Psalm 23:4 - Pit Bull Translation

"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil:
for I am the baddest dog in the valley"

Thursday, March 1, 2012

24 Hours

This is what my kitchen looked like exactly 24 hours after our dishwasher unceremoniously died and poured water all over the kitchen floor.  The Engineer went to work trying to fix it but we had to accept that the end of it's workable life has come. 

I tried to convince people that paper plates were a viable option during this dishwasher free, painful period of our lives but no one was having any of it.  They kept using dishes and glasses despite my logical arguments.  Oh well,  guess what folks, go ahead use whatever you want, but I'm not listening to the whining when your washing all this crap by hand.  And just so we're clear on this matter before us, I'm not washing any of it.  They did clean it up themselves and if they whined I never heard it because I made sure I wasn't home to witness it.

The Engineer spent the weekend researching and shopping for a new dishwasher.  Last Wednesday we picked it up and it was immediately installed.  After it was installed it ran for four loads in a row before you could see the counters again.   There isn't an appliance in this house that rests on it's laurels.  We are a household accustomed to luxury.  Many would argue that a dishwasher is a luxury item, and I can't say I disagree, but when you've spent your whole life with one your perception is definitely coming from a different place. 

Maybe the end of it's life hasn't arrived.  Yesterday morning someone pulled up in front of our house and loaded that dishwasher into the back of their pickup truck.  It made me happy.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

They Just Don't Make Things Like They Used To.....

I haven't even had this lap top for a year.  It's still under warranty.  So imagine my surprise when I got the blue screen of death a couple of weeks ago.  Once again I had a warning and backed up my hard drive the day before it died.

It made it in by the warranty date by a couple of weeks.  Usually it's the other way around with the repair people telling me how sorry they are that the warranty just expired.

So I'm grateful it didn't cost me anything to fix it but I gotta tell you that I'd of been screwed if I needed this thing to make a living (and not just the time sucking beast that it is) because it took forever to get it back.  They had to wait for Toshiba to send the "rescue disks".  In this electronic day and age can someone explain to me why repair people had to wait for disks at all?

Sigh, at least I'm back in business.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Ohio is rejoining the United States of America!

"Is it safe to come out yet?" Almost, Blink - Almost! This little pit bull impostor just heard news that Ohio Governor John Kasich is expected to sign HB14 in his home state. When he does, dogs just like her can come out of hiding -- They can be judged by their behavior instead of their looks. History is ALMOST here!

(Alright, she really is a pit bull, but if she lived in Ohio I'd have to pretend (and believe me they killed them anyway even without proof on just looks alone) she was something else or they would of killed her)

Those days are coming to an end.  Thank you to all the pit bull advocates who work so tirelessly to bring sanity back into dog laws across the country.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

"It's Halftime in America"

I saw this commercial being talked about on Facebook.  Which means people have probably been talking about it for a while.  Since I'm about a week behind everyone else's times I'm sure you've seen it.  But it's a first for me so I'm sharing.  I read that there have been complaints that it is political.  I really like the message.  It must have worked as a commercial too, since I wanted to go out and by a GM product. 

I don't care if it's political.  I get annoyed by people who get their panties in a bunch over "political" stuff.   If you don't like it.  Tough!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

I Almost Fell Off the Beam Last Night

As an alcoholic I sometimes have "alcohol" thoughts.  Just passing thoughts about having a drink, or sometimes if I'm feeling restless, irritable or discontent I ruminate about how "just one" would take the edge off.  Of course I've never had "just one" in my entire life, so who am I kidding.  Fortunately, not myself.

Last night I'm driving to work and a thought passed on through about how refreshing a gin and tonic would taste.  That thought almost immediately progressed to how good a pitcher would taste.  Followed by how nice it would be to just tie one on and not have to deal with the feelings of irritability, restlessness and discontent that I have been dealing with recently.   

