Tag Archives: stress

First-World Problems: Gimpy Dogs and Bastard Bees

Song Lyric of the Day:

Treating today as though it was / The last, the final show / Get to sixty and feel no regret / It may take a little time / A lonely path, an uphill climb / Success or failure will not alter it / And do you feel scared, I do / And I won’t stop and falter

Howard Jones / “Things Can Only Get Better

For a while now — too long, it seems — I’ve been praying for things to get better for people I care about. These are good, hardworking people who have been dealing with the kind of life stressors you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy, and it’s been hard seeing them go through these things. Not for one second did I take it for granted that things in my life were plugging along well enough in comparison, when the bottom fell out a few weeks ago. Rich and I were hit with some unexpected/unforeseen expenses, which are never fun or easy to deal with. You know how people say money doesn’t solve everything? Those people are (1) likely wealthy and (2) full of shit because having more money would help me, my friends, and my family a lot. But the worst news has been that our dog Caleb, who has been our baby since we adopted him at 13 weeks, has a tumor growing on the end of his spleen; the only saving grace is that the doctor is pretty sure it’s *not* cancerous. Caleb will very likely be getting a splenectomy in a few weeks, and will also have to have his arthritic leg operated on since he also has torn ligaments. He’s looking at between 8 and 14 weeks of recovery time per surgery, and Rich and I are looking at lots of expenses and the challenge of keeping a very active, social 11 1/2-year-old pit calm and stationary. Which means his brother Troubadour will probably be bunking at Hotel Grandparents for a few weeks because keeping those two physically separated is the only way to guarantee they won’t play and roughhouse during Caleb’s recovery.

Aside from being my and Rich's baby, Caleb is also Coraline's nana dog, always keeping a close eye on her.

Aside from being my and Rich’s baby, Caleb is also Coraline’s nana dog, always keeping a close eye on her.


Caleb and Troubadour don’t even like to sleep apart, no matter where in the house that may be.

Did I mention the bees? In addition to the expected annual nuisance (yay, springtime!) of carpenter bees, a colony of honey bees has decided to take up residence in our home. As in the wall of our screened-in porch. They haven’t gotten into the porch, but we’ve been avoiding hanging out there since we don’t want to chance being in there if they get through the interior wall. We’re still trying to get a beekeeper a coworker recommended to come out and get them. Because honey bees are endangered and all that. At this moment in time, they are in danger of me, because if a beekeeper doesn’t get out here and remove them soon, I’ll be loading up with those cans of bee and hornet spray that shoot up to 30 feet. I want those honey-making stinged bastards out of my house NOW.

Bish, I'm in your walls! Bwahahahaha!

Bish, I’m in your walls! Bwahahahaha!
Image courtesy of A Beer for the Shower (via a Google search): http://www.abeerfortheshower.com/2013/06/the-wasp-natures-rapist.html

I sound like I’m insane, I know. But we have enough problems to deal with and the bees have kind of been the last straw/slap in the face/sting in the ass. Did I mention they’ve also created a deathly fear of any insect or bug in Coraline? I’m pretty sure it was a gnat that flew in front of her the other day that made her scream like the Easter Bunny, Chuck E. Cheese, and the boogeyman had ganged up on her. Fun times.

Still … things could be worse. Things could be worse. I know that. I am keenly aware of that. If you’ve got any spare prayers, positive thoughts, and healing vibes, please send them out to my friends and family in need of good things coming their way. And if you have any left, please send them my way so I don’t end up on PETA’s most wanted list for killing honey bees. Among other things.


Filed under personal


Song Lyric of the Day:

I think I found something / I think I found something in my TV screen / I think I found out, that I have nothing / That I have nothing in this place for me

The Neighbourhood / “Female Robbery

I’ve never really looked forward to the end of a month before, but now that the end of October is in sight, I’m thisclose to breathing a sigh of relief. Because it has been a very stressful month, to say the least. (Heads up: This is going to be a long post.)

The downward spiral, as it were, started on Monday, October 1. Midday, a coworker came to tell me Rich was laying down on a couch and thought he had food poisoning and wanted me to take him home. We packed up our stuff, and I finished out my workday from one of the upstairs couches while Rich slept fitfully on the other couch. Around 5:30PM, he asked me to take him to the hospital since he felt worse. I called Mom to let her know what was going on so she’d know why we weren’t on our way to pick up Coraline. Hours later, we got the diagnosis of kidney stones and I left to pick up Coraline while Rich and I tried finding someone to bring him home; our neighbor ended up saving the day.

That Thursday I started a week of house- and pet-sitting for my parents, so I was going back and forth between our houses a lot (Mom and Dad have diabetic kitties who need insulin shots twice a day). The following Monday Rich ended up getting blasted by lasers to break up the larger (5mm) of the two kidney stones. Thankfully, his mom was able to bring him home from the hospital so I could continue working and watching Coraline.

Wednesday morning rolled around and when I got home from Mom’s house to help Rich get Coraline ready for daycare and then carpool to work, I noticed that our dog Happy couldn’t raise her head to say hi to me. Rich then told me how he hadn’t been able to get her to eat or drink the night before and that he’d found her collapsed in the grass during the dogs’ bedtime walk. Happy had been in decline for a few weeks by this point, and even though she had rallied a bit, I still didn’t want to admit this might be the end. We came home from work at lunchtime, and when I walked In the living room, Happy was so unresponsive I at first thought she had died. I started crying (again after a morning cry) and asked Rich to please call the vet. We dropped her off at the vet on our way back to work; we were scared she would hurt herself without us around. We arranged to come back at 4PM to be with her and say goodbye, and Rich called his parents to let them know (we rehomed Happy from Rich’s parents). Back at work the time remaining until 4PM seemed interminable, with me making numerous trips to the bathroom to cry. By the time we got to the vet, Rich’s parents had been with Happy for an hour, so I was grateful they had some time together. Rich, his parents, and I were all with Happy when the time came to say goodbye. It broke my heart when we brought Coraline home from daycare and she immediately pointed to the dog beds and said, “Happy. Where’s Happy?” I said, “Happy’s not here anymore. She’s in heaven now.” Then I rushed to the bathroom to cry while Rich attended to Coraline. That turned out to be the tip of the iceberg as far as how Coraline has noticed and been affected by Happy’s passing.

