Thursday, October 25, 2012

Barky Boulevard

I was going to write about another scary topic - lice! And how we discovered that we had it again this morning. But that only one of my daughters had it and even though I was itching like crazy it was only in my head not on my head and I was free and clear.

Instead, I'm going to tell you about my afternoon on Barky Boulevard. There is a woman who walks up my street talking on her cell phone. I'll say she does it everyday, but I've only noticed it the last two-days in a row. She walks up the street chattering away and as soon as she passes my house, she sets off the Bark-A-Thon. My dog barks and the neighbor's two dogs bark and it doesn't stop until she turns around at the top of the hill and comes back down again. Those two dogs don't need any encouragement either, let me tell you.

My neighbor is great and I'm trying to be understanding, but this is really too much. The dogs bark like there is a contest to see which one of them can go the longest and they are both too competitive to lose, if you know what I mean.

The fact that I was standing out on my front deck sweeping didn't have anything to do with their state of frenzy, I'm sure. But while I was there, clearing the front of my house out from under the pine needles washed out of the tree by the recent rain, I was thinking about Halloween decorations again. I'd like to put my man out there, but with the rain, I don't want soggy, mildew-y clothes come next week.

And for the record, the dogs are still barking and I've been inside as long as it's taken me to write this.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Scary Season

I love Halloween! I love just about everything about it, too. When I met my husband, he told me that it was his favorite holiday, which I thought was quite clever. In fact, we officially started dating in late October and we saw Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein on our first date. I did think it was odd that the first Halloween we spent together he didn't dress up, but we walked around the Castro district back when hundreds of thousands of people used to show up for the party. Maybe they still do, I wouldn't know.

Anyway, I feel a little lame-o since our only decoration - so far - is a skeleton hanging on our front door, especially since most of our neighbors have gone all out with the spider webs, fake tombstones, body parts and crashed witches in their yards.

Walking the dog today, I was admiring a yard with two skeletal hands emerging from the grass when I tripped over a dead body. You know when you step on something that gives a little and you know it's not right? It was quite shocking that the body would be laying in the street unmolested, perhaps a little warm still. And my dog didn't even notice it! Not that he's in the habit of being attracted by the dead. 

Considering that it was amidst so many holiday decorations, it would be easy to imagine that it was part of the scenery or even fake. But no. It was definitely a dead thing and it was very real. I kept going, ignoring the poor squirrel because I wouldn't know what to do with it. Should I have carried it home with me to put in my trash bin - or better yet, perform a small burial and funeral ceremony to commemorate what was most certainly a short life?

I did nothing. I walked on thinking about diseases that jump from animal host to human and tried to recall that rodent-borne one's name. Is it Heppa? Hanta? Hinta? (Hantavirus) And my reward for my cowardice? Further along in my walk I came across a small patch of fur. It looked like some poor critter was scalped. Very disturbing. Very apropos, unfortunately, in this scary season. My lame-o decorations seem just a little bit more fine now.

Friday, October 19, 2012

I've been channeling my inner Oscar lately. Oscar the Grouch, that is. Though, I've always loved Oscar Madison. Both are a bit messy, which might be why I can identify with them.

I'm on my third and hopefully final day of my latest migraine. I've been suffering as if I had a cloud hovering over and through my head while having to bear the weight of the world on my tired shoulders. I've been grumpy and glum and if anyone would let me hide away with a lid on my tiny enclosed space, I would have. There is a lot of sleeping involved and without the proper kind or amount of medicine to take away the pain, I've wondered yet again, why I haven't gotten some sort of prescription for this monstrous burden.

Not that it would help. Or so my fellow migraine sufferers complain, too.

After another nap this morning, I felt the fog had lifted and I was feeling much better, though still in pain, strangely enough. And I just remembered the post that I wanted to write. I'll make it another entry, though, and instead, I'll tell you about my tap-dancing dog.

I was walking my dog the other morning when I noticed him moving his front paw funny when he walked. It was almost like a limp, but it also reminded me of those horses that can count. As I watched this strange behavior, I heard a tap-tap every time he put his foot down on the pavement. In his own way - or in the way in which we anthropomorphize our pets, he was smiling at me like Gene Kelly in Singing in the Rain. (A movie I finally saw after all these years of pop culture references.)