Life on life's terms hasn't been easy lately.  I'm tired, physically and mentally.  I know that while getting drunk sounds like a great way to take a break from reality, it's really a fools dream.  Opening that door is a ticket to hell and the path back out is littered with those who don't survive.

I don't want to go back there, I can't.  So I start making phone calls.  Reaching out to my AA friends is my first line of defense when my disease gets a step up on me.  So I start dialing.  I get someone on the phone and one of the first questions she asks me is, "Is it possible that I ingested something recently that could have triggered the allergy?"  You know what, now that you mention it I had a cold last week and took some cold medicine I've never taken before.  I took it for a few days and then realized that I was getting excited waiting for the next dose to be due.  Normally I don't take anything without looking at the ingredients.  It's just too risky.  But I didn't at the time.  When I realized that I was thinking about the next dose I knew something wasn't right and read the ingredients.  There it was, the second ingredient, alcohol.  Crap!  No more of that medicine.  So I thought about it for a day or two then forgot about it, end of story? Apparently not.  Alcoholism (and food addiction, for that matter) is cunning, baffling and powerful, a week later and the power boost my disease got by me ingesting alcohol is still affecting me.

Last night I came the closest I have ever come to picking up a drink since I've been in recovery.  The important part is I didn't, but that doesn't mean that I won't face this challenge again.

Friday, February 3, 2012

The Stuff Nightmares Are Made Of- Follow Up.....

This morning I received a call from my vet.  She was wondering how Malka was doing and wanted to know if we had followed up with the local SPCA.

My personal beliefs are that you take responsibility for your own actions and as much as I was disturbed by what happened the facts are that Malka was not on our property and not under our control and that is why she wandered into a mine field of traps.  What ever my personal beliefs are, trapping is legal in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.  So anyway......

The vet was concerned because state law states that the traps have to be checked every twenty four hours once they are laid out.  Since several of the animals in the area were in various stages of decomposition obviously that had not been happening.  She suggested that I go over and take some pictures and forward them to the SPCA for follow up. 

She's right and I agreed.  I wasn't exactly excited to go there, to say the least, but I felt the purpose was worth it.  The Scientist agreed to show me the way. 

Baseball Boy, who has been working hard to come to terms with what he saw that night, wanted to go.  I didn't think that was a good idea at all, nope not at all.  He actually slept last night for the first time, why would he want to go back and refresh that picture.

Fortunately, I have learned from program and past experience to really listen when someone expresses interest in something instead of just blowing them off because of what I think. 

Baseball Boy makes his case.  He states that a large part of his fear came from the fact it was so dark he felt closed in and trapped.  He said he thinks he would feel better if he saw the area in the day light with me there to help him understand what had happened to the animals.  He also felt that seeing it without Malka laying on the ground would leave him with a better picture to replace the one in his head now.  I found myself agreeing to let him go.  I still surprise myself sometimes.  The Vet didn't want to go, so she stayed home, no explanation necessary.

As we are walking The Scientist and Baseball Boy are pointing out some of the areas they searched that day.  When we get close to the large branch pile we stop.  I confirm that they are up for this, since it's not really necessary for them to go any further.  Both feel they need to face their fear.  I am impressed by their courage.  I didn't want to be there and I wasn't there Saturday night.

As we walk around to the other side of the branch pile they pause.  It's not what they remember at all.  I am relieved.  As much as I would have liked to forward pictures to the SPCA for follow up I really didn't want to see the scene of the crime.  I am far from squeamish,  there was nothing there I hadn't seen before, I just didn't need to add another scene of carnage to the already full catalog in my head.

Who ever owns the traps must have heard what happened because there was not a trap to be found.  The only carcasses were the remains of two deer who had obviously been dressed, and they were together in the pile.  All the other remains were no longer there.  The innards of the deer that had been spread around as bait were gone.   The Scientist and Baseball Boy were able to point out where everything had been, clearly someone had put a lot of effort in cleaning up the scene. 

