Sunday, August 29, 2010

Littlefoot's last day

When Littlefoot collapsed Friday night and I had called the vet to schedule the appointment, it took a while to get him up and outside for a piddle, then he came back in and collapsed again. He ate a little bit of his canned food, and a chewable pain pill, then he ate a bit of bacon. Throughout the night, I petted him every time I walked by, told him what a good, sweet boy he was, and a couple of times I put Little Miss outside so I could sit on the floor and hold Littlefoot and tell him how much I loved him.

I talked to Dad, Kogi and Mallie, and managed not to cry.

Saturday morning, Littlefoot woke me at seven by coughing, which he'd been doing all week (the main reason I took him in on Thursday). I got up, put him outside and fed Little Miss, then put her outside. Littlefoot wasn't interested even in his canned food, but he ate the pain pill. I had my morning coffee in my Littlefoot mug that Kogi made for me.
All morning, Littlefoot tried to follow me around, coughing every time he did, and I kept my own movements to a minimum.

At eleven, I put Little Miss in the basement and had to lift Littlefoot into the car. He wasn't interested in looking out the window at all for the ride to the vet's, and both of those things told me I'd made the right decision.

When we arrived, I got hugs from both receptionists, and Littlefoot got pats, and then the tech took us downstairs to the presurgery room. We had about ten minutes alone, and then the tech came back with Dr. Mark, and they lifted him onto the prep table. I stood by Littlefoot's head with my arms around him, his head resting in the crook of my right arm, and I stroked his back and told him I loved him as Dr. Mark shaved a strip of fur from his leg and slid in the needle.

It wasn't long before my eternal puppy was gone. Mark and Carlee left me alone with him, and I cried into his fur, kissed the top of his head and rubbed his velvet-soft ears for the last time, and said goodbye.

I will miss you so much, little guy.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Friday, August 27, 2010

Littlefoot has made his decision

Although I was hopeful after a long talk with the vet this morning, when I got home tonight, all the hope was shattered. I let the dogs out of the basement, and Littlefoot took two staggering steps and then collapsed and couldn't get up. After about fifteen minutes, he managed to get to his feet, but he wasn't interested in eating anything, and it was all he could do to take three steps away from the house to piddle.

His appointment is at 11:45 tomorrow.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Unadorned bad news

I can't sugarcoat this for me, so I'm not sugarcoating it here. Littlefoot is severely anemic, he has three teeth which need to be removed but can't be because he can't afford to lose any blood, and his kidney values are climbing despite the special food and he has left "mild kidney failure" for "moderate kidney failure."

Saturday, August 21, 2010


It finally rained good and hard last night, and supposedly things will cool off now! At least in this house I have air conditioning to get me through the hot days. I've never been very heat-tolerant anyway, but the MS has kicked my heat intolerance up to 11. I was only recently diagnosed when I bought this house, and the whole-house air just seemed like a nice thing to have. Good thing it was here, because it has saved me from misery every summer since!

In my old house, my bedroom was a converted attic and I didn't have AC. My first summer in the house, I tried everything I could think of to be comfortable, including trying to sleep on the floor in front of a fan. All that got me after I'd wrestled the mattress off the bed and set up the fan was Bigfoot curling up on my pillow as if I'd done that just for him. Then when I reclaimed my bed, I got dry eyes and a headache from trying to sleep with the constant airflow. Almost every night in late July and August, I cried myself to sleep because I was so miserable. I do remember one day when it rained going outside and playing in the rain and splashing in puddles while Bigfoot watched me from the windows, convinced I had lost my mind! The next year, Dad gave me Grandpa Arnold's old window unit, and I could at least sleep in cool comfort.

I also remember visiting Disneyland when I was about twelve or so. It rained all day, just a soft drizzle, and it didn't really bother anyone in my family because a January rain in California is much warmer than a January snowfall in Ohio! I did think it was funny that the PA system was playing "It Never Rains" by Albert Hammond as we were leaving.

Thanks to last night's rain, I can harvest my basil and lemon balm without the leaves being all heat-shriveled. Time for pesto! :D

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Lake pictures

My last day at the lake consisted of about two hours, from when I woke up at 6:20 until I left for the second time at 8:20 (I forgot my cell the first time I left), so since there isn't much to write about, here are some pics:

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Lakeside Day 3, Friday, August 6th

As usual, I woke up early. This time, I managed not to wake up Mom, but instead got my coffee vewy, vewy quietly. I'd been up for about 20 minutes when SuperDoughnut came downstairs. He was very disgruntled to see me awake, and I'm not sure what the big deal is about being the first one up, but he was Not Happy with me.

The morning followed the usual Lakeside routine--doughnut run, breakfast, newspaper run, swimming. I skipped the swimming because my knee still hurt from Thursday's fall and read instead. After lunch, I took another nap, and this time my father woke me up because "You slept a very long time and I was worried about you."