I reached down to my dogs foot to find that he had a half walnut shell stuck to one of his pads. Clever dog found a way to make tap shoes. Or shoe. When I removed the shell, the smile seemed to disappear. Then again, there was grass to be eaten.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Losing and Learning

So, when I was at the dentist yesterday...just kidding. No more dentist entries. At least until I forget or find myself full of self-indulgence.

I wanted to give you an update about my weight-loss. One more pound made ten. Then I crept up a smidgeon, but I'm holding steady. The Atkins book that I was using was a library book and I had to return it. I'm going to look for a copy at the used book sale at our school's big carnival fundraiser on Saturday. If I don't find one there, I'll buy it for a penny on Amazon.

You are dying to know if anyone noticed if I lost weight after I cut my hair, aren't you? Only one person noticed. And do you know who it was? No, of course you don't. It was the very friendly woman who helped us out at my daughter's Orthodontist. Yes, another reason to love going there! I'll leave it at that, though, because you don't want to hear how my daughter got braces on the bottom teeth yesterday.

To me, losing ten-pounds has been huge. It has made a significant difference in so many things from the way my clothes fit to the fact that my left ankle doesn't swell anymore. But also, when I'm following the diet more strictly, I don't get tired and my energy level sky-rockets! Who doesn't want more energy? Don't get me wrong, I love my coffee more than most people, but it works better when I'm not starting at a negative energy level and rising to zero just to get through my day.

The other big, Big, BIG, thing that I've noticed is that if I have just one Ice Cold Pleasure Unit (beer) at the end of the day, I feel crappy the next morning. Not crappy in a hangover kind of way, but in a someone just gave me a transfusion-with-molasses kind of way. I have a ZERO energy morning after a just one beer night. It's almost enough to stop drinking them! And yes, I know they are not on Atkins. I've been slipping. I told you I was.

Life is nothing if not a learning process. And I'm all about learning.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Long-winded Telling of Two Dental Visits That Went Very Well

I've written a lot about my adventures and misadventures with dentists, but this time, I'd like to write about my kids' dentists. I'm so thoroughly impressed with my experiences lately that I have to share.

First of all, my oldest daughter started to complain about a pain in her tooth. She mentioned it, then I didn't hear about it again for a while. I must have forgotten and pains don't usually stop for no reason, but she mentioned it again a week or so later. I asked, "Still?" And yes, same pain, hadn't gone away. Did she want to go to the dentist? Yes, but not during school hours.

We were busy, mind you. We were settling into our new school year. I called our regular dentist and found out that she had just had a baby! She was on maternity leave and her receptionist gave me a number for a substitute dentist. I called the new dentist, made an appointment, and got some mumbo jumbo about how they don't bill our insurance company and I have to file all the paperwork myself.

My daughter didn't want to miss school and rejected this appointment. I called back to cancel. About a week later, I remembered to try again and checked in with her Orthodontist to see if they could recommend another dentist. She called this substitute dentist and called me back. They would help me and I'm not to worry about insurance paperwork.

I called the substitute dentist again and they had no recollection of that first conversation and got us in right away. By this time, my daughter was going to miss some school, like it or not. That tooth had to be taken care of already!

When my daughter was at this dentist's office, he initially suspected that when one of the two roots on this tooth dissolved as the permanent tooth started coming in, the tooth itself sort of flapped up and got something stuck underneath, causing an abscess. Just to be sure, he did an x-ray.

It turned out that she had a massive cavity on the backside of that tooth, but that the root was also dissolving unevenly causing an abscess. He pulled the tooth. Sure, the massive cavity was a problem, but the root issue wasn't something we could have done anything about. The tooth was pulled immediately and she was out of there within 45-minutes start to finish.

A side note about this:

When my daughter was born, she had a defect in one of her valves. It was easily corrected by surgery. (And by easily, I mean the surgery was easy for the doctor, but one of the hardest days EVER for me as a parent!) Her bi-annual visit to her Cardiologist just the day before revealed that her biggest risk to heart would be an abscessed tooth. (I simplify, but you get the picture.)