So there won't be a follow up with the SPCA who really needed pictures to start an investigation.  I don't care, I'm just happy that the traps are no longer laid out.  I'm not naive enough to think that they haven't been moved to another area but at least my children will not have to loose sleep wondering if any animals are losing their life back there every time they walk down that road.

So how's Malka doing:

Malka's injuries were worse than they first appeared but fortunately she's recovering.  Apparently she was in worse shape than we thought originally.  The swelling in her leg has slowly gone down, and she only has a slight limp.  But on Monday morning when I took her out to potty she peed three times in different spots.  Not normal for her.  So I grabbed a urine sample and took it down to the vets.  We had the results later in the day.   Her already weak kidneys had begun to shut down.  They are improving but this caused a sludge type substance (has a fancy name that I can't remember) to be excreted through her urine.  She also has a lot of blood in her urine too.  The kidney failure caused her to not eat.  She needs good food and lots of extra fluid to flush the crap out of her kidneys so they can hopefully heal.  So I broke out one of my get the dog to eat tricks.  You take a pound of chicken livers and put them in a big pot and fill it with water.  Bring it to a boil until the livers are well cooked.  It is gross but just what the doctor ordered for a finicky dog.  A couple of pieces of liver along with a couple of cups of the water from the pot in their regular food and ta da the dog eats and gets extra water too.

Yesterday afternoon for the first time Malka showed definite signs of improvement.  She's eating more heartily and is acting more energetic.  She'll also be on antibiotics for a month so she doesn't develop any secondary infections.  She's had problems with her kidneys before.  In a few weeks we'll rerun the tests to see if her renal function has returned to her baseline normal. 

I'm just happy we have her back.  Even another hour out there and she probably wouldn't of made it.  Every day we have her is a gift.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Problem with "Learning the Hard Way"

is that sometimes it results in death.  Hopefully not yours (although sometimes that the case) but in this case it was the death of two of our chickens.

When The Scientist was a toddler I used to ask her, "do you want to do it the easy way or the hard way?  The choice is yours."  It didn't take her long to figure out that the easy way was the preferred choice.  Of course this came back to bite me later on when she was forced to do things the hard way to get the result she wanted, but I guess that part of the learning curve too.  As a small aside:  One day we were pulling into a shopping center and she asked what store we were going into and I said, "The hardware store."  She started to cry and said she didn't want to go to the hardware store she wanted to go to the easyware store.  Chalk another one up in the tell your therapist when your 30 column.  Anyway, no surprise, I digress.

In the winter the kids regret having chickens.  It's cold, the wind whips across our yard, it gets dark really early and they eat more, mostly because they are bored but also because they burn more calories keeping warm.  So for three months out of the year there is a lot of complaining about who's turn it is to care for them. 

Well, this winter they started getting lazy about making sure their feeder was always full.  It was rarely empty but instead of constantly filling it they would wait until it was empty to fill it.  The reaction that caused was subtle and not recognized until it resulted in a very painful lesson for them. 

You see hens have a pecking order (pecking/chickens/get it?).  We can't do anything about it and it changes as the birds age, new birds are added to the flock or just because, but if you spend any time observing them you will clearly see who's in charge and who's at the bottom of the order.

So what was happening, unbeknown to the kids, was the chickens were rationing their food because there wasn't a unending supply of food anymore.  The dominant birds were preventing the two birds at the bottom of the order from freely eating.  Even this probably wouldn't of been enough to kill them, they were getting some food.  Then the straw that broke the camels back occurred.

Every now and then one of the hens doesn't make it back into the coop at night.  For whatever reason they fall asleep outside and when the coop gets closed up they wind up spending the night under the stars.  This can be a problem if there are predators in the area but our run is enclosed so that isn't as much of an issue. 

The two hens at the bottom of the pecking order for a reason that will remain unknown didn't return to the coop one night last week.  What made this even stranger was it had been pouring rain all evening and they don't normally like to be out in the rain for long.  The kids are supposed to make sure everyone is in before they close it up, but that doesn't always happen.  It's dark, cold, windy, raining, essentially miserable; no head count usually occurs on those nights.