Again, pot, kettle, blahblah.

Mom gave me a lecture on being more careful about where I stepped, what with the MS balance issues and NO sympathy about my poor knee, but Annabel and I bonded over falling in public, so it was a net gain for family relationships. Either Wednesday or Thursday night Bookworm and I had bonded over Mad Men, which I just barely managed not to spoil for her. Great show, btw, and you should watch it.

Dinner Friday night was a very American vacation meal--corn on the cob, hamburgers, beer, and Great-Gramma Jammies' summer blockbuster consisting of sliced peaches mixed with blueberries and brown sugar. There were also lovely tomatoes and fresh sliced cucumber, which I was pleased to find out SuperDoughnut shares my love for.

After dinner, there were several golf cart rides. Captain Crossword took the kids down to the pier so that The Awesome Nacho could do a photo shoot with his new Domo plushie, and later there was a group golf cart/bicycle ride down to Whistle Stop for ice cream. As I've mentioned, I'm more of a salty snack person, and when I saw that they had freshly popped cheese popcorn, I got that and a soda.

Oh, my. Why did I not know about this on Wednesday? Imagine freshly popped popcorn with movie theater butter and bright orange cheese flavoring. It was warm and messy and so very good. I shared with the nieces and nephews, because like movie theater popcorn, a "small" was pretty damn big, and while they all liked it, Tinkerbell enjoyed it the most.

When all of the ice cream and most of the popcorn had been consumed, we walked out on the pier. The waves were really high, and were splashing over the pier at various points. We watched the sun sink, and it took me a minute to realize that the sun set about forty seconds earlier for me than for my "little" brother because I'm about 8 inches shorter!

Dad and the kids and I took the golf cart back to the house. We took the long way, because this was the last golf cart ride before turning it in Saturday morning. Tinkerbell had fallen and scraped her ankle on the way to get in the cart, and she cuddled up to me for the whole ride. When we got back to the house, there was triage and a bandaid, and it was all good again.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Lakeside, Day 2, Thursday August 5th

Despite a late-ish night, I woke up at my usual time of 6:20. Despite trying to be quiet, I managed to wake Mom up when I nuked myself a cup of coffee. She got herself one, and we were sitting on the porch talking very quietly when SuperDoughnut came down. He looked a little grumpy, and said to me, "I'm usually the first one up." After about ten minutes, he pronounced himself bored, and when none of Mom's suggestions worked, I asked if he wanted to draw on the apron I'd gotten him. He initially said no, but then came back about five minutes later and had changed his mind.

Not too long after SD was ensconced at the porch table with his apron and two packets of permanent markers, The Awesome Nacho and Princess Mathgeek came downstairs (Tinkerbell likes to sleep in--she's a nine o'clock girl all the way). Mom had put out all the different cereals and bowls and spoons and then taken her bike ride, so after I got dressed, I fixed bowls of cereal for SD and PM, and went back to reading my book.

Captain Crossword and Tinkerbell came downstairs around nine, and I got her her first bowl of cereal while little brother got some coffee. Then, before he had even had his second cup, he took the kids on a golf cart ride to get doughnuts, which is a morning ritual at Lakeside.

I am not fond of doughnuts--my personal taste for junk food is salty rather than sweet. But a cake doughnut from The Patio, fresh out of the fryer and thickly crusted with cinnamon sugar, tempts even me.

After dropping off the kids and the pastries, little bro went back out on a quest for a newspaper box that actually had newspapers inside it. The kids each had a doughnut, Mom came back from her bike ride, everyone except for my father got up and dressed and moving. Shortly after CC returned with the newspaper, a general poll was taken on who wanted to go swimming at the indoor pool. It wound up being me, Captain Crossword, Jeeves, Mom and all the kids.

I'm not entirely convinced that someone didn't replace my nieces and nephews with fish during the ride over to the pool. Tinkerbell doesn't swim yet, but she's completely comfortable in the water, and the other three are both skilled and fearless. Between the cannonballs, swimming underwater, roughhousing and other silliness, two hours flew by.

After swimming, we had lunch. Mom always has a ton of good food, and this year was no exception. After lunch, when Mom and Captain Crossword and Annabel took the kids to East Harbor, and I took a nap. I'd told Mom that I would go with her and Dad to pick up Bookworm Mathgeek's birthday cake and ice cream. East Harbor in August, or really any outdoor venue in August is right out for me--I've never been particularly heat-tolerant anyway, but that's the one thing that has gotten noticeably worse thanks to the MS.

A word or six about my father: The man loves his sleep. He is the last one up in the morning, or sometimes the only one waking up in the early afternoon. He takes naps, and whether he's napping or sleeping, he will put his good ear in the pillow so his alarm clock can shrill for up to an hour without him noticing. Getting him up when he's not ready to wake up involves repeated trips to his bedside, with occasional shoulder-shaking and sometimes some yelling.