So, the tooth was taken care of, lickety-split by a dentist who was substituting for our regular dentist. I was SO impressed, SO grateful and SO relieved! If I didn't love our current dentist so much, I would switch in a heartbeat. I may even check to see if they treat adults there. I don't need to get a prize when I'm done, but I love the professionalism.

But that's not all!

My youngest daughter had a wire pop out of her braces and it was causing her a lot of grief. As it turned out, the wire rotated, making one side longer, thus poking her painfully in the cheek, while making the other side was shorter, and therefore not long enough to stay in place.

I picked her up from school and she said she needed to get in right away. We drove over there, not even knowing if they were open. Sure enough, the door was locked and the lights were out. She wiggled the second door handle and someone opened it for us. I'm not sure what this woman's official role is, but while she sits at the receptionist desk, she comes across to me as the sort of person within an office who can do everything and runs the show from behind the scenes. I love her!

Even though she didn't have the skill-set to help us specifically, she offered up what help she could, even plucking out some tools in case I wanted to cut the wire until my daughter's scheduled appointment two-days later. When this wasn't going to solve our problem (I didn't cut a thing) she called in one of the dental assistants (again, I don't know the job title!) who came in on her day off to make the wire adjustment. She arrived within five-minutes of the call, and we were out five-minutes after that.

Amazing! Both my girls were taken care of so well and so quickly. And the professionalism and courtesy we experienced were absolutely outstanding. I'm so impressed!

Am I gushing? I don't care. I'd gush all day about this!

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Spiders and Cake

If you really must know, I write the best posts in my head. And while it may look like I've been MIA, I've been very prolific in the ether.

Then, today, as I was making my coffee, a spider crawled into the water reservoir. It crawled out, then in again and back out. The vacuum was handy, but before I went for the vacuum, I noticed another similar - perhaps twin - spider crawling on the wall not six-inches from the coffee pot. They're gone now. May they rest in peace and come back next life as a cat and I will love them.

My husband has been taking care of the spiders on the outside of our home lately, and I haven't noticed as many inside. It's a pleasant surprise to realize that I don't know when the last time I encountered a spider was. Though, now that I think of it, I know when it happened.

The last time a spider crossed my path, the path was on my arm while I was in 99%-asleep-mode. I felt it crawling and I put my drowsy pincher-grasp on it and felt the heft of it as I threw it across the room. This was not a spindly cellar spider or an insignificant wisp of a thing. Nope, this was the size of a dime or a nickel with fatty legs. It was probably black and hairy, now that I think of it, too. Fortunately, I didn't see it and was asleep enough to deal with it without getting freaked out.

I think I wrote about this episode before, but it may have been in my head. Forgive the duplication if I'm boring you.

What I really meant to write about today, though, was the fact that I've lost nine-pounds. It's a long, boring story how it happened, but I decided to try Atkins. It has really changed my life. Not only is nine-pounds wow all on its own, but did you know that my pants don't fall down now? Yes, that's right, the roll of fat around my middle pushed my pants down (think apple) so I was constantly pulling them up. Now, however, they stay up because the middle isn't bigger than the under-middle. Yay!

Funny thing, though. I've lost nine-pounds and not a single person has noticed (besides my husband, who has been very supportive)! I see it missing from my face the most. I don't look as puffy or round as I used to and I can't believe that it isn't totally obvious to everyone.

In a completely unrelated side-story, I got my haircut today. I had really long hair then cut it to my shoulders and today I cut it to chin length. I love it. It's so me. And what I think is that now that I've cut my hair, people may notice that I've lost weight. We'll see. I've got more to go.

You may be wondering how I'm doing without all the sweets that I love. And that is a valid question. The answer is: I'm doing fine. We've had Hostess Donettes sitting on our counter for a few days and I haven't had a one. My only indulgences have been a slice of pie and two slices of cake on my birthday. In my defense, I shared the pie with my best friend and the cake was for my birthday!

I have more to say, of course, and I'll have to hold my tongue until the next entry...