Monday, April 29, 2013

I think my dog's new friend is using him...

I started out the care-taking process as a dog mom.  I did a couple trial runs early before I was married and had kids in order to make sure that I could keep a living being healthy and alive.  To be honest, my past with plants was not a good omen.

There are so many wonderful things about creating a relationship with a dog.  In fact, the love at first sight I had with my Golden Retriever was magical and lasted right up to her last breath.  But I would be lying if I didn't acknowledge that having a dog also strengthened my gag reflex.  Like I said, my dog was special and lovely, but she still pooped outside requiring me to pick it up.  That's part of the gig.  There's also vomiting that is foreshadowed by a workup of heaving so violent that you're sure a small child might be produced.  There's breath that is rabbit poop scented, ingestion of toilet paper that sometimes can result in a human having to assist a poop out with her hands, ear gunk to end all ear gunk and much more, but I think you get the point. 

The sad part is that this doesn't even touch the nasty-factor that comes with kids, but it gets you a little raw in preparation.

However, just as I had thought nothing could faze me, I recently came head-to-head with a tick.  No, seriously, there was a tick on my dog, Finlay's, head.  Between his eyes to be exact.  

Let me just preface this by saying, "I don't dig bugs."  That, by the way, is the understatement of the year.  My whole body puckers when I see anything with multiple legs and a pincher apparatus for a mouth.  So, when my husband said, "Hey, what is this between Finlay's eyes?", I thought, "eye booger.  No problem.  I've got this."

I'll admit that my heart dropped a notch when I saw what appeared to be a skin tag to end all skin tags hanging from his brow line   The most frightening part was that this lovely had not been there the day before which meant is was a very fast growing skin abnormality.  You see where I'm going, right?  Cancer.  

As I spread the hair away from the protrusion, I mentally prepared to scoop Mr. Fin up and hold him until I could get him to the vet the following morning.  I got a magnifying glass to get a really good look of size, color, and texture so I could look it up on the internet and really work my self up into a good panic.  It was then that the world stopped spinning for me because when I got an enlarged view, I saw the unexpected... a couple of tiny legs at the point of insertion in the skin!  It was the size of a corn kernel and had legs!  Let the dry heaving begin!  

I called screamed at the top of my lungs to my husband, "It's got legs!  It's a bug!  It's got legs!  You have to come down!"  Thinking that I was potentially having the psychotic break that he's been waiting for, he came down and we got to business on handling our dog's lastest tenant.

As you may or may not know, ticks are best removed with tweezers at the base, although I have also heard talk of getting fire involved.  Since I figured that a flame headed between Finlay's eyes would not be well received, we went for the tweezer and then bag to suffocate technique.  Between gagging, I held the magnifying glass while my husband extracted the blood sucker, and this is what we got:

Since I wasn't looking to have another pet to take care of, I evicted Finlay's new friend and chalked the experience up to an exercise building strength in my gag reflex which was good because vomiting hit the Stewart household this week!

Turns out, I do pretty well with animals and humans.  I'm still lacking in the plant department.  

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Cukoo as ever!

I've been off the blog grid for a few months now, and I could give you a hundred reasons why that's so, but just recently I was inspired to get back on the horse and write away.  (pardon the pun!)

My step-grandmother passed away last week after a very long battle with Alzheimer's.  The truth of the matter is that I really didn't know her all that well.  By the time she came into my life, I was a teenager ('nuff said) followed by being away for college and finally moving out on my own.  I knew her, of course, but after the small service where her youngest daughter delivered a eulogy that chronicled "Nana Kay's" life, I found I knew very little.  And about 4 notecards in, I realized that I missed out on an interesting and surprising package of a person.

Divorce brings a lot of heartache in its wake, but sometimes the bigger family that you are dealt in that second hand, turns out to be a diamond in the rough.  I'm lucky on both sides to have gained great family as my parents remarried, but it was only really after her death, that I find myself wishing I had hung out with this cool woman and had some of her strength rub off on me.

Here's what I learned about this tour de force :

Auntie Mame

  • She had style and grace coming out of her pores...
  • ...but she knew how to shoot water through her teeth to get someone's attention at a party.
  • She wasn't always handed an easy deck, but she carried heavy burdens with class.
  • Kay married "the one that got away" (her high school sweetheart) 45 years after he asked her to marry him the first and second time.
  • She didn't let anyone tell her something couldn't be done.  In fact, when someone said to her that it was "just so hard to get a job" (right before WWII), she went out that day and got 7 jobs just to prove it could be done.
  • Her children's friends referred to her as "Auntie Mame".
  • She weathered Alzheimer's in a way that touched everyone who came in contact with her, and continued to be the consummate host even in the most advanced stages of her disease.
  • Often, when asked how she was doing, esp. later in life, she'd reply, "Cukoo as ever!"

So, if she were my peer, and I was whining about not having time or energy to write (as I have been lately), she would probably go write three screenplays and a book just to prove it could be done!  Her stories have inspired me to live life a little fuller, encouraged me to stay strong when the turkeys come knocking, and remember that you can have an elegant package on the outside that's filled with spunk on the inside.  ...And well-timed peeks at the spunk are the memories that you leave behind.