When the sun came up Baseball Boy went out to open up the coop for the day.  He found Oreo and Jersey laying in the run next to the coop.  Both were soaking wet and had died during the night.  The temperatures had dropped dramatically and I was surprised to find both birds were underweight.  I think that between being wet and too thin they were unable to withstand the cold overnight.

This isn't the first time we've gone out in the morning to find dead hens.  You learn to accept that farm animals do not have the life expectancy of family pets and they in general live a riskier life.  But that doesn't make it any easier on the kids who almost instantly realized what happened and that the birds being underweight contributed to their demise.

So they learned a lesson the hard way, and Oreo and Jersey paid the price.  I'm sure that they would would cry and want to learn it at the easyware store, if only that were possible.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

In My Head.....

One of the guys I work with showed me this video last night. He thought it was cool and had a catchy tune. For the love of G-d I can not get it out of my head. I must have watched it 50 times today. The Scientist and I are hooked. The Vet just shook her head and walked away with disgust after the fifth viewing. Apparently, we are just having a little too much fun for her taste. What do you think?

Click the link below.

Monday, January 30, 2012

The Stuff Nightmares are Made Of


Doesn't she look innocent.  Like butter wouldn't melt in her mouth.  In previous posts I've referred to her as Houdini.  A nickname that will have to change due to an addition to our clan who now bares the name.  Even though her nickname will change her ability to escape, sadly has not. 

Saturday almost became her last day on earth.  I don't know what was going through her head when she pushed the fence out and slipped away but it was almost a fatal mistake. 

If not for the persistence of three very tenacious children she might not be with us today.  One of whom got an ambulance ride to a local hospital for the effort and Malka who got a ride in a fire rescue truck for her part.  Yes, it was a very interesting day.

As most "interesting" days it started out as any other routine Saturday.  The Engineer and the kids had chores to do and errands to run.  They returned home around four in the afternoon.  Someone let the dogs out and about 15 minutes later the entire course of the next 10 hours changed dramatically. 

It's cold outside and Mickey does not like cold weather.  It took him fifteen minutes to burn off a little energy, do a perimeter check for errant squirrels and bunnies and do his business.  His latest trick is to jump up and ring the door bell when he wants to come in,  when we answer the ring both dogs are usually standing there patiently waiting.  That was not the case yesterday.

Only Mickey greeted The Engineer when he answered the door.  A few minutes later when Malka hadn't returned he started calling her.  The beginning of hours of yelling her name.

Faithful readers know this isn't her first escape.  The few times she has gotten out she returned after we called her.  When she didn't come this time the kids bundled up and started walking, calling her name.  The Engineer got in his car and started driving.  I was at work unaware of the drama playing out at home.

Later on when it became obvious that she wasn't coming back I received my first of many panicked phone calls and text messages from the kids.

As darkness fell along with temperatures the wind picked up and our hopes for finding her plummeted.  We notified local police departments and a large veterinary clinic in the area (the only one open late on a Saturday).   Her tags are up to date and she's micro chipped but that was little consolation with the weather and her lack of street skills.

At 11 PM The Engineer returned home to heat up some soup for some frozen kids who refused to give up.  About fifteen minutes after he got home the kids, who insisted on staying out looking, heard a dog bark.  A quick phone call to The Engineer and all four of them were slogging through a swampy field in the direction they thought the sound came from. 

The wind was whipping across the field so hard that even yelling it was hard to hear.  Nothing else could be heard above the sound of the wind. 

Even with flashlights finding a black dog on a dark, cloudy night seemed hopeless.  As they came across an area with large piles of branches they stopped to listen.  That's where they found her.  Laying silently on the ground, her front paw caught in a trap.  When they bent down to touch her fearing the worst, only the end of her tail barely wagged.  Relief was shortlived when they saw the trap and realized that getting her out of there was not simply going to be a matter of picking her up and hiking back out.  The trap had her paw tight and it was frozen to the ground.

