Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Odds and Ends

Things not to do:

Show up tanked on the day of surgery.

No matter how nervous you are about having brain surgery, it's probably best not to appear at the hospital at 6 am completely schnockered. It'll require a delay in the start time. 

Yank the spike out of a REALLY big bag of fluid.

You all know that I am Genius Incarnate when it comes to being clumsy in new and creative ways. In the past, I've spilled most of the contents of the pharmacy on myself...but I reached a new high recently when I accidentally yanked the spike out of a three-liter bag of saline that was hanging at about head-level.

No, I don't want to talk about it any further. Thank you.

Sell drugs out of your hospital room.

Calling security is a pain in the ass. Could you not wait until you got home to make some extra bank?

Attempt to mug one of our employees in the parking garage.

Because, though she looks tired and vulnerable, she might actually end up being a second-degree black belt and wind up kicking your lousy ass. The cops who responded to the yanked emergency phone arrived to find one mugger, in a bruised lump on the concrete, and one rather pissed-off, medium-sized woman who just wanted to go home to bed.

Have two dogs, each well over a hundred pounds, and only a Honda Accord to move them around in.

I could solve this problem in one of two ways, I guess: 1) Buy a new car, like an xB or a Versa, that has room enough for two guys who each stand more than 25" at the shoulder. Or, alternatively, I could 2) Cobble together a lightweight cart and train them to pull it. That way I'd save the money on gas, give the boys some exercise, and look cool doing it.

The only problem would occur if Strider were to see a snack on one side of the street and Max a potential belly-rub on the other. 

Roll a loaded linen cart over your toes.

No, surprisingly, this did not happen to me. Owie, though.

Eat like, fourteen cups of blueberries at once because, you know, they taste soooo good.

I did this. It was actually more like three cups. That's still enough, though, for Interesting Things to Happen.

Ah, the glamorous life. I livez it.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Two questions:

First, which one of you smart-alecks sent me the subscription to Glamour?

It was in my mailbox today. Ha, ha, ha. Very funny. (*golf clap*)

Second, who has recommendations for dog training books? Strider is apparently even younger than his rescue foster thought and is a total doofus. He needs training before he puts on that 20 lbs. he needs. Sheesh.

Daily Strider Tidbit: He has what I'm now calling the Strider Boing: It's a move where he leaps straight up in the air, all four paws off the ground at once with his spine parallel to the ground (so he's not on his hind legs, if you see what I mean). He gets a good 30 inches of vertical air under those paws. This move is usually accompanied by a basso profundo BOOF! and can be seen in moments of great excitement, like when Brownian motion occurs or the planet is circling the sun.

Max is exhausted but happy. I need to go rub his belly now and reassure him that he's the best boy EVER. I never thought I'd see the day when a 110+ lb. German Shepherd mix looked small, but here we are.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Strider, day two

Scene: The back yard, morning

STRIDER: Dude. What *is* that thing?
MAX, yawning: Lawnmower.
STRIDER: What's it do?
MAX: Shortens the grass so we get better back-skritches.
STRIDER, examining lawnmower from all angles: Is it dangerous?
MAX, rolling on back: Just stay away; you'll be fine.
STRIDER: ....Okay. I guess I can't herd it. *sigh*

Scene: The living room,  afternoon

MAX: Don't go there, man. I'm warning you. I've tried it.
STRIDER: Aw, c'mon. It's cute and fuzzy! What harm could it do?
KITTY-CAT: I'll kill ya! I'll kill ya! I'll taste blood! Murder! DIE! DIE!! DIE DIE DIEDIEDIE!!!
(KITTY-CAT swipes at STRIDER with claws out.)
STRIDER: Holy shit, dude! She's got needle-paws!
MAX: Told you. You can't win with that one. It's crazy.

Scene: The back yard, nightfall

MAX: Doh dee doh doh dum dee dah dum dee dah....
STRIDER: Laa laaaa laaaa *roll roll roll* *scratch scratch* daaa deee hummm hummm...
MAX: Dah doh dee la la doh dum diddly dum....
STRIDER: Laaaa laaaa laaaa li loooo...wait. GO AWAY!!! GO AWAY!!! GO AWAY!!!
MAX, running after: Yeah! What he said! 
STRIDER: What was that?
MAX: Uh...it was The Hooman. But no worries. She's used to it when she comes home.

Meet Strider.

No, not that one.

I picked up a very sweet, very very very large dog yesterday from a very very very kind woman who fosters Pyrenees and other large dogs.

Strider is a close-to if not pure-bred Anatolian shepherd. I wanted a dog who was calm, athletic, not inclined to hysterics, and large enough for Max, the German/Anatolian cross who rules the back yard, to play with. Strider met all of those qualifications, plus he has a very sweet face.