So that Thursday, I'd laid down between one-thirty and two. At three-thirty, Dad opened the door to my room, stuck his head in and stated that Mom wanted him to call me. At three-forty-five, Dad stuck his head back in the door, and said in a tone just dripping with disgust, "This is the second time I have had to call you. You had better get up!"

"Thanks, Mr. Pot."

I got out of bed and got dressed, laughing to myself at my father's inability to see that the things he dislikes in me are his own worst character traits, and the three of us headed out on an ice cream hunt. The object of our search was Bookworm Mathgeek's favorite ice cream, Ben and Jerry's Chubby Hubby. Alas, it was nowhere to be found in Marblehead and Port Clinton, and believe me, we looked everywhere. Fortunately, the store where Mom had ordered the cake had her second choice, Toft's Peppermint Party Mint. Mom also got noisemakers, matching crepe and tissue paper, and silly gifts from the kids.

We got back to the house, and my poor, unsuspecting sister-in-law was reading in the hammock. We put out the cake, decorated the eating area, wrapped the presents and put them out.

Sneaking this in here, so it's not quite so obvious--Thursday afternoon I had my annual Fall Over My Own Feet At Lakeside. I careened down the concrete garage stairs, grabbed the card table to steady myself, and instead managed to take a glass ashtray with me, shattering it on the floor.

The girls were so excited that they rousted Bookworm out of the hammock and brought her inside, where we sang to her. She opened the presents and the cards, and then we went out to dinner.

A note about my card: Given that Bookworm and I are both readers, and we both tend to be alternately amused and appalled by typos and grammatical errors, I got her a card which mentioned casinos and bars as "disrespectful places." I'm pretty sure it should have been "disreputable places," and was planning on giggling with her over the error. What I hadn't planned on was the card-opening taking place in the middle of a storm of family. So it just looked like I got her a card with a mistake on it. :p

Instead of the winery restaurant where we used to go for the big fancy family dinner, which has gone down in quality and up in price, we went to an upscale sports bar for dinner. Crosswinds was a big success--everyone's food was great, the service was both cheerful and competent, and I had my very first (and my second) Lemon Drop martini. I was smart enough to decline cake when we got home, although Tinkerbell confided to her Daddy that she was full but had just enough room in her tummy for cake. ;)

Between the food and the alcohol, none of the grownups were up for long after the kids went to bed that night!

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Lakeside, Day 1, Wednesday August 4th

Wednesday morning started with a beep and a whimper. The beep was my alarm clock, and the whimper was from me on account of said alarm clock going off at 5:20. I got up, got caffeinated, showered, packed the car with my suitcase and the dogs' tote bag, and headed off to the vet hospital.

After leaving the dogs at boarding, I went out to Mom and Dad's house, to see if I could find Tinkerbell's two kangaroo plushies and the folder with all of her medical info (and an active prescription). It wasn't looking too good at first, because my ADDDad had started changing the locks, never finished, and had taken my old key and given me a new one before he finished the lock-changing. Fortunately, I remembered where he hides the spare key, and was able to retrieve the 'roos from under the guest room bed and the medical folder from Grandpa Arnold's desk.

Off I went to work, for a frantic three hours of trying to get everything caught up before the office was without both Mom and myself, then I headed out to my car and up to the lake. I made the drive in a bit less than two hours, and was surprised to find that everyone was home when I got there. The Awesome Nacho and Princess Mathgeek helped me get my stuff inside the house, and then I got hugs from everyone.

As always, my brothers had visited The Cheese Haven on their first full day at the lake, so there was a large selection of wonderful cheeses in the fridge and assorted candy in the pantry. After a bit of grazing, I unpacked, changed clothes and then napped until dinnertime.

After dinner, the whole famndamily sat around and read and talked. Tinkerbell asked me to read to her, and I was thrilled when she picked one of the two new books I'd brought up to the lake, Once Upon a Cool Motorcycle Dude.

When the kids had all gone to bed, Jeeves had drunk enough beer to get juvenile about the author of the book I was reading. If you can't figure out what's humourous about an author whose initials are P.N., bless you, and if you have figured it out, trust me, it's not funny the first time, let alone the twenty-first.

I swear I went to sleep just to get away from the brat.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

KJAM on radio silence

Headed up to the lake house for four days with the whole famdamily. Wish me luck!

Monday, August 02, 2010

Dear White Trash Neighbor,

My condolences for your impotence and the fact that your insurance won't cover Viagra. However, when you choose to buy fireworks to compensate, I would appreciate your keeping in mind that the Fourth of July was a freaking month ago, and I do not appreciate feeling as if I were living in downtown Beirut.


Jammies and the dogs on the verge of a nervous breakdown