The Engineer, shining his flashlight around looking for something to try and pry the trap up saw what can only be described as a horror movie come to life.  It turned out all three kids and The Engineer were standing amid an entire area layed out with traps all set to snare unsuspecting animals.  A recently gutted deer was spread around as bait, several skinned animals (believed to be foxes) were thrown about and numerous other animal carcasses in varing stages of decomposition were everywhere. 

At work my phone rings and I am instantly relieved that Malka has been found, but my relief didn't last long when the details of their situation became apparent. 

Fortunately, one of the pluses of living in a rural area is the local volunteer fire company still does animal rescues.  Describing their location was a little complicated but it wasn't long before help was on the way. 

As The Engineer tried to reassure the kids and block them from the frigid wind Baseball Boy said he didn't feel good.  Before anyone could respond his eyes rolled back and he fell backwards, passed out cold.  Lifting him up brought him around momentarilly, but Baseball Boy only mumbled something about being tired before going out again.  Once again my cell phone rang and the panic in The Scientist's voice was palpable. 

Another phone call to the fire company and an ambulance was dispatched along with them.  That's when I left work.   The 45 minute ride home took about 30 minutes.  About half way home The Scientist called me with an update.  The Engineer and Baseball Boy are on the way to the hospital and the fire company had brought Malka and the girls back to the house to wait for me.

I walk in the door and I'm greeted by Mickey, his usual exuberance muted, even he realizes that something is wrong.  I find Malka laying on the sofa.  She doesn't lift her head but the tip of her tail is wagging.  The girls are flanking her, both pale, and obviously exhausted, both emotionally and physically.  I quickly check her paw and am relieved to find it firmly attached, it was swollen but didn't appear deformed.  She's too weak to get up so I pick her up and carry her out to the van.  On the way to the emergency clinic I call ahead and they were waiting for us when we arrived.

She is an American Pit Bull Terrier.  Stoic doesn't begin to describe her.  The vet wanted to see if she could stand or walk.  I reluctantly put her down, she wobbles slightly, then pulls herself together.  With some urging she hesitently takes a few steps.  It's obviously painful but she puts weight on her injured paw.  The vet goes over her from head to toe and cleans her injured paw.  She was very lucky.  No bones appear to be broken.  We pack her up and take her home. 

The Scientist, The Vet and Malka all tucked in safely at home and I head to the hospital.  I find Baseball Boy awake and alert with The Engineer sitting by his side.  Baseball Boy is wrapped in what looks like a giant space bag inflated with circulating warm air.  It appears that Baseball Boy was overcome from the combination of hypothermia and stress.  A follow up this week with his doctor should confirm that diagnosis.

Malka's leg this morning was swollen to twice it's normal size.  She can barely walk on it but she's still so exhausted she not in any rush to go anywhere anyway.  We're all tired today and the kids are still processing what they saw last night.

Their tenancity, which can drive me insane sometimes, saved Malka's life.  She wouldn't have survived the night out there.  They wouldn't give up looking for her. 

I bought rebar today to secure the fence where she got out,  Mickey and Malka will not be outside unsupervised until it's repaired.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Is It Food?

I found this really cool graphic on Michael Prager's blog.  He wrote, "Fat Boy, Thin Man", a book that is on my intend to read to list.  If your interested in food addiction or how "Big Foods" are controlling how we eat, head on over and give a read.

I have a lot to say about how many foods today aren't really "food" but it's going to have to wait for another day.   Just wanted to throw this out there and see what you think. 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Book Review- Unsaid

Book Review - Unsaid by Neil Abramson

If you are expecting something literary forget it.

One word summation: Page turner (okay so it's two words, fire me)

This book was a gift from my vet. One of her clients gave her a copy and she couldn't put it down. She so identified with the main character that she bought copies for all her friends. I was a lucky recipient of one of the copies.