So off I went in the Honda, not knowing what to expect. Strider had been picked up in Houston and had spent some time in a really awful kill-shelter there. He had mange, pneumonia, heartworms, had been underfed, and generally wasn't in the best of shape when he got rescued. The woman who fostered him has done an amazing job: he's healthy, healing, and not the least bit shy or timid. He still needs some more poundage, and his face is a mess (from healing mange and being chewed on by other dogs), but I expect he'll be in tip-top shape in six weeks or so.

His ad on Petfinder said he wasn't a big barker, didn't jump on people, and was generally well-behaved and low-maintenance. 

I think he's blooming already. He remodeled the outside utility room last night (it was almost empty anyhow, and there was nothing in there I wanted), then announced his presence to the dogs next door this morning. He barks like a Great Dane. When I went outside to greet him and Max, he *plopped* both front paws on my shoulders and licked my face.

Good boy. Gooooood boy. Nice doggie.

Max is amazed that there's another dog large enough for him to wrestle with. Strider, thank Frogs, is following Max's lead when it comes to playing and wrestling: 230 combined pounds of tooth and muscle in a dominance struggle is not what I want to deal with on my own. 

Let me say a word here about rescuing animals:

If you want a dog, cat, pig, donkey, guinea pig, chicken, or goat, please consider rescuing an animal from a shelter or rescue group before you consider buying one from a breeder. If you're really wanting a purebred animal, there are rescue groups for practically every breed out there.

The benefits to rescuing an animal are huge. First and most importantly, every dog that's rescued from a shelter or placed by a foster human is one dog that doesn't get euthanized. Animal overpopulation is a huge problem; most shelters have to euthanize not because the animals are unhealthy or vicious, but because the shelter has no more room. 

Second, if you get a dog or cat or whatever from a rescue group, you have backup that you don't get from the guys who sell puppies on the side of the road. Somebody has lived with the animal for some time and can tell you about its personality and quirks. Many times, the foster family will crate- and housetrain the animal, take it to obedience classes, and generally do all the dirty work of socializing the animal for you.

And third, you know what you're getting into with a rescue animal. They're mostly adult, someone has their medical history all there for you, and the dog/cat/donkey has already got a vet. If there's a problem, you can call the foster or rescue group for advice.

Yes, adopting an animal from a rescue or shelter is expensive--the group has to cover expenses at least partially, and everybody there is volunteer or badly paid. Every bit of cash goes to the critters. Yes, it's a tough process--home visits and vet interviews are the norm, because the folks who adopt out critters want to be sure they all get good homes. But think of it like this: these are animals who've already been labeled "unwanted" by some other human, so it's natural that their caretakers would want to prevent that happening again.

I now have three rescue critters: Max, Strider, and Evvie the Cat. I would not trade any of them for the world; rescued critters are the best ever.

And now, since that particular sermon is over, I have to go shower and run out and get some larger dog toys.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

My family, problem-solvers extraordinaire.

So, my uncle. Nice man. Hunts and fishes, but eats what he kills. Raises good dogs and raised two good kids. The sort of grandfather you'd want for your child, you dig? Goes to baseball games, can fry a mean catfish, has a good sense of humor. Sober, steady, church-going. I've never heard him raise his voice and have only heard of one time (and this was hearsay) when he used a naughty word, and that was "hell". Or "damn"; I don't really recall which.

My uncle. My Beloved Mother's baby brother, the one who loves Chefboy and is never in a bad mood? That one?

Sent a cosh.

A real, live, spring-handled, lead-ended, leather-wrapped cosh. As in, I'm not entirely certain this is legal within city limits cosh. Eight inches long, weighs about two pounds, makes a satisfying and painful thwap when you whack it into your palm, would easily fracture somebody's frontal skull. No lead pellets dropped into eelskins here; this is a serious weapon in an itty bitty package.

Apparently he read (sweet hopscotching Jesus, if he's reading this, I'd better clean up my fucking language) or heard about the patient taking a swing at me. And he got a little irritated on my behalf.

"She can put it" he told Beloved Mother, "in her pocket. Nurses have big pockets."

It has quite the loop strap on it, too. If I don't want to get too close to somebody and still land them in ICU overnight for observation, I could conceivably swing the thing at arm's length.

My methods of self-defense have been limited, these last twenty years, to ducking and running and imagining how, exactly, I would get to the fire extinguisher and loose it into some bad guy's face before Max ripped out his throat (always assuming Max would do that; it's not been put to the test, knock wood). I've never hit anybody with a cosh. I've never carried a cosh in my pocket. I've never even SEEN a cosh, for cryin' out loud; my naming it thus is informed by my taste for good and not-so-good detective fiction.

Nonetheless, I am now the proud posessor of an eight-inch-long (fourteen with handle), spring loaded, lead-tipped widget that's wrapped in braided black leather and looks like something either Bettie Page or your local pr0n store would carry.

And I can keep it in my pocket. My big nurse's pocket.

I can't wait to see the docs' expressions when I pull it out instead of a penlight.