated part is that after 17-1/2 years of his absence from my life, I have little context for interpreting what the man says.

He goes to Cherokee at least once a week to gamble. I don’t get it, but it gives him something to do. So, he mentioned a while back that they were giving away a Cadillac that Friday and he was taking me to Cherokee. With a mixture of childlike yearning and what passes for conviction in his life (don’t go by me, what the hell do I know) he told me not to cancel on him at the last minute “with any sick kids or no babysitter or whatever the hell…”. ‘Course it turns out M’oney was on an “away” week and the in-laws only returning to town that very day after 5 days away… In addition to having the kids and the in-laws’ dogs all to myself until 30 minutes before entering the Taurus, it was move-in day for neighbors sharing our driveway, so I played a couple of games of musical driveway during my various errands and preparations. Not that I in any way want a Cadillac or can work up enthusiasm for 14 wasted hours in Harrah’s Cherokee, but maybe winning something would make all the packing & rushing around worth it. If not, at least I might numb myself with a goodly number of ‘free’ drinks at the penny slots.

Or not.

But my point is…It was the 3rd hottest day of the summer. I’d been racing around the better part of the afternoon in an effort to leave everything so a trained monkey could take over for 30 hours without wreaking irreparable harm on the children, house, plants, fish or impeding my Mommy momentum in said categories upon my return. I landed in that Taurus a sweaty, greasy (say it the Southern way to get the best visual) mess; ready for a few drinks and the cash-equivalent take-away of winning that damned Cadillac.

My father has a “respiratory affliction” (read: pansy-ass immune system from decades of meat & potatoes, combined with a neurotic fear of exercise and a healthy dose of Catholic-raised martyr drama disease) which was triggered into a ‘full-blown lung/sinus thing’ by the air conditioning on his previous trip to Cherokee. That was the reason that the air conditioning was not on and not GOING to be on in his car. I sagged a bit at that but vowed to catch each moving breath of 97-degree air that managed to slither in through the open windows – and to make up for it with several drinks immediately upon entering the casino…

Yeah, well…

I endured the ‘conversation’, enjoyed the scenery and tried to stop looking at the temperature controls.

When we arrived at the hotel, I oozed to the did-I-mention-shared room anticipating the whoosh of refrigerated air. No!! Apparently, even in this dry county in the South, they’ve joined the going green bandwagon and turn the air conditioners off unless the room is occupied. Curse!!!!! And when I leaned over to set the controls to appropriately frigid , didn’t the old man holler out another reminder of his respiratory condition and tell me not to set it up past low – and NO fan. Luckily the thing only had cool med, cool high, heat or off. I set it on cool med and splashed some tepid sink water on my shiny face.

I desperately casually mentioned the drinks as we pulled into the casino lot. The laughter that accompanied “You didn’t know this was a dry county?” was symbolically dry and more forced than a Vegas wedding smile. I’d love to see the video of my reaction. Upon entering and locating a check-in machine (unless you’re planning an extended trip to Cherokee, don’t ask!), “we” were informed that the Cadillac drawing had taken place last month. The pretend shock & disappointment on my father’s face was less believable than my 3 yr-old’s ‘remorse’ face – this is when it first hit me about the lie.

Blah, blah, blah. I won nothing. Spent about $70 of my own money. Ate 3 desserts at the buffet. Shared a hotel room with my once-estranged father – not as bad as it could be because once the hearing aid is out and the glasses off, it’s almost like having a moment to oneself…

And sweat all night on top of the covers!!!! If sweat is the word for that really unpleasant coating of oily film that never evaporates because it is too molecularly thick to be lifted by air and must be absorbed back into the skin or cleansed by fast-moving water and a loofah. Is that flop sweat?

For the record, this is how temperature controls should be set for optimum relaxation and comfort!!

This photo was taken during one of several brief stops on the drive home – gas, bathroom, one more bottle of water, during what should have been a one hour and fifteen minute drive - when I seized the precious moments to blast freezing air without getting caught!!


I owed you this

It was here Saturday and I remembered to take the picture, but then forgot to post it. Here go:


So, I was catching up on all of the detritus of household management this morning:

1.) The Roomba project. Contact iRobot and find out what the deal is on our "repair ticket" - the last segment of which, back in July, told me to call an 800 number and order a replacement unit at a discount price. The specified product was not available and the foreign customer 'service' agent didn't know what to do with me. I'm done cleaning the basement floor manually and want to go back to programming my little assistant. Maybe someday, they'll figure out how to either fix their own machines, hire customer service people that - no offense - share a common language with the majority of their customers, or face the fact that I will continue to bug them until they send me a NEW, FREE machine!

2.) Gorgeous kid photos project. Re produce the matrix of poses, sizes and formats that will satisfy us, 3 sets of grandparents, 2 aunts and our budget and actually PLACE the order this time before it dissolves into cyberspace like the one you spent 5 hours putting together back in June when the pictures were actually taken.

3.) Cultural activities project. Decipher MILs checkmark system to incorporate her selections into the purchase of tickets to offerings from Diana Wortham Theatre. Involves determining whether my husband or father will be more interested in attending each show with me, balance that with which evenings are available, whether or not the in-laws want to attend and whether I need to go on another night, so the in-laws can babysit or suck it up and attend the same as them (which implies my husband home with the kids, which implies attending a show I wanted to see until I realized I'd be in the midst of a four-seat cartoon involving my previously-estranged-reunited-by-his-colon-cancer father and my in-laws). This one could take more than a morning, especially since G is not good counsel.

4.) Pottery Barn hutch project. Call PB and asked them where the heck the hutch to my buffet is. Ordered in July, buffet was delivered (along with a red rose) in August and hutch was back-ordered until Aug. 14th. Heloo!? It's Sept 3rd and no one has contacted me 'bout nothin'. Luckily, this one was actually the first project I tackled today. Because Linda - email me and I'll give you her extension!! - gave me the scoop, an apology and a $100 gift card!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Makes calling on all he other potential unpleasantries so much easier. Oh!!! the hutch will be here sometime between Sept. 12th and late October (Linda was sweet, courteous and helpful; the system she works within is rather limited.).

5.) Verify Disney reservations project. There's been a bit of confusion. M'oney made reservations and then changed them. The email we received on the change did not reflect the change, so he called to double check it and they hadn't made it. The second email seemed to be updated, but he was already worried, so called back to verify the dates they had us booked for - and the CS person had them wrong!!! AAAAAh. They were posted correctly to the My Trip section on Disney's vacation planning site - until the whole itinerary was lost!!! Again!!!!! So M'oney asked me to call and get the name of the CS person, note the time, etc...and make sure, since we're spending 80 bajillion dawlahs on this trip, that we don't arrive to a f'd up reservation. So, Katie confirmed to me this morning at 9:43 EST that we're good to go.

And because none of my posts seem complete without a photo... this image greeted me just moments ago as I went to the kitchen to get G the piece of candy she's been beggign for throughout the viewing of Barbie and the Magic of Pegasus (I really should learn to link stuff to my posts, but for now, I'll just settle for unintentional endorsement through product placement)...I'll now share it with you.

It's a bunny with a gardening glove protruding. Happy Wednesday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!