The main character is a veterinarian named Helena. Happily married to David, a big city attorney, and living and working in the country with her own group of damaged animals, she is diagnosed with cancer at the age of 37.

After she passes away, her devastated husband is approached by a woman that Helena worked with in a research laboratory before they met. She is trying to save a chimpanzee who is scheduled for a research experiment that will most likely take her life.

David, who is struggling with his own grief and trying to care for Helena's beloved animals, agrees to take on the case.

The story is told from the view of Helena as she is trapped between this world and the next. Unable to move on, terrified to face the animals she has helped pass on during her years as a veterinarian.
I really enjoyed this book. I would recommend it to anyone who loves animals and believes that they have the potential to communicate. The court room drama that unfolds left me with tears in my eyes.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

133 Down 4877 to Go

It's Girl Scout cookie season again. Woo hoo!!

Every year the Girl Scouts offer incentive prizes. The "big" prize is always something that makes the girls salivate with excitement. This year is no different. They are offering an I-Pod Touch to any girl that sells 2500 boxes of cookies. That's a lot of cookie dough.

My girls sell together. So since they have to split their sales they plan to sell 5000 boxes so they each may have their own I-Pod Touch. They'll spend the next three months working side by side selling cookies but don't want to consider sharing one. I don't even try to understand teenage logic.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

"You Can't Make Me!"

If I had a nickle for every time I've heard that in the last few months I could retire. We'll technically The Vet is right, I can't make her.

But (yep there it is again folks, some things don't change), I am only legally obligated to supply you with food, shelter and clothing and that can be arraigned. On the menu for tonight's dinner, by special request, sardines (protein), potato flakes (starch) and okra (veggie). Enjoy. Oh you don't like such foods. They assault your tender pallet. Bummer, you can't make me cook anything I don't want to. Bon Appetite.

Monday, January 23, 2012

One Year Later ( well almost )

I can't believe it's been almost a year since I've posted.

Last night I couldn't sleep. What used to be a normal occurrence, rarely occurs today. So since I did most of my writing late at night, while the world slumbered around me, it stands to reason that not much happens in my blogger world anymore.

But last night sleep eluded me. So much has happened in my world in the last year. So many changes, none of them recorded for posterity (probably a good thing in some cases). But last night I read back over some of my older posts and enjoyed some fond memories. I started thinking about how much pleasure I got out of this time sucker blog. Inflicting my random thoughts and irritations on my faithful readers, sharing some good times and some not so good.

Blogging about why I'm not blogging is stupid and a waste of everyones time so I'm moving on.

Here's just a quick update in the cast of characters who live in my world (man that sounds arrogant).

Rusty's Mom: Still a homeschooling mom, dog loving, EMT, vet tech. 110 lbs lighter food addict, recovering alcoholic (yeah, you read that right). It took me decades to admit it, but I've given up the fight. My addictions don't define me anymore, but I'm still trying to figure out who the real Rusty's Mom is, my journey continues.

The Engineer: Still the same old Type A, perfectionist. Without food to hide behind, some of his quirks irritate the hell out of me now, but hey, like I said it's all a journey.

The Scientist: Still scary smart. 13 years old and is studying for her college entrance exams. But still the consummate teenager. Oh boy, what blog fodder she has been.

The Vet: Social butterfly. Walks around all day with a cell phone in her hand, texting. Does anyone under the age of 21 actually talk on a phone?

Baseball Boy: Finally decided that learning to read might not be such a bad idea after all. Once he put his mind to it, wow Mom that was easy, what was all the fuss about. He hasn't played baseball in a few years but wants to again this spring. But he still loves the game so his name remains the same.

Mickey/Malka: A little older, a little wiser but still curled up sleeping next to each other on the couch.

Daisy: Hasn't cost me anymore large sums of money but it's only a matter of time since she decided that she wanted to be an indoor/outdoor cat. Makes me nervous every time she slips out the door.

Additional cast of characters: Chickens, snakes, fish and a bunny.

I don't have time for this, but it sure was fun. Figures.