The next day I picked up Coraline from daycare and took her to wrap things up at my parents’ house; my sister was picking them up from the airport later that night. Everything was going fine until Coraline started down the stairs just ahead of me, after I told her to wait for me. I think I had three simultaneous heart attacks as I watched her fall down the stairs (about eight steps, I believe). The only saving grace was that she rolled down perfectly parallel to the stairs and did NOT hit her head, even on landing on the floor at the bottom. I called a triage nurse immediately to find out if I needed to take Coraline to the ER; all I kept thinking about was Natasha Richardson and her seemingly innocuous bump on the head. After several minutes of me answering the nurse’s questions, she advised me on what to watch out for so I would know if/when to rush Coraline to the hospital. If she’d hit her head, I would’ve taken her to the hospital straightaway, but (THANK GOD), she didn’t hit her head. She didn’t even end up with any bruises. Someone was watching out for her that night. I knew she was going to be OK when she said, “I fall down stairs,” a couple of times, followed by her asking to finish eating her chicken nuggets. Once we got home, as Coraline was jumping up and down on our bed, I told Rich what had happened. Needless to say, he doubted my story a bit as Coraline was hopping around like a nut.

The next few days were blessedly uneventful until Mom called me at work Tuesday morning to tell me she’d fallen down a couple of steps and had hit her head. I ran and told my boss why I had to leave, picked up Mom and my nephew, who she was watching, and rushed to the hospital. I spent the next few hours waiting to hear that Mom was OK (her CAT scan came back clean, thank God) and sending texts and returning calls to keep our family apprised of what was going on. Turns out Mom also had someone watching out for her.

Oh, and there was also a shakeup at work that led to my friend/coworker’s departure. And Rich and I also received some news that has helped send our stress levels skyrocketing. Because we weren’t already at all stressed this month.

I know things could have been a LOT worse this month, particularly with regard to Rich’s health and Coraline’s and Mom’s falls. But with my life turning into fodder for a country music song in the span of a few days, it was definitely bad enough.

So that’s why I can’t wait for this month to be over. I sure as hell hope your October has been better than mine.


Filed under personal

The Strong Arms of the Ma

Song Lyric of the Day:

See the problem was I / Was fully consumed / With all of the petty things that I couldn’t do / All of the plastic products, shows and woes / I didn’t ever show, I let it go

Electric Guest / “This Head I Hold

It’s been a while since I posted with any regularity. What happened? First, my beloved cat, my sweetest cat, Belle, passed away. The next day my mom had carpal tunnel surgery on her hand. Two days after that, Rich had shoulder surgery, making him our home’s official one-armed man. And since he was obviously temporarily incapacitated, that meant I had to pick up a lot of slack around the house. Rich could no longer help with Coraline’s bedtime ritual and overnight wakeups, gather and haul the trash to the curb, wash dishes, buy the big honking bags of dog food we buy, or help with unloading anything heavy out of the car, leaving yours truly to pick up the slack. (I tried teaching Coraline to poop on command so I could exact my vengeance as soon as Rich was able to change her diapers again, to no avail.) Make no bones about it, though — while Rich is right-handed and the surgery was on his right shoulder, he still managed to be helpful around the house, albeit on a limited scale.

Then — you knew there was a “then,” didn’t you? — my mom had her right knee replaced. Since one sister works at a bank across town, the other sister lives out of state, and our dad works in Oak Ridge, that left me as the best option to take Mom to physical rehab twice a week (Dad takes her the third time, on Fridays). (Here’s where I once again thank God and my lucky stars I work for such a wonderful company and, more importantly, such a wonderful boss.) My work schedule now consists of me working from home on Mondays and Fridays, the days Mom normally watched Coraline, and me working in the office Tuesday through Thursday, the days Coraline is at day care. Tuesdays and Wednesdays I leave work at 10AM to pick up Mom for rehab and — thanks to the wonderful magic of free Wi-Fi — work on my laptop the full hour she’s put through her paces. Then I drop her off at home and head back to the office, which works out — thanks to that hour of work at the rehab center, I’m still only taking an hour lunch (give or take a few minutes) via travel time.

Coraline visiting with Abuela (4/20/12). Coraline was in her "operator" mode, ready to call it a night.

So that’s what’s been going on the last few weeks. I can no longer keep track of what day it is, most days I would happily nap under my desk George Costanza-style, every time I sit down to watch TV upstairs I’m reminded Belle is gone, and I’ve been eating badly, to say the least, since I’m now on the go a lot more than before (damn American fast food for being so convenient and so, so awful).  And yet I’m grateful: Mom is already moving/walking better than she was before the surgery, Rich is just about back to being a full-time husband/father/errand boy (love you, honey!), I’m healthy, Coraline’s healthy — you get the picture. Things could be worse. So even though I’m so stressed right now I could probably turn a lump of coal into a diamond, I’m doing my damnedest to look at the bright side.


Filed under personal, Uncategorized